Sunderland hire Sam Allardyce as manager on two-year contract
Sunderland have named Sam Allardyce as their new manager on a two-year deal.
The Premier League club announced the news on Friday evening, having opened talks with him in a bid to replace Dick Advocaat, who left his post last Sunday. The news of Allardyce's arrival to the Stadium of Light means the Black Cats will have someone in place ahead of their trip to West Brom on October 17.
Allardyce has been on holiday in Spain as Sunderland's interest in him became an open secret, but chairman Ellis Short has persuaded him to resume his career on Wearside following his exit from West Ham after four years at the end of last season.
Short said on Sunderland's official website: "I am very pleased to welcome Sam to our football club."
Allardyce was a defender for Sunderland between 1980 and 1981, making 25 appearances, and becomes the first person to manage both the Black Cats and their arch rivals Newcastle. His proven track record for establishing clubs in the top flight makes him attractive to Short, who has seen Sunderland flirt with relegation for too much of his reign, only rescuing themselves with remarkable late runs at the end of each of the last three campaigns.
He will be tasked with guiding Sunderland away from the relegation zone, where they are currently level on points with rock-bottom Newcastle.
Short added: "Sunderland is a club he knows well and he was the obvious best choice for the job. He has vast experience of managing in the Premier League and an understanding first-hand of the north east and the passion of our fans, which will stand him in great stead."
"I would like to assure our fans that once Dick made us aware of his intention to leave, Lee Congerton oversaw an organized and structured recruitment process, that bore very little resemblance to what has been described in the media. For example, this was a very popular job, proactively sought after by a large number of managers - contrary to much of what has been portrayed. The process was made easier by the fact that Sam was such an obvious choice.
"The other misconception is that Sam had to be persuaded to join us; nothing could be further from the truth. From the very beginning, he understood the importance of this job and showed great enthusiasm for the role and a desire to be part of moving this club forward."
Allardyce took charge of the Magpies in May 2007, following eight largely successful seasons with Bolton, although he lasted only eight months on Tyneside, with fans distinctly unsatisfied with the team's style of play. Yet he has since rebuilt his reputation at Blackburn and West Ham, who established themselves in the Premier League after Allardyce led them to promotion in 2011-12.
Even though his contract was not renewed at Upton Park at the end of last term, and he had a somewhat rocky relationship with some sections of the Hammers support, Allardyce's stock is still high.
He said: "I have enjoyed my break from football and now I'm raring to get back. I met with Ellis 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."