Allardyce fired by Blackburn

Published Dec. 13, 2010 5:41 p.m. ET

Sam Allardyce was fired as manager of Premier League side Blackburn on Monday, less than three weeks after being assured by the club's new Indian owners that his job was safe.

The experienced Allardyce's two-year spell at Ewood Park came to a surprise end 24 hours after a 2-1 defeat at Bolton, its third loss in five matches which left the team in 13th place in the standings.

The announcement was made by Venky's Group, the Asian poultry giant who bought Blackburn for 46 million pounds ($73 million) on Nov. 19. A week after the takeover, the company's chairman Anuradha Desai gave his backing to Allardyce, insisting "he deserves a chance," and added he would be happy with a top-12 finish.

Since the buyout, Blackburn has won three matches but among its three defeats was an embarrassing 7-1 thrashing by Manchester United at Old Trafford.

"We have taken this decision as part of our wider plans and ambitions for the club," Venky's said in a short statement.

The 56-year-old Allardyce, who was hired as manager in December 2008 after previous spells in the Premier League with Bolton and Newcastle, said he was "very shocked and disappointed" to have been dismissed.

"I am extremely proud to have managed this club and I enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the players, my staff and the supporters during my time in charge," he added in a statement released by the League Managers Association.


His assistant, Neil McDonald, has also been fired, with current first-team coach Steve Kean taking temporary charge until a replacement is found.

Allardyce is the second managerial departure in the Premier League this season, following Chris Hughton's dismissal by Newcastle a week ago.

Allardyce, nicknamed "Big Sam," lost his job at St. James' Park in January 2008 soon after Newcastle was bought out by Mike Ashley.

"When new owners take over a club, sadly, the manager's position often hangs by a thread," said LMA chief executive Richard Bevan. "To Sam's great misfortune this has now happened twice and, on both occasions, it has been extremely difficult to understand the thinking behind the dismissal."

Martin Jol, who resigned as coach of Dutch club Ajax last week, was immediately installed by British bookmaker Ladbrokes as the 5/1 favorite to replace Allardyce.

The former Tottenham manager was linked with the Newcastle job before Alan Pardew was hired as Hughton's replacement on Thursday.

Allardyce took charge of Rovers, the 1995 Premier League champions, when they were languishing in the top-flight's relegation zone. He guided them out of trouble and to a 15th-place finish that season.

In his first full season in charge, Blackburn reached the semifinals of the League Cup before losing to Aston Villa and finished 10th in the league.

Blackburn has been strong at home in the league this season, winning four of its eight home matches, but has struggled on its travels, picking up just seven points from a possible 27. It lost at Bolton even though the home side was reduced to 10 men for almost the entire second half following the sending-off of Mark Davies, when the score was 0-0.

Blackburn has been largely mediocre since winning the English title 15 years ago for the first time in the club's history.

Its direct, physical style of play has won the team few fans in recent seasons but has been a key factor in helping the club earn enough points, especially at home, to stay in the Premier League.

Blackburn striker Jason Roberts, who said he was shocked by Allardyce's departure, acknowledged some football fans were "turned off by our tactics."

"It is polarizing, the way we play," Roberts told Sky Sports News.

It is the first major decision taken by Venky's, the poultry farming and pharmaceuticals specialist which became the first Indian company to own a Premier League team.