Big Sam’s appointment in November was greeted with mixed feeling and the former Bolton boss failed largely to get the fans on side during his six month reign.
But what was the Everton fans’ gripe with Allardyce? For a Mersey-based journalist it’s the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.
Sufficient national-based pundits – yes that’s you Jim White, Bob Mills, Glenn Hoddle, Paul Merson, Alan Shearer, Garth Crooks – can’t get their heads around it.
So here’s a handy cut out and keep guide from David Prentice to why so many Everton fans were so anti-Allardyce.
You’ve Got Sam Allardyce …
Like it or not, Sam Allardyce is intrinsically associated with a brand of football which is anathema to the School of Science.
When David Moyes was being given a hero’s farewell from Goodison Park in 2013, against Sam Allardyce’s West Ham, the visiting fans gleefully chanted “Where’s your Moyesie gone?”
The response from the Gwladys Street was cutting. “You’ve got Sam Allardyce!”
The chant needed no explanation.
When Roberto Martinez’s reign was at its zenith, the Gwladys Street delighted in the anthem “The school of science, is on its way back.”
No-one has ever sung about Sam Allardyce’s philosophy.
Allardyce had his work cut out to win over a sceptical support – but never even looked like succeeding.
The football Evertonians endured under Allardyce was attritional.
A season which looked like slipping into a relegation dogfight was halted and given some stability.
Everton rose from 13th to eighth – his first seven matches in charge saw five clean sheets kept, but it was done at a cost – sacrificing any attempt at attacking football.
In truth the faint prospect of relegation – Everton were five points clear of the relegation zone when Allardyce arrived – was very quickly banished with back-to-back home wins over Huddersfield and Swansea, a draw at Anfield and a win at Newcastle.
But there were no signs of Allardyce removing the shackles.
Everton played five at the back at West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day – a truly awful goalless draw which saw the Echo’s Ian Doyle write: “I can hear a mouse drop a pin. That’s how quiet it is now. Fans are comatose.”
Watford scored a late winner in February when Allardyce was about to make a defensive substitution to grind out another stalemate.
And Everton’s end of season stats reflected that attitude.
Shots on target – 19th
Shots at goal – 19th
Chances created – 19th
Big chances created – 11th
Dribbles – 19th
Possession – 13th
The Everton Family
It’s a sentimental phrase beloved of some of the Everton hierarchy, but it also rings true.
And while family members can bicker privately, you don’t wash your dirty linen in public.
Allardyce did. Publically.
He criticised the well-liked and much respected director of marketing – personally.
Following the ill-judged survey about his performance he said: “It was a big mistake. I think it has allowed you to write some beautiful headlines. Our director of marketing is not a great understander of football and how football works because he is into marketing.”
He had a dig at lifelong Evertonian David Unsworth.
“We have managed to overcome the chaos,” he said. “Even David Unsworth said he could not wait for the new manager to be appointed. He was in for eight games and he was saying before the West Ham game, ‘Get me out of this position, get a new manager appointed because I am struggling to cope and these players have got no confidence’. That is where I came from.”
Unsworth was furious at the rewording of his sentiments – but chose not to inflame the situation by putting the record straight.
The club’s media team was threatened with a “bollocking” for the, as it turns our, entirely accurate assessment that Gylfi Sigurdsson will be out of action for eight weeks.
Not my fault
Then there were the constant credit-claiming statements after every win, and there were a fair number, and the buck-passing after every defeat.
Following the mind-numbing 1-0 defeat at Watford he snapped: “They get the ball and pass it, not me. You can’t blame me if they don’t pass the ball to each other.”
While he even tried to claim credit for a match which took place before he was unveiled as Everton manager.
“I came in for West Ham and spoke to the players,” he said. “It helped have a positive affect. David does the last game and he gets the win. We both benefit from that and move forward.”
Everton fans were also puzzled when Sam Allardyce claimed credit for nullifying Liverpool’s “outstanding attack.”
“We did a job on Liverpool by nullifying that outstanding attack,” he declared after a goalless Goodison draw.
That “outstanding attack” featured Dominic Solanke, at that time no Liverpool goals, and Danny Ings, just one goal in two years – and no Mo Salah or Roberto Firmino.
Sammy Lee has a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding coach, but he is also a Liverpool legend.
For that reason Ronald Koeman was prevented from bringing him from Southampton as a coach, but he did join Allardyce.
The decision never sat easily with the Blues fan-base.
It was no coincidence that much loved club legend Joe Royle retired from his position as Everton’s professional development co-Ordinator just days after Sam Allardyce arrived – strangely midway through a season.
Joe would never have damaged the club he loves by making any kind of public statement but the timing was, let’s say coincidental.