“Since Margaret Thatcher stopped teachers being paid extra money for coaching sports after school, all sporting activities have diminished on a competitive basis.
“Kids are now more obese and unfit than ever. All the prime young athletes we were ready to develop just aren’t there, so we get a lesser quality of player.
“It has not just undermined our game, it has undermined many sports in this country and created an unhealthy child. Thatcher killed football, there is no doubt about it.”
A recent report stated that one in three children in Britain are obese or overweight and that 32 percent of children play less than an hour of sport a week.
In the last 20 years, around 5,000 school playing fields have been sold off or built over as England’s men’s national team have continually floundered in attempts to repeat their 1966 World Cup triumph.
Allardyce, a keen student of sporting education, continued: “Look at how little kids do to what I did. I was a 200 metres runner, a 4x400m relay runner and a triple jumper.
“I was a batsman in cricket, a freestyler in swimming and swam for the town. I did the pommel horse in gymnastics and I was really good on the trampoline, as well as being a footballer.
“Kids don’t do any of that now. All of that sporting activity allowed me to play in the top division in this country.”
Big Sam is one of the game’s least appreciated good’uns, I think. You wouldn’t want to watch his teams play (even that’s over-egged, I think), but he has a track record of success, and has been an early adapter to much of the game’s changes. West Ham will be straight back up, I’m sure.