Sam Allardyce has never been one to shy away from pointing out his own worth. When Fabio Capello announced he was to step down from the England job, Allardyce suggested himself as an appropriate successor.
Yesterday the man who has managed Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn with a robustness that brings Arsène Wenger out in a cold sweat declared he would be the perfect candidate to be in charge of Real Madrid.
This afternoon Allardyce will send his Blackburn side out to face Fulham, but yesterday he said that he would be "better suited" to sitting in the Real dugout for their La Liga trip to Real Sociedad. And if Real were – if you can imagine the circumstances – to rid themselves of Jose Mourinho with his three European trophies and league titles in England and Italy, and replace him with Allardyce (one League of Ireland title and a League Cup runners-up medal) then they would see the European Cup back at the Bernabeu every season he was resident in the Spanish capital.
"I'm not suited to Bolton or Blackburn, I would be more suited to Internazionale or Real Madrid," said Allardyce. "It wouldn't be a problem to me to go and manage those clubs because I would win the Double or the league every time.
"Give me Manchester United or Chelsea and I would do the same, it wouldn't be a problem. It's not where I'm suited to, it's just where I've been for most of the time. It's not a problem to take me into the higher reaches of the Champions League or Premier League and would make my job a lot easier in winning it."
It is a point Allardyce has made at regular intervals since he took Bolton into the top eight of the Premier League for four successive seasons, albeit never quite as quixotically as this. He has frequently upset Wenger with his muscular approach, but what he achieved at Bolton with limited resources was undeniably impressive. During his tenure he was an enthusiastic, and early, proponent of sports psychology and the use of dieticians and detailed statistical analysis of his players' performances. The 55-year-old asserts that he, and the likes of Mark Hughes, deserve a proper chance at bigger clubs.
Hughes was sacked by Manchester City last season, but has started well at Fulham, who are unbeaten so far. "His Manchester City reign obviously was not long enough. A little bit like me at Newcastle," said Allardyce. "But that is the way it is sometimes, there is a perception that other people can do better than you, but often the reality is not the case."
Unfortunately for Allardyce the sight of a Christopher Samba-style emergency striker at the Bernabeu is unlikely to become a reality.
Cut from the same cloth? Big Sam v Europe's elite
Highs: Lost 2004 League Cup final. Led Bolton to last 32 in Uefa Cup in 2006.
Lows: Sacked by Blackpool. Relegated with Notts County in 1997. Overlooked for England manager's job. Style of play derided by other managers. Sacked by Newcastle after just seven months.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Highs: Two European Cups, 11 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Cup Winners Cups.
Lows: Lost 2009 European Cup final. Three third-place league finishes.
Highs: Two European Cups, six domestic league titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup. Domestic treble with Porto and Internazionale. Eight-year unbeaten record in home league games.
Lows: Sacked as Chelsea manager.
Highs: One European Cup, one Spanish title, one Uefa Cup, one FA Cup. Second place with Liverpool in 2009.
Lows: Failed to advance past group stages in European Cup last season. Prone to losing it at press conferences.
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