Sam Allardyce is revered for his specialities as a relegation-warrior and has an impressive résumé to support these claims. Not only has ‘Big Sam’ never suffered relegation from the Premier League himself, but he has never left a club in a relegation battle—and often answers the call of duty when a Premier League club is in their hour of need.
It’s West Brom’s hour of need this season and with Slaven Bilic getting shown the door, Sam Allardyce was the man employed to steady the ship. West Brom is currently sitting 19th in the table but have seen two wins on the bounce against Chelsea and Southampton. Let’s have a look at Allardyce’s record in the Premier League and his relegation-fight expertise.
Position when he took over 12th (Division One)
Position when he left 5th (Premier League)
Allardyce received the call for the long-term replacement of club stalwart Colin Todd in October 1999. The West Midlands manager inherited a talented squad, including the likes of Eidur Gudjohnson, Jussi Jaaskelainen and Ricardo Gardner. Allardyce would lead the club to promotion a year after taking over and cemented his position at the club.
Allardyce’s experience, defensive organisation and direct style of play helped Bolton establish themselves in the Premier League. After beating the drop, the boss guided the side to three top-ten finishes and a UEFA Cup journey.
Position when he took over 15th (Premier League)
Position when he left 11th (Premier League)
Having spent a decade in the Greater Manchester with Bolton Wanderers, Allardyce came close to joining Manchester City but his move became obstructed by new owner Thaksin Shinawatra completed takeover. At the other end of the country, Mike Ashley’s takeover in the northeast, however, opened up a move to Newcastle.
Allardyce had a mixed time at Newcastle, signing some household names including Kieron Dyer, Joey Barton and Jose Enrique to name a few. Big Sam never seemed to convince Newcastle’s adoring fanbase even though the manager departed with the Magpies securely in 11th place.
Position when he took over 19th (Premier League)
Position when he left 13th (Premier League)
Allardyce was first linked with the Blackburn job the summer of 2008, but the club opted to trial a young and ambitious Paul Ince. By the end of the year, with Rovers sitting in 19th and chasing a win since September, Ince was shown the door and Allardyce was in.
Allardyce was an instant success, a 3-0 win over Stoke that set-in motion a 9-game unbeaten run, planting the Lancashire club into 15th. New owners Venky’s approached Big Sam with caution regarding his ambitions for the club, eventually sacking Allardyce after a 2-1 defeat to Bolton in the winter of 2010.
West Ham (2011-2015)
Position when he took over 20th (Championship)
Position when he left 12th (Premier League)
In a scarce career move, Allardyce arrived at West Ham with a rebuilding project rather than a survival campaign. The Hammers had just fallen through the dreaded relegation trap door and were about to embark on a campaign in the Championship. Big Sam was about to have his first taste of Championship/Division 1 football since 2001 with Bolton Wanderers.
Big Sam successfully bounced West Ham straight back into England’s top flight in his first season, via a third-place finish and the playoffs—narrowly missing out on automatic promotion by just two points.
Allardyce honed his craft for three years at Upton Park, with finishes of 10th, 13th and 12th, scoring between 40 and 47 points. The 2014/15 ended and Big Sam mutually departed the club after his contract had run out.
Position when he took over 19th (Premier League)
Position when he left 17th (Premier League)
The Black Cats had taken just three points from a possible 24 and were sitting in 19th place when Big Sam arrived to steady the ship. Things barely improved—with a run of five games without achieving a win through the Christmas period. Reinforcements arrived in the January Transfer Window and the signings of Lamine Kone, Jan Kirchoff and Wahbi Khazri were just enough to keep Sunderland in the Premier League.
Crystal Palace (2016-17)
Position when he took over 17th
Position when he left 14th
Crystal Palace had only won one of their last eleven Premier League games before Alan Pardew was given his P45 and Big Sam received the call. Allardyce was handed an injection of cash in January, splurging out on Luka Milivojevic, Patrick van Aanholt and Jeff Schlupp.
It was a shroud bit of business as Palace confirmed their Premier League survival on the final day of the campaign. The West Midland-born manager left on his own accord after the final game of the season claiming it was his last in club football.
Position when he took over 13th
Position when he left 8th
After a woeful start to the 2017/18 campaign, Everton axed Ronald Koeman in late October and pulled the trigger on bringing Big Sam in on a two-year deal. The Englishman provided stability in the ranks and help the Toffees to five clean sheets in their opening seven fixtures. It was on the other end where Big Sam struggled during his tenure. The survival specialist was sacked at the end of the season, with the board citing that his style of football was poor.
West Bromwich Albion
Position when he took over 19th
Allardyce took the reins off Slaven Bilic after a poor run of results on their return to the Premier League. Results of late have been fantastic for the Baggies, as Big Sam recorded back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Southampton giving the Birmingham outfit a glimpse of hope in the Premier League.
Time is running out for the Ex-England manager to keep Albion afloat and he will have to utilise everything in his West Brom arsenal to avoid the relegation trap door. With the Premier League at the other end of the season, Sporting Index has some exciting fixed odds on West Bromwich Albion to beat the drop under the tenure of Big Sam.
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