Monday, April 06, 2020
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Blackburn have confirmed Sam Allardyce as their new manager a little over 24 hours after flushing Paul Ince down the water spout. The appointment comes as somewhat of a surprise with Allardyce expressing interest in the more illustrious Sunderland job only last week. 


Alas, the powers that be on Wearside will not be rushed into a decision. And with Sunderland’s caretaker boss, Ricky Sbagria, getting more out of the team in his two games in temporary charge, Niall Quinn and his consortium moneyed Irishmen are set to bide their time. 


Pity, though, the plight of Sam Allardyce. After taking Bolton - a wholly mediocre club -  from the second tier of English football to a 6th place finish in the Premier League, and gifting European football to the Trotters, his stock plummeted dramatically after his short and ill-fated tenure at Newcastle. 


Following Freddie Sheppard’s sale of the north-east outfit to Mike Ashely in June of 2007, the axe was always hanging Sam Allardyce's head. With the former-Bolton manager not immediately taken to the hearts of the Geordie faithful, Ashley’s populist regime was quick to rid themselves of him and reinstall the Geordie Messiah, Kevin 'the King of Tyneside' Keegan. 


Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and Newcastle were sitting in 14th place in the Premier League when Allardyce was sacked - one place above where they are now after a tumultuous year.  


So followed a one year exile from the game for a man who had been interviewed for the England job less than three years ago. 


The decision of the Sunderland board not to make Allardyce their number one target was yet another affront. As a former player and coach at the club, and someone familiar with the vagrancies of the lower-echelons of the Premier League, Allardyce was the ideal man to lift the club out of its current mire.  


Instead, it is believed Sunderland have earmarked Roberto Mancini, Bernd Schuster and Carlos Alberto Parreira as the men with the stomach for a relegation dog-fight. Three managers with no Premier League experience, whose previous jobs have been Inter Milan, Real Madrid and the South African national team, respectively.   


Allardyce’s appointment at Blackburn is a major coup for the club. Unfortunately for Big Sam, battling relegation at a club with little money, a small fan-base, that is perceived to have recently gone as far as it can go, will be all too familiar to him.

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