To what extent is Allardyce a prisoner of his own reputation? The team I watched yesterday was not an Allardyce team, it seemed to me to be a team put together with an eye on pleasing the fans, a team designed to belie the Doctor Evil tag, a team that was a concession to the values of the club.
How else can you explain the selection of Parker in an advanced midfield role? How else do you account for the inclusion of Sears in a 4-3-3 / 4-5-1 formation? How else do you rationalise how infrequently we got the ball into Cardiff's box? Some are trying to suggest that we played route one yesterday but I saw no change from the way we played last season, or the season before. It was toothless stuff as we tried to gum the opposition to death.
And Allardyce was on the touchline too. Allardyce doesn't do touchlines, he sits up in the gods and talks into a microphone. But Zola did touchlines and Avram did touchlines too and I had the feeling that somebody had mentioned to Sam that West Ham fans like to see the manager in the thick of the action, not sitting aloof. Or perhaps he just wanted to put as much distance between himself and Sullivan as possible!
Well, if this was all a fop to the Academy reputation, it went disastrously wrong. If Allardyce is going to succeed he has to do it his way. Doctor Evil has to be given his head, we don't want a Mini Me version otherwise we could have appointed Sammy Lee.
Blackpool and Southampton showed you can play your way to victory in this division but yesterday suggested to me that this team under Allardyce can't. I want to see passion, I want to see commitment, I want to see conviction. Give me a team of thugs over the team of pussies I saw yesterday. Get the gloves off Doctor Evil and let's play dirty, let's play mean. Let's bully our way to promotion!