Spicy chewing gum, Celine Dion and £10,000 Glastonbury tickets: 21 things you didn’t know about Sam Allardyce
Farewell then, Big Sam.
After he sensationally quit as Crystal Palace boss, Sam Allardyce claims he is now out of football management… for good.
“I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy,” he said in a statement, “even if I’m beginning to feel all my 62 years.”
The news comes as quite a shock, particularly as Allardyce has been such a big part of English football for the last 15-20 years. In fact, you probably think you know everything you need to know about the former Bolton, Sunderland, Newcastle and Blackburn manager.
Plays direct football, doesn’t get relegated, the only England manager with a 100% win ratio… when it comes to Big Sam, those appear to be the key points.
However, with Allardyce set to disappear from top-flight dugouts, we have uncovered some bizarre facts about the controversial gaffer you won’t have seen anywhere else.
Between 2006 and 2008, Allardyce had a column in ZOO, the men’s magazine that closed in 2015. And as you can see below, he revealed an awful lot about himself in his weekly articles…
1. He chews his way through between three and six packs of chewing gum during a match.
“I like the fiery ones or the aniseed flavour – but not the minty ones. I started when I stopped smoking, but now it’s a habit.”
SIX PACKS DURING ONE MATCH!
2. He says the best half-time teamtalk he has ever given was back in 2001, when he was at Bolton.
“We were 2-0 down to Leicester with nine men and I used tactics and motivation to explain how we could stay in the game. We went for set-pieces and got a 2-2 draw.”
3. He’s good pals with Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff.
“Freddie is a very good friend of mine. I got to know him by playing golf with his manager.”
4. His doctor is worried about how dangerously pumped up he can get during matches.
“When we scored against Leicester with nine men in 2001, my blood pressure went to 195/128 (normal is 120/80) and a doctor told me it was dangerous for me to continue being a manager.”
5. In 2006, he went to Las Vegas to see Celine Dion.
“It was as much a present for myself as it was for the wife: she is one of the world’s best performers.”
Whatever you say, Sam…
6. He supported Wolves as a kid, but hasn’t been to Molineux as a fan since he was 14.
7. He once claimed his wife wouldn’t allow him to grow back his famous moustache.
“She thought I was handsome with it but she thinks I’m more handsome without it… that will do for me.”
8. Martin Tyler is his favourite commentator.
“It’s his understanding of the game and his ability to give the right reaction to incidents by changing the tone of his voice. It always fits the situation.”
9. While Blackpool boss, he once got so angry, he kicked a hole in a door during half-time.
“I was angry because we’d conceded just before the break. That was in my younger days – I used to give out more hairdryers back then.”
10. As a player, he was once kicked in the stomach so hard that he passed out.
“It winded me so bad that I couldn’t get my breath and I passed out. I was knocked unconscious too, but that wasn’t actually that painful.”
11. He named Gary Strodder – a former centre-half at Notts County – as the hardest man he’s worked with in football.
“He who would run through a brick wall and lose his teeth for the cause. You couldn’t get him off when he was injured. He’s a dying breed these days!”
12. His brand of comedy ‘banter’ is questionable.
Here’s Big Sam describing one of his favourite pranks: “If someone’s having trifle, I ask them, ‘What you having?’ They say, ‘Trifle’, and I say, ‘What? You’ll have to speak up, I’m a trifle deaf!’
13. Other than Big Sam, he’s only ever had one other nickname.
“Ally, in my playing days – short for Allardyce. People were too frightened to call me anything else. I could scare a few in my day!”
14. Joe Jordan was the scariest forward he ever played against.
“Not just because he was difficult to play against, but because he looked so frightening – he used to play without his front teeth.”
15. Asked what animal he would be, he came up with a very creative answer.
“In the sea, I’d be a dolphin – it looks after itself and everyone else. On land, I’d have to say a lion. I’m always the leader of the pack…”
16. He once paid £10,500 for some Glastonbury tickets
It was at a charity night, so all the money went to a good cause (and he gave the tickets to his daughter).
17. He never quite understood El Hadji Diouf’s dress sense.
“I saw him come to training in a full Formula 1 outfit, a white Armani tracksuit and a handmade suit with ‘El Hadji Diouf’ written into the pinstripes. He took plenty of stick, but he’d just tell us all we didn’t know what we were talking about!”
18. He claims the actor who would play him in a film of his life is… Clark Gable.
19. In 2008, the Irish FA approached him about becoming the new Republic of Ireland manager.
“It wasn’t done directly,” he said at the time, “but one or two people rang me to tell me there might be a possibility. I said I was flattered to be considered, but it was far too early for me to think about it.”
20. He says his best mate in football is “without a doubt” Steve Bruce.
“I go out with him regularly, and I speak to him all the time about the trials and tribulations of the job. We played against each other quite a few times, but we ended up meeting through mutual friends outside of the game. Now we’re good buddies.”
21. He’s not a big fan of the idea that football can learn from rugby.
“I don’t want to hear any more of this crap about rugby players and how footballers should behave the same way around referees. It’s s**te. Rugby doesn’t have the same financial and media pressure we have in the Premier League. That’s what causes players to crack.”