Handy Read: Cucumbers and turkey butties

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Judging by the paucity of decent reads available in the national press, most hacks are already down the Cucumber & Hearing Aid chasing the secretaries around the bar and pining for the days they sat on team coaches getting unfettered access to exclusives.

What thought-pieces there are seem to centre around news, and specifically the managerial switch at Blackburn. It's hard to agree with Jeremy Wilson's assertion in The Times that sackings are entirely due to boardroom impatience rather than media speculation. True, the chairman may listen harder to supporters than reporters, but who fans the fans' flames?

However Paul Ince left, Sam Allardyce takes over; a happy result for a man who kept (and extended) his old house on the Blackburn side of Bolton. The Guardian's Kevin McCarra is one of may writers gently warning the former England candidate that another underachievement could irreparably tarnish the reputation of someone with an obvious love for the game.

The writing's on the wall as Allardyce and Williams meet the press 

Meanwhile, in The Times, Matt Hughes warns that Sunderland chief Niall Quinn may regret declining Allardyce's obvious overtures to the Mackem management. If Blackburn appointed with alacrity, Sunderland are selecting at leisure, and given their alarming slide down the league Hughes hopes Quinn has an ace up his sleeve.

Allardyce was an early advocate of the tactically flexible one-up-front formation, and in The Guardian, regular FFT writer Jonathan Wilson expounds at entertaining and educational length on how 4-2-3-1 has largely replaced 4-4-2. If Wilson's award-nominated book Inverting The Pyramid is this good – and apparently, it is – then Handy Read will be requesting it for Christmas.

Speaking of which, there'll be no Handy Read next Friday, as we'll all be stocking up on turkey butties and heading for the Boxing Day match with our families. So have a good break and we'll see you all next year. 

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