In astrology news, the planets and stars have happily aligned as Alan Pardew has been given a column with the Daily Mail. Pards used today's column to pick apart the fetid carcass of England's Euro 2016 campaign, and rather than engage fully in a post-mortem, Pardew has decided to totally ignore the problem. These are the outstanding lines:
The celebration of France as a football team is fair enough, but I still think four or five England players could get in their side...
This French team is dynamic with lots of Premier League-style quality, but with the exception of Antoine Griezmann, who is the stand-out player for them, they aren't better than England.
While England have undoubted talent with Dele Alli, Daniel Sturridge, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, we're not entirely sure whether they would get in the French side. We are struggling to think of one, in fact. Maybe the full-backs. So is Pardew actually deluded? Or could there be another reason why he is publicly showering the English football team with praise? We feel that this line betrays his true intention:
As Wales have shown, too, there is not a crisis in the academies, as some have suggested. We have more investment, better coaching and improved facilities — English football is not a million miles away. I'm sure of that. Whoever gets that job will have a real chance with this batch.
Roy Hodgson's successor should not be Pardew, but his fellow Premier League chum Big Sam Allardyce, who in many ways is an ideal fit. Under Hodgson, England did not know who they wanted to be, with team selection and formation increasingly erratic, as Hodgson helped keep the press wolves from the door by chucking as much meat as he could at them, to extend both his time in charge of England and this tortured metaphor.
Big Sam, by contrast, is so utterly convinced of his talents, there would be no such confusion. Under Capello and Hodgson, the England football team has been marooned in the depths of an identity crisis. This won't happen under Allardyce, as he represents all that is unique about English football. Pep Guardiola probed this essential truth in his opening press conference, talking about his opening game against Sunderland and his facing off with The Big Sam.
Allardyce is as much an archetype as he is a man; a state of mind.
Step forward then, Big Sam. You are not only the man England deserve, but the man England need.