'Big' Sam Allardyce was memorably referred to less as a person than an ideology by Pep Guardiola when the Catalan started in English football. In his introductory press conference, Guardiola spoke of being aware of the unique challenge wrought by "The Big Sam".
Pep has ultimately conquered it fairly easily, and increasingly, The Big Sam is becoming less in-vogue in the Premier League than it once was.
Allardyce is at Everton, and has successfully saved them from relegation and pushed them as high as eighth in the table. Everton fans, however, are chafing in the face of Allardyce's dreary, flinty football. A banner at Goodison recently read "Our Survey Says...Get Out Of Our Club", in reference to the infamous fan survey on his performance that went viral a few weeks ago.
Allardyce's reaction to all of this has been blithe ignorance, choosing instead to trumpet the very excellent job he has done at the club. He doubled down on this yesterday, when asked about his future.
"It's an entertainment game, you're trying to capture hearts and minds, and I think, particularly from a home point of view, we've achieved that", said Allardyce, adding that he has won fans over "not just with the results but the way we've played and the way we've beaten teams".
Everton have only twice scored more than two goals at home under Allardyce, so this will ring fairly hollow: particularly in the context of the dazzling swathe Liverpool are cutting through the Champions League, a competition in which they've scored more goals than Everton have in the Premier League.
Nonetheless, we wouldn't expect anything less of Big Sam, whose smugness was once beautifully summed up by journalist Jonathan Liew. "In the aftermath of a big win he gushes with the self-satisfied vainglory of a man savouring his own farts".
See Also: A Scathing Mourinho Slates Players Who Failed To Take Their Chance