England boss Sam Allardyce backs Team GB football at 2020 Olympicsby Andy Dillon / 24 August 2016, 12:35Tweet
Andy Dillon (andydillon70) looks at Sam Allardyce's clever move to promote Olympic football and get the England team a bit part in the afterglow of what was a dazzling Rio for Great Britain.
SAM ALLARDYCE is a fierce patriot and a clever PR man.
Never underestimate what is going on inside the head of the England manager who looks like he should be manning the door of a northern working man’s club but is an astute operator.
Canny Sam was quick to give a nod of approval to the idea of sending Team GB football teams to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
There is no doubt that he genuinely believes it to be a good thing even if it does throw him into an immediate conflict of interest with his plans for qualifying and beyond at Euro 2020.
But by giving a big fat thumbs up to the idea of hooking up our woefully underachieving footballers with the Olympic squad hey presto! Football has suddenly managed to attach itself to the triumphant post-Rio party.
For the past three weeks the English at least have been able to forget about the nightmare in France and scrub the football team from its collective minds.
A bit of respite and some success in other sporting arenas has made some people consider whether we should drop football as our national sport altogether and opt for cycling, rowing, hockey or even taekwondo to wave the flag instead of watching the cross of St.George droop ever lower over Wembley.
Where prior to this month the England football team has been rightly hanging its head in shame at the disastrous performance and defeat by Iceland in France there is now a faint glow of optimism and a sniff of better things over the horizon.
Add to that the fact that the Welsh will probably make up more of the squad than ever before and there may even be an outside chance of getting a medal from it.
Of course football will never be usurped by any other sport. No matter how bad we are at it there is too much money involved and too much vested interest from big business to make sure of that.
And it means Allardyce has the dubious honour of naming his first squad on Sunday since accepting the task of picking English football up off the floor.
One thing we all know he will do well in which Roy Hodgson failed spectacularly will be to make England good at what they do.
There’ll be no indecision, plenty of effective organisation and an acceptance of what we are as a football nation and what we offer on the field.
Big Sam also talks a good game - better than Hodgson ever could.
He has told the country this week that he will demand results in return for the best facilities on offer.
Strong words we have heard before but let’s face it - it doesn’t matter how much you tell the players to improve, if they are not good enough they can’t. It’s not their fault.
Allardyce referred to a psychological barrier now blocking the way between England and the later stages of tournaments and ‘it is getting bigger everytime we fall’ he enthuses.
The problem Allardyce has is not convincing his players how good they are it is letting them know how bad they are.
England players turn up at every major finals happy to suck in the hype about them then losing sight of their true level.
It results in a screwed up squad who think it’s 1966 every time they step out onto the pitch.
Allardyce has scored one easy goal this week by making England feel part of the Olympic dream.
The other dream has to be bringing the squad down from cloud cuckoo land and into the real world.