It can be a thankless task, being a football manager. Especially one that plays the game as agriculturally as Sam 'Allardici' Allardyce.
The West Midlands native has held positions at some of the biggest clubs in the Premier League, and also held the England job for a brief spell, infamously leaving the position in after being implicated by the Daily Telegraph for offering to help business men circumvent FA third party ownership rules. But for the all the successes that 63-year-old has achieved, Allardyce has become a joke among the footballing public.
Allardyce has made a name for himself for consistently over achieving with the players he has at his disposal, getting his teams out of numerous relegation battles, most impressively with Sunderland in 2016.
But the plain speaking Allardyce has found fan adoration hard to come by despite his managerial heroics. At West Ham and more recently Everton, there has been unrest at Big Sam's tactical approach, with the recent survey gaffe where Everton fans were asked to rate their coach giving rise to some unwanted PR:
— Andrew Thompson (@tomo_innit) April 23, 2018
And so over the past months the Everton coach has attracted the pejorative of 'gravy'. The sauce has, to fans, perfectly encapsulated what it is about Allardyce is so unattractive to supporters; uncultured, common, uninspiring & thick:
I wonder if Sam Allardyce has gravy flavoured chewing gum? ?
— Danny® ⚽️ (@YoungyLFC_98) April 23, 2018
Allardyce ‘we’ll keep winning and keep getting better’
‘What’s wrong with our style today?’
‘You can’t knock our football’
Someone’s spiked his gravy
— michael devereau (@mickdev2000) April 23, 2018
Moshiri and kenwright looked fed up another reason why gravy man won’t be here next season
— allardyce out (@SophGallagher4) April 23, 2018
Sam Allardyce drinks up to 4 pints of gravy per day. #funfacts
— Graham Williams ☘ ??????? (@GrahamWillams70) April 22, 2018
Admittedly cruel, the insults have been coming thick and fast and predominantly gravy based on Big Sam's head as of late, despite Everton climbing to eight position in the table last night following a 1-0 win over Newcastle.
The fact that Allardyce has managed to draw such disdain from fans in spite of his track record of (albeit moderate) success is almost an achievement in and of itself.
Perhaps it is brash persona that Big Sam puts forward, coupled with his conservative managerial style that has led him to be called a 'bisto-swilling gravy titted twat'.
There also is a case to be made that Big Sam's high opinion of himself has done a lot to harm his image with supporters:
I’m not suited to Bolton or Blackburn, I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid.
I won’t ever be going to a top-four club because I’m not called Allardici, just Allardyce.
I don’t think there is any coach more sophisticated than me any more, that’s not trying to criticise any other coaches.
Sophisitication is not a word you would immediately associate with the current Everton boss, though he will point to his utilising sports science, his ability to organise a defence and and his eye for a good player to qualify his point.
Yet you feel that Allardyce's wheelhouse is not with teams aspiring for Europe, with burgeoning fan bases hungry for progress. The desperation of a relegation fight, where his transfer nous would be valued, where fans are willing to forego style in favour of substance, where his outspoken personality creates an 'Us v Them' mentality, is where Big Sam's only opportunity to be loved lies.
But at the end of the day Big Sam will never be held in high regard by the likes of West Ham & Everton, because however effective his coaching style has been over the years, his brand of gravy simply isn't going to cut the mustard.