London (AFP) – Everton have appointed former England boss and renowned top-flight survival specialist Sam Allardyce as their new manager on an 18-month contract, the English Premier League club announced Thursday.
Allardyce, whose previous clubs include Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Sunderland and Crystal Palace, will take charge of the Merseysiders for the first time when they welcome Huddersfield Town to Goodison Park for a league match on Saturday.
“I’ve always thought Everton was a great club,” Allardyce said in a club statement.
“Obviously, the club has gone through a difficult spell and hopefully I can put that behind us as quickly as possible and start looking upwards again.”
Allardyce’s arrival at the Liverpool club was effectively confirmed on Wednesday when Everton said they were finalising a deal with the 63-year-old Englishman, who will succeed Ronald Koeman as the Toffees’ full-time manager more than a month after the Dutchman was sacked.
Later on Wednesday, Allardyce, in the company of Everton owner Farhad Moshiri, watched the club produce their best performance of the season as a Wayne Rooney hat-trick inspired the side to a 4-0 victory at home to fellow strugglers West Ham United.
Defeat against the Hammers, managed by former Everton boss David Moyes, would have dropped the club into the relegation zone.
But instead the final match of Everton Under-23s manager David Unsworth’s eight-game spell in caretaker charge of the senior side saw the team climb to 13th place in the table, five points above the bottom three.
When Allardyce was first linked with the Everton job, some fans feared he would disregard the club’s ‘school of science’ tradition for attacking football in favour of his familiar functional style that has proved so effective in helping several clubs beat the drop from England’s top flight.
But Allardyce, recalling Everton stars of the 1980s when the club were last crowned champions of England, insisted he was well aware of the Toffees’ traditions.
“The attraction of the club itself, the people I’ve known at the club — Peter Reid is one of my best mates, so are Andy Gray and Paul Bracewell, whom I worked with at Sunderland — these people have always made me aware of just how special and unique a club Everton is and I feel really enthused and energised to come in as manager,” he said.
“Ultimately, it’s the ambition of the club, the ambition of the owner and the board, allied to the fact that it’s Everton and all the fantastic history, which have proved to be key for me.”
Allardyce added: “Let’s try to get a healthy spirit around the club. That’s difficult when you’re losing but the win last night over West Ham and the magnificent atmosphere around Goodison, which was just brilliant, well that’s lifted everybody around the club.”
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