It is common for football writers and pundits to heap praise upon players and managers whose media profile far outweighs their achievements or abilities. It is, however, rare for inappropriate superlatives to survive the test of time. In a rather strange inversion of a common assumption regarding the veracity of historical accounts, the more time that separates the lauding of a player or manager from their heyday, the more accurate the description is likely to be. If somebody writes in glowing terms about the achievements of Brian Clough or Bob Paisley, we know that this opinion has had time to mature and is firmly founded on years of perspective. Sure, we all have a tendency to romanticise the past, but this tendency is eclipsed by our ability to indulge in the present and ignore everything that we will come to reflect upon in time.

It is now less than a day since the unfathomably popular ‘Big Sam’ quit Bolton and already the hacks are busy shovelling praise left, right and centre. Perspective will, no doubt, come in time, but at the moment we are being subjected to a big, fat, Big Sam love-in.

Although we shouldn’t take away from his achievements – he took Bolton Wanderers from Division One and turned them into an above mid-table Premiership side - we should remember one thing above all else: during his reign, Sam Allardyce won nothing as manager of Bolton. His best Premiership finish was 6th and he qualified for the UEFA cup only once with the ensuing European adventure ending two rounds prior to the quarter-final. He is a good, solid Premiership manager, but not a great one, by any stretch of the imagination. Great managers win trophies even when handicapped by the subject of an interminable Allardyce whinge: an unlevel playing field.

To coin a popular expression, great managers make the impossible possible or at least turn the unlikely into an eventuality. Now, it is very difficult to imagine even the greatest manager usurping the big four and turning Bolton into title contenders, but an FA Cup, a League Cup or even a UEFA Cup was certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.

Arsene Wenger recently commented that if managers were all given equal resources, he would regularly come top of the league. Big Sam, however, disagreed and snorted his disapproval, claiming that the winner of this hypothetical championship would not be Wenger but Allardyce.

The former Bolton manager likes to indulge in this fantasy that he is champion among underdogs. Take out the big spenders and there he is, sitting pretty at the top of the tree. But the facts tell a remarkably different story. Even if we take the big four out of the equation, Allardyce’s premiership record is not a succession of titles but a 12th, 13th, 4th, 2nd and 4th place finish. This is hardly the record of one of the game’s greats. In fact, I’m willing to bet that if any of the ‘big four’ managers had this return after 5 years in the Premiership, they would be struggling to hang on to their jobs.

Many fans of the beautiful game will not be at all upset to see an end to this particular Bolton era. Under Allardyce, the team played their own unique brand of hoofball: they were dirty, scrappy, and downright unpleasant to watch. They were like Revie’s Leeds, but without the success. Predictably, though, their combative approach was a rather touchy subject for their former manager. When anyone dared question his chosen style of play, he would launch with unerring regularity into yet another whinge about how the team had to compensate for their lack of investment in the transfer market. Yawn.

Why Big Sam still remains such a popular choice for the England job is, quite frankly, beyond me. Perhaps the public are attracted to that gruff, rhinoceros-like personality: the northern toiler, doing everything he can to stay afloat whilst other top managers are gifted with the footballing equivalent of a silver spoon. Myself, I see only a grumpy, rancorous excuse-maker, whose teams play with all the style of lumbering heavyweight boxer.