Big Sam had stated that he didn’t really want the Sunderland job at this juncture of his career - who could blame him?
The club were a shambles on and off the pitch, and appeared to be sleepwalking to relegation. Allardyce had stated before how he likes to be loved and appreciated, and said that this may have had a role in him going for the job after his wife read some messages online about him taking the job.
When I was at West Ham my wife, Lynne, would constantly read the supporters website to see what new insults were being fired,” Allardyce said. “It upset her but she couldn’t keep away from the screen. Now she’s been reading the Sunderland fans’ site and she tells me the reaction has been very positive, which makes me feel very excited to get going.
Everyone wants to be praised and to feel wanted and I just hope I can give the Sunderland supporters some of the excitement they are looking for.
It appeared inevitable that Allardyce would eventually arrive in the North East to manage Sunderland. It felt like a matter of time - and on this day seven years ago, the ex-Bolton gaffer spoke to the media for the first time about his intentions, and the monumental task that was facing him.
After the departure of Dick Advocaat, the club needed a steady hand to take on this task. Sunderland was a right mess and needed improvements fast. Allardyce knew this - and was quick to play down expectations that things would change swiftly for his new team.
Without trying to sound negative, the new manager stressed to the media that he and his management team would need time, and there were certainly no quick fixes for the mess that the club found itself in.
He was quick to cite the defensive frailties that were so clear before his appointment and stated that this was something that had to chance immediately if they were going to give themselves any chance of survival.
I don’t want to sound negative but we have got to be realistic and accept it is unlikely that we will turn things around overnight.
If you get into double figures in points from your first eight games your chances of getting relegated are dramatically reduced. Sunderland have got three points, the ‘r’ word is already back – relegation-threatened Sunderland.
It’s a big burden to play under that pressure in front of your own fans, the supporters are anxious, the players are anxious and that’s when costly unforced errors creep in.
I won’t know exactly how difficult this job is going to be until I get in amongst the players. From a distance, I feel I can sort out the defence and I think there’s enough there to score a few goals.
It’s not rocket science. Anyone can see we have the worst defensive record in the league and the first thing we have to stop is the number of goals we are shipping.
He knew what was needed straight away, and he was correct - it did take the new manager time before he turned things around. New January signings Jan Kirchhoff, Wahbi Khazri, Lamine Kone and Dame N’Doye were absolutely crucial to our eventual survival.