Monday, 25 December 2017

The Beware! Encyclopaedia of International Celebrity - Sam Allardyce

The world of football is a muddy globe, a polished rounded scarab ball of muck, and you'd have to be mad to work in it. However, amongst the ranks of con artists, cheaters, hookers, hustlers, pimps and their johns, a few shining examples stand out, undigested vitamin pills in the effluent. One such supplement is the new England Crystal Palace Everton manager (Article a long time in the works? Ed). Trust Beware! to give you the lowdown on a high man amongst low lives. In mid-table.

Sam Allardyce (General Stout-Drawers; Lord Hoof of Route One; Grimlock Ironhide)

Step forward Samuel Allardyce, one of Italy's finest cultural exports. Brought up hand-to-frock in the haute couture world of Milan, small Sam foreswore the fashion industry of his fastidious forebears, instead pursuing an instinctive passion for the transcendent possibilities and balletic beauty of chess. There were no chess clubs in his town (the philistines!) so Sam reluctantly signed up for football class; but for the first term he mainly pretended to be a castle.

As this may hint, Allardyce's first break was not in football, nor chess, but acting. Talent-spotted by a very confused agent, for five long hard years Sam strove as Stan Magnum in "Magnum, I.P.", the cult cop splash about a stout-tached Bermuda short-sporting detective researching intellectual property rights in the Caymans. (The girls, the glamour. Check it out on Kodi!)

It is said that when he shaved off his Magnum tache, he gained 10 years and lost all his acting ability. Acting's loss was surely football's gain.

At a door-busting 8'2" and having absorbed several other defenders, and a manual on stone-masonry, Sam's playing career was predictably static as he perfected the art of spreading himself wide in front of the goal, planted hard, legs and arms and bellies. "None shall pass!" was his pithy catchphrase yelled from the top of his own turrets. Opposition players feigned nosebleeds to avoid facing him. Balls spontaneously deflated in order to stay out of harm's way. Later he played in the United States and frightened the Yanks off the game for a decade. Allardyce paid for some coaching badges and built a new career at pitch-side.

Big Sam has managed some unfashionable clubs - Limerick, Blackpool, Sunderland, Wisbech, Skaro - and has maintained a good rapport with Mackems, Fenlanders and Daleks alike, but insists: "There is no way I should be managing dour drab teams. I should be managing Real Madrid and Barcelona. If I managed Real Madrid, we'd win the Premier League every time."

Sam became noted for his pioneering use of scientific management. Players spent more time doing pilates, inhaling incense and sweating in Turkish baths than the more standard "run into the box and fall over" or "curse the referee's parentage". In the late 80s, Sam got "well into all this new fangled computing" and used pioneering Sinclair technology to track player movements and calculate e.g. the precise position from which each player was most likely to score. Unfortunately, the laser pinpointing was highly temperamental due to Sinclair's insistence on shoddy over-miniaturised parts, but Sam persisted and eventually worked out his players' best scoring positions were on the opponent's goal-line following a long hoofed clearance. Now there's tactics.

Players became used to foregoing alcohol, instead washing down bottles of vitamin pills with avocado smoothies. Big Sam prefers his vits in chewable form and often gets through 12 Haliborange - always Haliborange - in the course of one match.

Indeed, it is often overlooked how cultured Sam is. When he first applied to be England manager in 2006, Allardyce's application was written as a stand-alone app for high-end PCs combining C++, Pearl and Haskell. When it turned out that the FA system ran on DOS-based 486 machines, Sam had to run home and print out the entire thing, only for it to transpire most of the FA couldn't read either.

Away from pitch-side, he started a comedy duo with his friend and colleague, Portuguese deadpan Jose "No Comment" Mourinho, where the two saucy wags pretended to hate each other's guts. Their "stone age football", "bus parking tutor" and what an effing liberty" routines remain firm favourites. Sam also likes taramasalata, feng shui and The Mikado.

After the debacle of his short time in charge of the national team - it turned out that the FA had blacklisted Haliborange from pitch-side, unbeknownst to Sam who in his first match chomped through a pack of them on camera - an early retirement seemed on the cards; and there was a short-lived diversion into pro snooker, where his extreme no-potting tactics combined with dangerously long balls led to a life ban from the green baize; but the lure of football was too strong.

Now at his latest desperate club, Everton of Manchester, Sam discovered that the reason for their recent woes was an inability of other players to simply pass to star striker Mickey Rooney ("That lad has got goals coming out of his arse, he just needs some feeders"). Sam fixed that with his patented "effing-pass-to-Rooney" strategy, tested in computer simulation and aided by drones and magnetic boots. Long may this thoroughly modern innovator continue to tear up form books, rule books and record books. No cooking of the books implied.

Excessive consumption of Haliborange may cause laxative effects. Always squeeze the maypole.

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