Sunderland AFC confirmed earlier this morning on their official website that Sam Allardyce had been allowed to leave our pre-season training camp in Austria in order to speak with the FA regarding the vacant England manager's job.
The Football Association contacted Sunderland AFC to seek permission to speak with our manager as part of what was supposed to be a confidential discussion process with potential candidates for the position of England manager.
At Sam Allardyce’s request, we agreed to this.
Sam is very much key to our plans. After what was an extremely challenging season, we are keen to see a period of stability, both on and off the field, and we want him to remain as manager of our football club.
The ongoing speculation over Sam’s position is extremely damaging to Sunderland AFC, particularly at this crucial time of the season and we urge the FA to respect the disruption that this process is causing and bring about a swift resolution to the matter.
People have been asking for clarity on our managerial situation and, well, it doesn't get much clearer than that.
Since the win against Everton in May we have all felt a renewed sense of optimism about the season ahead under Sam Allardyce, with it seeming like the club had finally turned a corner and were, for the first time in years, looking forward and not backward.
Though the news of Sam Allardyce's potential departure should not really come as a surprise to anyone following weeks of speculation, it still hurts badly.
It's important that we really dissect the statement from the club and remember a few things:
Sam Allardyce requested permission to meet with the FA.
This process should have been confidential, and not public.
The club still want Sam Allardyce to remain the manager of our football club.
The club want the issue quickly resolved so that the disruption is minimal.
We really, really, really, really, REALLY could do without this. We are just one month from our first game of the season, have not signed any new players and it is unclear whether or not our manager is going to stick around to oversee the forthcoming campaign.
That said, the club's clear and concise stance on the matter is refreshing, and it was important that they said something. The statement, I imagine, speaks for pretty much every single Sunderland supporter - we all want and need this matter sorted as quickly as possible.
I don't blame Sam one bit - after forty-five years in football, he could finally have an opportunity to represent his country. Should he leave, he has my full backing and support. He deserves his opportunity at the England job and it's just saddening that he happens to be our manager, and that the FA have chosen to wait until now to speak to him.
Onto the FA - I really don't need to sit and rant to you about how despicable that organisation is, but I'm going to.
The press conference that followed Roy Hodgson's resignation descended into farce, with the now former England gaffer admitting he didn't know why he was there, whilst by his side sat FA Chief Executive Martin Glenn who exclaimed that he wasn't 'a football expert' - and this is a man who has a say in the future of the England manager's job.
So, it should come as no surprise that the Football Association have now decided to seriously mess with the plans of one of their member clubs by choosing to not only to disrupt our pre-season but also drag the process out.
And they are supposed to represent US?
Ridiculous. If the proof wasn't already there for all to see this all but confirms that the English FA are self-serving and put the welfare of the clubs they are supposed to represent below the needs of their own.
So, right now, the FA need to come out and either privately or publicly let Sunderland and our supporters know whether or not they'll be choosing to appoint Sam Allardyce or not. If this drags on any longer than it already has they are doing a disservice to a football club that they are supposed to represent.
What will be will be - Sunderland AFC was here before Sam Allardyce, and we'll still be here after he's gone. We just need some clarity so that we can move on from this sorry affair and really build upon what was a hugely successful end to last season, with or without Big Sam.