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West Ham chief David Gold hails Sunderland "survivor" Sam Allardyce

Published 12/05/2016

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce impressed in leading a struggling team to Premier League survival
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce impressed in leading a struggling team to Premier League survival

West Ham co-owner David Gold has praised former manager Sam Allardyce for leading Sunderland to Premier League safety, believing his "survivor's" experience was exactly what the Black Cats needed.

Sunderland's 3-0 defeat of Everton on Wednesday evening ensured they would remain in the top flight next season and continued their recovery since Allardyce's appointment following their poor performances under Dick Advocaat.

Their survival also confirmed the relegation of Norwich and Newcastle, who sacked Allardyce in 2008 and recently appointed his rival Rafael Benitez.

Despite leading West Ham to promotion to the Premier League and leaving them in the position of strength from which they have built under Slaven Bilic this season, Allardyce was an unpopular figure at Upton Park and appeared to have a strained relationship with club owners David Sullivan and David Gold.

But Gold has hailed the work done by Allardyce on Wearside and felt certain from the moment he was appointed he would achieve his goal of keeping the club up.

"It doesn't surprise me, he is the great survivor, and he's old, which gives him something which young people don't have, and that's experience," Gold, 79, told Press Association Sport.

"He's had vast experience as a player, and as a manager, in difficult circumstances. He's never really managed a 'glamour' club - maybe with the exception of West Ham, of course - but he is a survivor.

"When he went to Sunderland, I immediately said, 'He will keep them up'. And it was doubtful: it was in the balance for months. But when it mattered, Sam delivered.

"Experience pays off more, and is more valuable in a 'doubt' situation, where you need level heads; patience. You don't need that at a big club: you need to be adventurous, you need to be innovative.

"Sam fits that category (of a doubt situation). He would probably argue that he could also do it for a big club, but certainly his track record says that that's what he does best."

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