Sam Allardyce focus
Published 20/07/2016 | 21:36
Sam Allardyce took to the dug-out at Hartlepool on Wednesday evening for what appears to be his last game as Sunderland manager.
The 61-year-old is set to be named the new England boss on Thursday.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at how his evening at Victoria Park unfolded.
Allardyce emerged from the tunnel dressed in grey training kit shortly before kick-off and was immediately surrounded by photographers. He stood and signed autographs for home supporters before taking his seat. He left the bench briefly to talk to some of his players during a first-half drinks break, but otherwise appeared relaxed, although he did not return to the touchline for the second half.
There were plenty of Sunderland fans in the crowd and although opinion has been divided in recent weeks over whether the manager should stay or go, there was little or no reaction to him for much of the game. There was briefly a chant of "Cattermole for England", and perhaps both the combative midfielder and striker Jermain Defoe, who struck twice in the first half, may feel they have a better chance of selection now.
With his side leading 3-0, Allardyce changed his entire XI at half-time as he turned from experience to youth, although there was a place for former Newcastle midfielder Charles N'Zogbia, who has been training with the club in recent weeks. But that was the end of his involvement, in public at least, as he left his staff to it.
The manager's decision not to return to the dug-out for the second half meant there was no leave-taking and no opportunity for the fans to express either their gratitude for his heroics in keeping the club in the Premier League last season, or their feelings about his impending departure.