Big Sam a black cat
Sam Allardyce has been confirmed as Sunderland's fifth manager in four years after he agreed to take on arguably the toughest challenge of his career.
Despite initially being reluctant to move back to the North East of England, Allardyce has been given control over transfers and received various reassurances about the extent of his power from owner Ellis Short before signing a two-year deal.
Allardyce did not enjoy his previous spell in the region. His eight-month reign at Newcastle was a largely bitter experience and was brought to a premature conclusion in 2008 when he was sacked to pave the way for Kevin Keegan's return.
But the 60-year-old has been persuaded to return to management by Short, who made it clear he was his first choice and Allardyce recognised he was unlikely to get a better offer from a top-flight club.