Sam Allardyce is too ambitious for Bolton, and he has made the hard decision to leave his club, surprisingly two weeks before the end of the season.
Will he go to Newcastle to replace Roeder? Manchester City to replace Pearce? Tottenham to replace Jol? England to replace McClaren? Or will he make the biggest turn of them all, and go to Chelsea?
At this point, I would also have considered Arsenal but that, my friend, would be a bit too far (and it would get me mugged needlessly).
For a second, let’s consider why Allardyce left. He is said to have resigned, and then he also says that they mutually agreed for him to resign early.
This tells me that a) Sam Allardyce has something planned and b) Bolton probably have a successor in mind.
Where can Allardyce go?
There are only a handful of club managers at the moment who would consider their job as completely untouchable. Alex Ferguson, for a comeback season that borders on incredulous. Arsene Wenger, for the sheer respect he commands at Arsenal. Rafael Benitez, who will be given at least one season under new management, and his Champions League record suggests that he will be around for several more years.
Other managers are relatively secure in their positions. Steve Coppell, Martin O’Neil, David Moyes, Harry Redknapp, Southgate and Mark Hughes are also, one way or the other, secure.
Which leaves us with the following – Manchester City, Newcastle United, Chelsea, Tottenham and the national team.
The strongest links in the media point Sam to Man City, and the takeover bids are also something that make his appointment possible. With money in his hands he could easily revitalise the team and drive them towards Europe.
My pick for Sam, because if Newcastle have to challenge the top four, they need a stronger manager. Roeder can’t cut it.
This might piss off Spurs fans, but considering that both teams have roughly the same number of points despite the obvious quality in the Spurs side, there is a good chance that Spurs may not progress further under Jol. Martin Jol has done a good job in bringing Tottenham towards top 10 stability with a regular threat for Europe, but they need to make a move beyond that and Jol isn’t the one to do it.
This is partially in jest, partially because Mourinho’s methods may yet find him getting the sack. It would be absolute foolishness to sack Mourinho, but he’s not helping Chelsea’s aim to be loved. You would argue whether Sam is capable of that, but at the very least he’s not as abrasive as Mourinho.
After Man City, this is the strongest option. Steve McClaren is in trouble, and England need to be rescued. Surely, Sam can do a better job?
Sam too ambitious for Bolton
The one thing that immediately jumps out here is that despite the platitudes about Bolton being in great shape, this is not a move made to seek new challenges. It’s a move to achieve certain specific objectives, most likely in preparation for a move elsewhere in the Premiership. It says that Sam Allardyce does not consider Bolton to be capable of getting him the recognition he deserves, it says that if he stays with Bolton he won’t get the chance to manage England or play in the Champions League.