Why are Allardyce and Pardew still seen as progressive?

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So, Sam Allardyce is given his cards yet again, this time at Everton. The fourth job in succession where he’s either been sacked or left via ‘mutual consent.’ Sacked in other words.

Alan Pardew was given the old heave-ho a few weeks ago, and incredibly West Bromwich Albion’s fortunes took a sharp upturn after he’d left.

What is difficult to understand is why the pair, and others of their ilk, continue to be seen as somewhat progressive and are almost the first port of call when Premier League coaching jobs are available.

Overlooking Allardyce’s penchant for a quick few hundred thousand which in itself is a thorny issue, to essentially bring in someone whose best years in management were almost two decades ago and expect them to perform miracles is asking for trouble.

He’s nothing but a saviour, and from the route one school at that.

His teams play as he did. Physically imposing, limited in their capabilities, but willing to battle all day long. Just the ingredients required if you’re in the midst of a relegation battle or need promoting from the lower leagues.

But a European push? Don’t make me laugh.

The Dudley-born former central defender likes to use ProZone and the odd sports science methodology to help get his points and tactics across, but he’s still the same old northern hoofer underneath the Emperor’s new clothes.

And yet, clubs are still falling for it. His agent must be on huge bunce because he’s the true miracle worker here.

Everton, like Crystal Palace, Sunderland and West Ham before them, now have to honour the outrageous contract that was negotiated whilst poring over what exactly they’ve paid him for, for the last six months.

Pardew is cut from the same cloth as Allardyce. Arguably, his last successful stint at any club came at West Ham, where he took them to the 2006 FA Cup final.

Only Steven Gerrard’s desire on the day took Liverpool to the promised land because for long periods, the Hammers were the better team in what has since been labelled the best-ever FA Cup final.

The following season, he took the Hammers on their worst run of defeats in 70 years, but somehow this was enough to convince Charlton Athletic to hire him just a fortnight after his dismissal in east London.

Charlton were in dire straits when he took them over, so their subsequent relegation can’t be pinned on him, but eight games without a win saw them in the Championship’s bottom three. Off he went again.

Southampton was his next port of call but player unrest and low staff morale, allegedly because of Pardew’s insistence at following outdated and unworkable methods, saw a swift exit.

Quite how he then went on to land one of the biggest jobs in the country – Newcastle United – is anyone’s guess… though they did also employ Allardyce!

A four-year stay wasn’t overly successful and neither did his stint at Crystal Palace where, finally, a chairman hit the nail on the head. Steve Parish said of Pardew “his style of football hasn’t and doesn’t work.” Hallelujah.

Five months at West Brom was more than enough for the Baggies, Pardew leaving the club at the foot of the table and 10 games without a win. Their relegation, despite Darren Moore’s best efforts, was ultimately down to Pardew.

Both Allardyce and Pardew are relics from the past, trying to make themselves relevant in a game that’s now far ahead of their level of understanding. Simply put, football has moved on. They haven’t.

There’s a reason why the pair keep being sacked from each club that offer them a route back, but perhaps their reputations are now so tarnished that everyone has learnt their lesson.

One can only hope.

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Why Liverpool won’t miss Steven Gerrard

Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard announced his decision to leave the Merseyside club at the end of the current season to prolong his playing career in the MLS with La Galaxy. The former England international, 34, has been with the Reds his whole senior career, and as a result many are disappointed Liverpool didn’t do enough to keep him at the club. But does Brendan Rodgers’ side need him anymore?

The experienced captain has been a regular in the first-team this season, but Liverpool have still picked up seven points from the three games he failed to start in. The one game Gerrard was an unused substitute – against Swansea City on the 29th of December last year – the Reds put in their best Anfield performance of the campaign. Coincidence? Maybe not.

Rodgers’ philosophy is an aggressive attacking style with and without the ball. When his side have possession, he wants free-flowing football, utilising off-the-ball player runs to drag the opposition out of position for advancing forwards to fill.

When retrieving the ball, Rodgers likes a high-pressing style to ensure the opposing team cannot pass their way out of trouble. It means if Liverpool win the ball back higher up the pitch, they have little of the pitch to cover to create a chance, while catching any opponents threadbare at the back too.

It’s a style of play that just will not work with an ever-ageing Gerrard, regardless if he’s being utilised in a deeper role. The 34-year-old has great fitness levels, but he has to cover a lot of grass to be of full effect for Liverpool, something he just cannot do anymore.

If Gerrard is unable to cover the ground required of him in this high-pressing style, it means other players cannot follow suit to leave him isolated in the middle of the park. His service to Liverpool cannot be understated, but the current style asked by Rodgers has seen his time come to an end.

And that the ex-England captain is going straight to the MLS would suggest top level football may be beyond him too, as well as the obvious financial implications being a lure.

The rise of summer signing Emre Can is also a factor in Gerrard’s exit. The German U21 international, 20, is starting to show his true quality for the Reds in both midfield as well as defence. He could be a mainstay in the holding role, with his all-round game having impressed Rodgers, which in turn means Gerrard’s eventual summer departure won’t be a big loss now as it would have been years ago.

Should Steven Gerrard consider a move abroad?

With Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard delaying his decision to signing a new deal that manager Brendan Rodgers said was on the table for him, should the 34-year-old seriously consider moving abroad?

When asked about his future with the Merseyside club, Gerrard said: “I’ll decide when I’m ready. There’s nothing to say on the contract at the moment. When there is, the fans have known me long enough, I’ll come out and say what I need to say.”

While in the eve of his playing career, the former England international has made it clear that he wants to play on for at least another season. He has an impressive CV that could have been so much better had he left Liverpool in the past, but his unwavering loyalty to stay at Anfield has led to positives and negatives.

Last season, he captained the Reds to second in the Premier League table. Fast-forward seven months, and Liverpool find themselves on the brink of a premature elimination in the Champions League, as well as being 16 points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea after just 14 games.

A player of Gerrard’s calibre shouldn’t be settling for a top-four finish, so will be he looking to interested sides abroad as a potential destination to end his career? The long-serving Liverpool midfielder will certainly be looking at the likes of Andrea Pirlo, 35, who has continued to win league titles with Juventus despite his advancing age, playing in a position Gerrard has adopted under Brendan Rodgers in the last 18 months.

The Italian Serie A is viewed as a much slower division than the English Premier League, which would suit the Whiston-born player perfectly, as the emphasis is on passing rather than pace and industry. It’s a similar case in the Spanish La Liga, with clubs favouring ball retention in a lower tempo. And despite his form being below par for Liverpool this season, there would be a host of interested clubs that would come in for Gerrard should he turn down a contract extension.

His deal is up this summer, and given how far away Liverpool look from a trophy, the lure of playing for a top side in Italy or Spain at the eve of his career could tempt him away.

In a recent interview, Steven Gerrard admitted he would likely look back on his career with regret for turning down moves to Europe’s elite in the past, but there’s still time. The Englishman has been a brilliant servant for the club, and surely wouldn’t begrudge him a move to a top foreign outfit.

His former international teammates Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Micah Richards have all signed for clubs abroad, and have recommended many follow the trend. He may have a love affair with Liverpool, but if Steven Gerrard wants to end his career with trophy success, he may need to consider the unthinkable and leave for a foreign club.