Belfast Telegraph

Big Sam Allardyce to replace axed Pardew at Palace in wake of England farce

By Ian Herbert

Crystal Palace have already met Sam Allardyce and are ready to install him immediately as their manager, believing that he has a more progressive approach than Alan Pardew, who was sacked yesterday after a disastrous run of results.

The club's billionaire American co-owners Joshua Harris and David Blitzer are thought to have been ready to appoint Allardyce at the start of the month, before Palace's 3-0 win over Southampton bought Alan Pardew a further three weeks.

They have been impressed by detailed plans which he has already laid out to them, including thoughts on how he will improve the current squad and how he will use methods including analytics to lift Palace out of trouble.

The Americans have been instrumental in offering Allardyce a two-and-a half-year deal, with an 18-month break clause.

Pardew also damaged his own chances of surviving a wretched calendar year, in which Palace have won only six of their last 38 Premier League games, by declaring at the start of the month that the American co-owners "perhaps don't know a lot about football".

In fact, the pair - who have invested £50m - are thought to have been disappointed by the 55-year-old's reluctance to embrace their own enthusiasm for analytics and data in football.

Pardew - who will walk away from Palace with £4.8m, including £2.5m compensation up front - had at his disposal the analytics expertise of the American co-owners' New Jersey Devils hockey franchise and Philadelphia 76ers basketball team.

But he was thought to have actively drawn on the data no more than once every six weeks. That puzzled Harris and Blitzer. Allardyce has, by contrast, been at the vanguard of data since using Pro-zone at Bolton Wanderers, between 1999 and 2007.

Though Pardew was thought to be far closer to the Palace chairman Steve Parish, there appears to have been a unanimous sense of foreboding about the club's catastrophic decline to their current league position of 17th, three points off the bottom.

Palace will undertake due diligence on the 62-year-old Allardyce. It is a process which is likely to include a request for assurances that there will be no repeat of the kind of conversation which saw him dismissed as England manager in September, after claiming he knew a way around third part ownership rules.

He is expected to offer the club assurances that he has learned his lesson after the sting by undercover journalists.

There will also be negotiating required on the size of Allardyce's backroom team, as Palace are already taking a substantial hit with a Pardew pay-off which includes an undertaking to pay his salary until he gets a new job - a minimum £2.3m on-going remuneration.

Allardyce's close friend Sammy Lee, recently released by England, is likely to be among those he will want to bring to west London. There will also be a new fitness coach. In his proposals to Palace, Allardyce identified the side's questionable fitness and concession of late goals as a substantial area for improvement.

Allardyce could be in place for the Boxing Day fixture at Watford, given the importance of a match against London neighbours just six points above them.

Pardew said: "A big thanks to the players who gave me absolutely everything and Steve Parish and his board."

Belfast Telegraph


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