Belfast Telegraph

New Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce keen not to dwell on Newcastle past

Sam Allardyce returned to the Barclays Premier League looking to the future rather than the past as he launched his bid to drag Sunderland out of the mire.

The 60-year-old was presented to the media on Tuesday four days after accepting chairman Ellis Short's plea to launch the latest rescue mission at a club which have spent much of the last three seasons or so flirting with relegation from the Premier League.

In the process, Allardyce walked back into the north-east, where he served briefly as both a player and a coach on Wearside and famously endured an ill-fated spell as manager at Newcastle before a parting of the ways with controversial owner Mike Ashley after just eight months in charge.

As chance would have it, his second game at the helm will be against the Magpies, just as it was for each of his three predecessors, who all tasted victory, although the former West Ham boss insists the pain of his exit from St James' Park no longer hurts.

Allardyce said: "No, no. Newcastle is in the past, it's all over. I'm a man for the future, not to dwell on the past. It happened.

"Like I said at the time, I thought it was the right club at the wrong time for me and that was it. It was a decision made and you move forward.

"Since then, I have done pretty well since I have moved on, and now I am back up in the north-east to try to make Sunderland the best I possibly can.

"I want to be more successful than I have been in the past, that's for sure, and I want to stay a bit longer!"

Allardyce spent his first day at the club's Academy of Light training headquarters on Monday working with those players not away on international duty after agreeing to spearhead yet another new start for a club which have won none of their first eight league games and has collected just three points in the process.

It is a challenge he admits he will not complete overnight, but one he is confident he can pull off.

Allardyce said: "It's a big challenge. Even at this early stage of the season, it's clear that we are in trouble.

"The opportunity to have the next 30 games is probably as important as anything else to try to get us out of that trouble, and it could take the vast majority of that to get safe on the basis that it takes such a long time to catch up.

"When you have a bad start to the season, historically you know that when you look at how everybody else has struggled over the seasons.

"In particular, the club has had to wait itself three times to avoid relegation based on the last four or five games. My job is to hopefully not get to that stage, not get into that panic and fear zone where there are only a few games left and if you don't win football matches, you get relegated."

Allardyce, who confirmed talks with a potential number two are progressing, but refused to name names, admitted the chance to return to the Premier League almost five months after his departure from Upton Park was simply too good to resist.

He said: "It's almost an addiction and you have got to get back in when you feel the time is right. If I was going to get back in, I really wanted to get back in at Premier League level."


From Belfast Telegraph