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Bolton Preview

Posted on 24 January 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

There is a key paralel between Spurs and Bolton Wanderers - the return of a former crowd favourite signalled a significant upturn in fortunes.

Of course, ours is Glenn - and the results are there for all to see, not to mention a trip to Cardiff. Bolton's is Big Sam Allardyce - one of the great characters in the game, who took up the Bolton hotseat in October 1999.

Not too long later and Big Sam has Bolton back in the Big Time.

Many fans knowledge of Sam will have been extended by the Reebok boss agreeing to be wired up for ITV's Tonight programme, where the hearts of Sam and Dave Bassett were monitored during the Premiership clash between Wanderers and Leicester.

Sam is certainly the passionate type, full of unbridled enthusiasm for the game - a game that has not always been kind to him since his finished playing.

The tough-as-nails former centre-half made his Bolton debut in 1973 against Notts County - a club he was later to enjoy management success with.

Allardyce was preparing for his extended future at the age of 28, ready for "the dreaded day when you can no longer play football," he said.

He began his apprenticeship at West Brom, where he filled a number of roles before being promoted to assistant manager in the 1990-91 season.

He was sacked four months into the job, which led him to question whether he had a long-term future in the game.

"It was a bitter experience for me," he said. "If you lose your job, and you haven't created a reputation for yourself, it's very difficult to get re-employed."

However, spiritual intervention was awaiting. A call from a Father Joe Young, that Sam thought at first was a wind-up, offered him the post as player manger of Limerick from the League of Ireland.

He accepted the job for one year and led them to the championship.

"It was an incredible experience, they were so hard up. Father Joe and I had to collect money off supporters on a Friday night to pay the players their wages the next day.

Full-time League management beckoned on Sam was next appointed boss of Blackpool, who he guided to 11th in Division Two in his first season before narrowly missing promotion, via the play-offs, in his second.

His efforts at Bloomfield Road were overshadowed by the highly publicised trial involving Blackpool chairman Owen Oyston. The chairman was jailed, but spared a few notches on his phonecard with the order for Allardyce to be sacked.

He moved on and set up the Sunderland youth academy for Peter Reid before Notts County came a calling. He weived his magic too late to save them from relegation to Divison Three in 1997, but secured promotion in record time - by March - the following season.

He was the natural choice for his former club when they were seeking a new boss and, at the start of the season, Bolton made some big waves in the Premiership after winning promotion via the play-offs last term.

There has been a dip following the initial high, but results have been achieved recently against both Liverpool and Chelsea.

The boys beat Bolton 6-0 on their way to the Worthington Cup final when Sam chose not to play with his full side. The question is, does this apply to the FA Cup as well?