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10th May 2023

Ex-Crystal Palace defender recalls Big Sam’s brutal first team talk

Robert Redmond

Damien Delaney

‘If you do want to come and see me, there will be one f***ing winner.’

Matt Holland and Damien Delaney were guests on the latest episode of the House of Football podcast, and the latter spoke about his experience of playing under Sam Allardyce at Crystal Palace

Allardyce made headlines last week when he took over as Leeds United manager for the final four games of the Premier League season and declared that he is as good as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

Delaney said that Big Sam is as confident behind the scenes, and the players at Palace responded well to his bullish approach.

Damien Delaney on Sam Allardyce’s first team talk to the Crystal Palace team.

Allardyce was Crystal Palace’s manager between December 2016 and May 2017 and helped the Eagles avoid relegation from the Premier League.

In his first team talk to the squad, Delaney said that the former England manager immediately ‘established dominance’ over the squad with his blunt message to them,

“The first time we ever met him, I swear to God, this is a true story,” the former Palace defender said on House of Football.

“We were all sitting in the meeting room waiting for him. He was about a minute late, he was obviously creating that (dominance)… like, you know, none of us had ever met him before.

“He just walks in, and he walks over the flip chart, flips it and says, ‘That’s the team for tomorrow if you’re in it, well done.

“‘If you’re not, don’t f***ing bother coming to see me. I don’t think you’re good enough.

“If you do want to come and see me, there will be one f***ing winner. Now f*** off out and train’.

“And he just walked out. We all just went, ‘F***ing hell!”

“Everyone just went, ‘Oh, this fella means business!'” Delaney continued.

“That was it, that was the moment he established dominance. ‘I’m the man!’

“And, by the way, just to echo what Matt said there, he hit the nail on the head. Sam won’t micromanage.

“He gets his staff, he has a huge staff, and they obviously know what he wants, and it’s their job to deliver it.

“He sits on high, looking down on everything. Now, if there’s a disciplinary issue or there’s a media issue or something, he steps in.

“But when you see Sam stepping in, step back because he’s coming hard, you know?”

You can watch the full episode below: