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Down but not out: lampooned Allardyce can still make Albion proud | Jonathan Wilson

Down but not out: lampooned Allardyce can still make Albion proud | Jonathan Wilson
By: theguardian.com sport Posted On: May 15, 2021 View: 37

Down but not out: lampooned Allardyce can still make Albion proud | Jonathan Wilson

The West Brom manager has a stain on his record now. But nobody should think the old magic has entirely deserted him

The summer of 2016 has a lot of answer for. What if England had not been beaten by Iceland in the last 16 of the Euros? What if they had not lost their nerve, if Joe Hart had not made that mistake, if somebody, anybody, had demonstrated any kind of clarity of vision and attempted a mode of attacking that was not just whacking the ball into the box or giving it to Wayne Rooney? What if they had then scrambled through a quarter-final against the anxious hosts, France, to set up (another) semi-final show-down with Germany?

Perhaps Roy Hodgson would have had his contract renewed, perhaps Sam Allardyce would not have been appointed and perhaps Sunderland would be a thriving Premier League side. Think back, to that final league game of 2015-16 at the Stadium of Light: a 3-0 win over Everton in front of jubilant stands to secure survival; Allardyce on the pitch afterwards, tie somewhere near his navel, celebrating before an audience that truly appreciated him; Allardyce downing bottles of lager in a brief post-match press conference; Allardyce with Jim Montgomery, the goalkeeping legend of the 1973 FA Cup final, holding court in the bar of the Hilton Garden Inn after that.

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