Sam Allardyce has claimed he was told ‘If we win this [2004 Carling Cup Final against Middlesbrough], we’re going to get in to Europe and I don’t think we can afford it’ by Chairman Phil Gartside on the day of the final. Needless to say he wasn’t chuffed about hearing this on game day saying:
‘I couldn’t believe what he had said, I was disgusted’.
In extracts from his autobiography being serialised in the Sun, Big Sam claimed this lack of ambition was the start of the breakdown between Gartside and himself.
This flared up again in Christmas 2006; a time where Bolton sat 3rd in the Premier League.
‘I asked Phil [Gartside] about getting some money to add some players to the squad. I told him we can get Bolton in to the Champions League. I just wanted Phil to show some balls but the courage wasn’t there’.
Needless to say Big Sam didn’t get the money to buy a player although was offered the chance to loan a player instead. This caused Big Sam to hulk up and hand in his resignation on the spot.
‘They convinced me to stay but I knew that was the end of my time at Bolton’.
He went on to quit a short time later just before the end of the season.
Despite all the troubles, he has spoken with pride at his time here.
‘I loved being part of a team that consistently overachieved and gave the establishment a bloody nose…my staff and I were presiding over the best coaching set up in the Premier League.’
His back room set up and analysis of the game are a real feather in his cap during his time here. He spoke of his ‘war-room’ at the training ground where he and his staff would go over all the data which ultimately gave us the edge (Michael Bridges called his attention to detail "scary"). He called it the ‘Oxford University of football’ and spoke with sadness about how he’d never been able to recreate it anywhere else.
Now let’s all feel bad about how amazing our manager and team used to be and ponder what might have been if we had rolled the dice and backed him all those years ago. Enjoy your day.