Sunday 21 January 2018

Forget national pride - Sunderland aren't one bit happy with the Sam Allardyce to England situation

Sam Allardyce was present at Sunderland's pre-season game on Wednesday night
Sam Allardyce was present at Sunderland's pre-season game on Wednesday night

Press Association

Sam Allardyce is expected to be named as England's new manager on Thursday with Sunderland still less than impressed by the Football Association's courtship.

The 61-year-old will be announced as Roy Hodgson's replacement after the FA's three-man panel of chief executive Martin Glenn, vice-chairman David Gill and technical director Dan Ashworth report back to the governing body's board.

It will end a long wait for the former Bolton, Blackburn and West Ham manager's dream job with Steve McClaren having beaten him to it a decade ago, but his impending departure from the Stadium of Light has not gone down particularly well with his current employers.

A Sunderland statement issued on Wednesday evening said: "Naturally we are aware of the intense media speculation this evening. However at the present time, Sam Allardyce remains our manager.

"We share in the anger and frustration of our supporters and would like to assure them that we are working to conclude the matter in the best interests of Sunderland AFC."

Sunderland, who voiced their displeasure over the disruptive nature of the process last week, will be due compensation with Allardyce, who was appointed as Dick Advocaat's replacement in October last year, having a year remaining on his contract, but have already drawn up a contingency plan with David Moyes understood to be the leading candidate for the forthcoming vacancy.

However, they are unhappy with the amount of time it has taken to reach this point with Allardyce's candidacy having been an open secret for more than a week, although Glenn was quick to offer a defence.

He said: "Three weeks. Is three weeks a long period of time? If we'd have done a knee-jerk and done it in three days, we'd have been rightly accused of knee-jerking.

"We're taking an appropriate amount of time. Of course we're concerned about how individual clubs manage, etc. We aren't blind to that, we just need to make the right decision."

Allardyce was present for the Black Cats' 3-0 friendly victory at Hartlepool on Wednesday evening, but had left Victoria Park long before the final whistle as news of his new opportunity emerged.

A man who has established a reputation as something of a firefighter thought he had taken on one of the biggest challenges of his career after accepting Ellis Short's offer of employment, but the stakes are about to be raised significantly as he attempts to revive England's on-field fortunes.

A number of national newspapers are reporting that the FA only turned to Allardyce after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger rejected the chance to take over from Hodgson.

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has backed Allardyce to succeed.

The 61-year-old Allardyce, who lost out in the race to replace Eriksson 10 years ago, has done impressive jobs throughout his career, though has often received criticism for his style of play.

Eriksson, who led England to three successive major tournament quarter-finals, does not see that as a problem given the nature of the jobs he has been in.

He said: "If you take a team from the lower part of the table you have to adapt to what you want to do.

"You have to defend and have to be organised. I think it depends on the situation.

"Many times Sam has had a team struggling for survival and he has done the job."

Once in the position, Allardyce will find himself open to front-page headlines as well as back-page, something that Eriksson knows only too well.

The Swede added on Sky Sports News: "He doesn't need any advice, I know for a long time that he has wanted that job.

"He knows the English press as well as I know them, so that is the hardest part - not the hardest part but it's the least pleasant part of the job."

Press Association

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