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Samuel "Sam" Allardyce (born 19 October 1954) is an English football manager and former professional player. He is the current manager of Blackburn Roversmarker of the Premier League. He was previously manager of Bolton Wanderers from 1999 to 2007 and Newcastle United from 2007 to 2008. He led Bolton to a League Cup final as well as guiding them to UEFA Cup qualification for the first time in their history. He is often referred to by the nickname "Big Sam".

Early life and playing career

Allardyce grew up on Dudley's Old Park Farm estate and was educated at Sycamore Green Primary School and later at Wren's Nest Secondary School.

He joined Bolton Wanderers as a centre-half in 1973 and is best remembered as a player for being part of the side which won the Second Division title in 1977–78 to secure promotion to the First Division.

Allardyce was signed by Ken Knighton to play for Sunderland for whom he played 25 times during the 1980–81 season. He also played for Huddersfield Town, Coventry City, Millwall and Preston North End, whom he captained to promotion from the Fourth Division in 1986–87.

He played in the United States in the nascent North American Soccer League for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The football team shared facilities with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Allardyce applied many practices of American football (gridiron) towards soccer (with regards to training, player management and tactics). These innovative ideas helped him progress in football management.

Managerial career

West Bromwich Albion

Allardyce was named as assistant manager (player-coach) to Brian Talbot at West Bromwich Albion in February 1989—ironic as he was a supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers, one of Albion's fiercest rivals. On the playing side, Allardyce appeared in only one game for Albion, coming on as a substitute against Newcastle United in November 1989. His spell at the Hawthorns lasted two years before he and Talbot were sacked as the club slid towards relegation to the Third Division for the first time in their history.


Allardyce then took up the role of player/manager of Limerick and guided the League of Ireland team to promotion by topping the first division with a number of points to spare in 1991–92 in his only season at the club. He made his League of Ireland debut on 6 October 1991.

Preston North End

After his one successful season in Ireland Allardyce returned to England and to Preston North End for the start of the 1992–93 season to take up the role of coach/assistant manager under Les Chapman. Ten games into the season however Chapman was sacked and Allardyce given the role of caretaker manager. His short spell in charge was an impressive one with Preston putting in some fine performances, picking some much needed league points along the way. The club's board though felt that Allardyce's managerial inexperience at league level worked against him and opted in December 1992 to appoint the more experienced John Beck who in turn appointed Gary Peters as his assistant. Allardyce carried on with the club in his original coaching capacity for another 18 months but the disappointment of missing out on the Preston job spoke volumes and when in July 1994 arch rivals Blackpool offered him the manager's job after sacking Billy Ayre, Allardyce jumped at the chance.


Allardyce's spell at Bloomfield Roadmarker included his leading the club, in 1995–96, to their most successful season in years; however, he was sacked at the end of the campaign after failing to guide them to Division One. Blackpool finished third, missing out on automatic promotion on the last day of the season, and were then beaten in the play-off semi-finals by Bradford City after winning 2–0 away at Valley Parademarker, only to lose 3–0 in the reverse leg on home soil. In matches in the Football League, Allardyce still has the highest win percentage (44.57%) of any Blackpool manager. Five years after his sacking, Allardyce stated that he still had no idea why the club relieved him of his position.

Notts County

In January 1997, Sam Allardyce made his return to football as manager of Division Two basement club Notts County. He arrived too late to save them from relegation, but they won promotion at the first attempt by finishing top of Division Three at the end of the 1997–98 season. Notts County broke several club and national records, winning the title by a 19-point margin and becoming the first post-war side to win promotion in mid-March.

Bolton Wanderers

He remained in charge at Meadow Lanemarker until 19 October 1999, when he returned to Bolton Wanderers in Division One and became their new manager.

Despite being in the bottom half of the table when he took over, Bolton reached the 1999–2000 Division One playoffs, losing to Ipswich Town and had an eventful run to the League Cup and FA Cup semi-finals.

Bolton went one better in 2000–01 by reaching the playoff final where they beat Preston North End 3–0 to achieve promotion to the Premiership after a three-year absence. Allardyce said he planned to walk away from football at the end of his 10-year contract at Bolton Wanderers, when he would have been 56.

Bolton went top of the Premiership after gaining ten points from the first four games of the 2001–02 campaign. However, the Bolton squad was not strong enough to mount a sustained challenge and their safety was not ensured until the penultimate game of the season. They continued to struggle in 2002–03, avoiding relegation by just two points and one place.

After two years in the bottom half of the table, Bolton went on to substantially improve, and established themselves in the Premiership. 2003–04 saw Allardyce's side finish eighth and reach the Carling Cup final, losing 2–1 to Middlesbrough. It was during this period he first wore the earpiece.

2004–05 saw Sam Allardyce and Bolton finish sixth to win qualification in the UEFA Cup for the first time in the club's history, equal on points with 2005's UEFA Champions League victors Liverpool. In the early months of 2005–06, Allardyce once again took Bolton into the top half of the Premiership and also steered them into the knockout rounds of the UEFA Cup. Bolton eventually finished eighth that season.

In early 2006 it was confirmed that Sven-Göran Eriksson would leave the England manager's job after the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and as a successful English manager, Allardyce was touted as a major candidate for the post. Bolton confirmed that they would let him talk to the FA if they approached him. However he was never offered the job, which was eventually given to Steve McClaren.

Speculation arose on 28 April 2007, that Allardyce would quit as Bolton manager at the end of the 2006–07 season, a move that the board initially denied. However, Bolton announced on the next day that Allardyce was to leave the club after eight years, effective immediately. Sammy Lee was announced as his replacement the following day.

Allardyce told the Mail on Sunday on 12 May 2007, that part of his reason for leaving Bolton was because he wanted to win silverware. Allardyce said, "I have had praise for what I've done, but there's nothing at the end of it. I want silverware. I'm determined to get it before my days are over."

Newcastle United

After the resignation of Glenn Roeder, manager of Newcastle United, on 6 May 2007, Allardyce immediately became the leading contender with bookmakers and the media for the resulting vacancy, and it was confirmed that Allardyce had held a meeting with Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd in London. On 15 May 2007, Newcastle United announced that Allardyce had signed a three-year contract to manage the club. On 21 May 2007 Allardyce had already axed six players from Newcastle United before the 2007–08 season had started. They included Olivier Bernard, Craig Moore, Oguchi Onyewu, Titus Bramble, Pavel Srníček and Antoine Sibierski. He made his first signing as Newcastle United manager on 7 June 2007, with Australian international striker Mark Viduka from local rivals Middlesbrough on a free transfer.

After a series of disappointing results in the run-up to Christmas, and after gaining only one point from a possible six from bottom-of-the-table Wigan and Derby, there was speculation that Allardyce's tenure at Newcastle could be under threat.

On 9 January 2008, Sam Allardyce parted company with Newcastle United by mutual agreement.

Blackburn Rovers

He was appointed as manager of Blackburn Roversmarker on a three-year contract on 17 December 2008. His first game in charge was a 3–0 victory over Stoke City at Ewood Parkmarker three days later. This was the first game of a nine-game unbeaten run, until a 2–0 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa. He lead the team to seven more wins, including a 2–1 away win at Fulham. The team only won two away games, but won five games, drew four and lost just one at Ewood Parkmarker. Allardyce finished his first season in charge with a 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion and a final league position of 15th.

On 21 November 2009, it was reported that Allardyce will undergo surgery to widen his coronary arteries.

Corruption allegations

On 19 September 2006, Allardyce, and his son, Craig, were implicated in a BBC Panorama documentary for taking "bungs" (backhanders) from agents for signing certain players. Two agents, Teni Yerima and Peter Harrison, were secretly filmed, each separately claiming that they had paid Allardyce through his son. Allardyce denies ever taking, or asking for, a bung.

The Trotters manager was implicated in an exposé into the football transfer market. The programme called Undercover: Football's Dirty Secrets was aired on the same night that Bolton beat Walsall 3–1 in the Football League Cup, so he missed the original showing. As a result of the allegation, Allardyce refused to speak to the BBC. While he also stated he was going to sue the broadcaster in order to clear his name, Allardyce failed to issue libel proceedings, allowing the year-long window following the show's broadcast to elapse.

The final report of the Stevens inquiry published in June 2007 expressed concerns regarding the involvement of Craig Allardyce in a number of transactions. “The inquiry remains concerned at the conflict of interest that it believes existed between Craig Allardyce, his father Sam Allardyce - the then manager at Bolton - and the club itself.”


As a player

As a manager



Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Limerick FC Summer 1991 Summer 1992 38 14 10 3
Blackpool 19 July 1994 29 May 1996 102 44 23 35
Notts County 16 January 1997 14 October 1999 145 56 39 50
Bolton Wanderers 19 October 1999 29 April 2007 370 153 103 114
Newcastle United 15 May 2007 9 January 2008 24 8 6 10
Blackburn Roversmarker 17 December 2008 Present 34 13 10 11
Total 670 273 186 212


  1. Walsh, David; "The Big Interview: Sam Allardyce", 2 January 2005 (Retrieved: 25 July 2009)

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