Sunderland have stunned the football world with the appointment of Sam Allardyce as manager on a two-year contract to replace Dick Advocaat.
Allardyce, who enjoyed a spell at Sunderland during his playing career, was the leading candidate to replace the outgoing Advocaat after the Dutchman left the club last weekend.
The news is sure to not only stun the football world, but also Harry Redknapp in particular. ‘Arry had ruled both himself and Allardyce out of taking the job earlier this week.
Allardyce, who was sacked by West Ham immediately after the end of last season, told Sunderland’s official website of his happiness at returning to football, but admitted that steering the second-bottom club to safety would be “challenging”.
“I have enjoyed my break from football and now I’m raring to get back,” Allardyce said. “I met with Ellis [Short, chairman] 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.”
Sunderland chairman Short was delighted with the appointment of Allardyce and the Black Cats supremo was also keen to rubbish press reports that the former Bolton and Newcastle boss had to be persuaded to take on the role.
“I am very pleased to welcome Sam to our football club,” Ellis told the club’s official website.
“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 organised 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.”