Sam Allardyce's autobiography: Here's some key passages now that he's England boss


Less than a year ago, an out-of-work Sam Allardyce released Big Sam: My Autobiography.

It was characteristically forthright and, now that Big Sam has landed his dream job after saving Sunderland from relegation, parts of it make even more interesting reading. We've picked out a few passages - from the England job to dressing up as Cheryl Cole - plus many more.

Never giving up on England

Sam Allardyce
(Adam Davy/PA)

"I got England schoolboy trials, although I didn't make the team. I never represented my country at any level, which is why I was so excited to be interviewed for the England manager's job later in my career (following the departure of Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2006). You should never give up hope and I still haven't."

Media scrutiny around England

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson is engulfed by the press
(Owen Humphreys/PA)

"(My wife) Lynne was torn. The profile which went with being England manager, and the fact that she and the rest of the family would be in the public eye, scared her. But she wasn't going to stop me."

St George's Park and Wembley

A general view of running machines in the gym used by the England football team to train, at St. George's Park
(Tim Goode/PA)

"It is a fantastic facility which gets some stick for being in the middle of nowhere, but if the FA had dumped Wembley and built the national stadium in the Midlands, next to Birmingham's NEC, as it should have done, the complex would have been on the doorstep."

Dressing room discipline

Jonjo Shelvey
(Nick Potts/PA)

"'If a player came walking into the dressing room talking away on his mobile what would you do?' My reply was instant. 'I'd take it off him and throw it in the bin, even if it was Wayne Rooney.' I wanted to curb the use of video games when players got bored, because I felt they were addictive, deprived players of sleep and prevented them enjoying proper relaxation."

The 'long ball' tag

Bolton's Jay Jay Okocha
(Martin Rickett/PA)

"Having the 'long-ball' label around my neck wasn't helpful either. No matter how much I protested, it wouldn't go away. But the truth is I adapted my playing style to suit the personnel available and the opposition we were facing. When you have worked with players of the stature of Djorkaeff, N'Gotty, Okocha, Hierro, Campo, Stelios, Diouf, Speed and Anelka, you don't play hit-and-hope football. These fellas were craftsmen not lumberjacks."

Football's biggest faux-pas

John Stones holds off Wayne Rooney
(Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/PA)

"I've always regarded losing possession in your own half as a criminal offence. There are more goals scored that way than by playing it out from the back yourselves. And as the facts show, most goals are scored from four passes or less."

His take on 'Moneyball'

Sam Allardyce
(Adam Davy/PA)

"I was assessing player stats long before it was fashionable in football in England. Now there are owners who believe algorithms determine whether a player will be a success or not. I would never go that far, because there are too many imponderables."

His party piece

Cheryl Cole
(Ian West/PA)

"I've done Freddie Mercury, John Travolta, Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson in Thriller, which I think was my finest effort as I squeezed into some very tight black pants and nailed the Moonwalk. I've even dressed up as Cheryl Cole."

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll
(Anthony Devlin/PA)

"When fit he should be England's regular centre-forward because we've missed having enough quality strikers in recent years in the mould of Gary Lineker or Alan Shearer. Wayne Rooney has had to carry the country's hopes and we need more than him if we are ever to win a tournament."

Spanish football

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, drives the ball past Barcelona's Andres Iniesta
(Manu Fernandez/AP/PA)

"Beyond Real and Barca, and maybe Atletico Madrid, Spain has nothing. I watch teams lower down in La Liga and it's woeful stuff."

Never getting a top club job

Sam Allardyce
(Alastair Grant/AP/PA)

"The top clubs in England would not risk taking on me and my team. Nowadays they are rarely managed by anyone from Britain. They've got to get a fancy-dan foreigner in, it's almost compulsory. Are they really any better than the coaches we produce in this country? Do they have more knowledge than we do? I doubt it. The idea that foreign coaches have a more in-depth approach to football is rubbish."

Not wanting robots

Sam Allardyce
(Owen Humphreys/PA)

"When I occasionally give talks to businesses about the art of management, I explain how meticulous I am. I tell them 'We want to know if they are womanisers, drinkers or smokers - and if they do all three we sign them up."