LONDON: Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has emerged as favourite to become new manager of England in succession to Roy Hodgson – who was lucky to survive the World Cup debacle in 2014 and quit after the humiliating defeat by Iceland at Euro 2016.
Allardyce was interview for the England job once before, after the departure of Sven-Goran Eriksson after the 2006 World Cup. It was reported at the time that Football Association officials were taken aback by his high-tech computerised presentation.
It may just be that Allardyce, from being ahead of his time, is now the right man at the right time. The 61-year-old flew back earlier this week from Sunderland’s pre-season training camp in Austria for a meeting with FA vice-chairman David Gill, FA technical director Dan Ashworth and chief executive Martin Glenn.
Allardyce is not the only candidate. The FA is also talking to Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe, Hull’s Steve Bruce and United States’ coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Gareth Southgate, the under-21s’ manager, has decided he is not yet ready for either the job or the level of media and public expectation.
One supporter of Allardyce is David Gold, the man who sacked him as West Ham manager last year.
The Hammers co-owner, who wanted a fresh approach under Slaven Bilic after Allardyce had re-established the club in the Premier League, said: “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him. He is determined, he is ambitious. He’s been in the business a long time.
“I think the most important thing from my point of view is that he’s English.”
Allardyce steered Sunderland away from the threat of relegation last season after taking charge in October from Dick Advocaat who had declared the club beyond salvation. The Black Cats finished 17th, one place and two points above the relegation zone, after losing only one of their final 11 league matches.
Allardyce has also managed Blackburn, Newcastle, Blackpool, Notts County and Bolton, who were promoted to the top flight and qualified for Europe during his tenure.