Sunderland demand FA pays up for Sam Allardyce given disruption to pre-season plans
Sunderland have demanded the Football Association pay up for Sam Allardyce by shelling out for the remaining year on his contract and the disruption caused to their pre-season plans.
Allardyce’s Sunderland contract is worth £2million, but the Wearsiders have held out for more than that figure to reflect the difficult position the club have been placed in just three weeks before the start of the new Premier League season.
Sunderland have made no secret over their anger regarding the process, which they believe has contributed to the fact the club are yet to make a single signing this summer.
Allardyce left Sunderland’s friendly victory over Hartlepool at half-time on Wednesday night, but was back at the training ground the following morning while the FA negotiated for his release.
David Moyes is poised to succeed Allardyce and will have to work quickly to shape his squad for the new season. A £5m deal for Aston Villa defender Micah Richards is in place.
Sunderland’s desire to get the maximum compensation for Allardyce meant the 61-year-old had to wait for official confirmation of his appointment after the FA board on Thursday approved his recommendation from the three-man panel of technical director Dan Ashworth, chief executive Martin Glenn and David Gill, who has succeeded Greg Dyke as acting chairman.
The board are believed to have discussed the appointment of Allardyce for around two hours, from around 10am until 12noon, when Dyke also formally stood down as chairman.
Personal terms are believed to have been agreed between the FA and Allardyce, with the former Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United manager expected to be handed a two-year contract with the option of a further two years if he meets targets at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Once his appointment is confirmed, possibly on Friday, Allardyce will work on his backroom staff, but Gary Neville will not return to the England set-up as his number two.
Despite standing down from his position as first-team coach when Roy Hodgson and assistant Ray Lewington quit after England’s Euro 2016 last-16 defeat to Iceland, Neville had been installed as bookies’ favourite to return as number two to Allardyce.
But Telegraph Sport can reveal there is no prospect of a Neville return even if he is asked and the FA and Allardyce will have to look elsewhere for his assistant. Neville was appointed to Hodgson’s backroom staff in 2012 and spent four years with the national team, but is now considering his next move after a difficult spell in charge of Valencia and England’s failed Euro 2016 campaign.
The departure of both Lewington and Neville leaves two vacancies open under Allardyce in the England set-up, meaning he could bring in one of his own trusted allies and still leave space for the FA to appoint a former player or a young coach who could be groomed for the top job.
Sammy Lee, who worked under Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers and was a part-time England coach under Sven-Goran Eriksson, is available after leaving Southampton following the departure of Ronald Koeman.
Neil McDonald, Allardyce’s assistant at West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers, is also out of work after being sacked by Blackpool at the end of last season.
Eddie Howe has been touted as a possible part-time member of Allardyce’s staff, but it is not certain he or Bournemouth are keen on the idea, while the FA are also considering ex-players such as Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.
New Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has vowed to give Allardyce his unwavering support as he backed England’s new manager-in-waiting to end the country’s torturous wait for silverware. Mourinho, who enjoyed a good relationship with Hodgson, sought to head off any potential club versus country conflict down the line by reassuring Allardyce that he will ensure his England contingent of players are always released for international duty.
Mourinho watched his native Portugal win their first piece of major international silverware this summer by triumphing over host nation France in the final of the European Championships. And he is confident Allardyce will become the first England manager to win a leading trophy since Alf Ramsey guided the country to World Cup glory 50 years ago, so long as he gets the support he needs.
“It’s your country and I think you are a complicated country for the person who gets the job,” said Mourinho.
“I think he [Allardyce] is the right person for that job. I think he’s a good choice, but I think he needs support and I think you can do better in respect to that. Because my experience in your country shows me that in the football world you could do a bit better.
“I think Sam never had the big chance at the highest level, he has lots of experiences in the Premier League but never that big one and now he has the big one. So I think he’s more than ready, he’s a good motivator, he can create a good team spirit with his players and I wish him the best from my side, not just as a friend but my side as the Manchester United manager.
“The only thing I can promise is I am going to try and support him the best way, preparing the players for him, always trying to have the English players always available and in good conditions to help him and I hope you can do the same because it’s your time.
“In Portugal we were waiting and waiting and finally we got it. Now I think it is time for you because 1966 was a long time ago, so good luck Big Sam.”