Sunderland AFC confirms the departure of Sam Allardyce, who takes up the position of England manager with immediate effect.
The focus of everyone at Sunderland AFC now is on moving forward quickly and decisively, with the appointment of the club’s new manager to be confirmed at the earliest opportunity.
Well, it has been coming. If anyone is genuinely surprised by this news then you must have been shut off from the world for the last two or three weeks, because Sam Allardyce's departure from Sunderland has been rumoured for some time, with the former Bolton boss taking over as manager of England on a two-year contract.
Allardyce told thefa.com:
I am extremely honoured to be appointed England manager especially as it is no secret that this is the role I have always wanted. For me, it is absolutely the best job in English football.
I will do everything I can to help England do well and give our nation the success our fans deserve. Above all, we have to make the people and the whole country proud.
While my main focus will be on the senior team and getting positive results, I want to add my influence to the great work being done across the development teams at St. George’s Park – a facility I have used with my previous clubs. I know we have talented, committed players and it is time for us to deliver.
What can we make of this news, then? Well, it's not ideal, but Sunderland have dealt with this brilliantly. Sam Allardyce built a very solid side for Sunderland towards the back end of last season and, though the battle against relegation almost went in to the last weekend of the season, from January onwards we looked and played far above that level and we were all looking forward to Sunderland going forward with Allardyce at the helm. Sadly, that is no longer the case.
The FA have acted deplorably in all of this and the club have rightly held out for a compensation fee that they feel they deserve. When you consider that Ronald Koeman - who also had a year left on his deal - cost Everton five million pounds, you have to sympathise with Sunderland and respect that they weren't just going to bend over for the FA and let them have their way.
David Moyes, though a far from inspiring choice as manager, is about the best available man around and though his last two positions - at Manchester United and Real Sociadad - were not successful he did spent over a decade in charge of Everton, taking them right from the bottom of the Premier League to becoming a side that regularly competed in Europe and finished in the top half of the table, all whilst operating on a limited budget. It's pretty easy to see why Ellis Short might favour him.
What I will say is this - thank god this is over. Finally we can now look forwards, and not backwards. The important thing now is that the team don't let this hinder their preparations and Moyes goes out and signs new players that can strengthen our side - with around three weeks to go until the season begins, we need players and we need them fast, particularly as we head off to France this weekend for a training camp which includes a number of friendlies against sides like Montpellier and Borussia Dortmund.