If England had a poor Euro 2016 there was only going to be one certainty: a management change. They did have a poor tournament and Roy Hodgson immediately resigned. Sam Allardyce among others was instantly placed on a shortlist to take the reigns of the Three Lions. Unfortunately for Sunderland fans, Allardyce was placed top of the list. Calls of ‘Allardyce for England’ got louder by the day. Pre-season games are about to get underway. As far as Sunderland and their fans are concerned, this story needs an ending soon.
Allardyce for England Saga Must Have an Ending Soon
Big Sam had only took charge of the Black Cats eight games into last season. Those eight games resulted in no wins. The new manager had a lot of work to do to keep his team in the Premier League. A lot of hard work, some excellent January signings and some excellent end of season results meant Sunderland survived once again.
After safety was secured and the season finally ended, supporters had hope for the first time in several seasons. Many were looking forward and no longer looking back. There was a sense of optimism around Wearside due to the work that had been done. There was belief that if Sam and the club could get pre-season right and bring in several signings, a positive time lay ahead.
Enter England. After a poor showing at Euro 2016, they were needing a new manager. Allardyce had made no secret in the past of his desire to get the top job in the country. He was made favourite for the job almost instantly. People in high places were giving the experienced manager their full backing. In their minds he was the man to change the Three Lions fortunes.
Allardyce returns for talks
With the Sunderland boss in the frame for the England job, signings that were expected to come in early failed to materialise. Players were leaving that were surplus to requirements which was good; however, due to the situation, the better players that were expected to replace them, were either stalling or the club were not willing to begin negotiations.
Sunderland began their pre-season training camp in Austria but soon after, Sam left to return to England. Reports suggested he was back in the country to look into new signings. This proved to be wrong, and few were happy about it.
After fans were told about the reasons for Allardyce’s return to the country, the club issued a statement. They had too. Allardyce was spotted leaving the house of David Gill, vice president of the English Football Association. This fuelled the fire that England wanted Allardyce and he wanted the nation’s top job. Sunderland released the following statement:-
“The Football Association contacted Sunderland AFC to seek permission to speak with our manager as part of what was supposed to be a confidential discussion process with potential candidates for the position of England manager.
At Sam Allardyce’s request, we agreed to this.
Sam is very much key to our plans. After what was an extremely challenging season, we are keen to see a period of stability, both on and off the field, and we want him to remain as manager of our football club.
The ongoing speculation over Sam’s position is extremely damaging to Sunderland AFC, particularly at this crucial time of the season and we urge the FA to respect the disruption that this process is causing and bring about a swift resolution to the matter.”
Allardyce not the only candidate
As the days have passed, it is not just Sunderland that this is effecting. Clubs such as Hull City and Bournemouth have been active in the transfer market and are also suffering due to the uncertainty. Managers Steve Bruce of Hull and Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe have or are about to be interviewed by the Football Association. Others could also be making their way to the FA, making this process even longer.
This has not done Sunderland any good. The uncertainty has stopped the club entering the transfer market to improve the squad. It may also have had a negative impact on some players. If a new manager comes in, they could be deemed surplus to requirements. Pre season games are about to begin and the club needs this situation sorted sooner rather than later. There is a chance they could again be playing catch-up next season. England must move quickly to appoint a new manager. Not only for their own benefit, but more importantly so that the club they take their new man from can move forward. Whatever the outcome is, fans and the club needed this episode to have an ending a lot sooner than later.
SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND – JANUARY 23: Sam Allardyce, manager of Sunderland thumbs up on arrival at the stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and A.F.C. Bournemouth at the Stadium of Light on January 23, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)