AS Sam Allardyce prepares to be crowned as the next England manager, we take a look back at his long and varied managerial career which has totalled eight clubs.
The 61-year-old emerged as an early front-runner to replace the embarrassed Roy Hodgson, who immediately resigned in the wake of England’s shock Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland in the last 16.
Starting out at Limerick in his first managerial role, the Sunderland boss has always divided opinion, at one time derided as a master of the long ball game, something which he has fought to rid himself of in recent years.
Allardyce learned the ropes on the coaching front as a player-manager in the League of Ireland, leading Limerick to the 1991-92 second-tier title before heading for Preston to take up the number-two post there.
In July 1994 he took charge of Second Division Blackpool, who had avoided the drop to the fourth tier of English football by a single point at the end of the previous campaign. They finished 12th in his first season and third 12 months later but much to his shock, Allardyce was dismissed following a play-off semi-final defeat by Bradford.
Arriving in Nottingham in January 1997, Allardyce inherited a side which had struggled through the first half of the season, and he was unable to prevent them from slipping into Division Three. However, he led the club to promotion as champions on 99 points at the end of the following campaign.
His efforts at Notts County helped land the job at Bolton in October 1999, and it was there that he started to enhance his reputation. Having steered them into the Premier League at the second attempt, he established Wanderers there after two difficult seasons and eventually guided them to European qualification for the first time in the club’s history.
Allardyce was seen as the man to stop the St James’ Park door revolving as then chairman Freddy Shepherd sought stability. But his reign lasted just 24 games when new owner Mike Ashley decided to give disgruntled fans what they wanted and replaced him with Kevin Keegan.
Rovers were sitting inside the Premier League relegation zone when Allardyce arrived in December 2008, yet they ended the season in the relative comfort of 15th place. They finished 10th in his first full campaign at the helm, but new owners Venky’s dispensed with his services in December 2010.
West Ham United
Allardyce waited almost six months before returning to the game with relegated West Ham in June 2011 and led them back into the Premier League via the Championship play-off final. His style of play did not sit happily with the expectations of Hammers’ fans and although the club finished in 10th, 13th and 12th places in the top flight, there was a parting of ways May 2015.
Tasked with pulling off another great escape after Dick Advocaat bade farewell in October, Sunderland were still seven points away from safety at the start of January. However, only champions Leicester beat them after February as Allardyce kept a top-flight relegation off his CV.
The numbers game ...
7 - number of clubs in England Allardyce has taken permanent charge of. After starting at Blackpool in 1994, he went to Notts County, Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham and then to his current position with Sunderland.
467 - Premier League matches Allardyce has taken charge of. Harry Redknapp is the only Englishman who has been at the helm for more games in the division.
3 - promotions Allardyce has achieved in his career, taking Notts County up to the third tier before bringing Bolton and West Ham into the top flight via the play-offs.
6 - Bolton’s highest league position achieved under Allardyce was sixth in 2004-05. They reached the last 32 of the UEFA Cup the following season, having progressed from a group that included Besiktas, Zenit St Petersburg and eventual winners Sevilla.
24 - games Allardyce had at the Newcastle helm before he was sacked in the shortest stint of his managerial career to date. Having won six of his first 11 games in charge, the Magpies would win just twice more before Allardyce was axed in January.
19 - the century Jose Mourinho claimed Allardyce’s West Ham played football from in 2014 following a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.
7 - number of points Sunderland were adrift of safety at the start of January. Allardyce prevented relegation as the Black Cats lost just one of their final 11 matches.