Sam Allardyce recalls Gladiator speech to motivate Blackburn players vs Man Utd before losing 7-1

Sam Allardyce has recalled the time he used clips from movies such as 300 and Gladiator to motivate his Blackburn Rover players ahead of a game against Man Utd.

Big Sam was trying something a little different to inspire his players before visiting Old Trafford in November 2010, the same season United were crowned Premier League champions.

Former Rovers defender Gael Givet recently revealed Allardyce tried to put fire into the players’ bellies by using a new motivational tactic.

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The unusual pre-match routine backfired as Blackburn suffered a hammering at the hands of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side as Dimitar Berbatov netted five times. The game finished 7-1 with Nani and Park Ji-Sung also getting on the score sheet.

Givet spoke to French newspaper L’Equipe (cited by talkSPORT): “We had warmed up and we went back to the dressing room.

“While we were putting on our shin guards, he [Allardyce] said: ‘Guys, wait!’ He put down a projector and showed us a montage of the films ‘Gladiator’ and ‘300’. In short, warriors with swords.

“We were all in the dressing room going: ‘Arrrr!’ (he said mimicking a soldier with a sword).

“After 30 minutes, we were 3-0 down. We lost 7-1.

“After the match, we were all laughing. The warriors had completely passed us by.”

Big Sam left Blackburn two weeks after the heavy defeat. 

Speaking on talkSPORT on Monday, the football manager turned radio pundit laughed about how his speech failed to inspire his players. 

“I would always site analysis boys down and say ‘you’ve got to be creative’,” he said on the Sports Breakfast.

“Because they keep coming to you and saying ‘what do you want gaffer?’

“And I would say ‘well you’re in the job, what are you going to create? Come and bring me something that I can have a look at and say no or yes to’.

“They brought us a couple of these clips they had put together, so it is true! I used a lot of that over many, many years at different clubs.”

The fact Rovers were hammered by United makes this a hilarious incident to imagine. 

“We didn’t do it often,” he added. “We just felt sometimes that, at the right time, it was a big boost for the players.

“You plan your season out and plan your times out as a manager and you use some of the tools — you don’t talk about too much publicly, but it’s always interesting to see a player that remembers it!

“When the player remembers it, you know you had an effect on him.

“There’s many tricks and many things that I try and I put to the staff and sometimes they frown and look at me and go ‘what are you doing?’

“Because they are off the wall and I like off the wall stuff, just to take them in a different direction and make them think ‘is he good or is he mad?’”

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