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: http://www.espnfc.com/club/sunderland/366/blog/post/2915234/sunderland-fans-cant-fault-sam-allardyce-for-leaving-for-england
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.