Off goes Big Sam and the Wearside air seems to have been chilly

Sam Allardyce - a Sunderland love story gone wrong
Sam Allardyce – a Sunderland love story gone wrong

As statements from football clubs about departing managers who have done a good job go, this is probably close to as churlish as it gets:

Sunderland AFC confirms the departure of Sam Allardyce, who takes up the position of England manager with immediate effect.

The focus of everyone at Sunderland AFC now is on moving forward quickly and decisively, with the appointment of the club’s new manager to be confirmed at the earliest opportunity.

No thanks for last season. No best wishes for the future. Almost whatever has passed between them in recent weeks, as the FA dithered unforgivably, I am disappointed at that. If it turns out Sam behaved unspeakably, I will reconsider that thought.

I have yet to see a Sam Allardyce statement wishing us the best for the future either, or mentioning those wonderful supporters he was on about only a couple of weeks ago If you have seen one, please share. If he has made no such comment, and does not smartish, I shall be left wit a muhc more bitter taste in the mouth that would otherwise have been the case.

For now, this is what I wrote at ESPN FC:


What Di Canio, Poyet and Advocaat achieved with end-of-season flourishes, Allardyce made possible with steady improvements, from individual performance to team cohesion, over a period of months, even if he also needed some unexpected late wins — the 3-2 win at home to Chelsea on May 7 being the most crucial of all — to complete the task.

For that, Wearsiders owe him lasting gratitude.

They are entitled to be bitterly disappointed about losing the man who promised to at last bring Premier League stability to a club with a great history that most of today’s 40,000-plus regulars to the Stadium of Light have never tasted. The last major trophy, the FA Cup, was won in style, but that was 43 years ago.

But the disappointment cannot be reasonably placed at Allardyce’s door. He arrived to the club, he saw there was plenty wrong and he conquered — first, a lot of doubt, and then the odds against beating the drop. But ultimately Allardyce is a professional in a field of human activity where loyalty is a rare commodity, from club to player or manager, or the other way around. He was not paid by Sunderland’s owner Ellis Short to be a fan but to be a saviour.

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake

12 thoughts on “Off goes Big Sam and the Wearside air seems to have been chilly”

  1. Whatever happened behind the scenes, Allardyce has left us a fine legacy in the shape of the January signings . Contrast that to the dross previous managers have lumbered us with and we can at least console ourselves that the club is in a better place than before he arrived . Weather he shot his bolt with those signings or if he had some more lined up for this summer is an open question . If he had identified targets before leaving , the club will be aware of them at least . Its up to Mr Moyes to say yes or no to thaws potential recruits and I have great faith in him to carry on the improvement of the club .

  2. And so it’s official. Moyes appointed. Telling quote from the official statement:

    “his desire to honour existing contracts meant we were not able to bring him to Sunderland previously.”

    • Yeah, great news this morning, and it takes the slight taste of bitterness at how Sam’s reign ended away.

      I think Sam did a terrific job, and, I truly believe that he could have taken us into a top ten position.

      However he has never hidden his long term desire to manage his country, and who can blame him for taking it?
      I think Sam will be the best British manager since Terry Venables, and at the very least he will very rapidly improve the defence.

      I am sure that Sam would have secured his legacy at Sunderland, but I am equally convinced that David Moyes will enhance an already high reputation by turning Sunderland into a successful, difficult to beat, top 8/10 Premier League team.

      He has a background [ like Sam ] of spotting good players at reasonable prices, and I think he will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of some of our young players [ Pickford, Watmore, and possibly one or two others ]

      I can’t wait for the season to start.

  3. Steve Bruce quitting Hull? Surely a red herring, we wouldn’t be that stupid would we? As for England, personally, I couldn’t give a flying f*ck!

  4. That is a superb piece of balanced writing in your ESPN article, well done.

    The breaking news that Steve Bruce has left Hull makes me wonder if Moyes may not be a done deal.

    Conspiracy theorists welcome…..

  5. It will be a shame if whatever happened between the directors and Sam sours the whole experience for him and us. All supporters I’ve heard were disappointed that he was leaving but understood his reasons and wish him well. Let’s hope he does make a statement thanking the supporters …

  6. Could the seeming animosity revolve around Sam’s being seen exiting david gill’s home before an official approach had been made?

  7. Let’s wait until his press conference on Monday before drawing any conclusions,other than that we seem to be cursed.

  8. Agreed Monsieur. I have looked around for some comment from Sam saying that part of him will regret leaving Sunderland after the fans made him feel so welcome and then idolised him at the end of the season. Methinks that the parting of the ways was not amicable between club and manager and Sam was called by the FA at the end of the England v Iceland debacle.
    Still good luck Sam, I hope it doesn’t end in tears. Us? Onwards and upwards of course.

    • I’m more concerned about sorting out the replacement. It’s just too much of a coincidence that Bruce who has been threatening to resign all summer does so today. Will the club be tempted? He’ll be cheaper than Moyes and less demanding on transfer funds. The chill will then spread throughout the whole of Sunderland not just the club

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