‘Big Sam’ Allardyce is the right man for Sunderland upon return


Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | October 9, 2015

It is fair to say that Sam Allardyce is one of the most unlucky managers in English football, having been sacked by a few clubs despite exceeding their earlier season expectations.

However, according to a recent online poll in a Sunderland newspaper, 75 per cent of Black Cats fans want the recent West Ham United boss in charge at the Stadium of Light after Dick Advocaat left the job. And their wish has been granted.

That is in spite of Big Sam’s previous links with Newcastle United, where he was in charge for half a season in 2007/08, so perhaps his short spell with the Mackems in his early playing career is why they don’t mind?

While the now 60-year-old is yet to gain a major trophy with any English outfit, he knows how to stabilise clubs and make them established Premier League sides.

The Dudley-born former defender’s longest and best spell with one team was with Bolton Wanderers. He turned them from a second-tier side into a top-flight team no one enjoyed playing thanks to their tough style of football, and who even reached the League Cup final in 2004.

From then on, he was sacked with Newcastle, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United, despite the clubs all being mid-table at the time. The former duo were relegated the following season after he left, which goes to show the great work he had achieved.

At the Hammers, though, he became a victim of his own success, after starting the 2014/15 campaign in terrific fashion. The east Londoners eventually finished 12th, a position which fans and the owners at the start of the previous summer would have been very happy with, but their poor form towards the end of the term sealed his fate.

One criticism of Allardyce’s style of management is that he has been labelled as a long-ball and defensive tactician, which has not gone down well with certain fans, but Sunderland supporters certainly won’t mind at this stage.

The Black Cats are currently down in 19th place after gaining just three points (five from safety) and no wins from their opening eight games, and they will no doubt take ‘boring football’ than going down for the first time since 2005/06. They are odds-on favourites for the drop at 1/6.

From then on, becoming an established Premier League side, and not relegation battlers as they have been the last three seasons, is certainly achievable for Big Sam, who is 7/2 to keep his new team in the top flight.

Any excuse to use this photo again…

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