House of Cards keeping Sam Allardyce's mind fresh during transfer window
Sam Allardyce has revealed his secret to escaping the pressures of the transfer window and Crystal Palace's battle against relegation lies in a "massive addiction to box sets".
He has overseen only one win from eight since his appointment as the club's manager, been frustrated in his attempts to strengthen his squad and also felt refereeing decisions have gone against his club.
The distraction posed by the transfer window and Palace's busy fixture schedule has also reduced the time he has had to work on organising his team on the training ground, while a hamstring injury to his £12million recruit Jeffrey Schlupp further threatened to undermine their chances of survival.
Allardyce is more than aware of the stresses of management, however, having worked with struggling Sunderland last season before facing the intense scrutiny posed by the England job. His experience of the latter may have only been short, but the wider wider picture has taught him the benefits of turning off by watching Killing, or House of Cards.
"I've got this massive addiction to box sets," said the 62-year-old. "I'm a box set fanatic. The variety throughout those channels can take your mind, and make you relax.
"It's very important to try and switch off: it's not easy in this window and it's not easy when you try and take a football club over. I've lost sleep thinking about it because I want to try and get it right as quick as I can, but box sets: I'm a massive fan.
"Scandal: political. House of Cards. They're very, very good. It's all the political ends. I'm quite a political animal myself.
"At the moment I'm watching Killing. About the girl that's in the boot of the car...
"If there was a series on the telly it'd be on series link. You had to wait a week to watch, unless you want away on holiday and had a load. The internet speed has become very nice: I get 75-100 'mega' now.
"Before you'd have to put them on and leave them for two days before they'd load up; now it's two or three minutes.
"I watch a lot of football of course, in between. Any football that's on I watch the highlights, and the games. There's been some shocks this round (of the FA Cup), hasn't there?"
Allardyce also believes it wrong that his 18th-placed team have been scheduled to visit Bournemouth in the Premier League on Tuesday evening, so close to the conclusion of the transfer window and all of the potential distractions that involves.
He recalls a defeat West Ham suffered at Ipswich on deadline day in 2012, when he had arrived late to his team's preparations while recruiting Ravel Morrison, Nicky Maynard, and Ricardo Vaz Te, and is determined not to repeat that mistake.
New signing Patrick van Aanholt is expected to make his debut, and Wilfried Zaha and Scott Dann are again available, but Allardyce said: "I stayed until 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon to sign Nicky Maynard, (Morrison) and Ricardo Vaz Te.
"Then drove straight to Ipswich because we were playing Ipswich away and we got tanked 5-1 which was really shocking.
"That was right at the end of the window
"Why are they (the Premier League fixtures) this week?
"My head wasn't in it because it was scrambled after all we'd been doing in the window; that's why I won't put myself in that position again."