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The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Pressure on Big Sam 'insane' - Barnwell

League Managers' Association chief executive John Barnwell has described suggestions Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce is under pressure as 'insane'.

After just 12 Premier League matches at St James' Park the 52-year-old is facing increased criticism as his side have stuttered after an encouraging start to the season.

Even before Saturday's 1-1 derby draw at Sunderland, chairman Chris Mort felt the need to voice his and owner Mike Ashley's support for Allardyce amid claims Blackburn's Mark Hughes was being lined up as a potential replacement.

The former Bolton manager took the point at the Stadium of Light as a positive and Barnwell insists Allardyce has to be given time to lay the foundations for lasting success.

'To talk about Sam Allardyce being under pressure is ludicrous,' he said.

'Every manager is under pressure to win games but being under pressure to win games is different from being under pressure to keep your job.

'We live in a world of immediacy. Things have to be instant. Everybody wants things immediately in football. They want results yesterday.

'I just find anything even remotely suggesting Sam Allardyce could lose his job bordering on the insane, absolutely insane.

'His chairman should not have to come out and back him.'

Allardyce is Newcastle's fourth manager in little more than three years, all of them appointed by Mort's predecessor Freddy Shepherd.

Sir Bobby Robson's five-year reign, which brought Champions League football back to Tyneside and rekindled the excitement of the Kevin Keegan era, came to an end in August 2004 and successors Graeme Souness and Glenn Roeder struggled to build on that despite heavy investment.

Barnwell insists it is no coincidence the Magpies recent success came under Keegan and Robson, who were in position for five years apiece and who are remembered on Tyneside with great fondness.

'That speaks for itself. There is no timescale on it. It often depends on the structure that is already at the football club,' he added.

'There are things at many football cubs which the manager has no control over any way.

'It takes a period of time to get the players understanding what a new manager wants from them, a period of time for that manager to assess what he needs in terms of getting new players in, and then it takes time for those players to gel into a group who are motivated tactically and technically to get results.

'The game is so competitive now and the rewards so great that managers too often do not get the time required to achieve their aims.'