After a brief courtship that began after the resignation of Dick Advocaat, Sam Allardyce, unemployed after leaving West Ham United at the end of the 2014-15 Premier League season, has been hired as the new manager of Sunderland. The former Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn boss has joined the club on a two-year deal, Sunderland announced Friday.
Sunderland chairman Ellis Shorts called Allardyce “the obvious best choice for the job:”
“He has vast experience of managing in the Premier League and an understanding first-hand of the north east and the passion of our fans, which will stand him in great stead.
“I would like to assure our fans that once Dick made us aware of his intention to leave, Lee Congerton oversaw an organised and structured recruitment process, that bore very little resemblance to what has been described in the media.
“For example, this was a very popular job, proactively sought after by a large number of managers – contrary to much of what has been portrayed. The process was made easier by the fact that Sam was such an obvious choice.
Sunderland sits 19th in the Premier League after eight rounds of the season, one of two teams yet to win a game. Last weekend, the team gave up a 2-0 lead to visiting West Ham, with Advocaat resigning his position his 10-man team drew, 2-2.
The Dutch head coach had originally planned to retire after guiding Sunderland to safety after last year’s midseason appointment. The club confirmed the 68-year-old’s resignation on Sunday.
Allardyce had spent the last four seasons at West Ham, leading the team out of the Championship and to 10th, 13th, and 12th place finishes in the Premier League. This spring, though, Allardyce’s contract was not renewed, with the club reportedly keen to go in a different direction. West Ham eventually hired Slaven Bilic as their new manager.
The 60-year-old former Bolton, Sunderland, Millwall and Preston defender had spent the beginning of the new season in on vacation in Spain. However, after Advocaat’s resignation, he and Sunderland worked quickly to finalize a deal.
Allardyce, from Sunderland’s statement:
“I have enjoyed my break from football and now I’m raring to get back. I met with Ellis and we spoke at length about the club and his ambitions and I knew I wanted to be part of that.
“I hope to be able to help to bring the stability and success that everyone wants.