Sam Allardyce likes his statistics. The West Ham manager would be the first to admit that.
Indeed, he often is the first to admit that. In 83.5 per cent of conversations in which his pioneering use of ProZone is mentioned, Allardyce is the instigator.
In 68.9 per cent of those cases, Big Sam does so within the first three minutes of the conversation – a figure that rises to 93.2 per cent if we consider only conversations that took place after a match he had won.
Fascinating stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. All the figures come from BlowZone™, my exhaustive and entirely fictional analysis of the hot air spouted by football managers in the English Premier League.
Thanks to BlowZone, I am also able to tell you that this week was not the first time Allardyce has espoused the theory that if his name were pronounced “Allardeechee” – in other words, if he was an exotic foreigner, possibly Italian – his genius would have been recognised long ago.
The Allardeechee Hypothesis has been aired an average 2.7 times per season since Bolton were promoted to the top tier in 2001.
It would have been more, but nobody, including Mr or Mrs Allardeechee themselves, could have hailed him a genius during his spell at Newcastle.
No, not even if he had arrived at matches in an ice cream van, wearing an exquisitely tailored suit, gesticulating wildly and singing O Sole Mio.
Not that I am complaining, you understand.
I love the Allardeechee Hypothesis.
It conjures images of a parallel universe in which the English football establishment drools over this mysterious man from Il Paese Negro (that is the Black Country, in Italian) and his exotic tactics.
“See how Allardeechee refuses to be tethered by traditional notions of using all 11 players,” we would simper, as his goalkeeper once again hoofed the ball to the big lad (Il Colossus) up front.
But why limit ourselves to Allardeechee alone?
With the merest adjustment of inflection, all of England’s plodding, homegrown managers could metamorphose into prized imports.
Take “Alain Pardieu”, for example. Instead of labelling the Newcastle boss a dinosaur, how we would marvel at his Gallic staunchness in refusing to abandon that elegant “quatre-quatre-deux” formation.
Or how about “Harald Redknorpp”. Suddenly, the QPR gaffer’s habit of conducting interviews through his car window would not be a symptom of his wide-boy, duck-and-dive attitude, but a typically Scandinavian insistence on using natural light and materials to create relaxed communal spaces for improved communication.
Sheffield United, Wigan, Huddersfield and Crystal Palace fans would never consider “Schteve Broosh” to be a fly-by-night traitor. They would assume his early club-hopping was a symptom of his liberal, egalitarian Dutch upbringing.
Ex-Peterborough and Birmingham manager Barry Fry would still be in the dug-out as “Ba Ri Fri”.
We would have assumed his habit of throwing crockery was part of some East Asian tea ritual.
As you can see, this idea is a winner and should be adopted by all up-and-coming managers.
Just one word of warning, though: do not try to do the accent, like “Schteve McClaren” did after his spell at Twente.
Because you do not need BlowZone to know that 100 per cent of other managers thought he sounded like an idiot.
GETTING TURNED OUT? PLEASE TURN IN THE KIT
While one cannot condone the thuggish behaviour of the Levski Sofia hooligans who literally took the shirt off their new manager’s back – masked men forcibly stripped Ivaylo Petev during his inaugural news conference, prompting his resignation – it does shed much-needed light on a thorny issue.
Namely: what happens to a player or a manager’s branded gear when he leaves a club?
For those who leave with all good wishes, it is not such a problem.
Nobody would begrudge a loyal servant a couple of tracksuits or a cosy padded jacket to take home.
But what about those who walk away in acrimony?
As if it is not bad enough that supporters are left feeling abandoned and humiliated by a man who believes he can do better elsewhere, must we also simply accept the fact that he may soon be wearing our beloved colours to wash his car or paint the spare bedroom?
That just adds insult to injury.
I am not calling for Bulgarian-style public strippings, per se.
However, before a treacherous professional drives off into the sunset, perhaps we could have some kind of obligatory formal ceremony, in which he must hand all branded clothing back to a stone-faced club official.
It would be not unlike that frequently repeated scene in Hollywood movies when the renegade cop is ordered to hand over his badge and gun before slinking off in disgrace.
The main difference, of course, is that most footballers would not continue working for the club on an unofficial basis (perhaps with the help of a grumpy and exasperated but ultimately loyal teammate) until the case is cracked/league title is won.
That is even more reason why they should not be allowed to keep the gear.