Breaking News: Sunderland appoint Sam Allardyce as manager
Sunderland, 7/2 with Coral to stay in the Premier League, have confirmed the appointment of Sam Allardyce as manager on a two-year contract, following the recent departure of Dick Advocaat.
A former Black Cats player, Allardyce has been out of work since the end of last season, when he left West Ham United at the end of his contract after a respectable campaign.
Brought in by the Hammers in 2011 following their relegation from the Premier League, Allardyce did what he is renowned for. Steadying the ship and earning immediate promotion via the Championship play-offs before re-establishing them in the top-flight. Making some savvy signings at Upton Park last summer, he even guided the club to as high as fourth place by last Christmas.
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“I have enjoyed my break from football and now I’m raring to get back,” said Allardyce. “I met with [Sunderland chairman] Ellis [Short] and we spoke at length about the club and his ambitions and I knew I wanted to be part of that.
“I hope to be able to help to bring the stability and success that everyone wants. Of course it’s a challenging job, but it’s something I have experience of in the past.
“I’m looking forward to working with the players and of course I will be relying on the help of the Sunderland supporters, whose tremendous passion I have experienced first-hand. I can’t wait to get started.”
Prior to West Ham, Allardyce earned his stripes as manager as Bolton Wanderers, where he brought them up from the old Division One and took them into Europe.
Big Sam also had an ill-fated spell with Sunderland’s Northeast rivals Newcastle United in 2007/08, and Advocaat predecessor Gus Poyet has backed him to take over at the Stadium of Light.
“He had an experience before in the Northeast,” the Uruguayan said. “He knows the Premier League inside out and he knows exactly what a team needs to do to stay in the Premier League.”
It will be interesting to see how Allardyce sets up the Black Cats, though his preferred method has been resorting to keeping things tight at the back and rebuilding a solid foundation.
Where he may recruit strategically, is by bringing in a target man, as, oft-criticised in the past is his preference to utilise a long ball game. An option could be to reunite Jermain Defoe with Peter Crouch and resume the duo’s successful forward combination that was so effective at both Portsmouth and Tottenham, with the pair also having played together for England.
Crouch has only featured three times this season, twice in the Capital One Cup, where he scored one goal and has fallen down the pecking order at Stoke City. At 34, he can still do a job and could be an astute signing for Sunderland.