Sam Allardyce opens up on Everton fans who “hounded me out”

Sam Allardyce insists he doesn’t bear a grudge against the Everton supporters who hounded him out.

After Big Sam left Goodison Park last May, with the club having finished eighth, some might say the Blues have made zero progress under successor Marco Silva.

Silva, whose side host Liverpool in Sunday’s Mersey derby, was seen by club owner Farhad Moshiri as the man with the philosophy and vision to usher in a spectacular new era. Yet, despite a hefty £86million spend – the sixth biggest in the Premier League last summer – it has still not materialised.

Allardyce, though, is far from bitter at the way he was treated and hasn’t taken it personally.

“Look, it’s not about Sam Allardyce – it’s about the manager that they don’t like at the given time,” says Big Sam.

“They didn’t like [predecessor] Ronald Koeman’s style and they didn’t like Roberto Martinez before him, so they hounded both of them out and then hounded me out, too.

“So I don’t think it was necessarily me, that’s why I don’t take offence personally. The fans are entitled to express an opinion. They pay their money and are entitled to have a say.

“I don’t like it, of course. But I don’t take offence. I look at the ­previous managers and see what ­happened to them.They were hounded out like me, but I think it was about the club at the time, not specifically me.

“Style is a false perception. I was tagged years ago for my so-called brand of football and everyone believes it’s true.

“The reality is, I played football and a system to get the maximum ­capability from the Everton players. I only asked them to do what I knew they were capable of to get results, to get us out of trouble and as high up the league as we could, until we could change it and do better with better players.

“I didn’t ask them to play in a way they would have ­struggled with or weren’t ­capable of doing at that time. I played to the individual and team strengths, formulating a system that allowed them to get ­results – and we did. When I joined Everton didn’t have goal-scorers of any significance. Wayne Rooney was top scorer with 11 and four of those were penalties.

“We bought in Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott, and to say we weren’t going to be more adventurous with those two players was a nonsense ­because we wouldn’t have finished eighth.

“I was proud of my time at Everton. It was an unbelievable job, one of the best I’ve done. But sadly, because of the way things improved so quickly after I went in, I think I gave fans a bit of false hope.

“We didn’t lose for the first seven games, ­conceding only twice. Before that they’d let in 46 goals in 24 games and needed stability and a ­system to get the most out of what I had.

“We got into the top half of the table and if we’d nicked a few results we might have ended up in sixth or ­seventh place. That rebounded on me in the end. The expectation became too big for that particular season. I thought 49 points and an eighth-place finish was a pretty major achievement from where we started from.”

Allardyce will be watching Sunday’s game with interest, and if anyone knows how to get a result against a Liverpool team with ­better players and more impressive form it’s Big Sam.

Twice, Allardyce guided the Toffees to Premier League draws against their arch-rivals and only lost to a late Virgil van Dijk goal at Anfield in the FA Cup during his six months in charge.

He says: “We got results by shutting down space for the front three.

“The key is to stop the whirlwind way they play, make them probe and be more patient and have a ­counter-attacking gameplan — like Manchester United did last week. Then you make sure you win the first ball and get it forward quickly because Jurgen Klopp always commits men forward.”