Sam Allardyce: Leeds savior?
Leeds United appointed Sam Allardyce as manager Tuesday as they attempt to survive relegation from the English Premier League.
a Leeds team that is level with 18th-place Nottingham Forest at 30 points
Allardyce has never been considered a top-drawer manager, but is a specialist at helping struggling teams avoid the perils of relegation to the lower leagues. He steps into a Leeds team that is level with 18th-place Nottingham Forest at 30 points (seven wins, nine draws, 18 losses), but eight goals ahead in goal difference.
Everton made a similar decision with the appointment of Sean Dyche in January. Although that has not paid off and the Toffees are still in 19th, Allardyce has pulled the rabbit out of the hat before.
All about results
Allardyce, 68, has a win rate of 38.8%. That drops to 33.3% in the EPL, though he averages 1.26 points per match, which would translate to 47.9 points in a 38-game season. That would’ve been good enough for 10th last season and is more points than any team that has been relegated from the EPL scored the year they went down.
The 20-year player picked up his first managerial gig as a player-manager at Limerick in 1991. He went on to manage a variety of English clubs until he got his big break at Bolton in 1999. He stayed there until 2007 and briefly managed Newcastle United during the 2007-08 season.
Allardyce’s reputation as a team-saver began in 2008 when he was enlisted to save a struggling Blackburn team that was 19th in the EPL in December. Two wins and six unbeaten matches later, the team had been stabilized and went on to finish the year 15th.
pragmatic, unattractive style was only good for saving points at the bottom of the table
“Big Sam” made his next stop at recently-relegated West Ham United in 2011. He rebuked claims that his pragmatic, unattractive style was only good for saving points at the bottom of the table and wouldn’t be enough to get the Irons back into the top flight.
After a flurry of transfers, he helped West Ham finish third in the EFL Championship and secure promotion to the EPL in a 2-1 playoff victory over Blackpool. He described it as his then “best-ever achievement.”
In 2015, the England native was on the move again, this time to Sunderland. The club finished 16th the year previous and was 19th when he entered the fray eight games into the season. He started slowly, but led a couple of important victories near the end of the season that saw Sunderland finish safe in 17th and his former employer, Newcastle, relegated from the EPL.
Big Sam took his next step to the England national team in 2016, where he won his only game in charge, but was sacked just over two months later following accusations of malpractice.
Allardyce stepped down and said that he would only come back to manage internationally
Unperturbed, he joined Crystal Palace in December 2016 after they, too, were threatened with relegation. The Eagles guaranteed their safety with two games left in the season in a 4-0 win over Hull City, but Allardyce stepped down and said that he would only come back to manage internationally.
Despite that, he once again returned to the Premier League with Everton in November 2017. He joined when they were in 13th and immediately tightened up the defense before eventually finishing the year in eighth. However, fans of the club were upset with his defensive, unattractive style, and he left in the summer.
Allardyce finally fell on the sword in 2021 as the man in charge of West Bromwich Albion. He signed on in December 2020 when the club was 19th in the table, but could not reverse their fortunes. West Brom finished the season 19th, right where they started Allardyce’s tenure, and he was relegated for the first time in 17 seasons.
Leeds is winless in its last five matches and has scored one goal in every match during that stretch. Fans of the club are hoping Allardyce’s West Brom relegation was just an aberration.
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