Bacon's Bites: Fans 1 Managers 0. We want entertainment!!
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In his weekly look at the sporting scene Mike Bacon asks was it really a surprise Sam Allardyce got sacked? And why he’s actually starting to miss Andy Murray.
Football is changing.
The sacking of Sam Allardyce from the Everton position this week may have come as a shock to many. But I guess not to many Everton fans.
From the outside looking in and with Everton ending the Premier League season in eighth place, one would have thought everything in the Goodison Park garden was rosy.
Allardyce, 63, replaced Ronald Koeman in November with the club in 13th under caretaker manager David Unsworth. He did well to get them up to eighth.
However, despite that, there had been growing discontent among Toffees supporters at the negative style of play under the former England boss.
Sound familiar, Town fans?
The football was heavily criticised as uninspiring and there was another kick in the teeth for Allardyce when the club sent out a survey to fans asking to rank the manager’s performance from 1-10.
That was a bit below the belt.
But it is interesting that the ‘style’ of the football teams are coming up with is becoming as important for fans, as finishing positions and results.
In a ‘results-driven’ business, it’s a strange analogy.
Yet I must be honest, I can see why.
Only one team in any division is going to win the title.
Take the Premier League.
Before next season starts I’ll wager you there are at least 12-14 clubs who already know they are not going to win the title – that’s out of 20.
Forget Leicester City’s triumph two years ago.
That was once in a blue moon.
It could be a decade or more before a club of their stature does what they did that season.
The vast majority of teams simply go through the motions of not getting dragged into a relegation scrap. Or, worse, getting relegated.
Quite how are you going to get people to pay £500 a season ticket if that’s the ‘end game’.
Fans are getting far too savvy and while they accept their side may not play like Barcelona or Manchester City, there is no excuse for clubs, at all levels, not to play the ball on the ground, rather than hoofing it down the field.
At the highest levels, many players have been involved with professional clubs for years. I can assure you playing the ball on the ground, pass and move, would have been drummed into many of them from a very early age.
“Be careful what you wish for”, was the rather patronising phrase lambasted at Ipswich Town fans after Mick McCarthy walked out last season.
Most comments coming from those who won’t be able to remember the last time they paid to watch a game of football.
Strange that, a 0-0 bore draw with your side having just one shot on target, never seems so bad if you haven’t had to pay!
The bottom line is, fans want to be entertained. No, I’ll make that stronger, fans are demanding to be entertained.
And although no-one wants to lose 3-4 at home every other week in a seven-goal ‘thriller’, you and I know that type of scoreline doesn’t come round very often.
OK, so yes, survival and staying in a league or division is important.
But attracting bums on seats is more so.
The kids I used to coach and the young ones I watch now, get taught to play football the floor despite having to cope with playing surfaces that bobble and kick-up, not the carpets today’s pros grace. Professional managers have no excuse.
However, as has been shown in recent months, if managers do choose to put results over entertainment, it’s becoming obvious how the score will end up... Fans 1 Managers 0.
I like Andy Murray.
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit I wrote him off after his first Wimbledon victory, suggesting he had reached the pinnacle of his career Of course he hadn’t.
However injury has hindered Murray of late.
Indeed he has been sidelined since last year’s Wimbledon, and underwent hip surgery in January.
On Tuesday he was 31, which is sadly less than his current world ranking of 39!
Still, Murray is nothing but up for a laugh and on his birthday he took to social media to share a photo of himself looking pretty miserable with a big birthday hat on his head.
‘I love birthdays’, was all it said.
I hope Murray is back on court soon. I’m actually starting to miss him.
Heads up! The new Kings of Anglia magazine is out soon. Tristan Nydam, Jimmy Bullard – oh and Portman Pete. What more could you want?