Thursday 22 August 2019

Allardyce in bonus territory if Palace stay up

Sam Allardyce leaves the Crystal Palace training ground yesterday after signing a two-and-a-half-year deal to become their new manager. Photo: David Mirzoeff/PA
Sam Allardyce leaves the Crystal Palace training ground yesterday after signing a two-and-a-half-year deal to become their new manager. Photo: David Mirzoeff/PA

Jason Burt and John Percy

Sam Allardyce has been appointed Crystal Palace manager and will take charge of their Premier League game at Watford on Monday.

The former England manager swiftly agreed a two-and-a-half year deal - without a break clause - to succeed Alan Pardew after talks with Palace chairman Steve Parish at the club's training ground.

Despite suggestions that Palace's American investors - led by Josh Harris and David Blitzer - had forced Pardew out after a dismal run of form, it was Parish who made the final decision because he accepted the growing threat of relegation. However, the Americans certainly voiced their concerns.

Palace reasoned that they would give themselves a far better chance of survival if they appointed Allardyce, who has never suffered a relegation and would change the team's style of play to make it more organised.

Allardyce will meet the players and take training today before the match at Vicarage Road. His contract is heavily incentivised, with a significant bonus should Palace avoid relegation - a clear sign that he believes he will keep them up.

Such has been the speed of the talks that any additions to Palace's backroom staff have yet to be agreed although it would appear likely that Allardyce will consider offering a role to Sammy Lee, his assistant with England and previously Bolton Wanderers and who is out of work.

Allardyce will also be given funds to improve the squad when the January transfer window opens but, contrary to reports, he has not been in dialogue with the club's owners in recent weeks and did not submit a detailed dossier on the squad.

Rather, Palace were aware of Allardyce's availability, since his departure from the England job after just 67 days in charge following revelations in the 'Daily Telegraph', and that he wanted to make a swift return to work.

Pardew earned a reprieve at the beginning of December with the home win over Southampton but since then Palace have drawn at Hull City and lost at home to Manchester United and Chelsea, leaving them in 17th and just one point above the relegation zone.


Had Palace lost to Southampton then Allardyce would have been offered the job then.

Pardew and Palace had agreed to a shift of playing style this season to be more open and attacking, with the ambition of securing a comfortable top-10 finish.

However, so far, that has not worked and it was decided that Pardew would be unwilling to compromise on his tactics and that a firefighter such as Allardyce would give Palace a far greater chance of survival.

Keith Millen, Pardew's assistant and a long-time member of Palace's backroom staff, who has been caretaker manager himself in the past, conducted the pre-match press conference for the Watford game.

The players trained with Millen yesterday, with the coach admitting that Pardew has been left "upset and disappointed" by his sacking. It is understood that Pardew maintained he could get Palace out of their predicament and that he felt the decision to sack him was hasty, despite the terrible run of form with one win in 11 league matches. Allardyce could still face an FA charge for his comments about third-party ownership but was optimistic about the future.

"I hope we can bring some joy over Christmas and the New Year and, over the long term, between now and the end of the season," said the former Newcastle United, West Ham United, Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers manager.

"The club seems to be very ambitious. Certainly the chairman and the owners seem to be taking the club forward in the right direction."

"They've held their Premier League status for a number of years now and there is always a very good atmosphere at the stadium," said Allardyce. "I like the look of the squad and that's the reason I'm here. I think I can help the club go forward." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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