Dear Sam, Four years eh, mate.
Dear Sam, Four years eh, mate. Where did that go? One minute you’re being hailed as the saviour of the club, the next you are being invited into the chairman’s office and told to pack up your Juicy Fruits and clear off.
Still, no good feeling sorry for yourself is it? We all have to go sooner or later. You know the old saying: time and tide wait for no man. Odd phrase, that. I think it refers to the barmy fella who thought he could turn back the sea. Canute, that was his name! Don’t s’pose you’re related? I only ask because I’ve heard you called a ‘king Canute more than once at Upton Park in your time here.
You’ve certainly kept us guessing over the years. You’re a bit of a tease on the sly, aren’t you? Take that first season you were here. Anyone else given the resources that were put at your disposal would have gone for automatic promotion, but not you! That would have been too easy. You knew we all wanted a trip to Wembley so after being in the top two for most of the season you let Southampton and Reading go up the boring way and went for the play-off final instead. As Shakespeare so rightly put it in Hamlet: ‘Oh, you are awful — but we like you!’
We’ve had a few laughs as well, haven’t we? Remember how we booed you off after beating Hull and you cupped your ear in our direction. Hilarious! You call us ‘deluded’ and then we put up a Fat Sam Out banner. Tell me, where else would you get a bit of good-natured fun like that? You just can’t beat a bit of banter between the fans and the manager if you ask me.
I hope the next boss is someone who can see the lighter side of life like you. That David Moyes looks a bit serious to me. Now Slaven Bilic might be a bit more fun — anyone who was prepared to play international football in a shirt that looked like my gran’s tablecloth must have a sense of humour. And Paolo Di Canio would put a smile on a few people’s boat races round here — but I suppose the owners don’t much fancy playing in League One. Not with that Olympic Stadium to fill.
Still, it was good news about the prices being reduced. With the money I save on my season ticket I can buy a pair of binoculars so I’ll be able to see what’s going on. Will you have a say in your successor the way Alex Ferguson did at Man U? I do hope so, Smart: The Bard has more in common with Big Sam than you would think because we really need a manager who’s going to carry on playing the sort of intricate passing game that you’ve brought to the club. Someone ought to give it a name — how about the Big Sam Way? Let them scoff and call it tippy-tappy football: I love the kind of delicate through-ball that Big Ginge has perfected.
I still haven’t ruled out young Jack Sullivan as the next gaffer. Word has it that he’s had a blinding season on Football Manager — apparently Teddy Sheringham has been giving him a few tips. Don’t s’pose you’ve heard anything on the grapevine have you? I know you can’t bet on football related issues yourself, but if you could give me the nod it’s Master Jack I’ll slip on a cheeky fiver with Coral while the odds are still so attractive. Naturally, I’ll cut you in on the winnings. But Mum’s the word, eh Sam. We don’t want Panorama sticking their noses into our little financial transactions, do we?
The one mistake you’ve made, if I may be so bold as to question a master tactician such as yourself, is your reliance on youth. Young fellas like Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole and Alex Song are still learning the game — they need some older, more experienced players to turn to when the going gets tough. Let’s face it, anyone who’s been round the block a couple of times would never have given away the penalty that cost us all three points at White Hart Lane a couple of months ago.
Still, I do appreciate the way you’ve managed to get rid of the show ponies like Ravel Morrissey and Maurice Zapata. Nobody round here wants to see the sort of football they play. I do hope that when they come to write the history of our great club you get all the credit you deserve. No more of this ‘Then like my dreams they fade and die,’ nonsense. Not on your watch. We don’t need dreams — you have given us mid-table obscurity instead. What could be more exciting than a game against Everton in the 10th place derby — that’s what fans dream of at the start of every season. And next year? Stoke City, we’re coming for you!
I can honestly say, Sam, I’ll never forget what you’ve done for us. Your mate behind the goal,