Sam Allardyce ready for Sunderland challenge after returning to management
Sam Allardyce is braced for the challenge of reviving Sunderland's season after becoming their new manager.
Allardyce, who has been out of work since leaving West Ham in the summer, was named as Dick Advocaat's successor on Friday and becomes the first person to manage both the Black Cats and their arch rivals Newcastle.
His proven track record for establishing clubs in the top flight makes him attractive to owner Ellis Short, who has seen Sunderland flirt with relegation for too much of his reign, only rescuing themselves with remarkable late runs at the end of each of the last three campaigns.
He will be tasked with guiding his new club away from the Barclays Premier League relegation zone, where they are currently level on points with rock-bottom Newcastle.
Allardyce, who represented the Black Cats as a player between 1980 and 1981, said: "I have enjoyed my break from football and now I'm raring to get back. I met with Ellis and we spoke at length about the club and his ambitions and I knew I wanted to be part of that.
"I hope to be able to help to bring the stability and success that everyone wants.
"Of course it's a challenging job, but it's something I have experience of in the past. I'm looking forward to working with the players and of course I will be relying on the help of the Sunderland supporters, whose tremendous passion I have experienced first-hand. I can't wait to get started."
Short has persuaded Allardyce to resume his career on Wearside following his exit from West Ham after four years at the end of last season and is convinced he has the right man for the job.
Short added: "Sunderland is a club he knows well and he was the obvious best choice for the job. He has vast experience of managing in the Premier League and an understanding first-hand of the north east and the passion of our fans, which will stand him in great stead.
"I would like to assure our fans that once Dick made us aware of his intention to leave, Lee Congerton oversaw an organised and structured recruitment process, that bore very little resemblance to what has been described in the media.
"For example, this was a very popular job, proactively sought after by a large number of managers - contrary to much of what has been portrayed. The process was made easier by the fact that Sam was such an obvious choice.
"The other misconception is that Sam had to be persuaded to join us; nothing could be further from the truth. From the very beginning, he understood the importance of this job and showed great enthusiasm for the role and a desire to be part of moving this club forward."