It was just typical of Sunderland’s luck that for the first time it seemed they got their managerial appointment correct, then England succumb to one of their most embarrassing defeats in years.
This led to the demise of Roy Hodgson as the international manager and the FA scouring the country for their next appointment.
Allardyce was seen as the perfect fit for Sunderland at the time. He was an experienced manager and a perceived steady hand who could deliver consistency, results and standards throughout the club. Unfortunately, this was exactly what the FA wanted for their next international coach at this time.
Rumours were rife on this day six years ago that ‘Big Sam was about to be appointed England manager, where just the previous night Allardyce was on the line (for the first half!) as Sunderland boss as they strolled to a 0-3 win against Hartlepool in a pre-season friendly.
On the night of the game, there was a sense of inevitability about what was about to unfold. Allardyce appeared to be non-committal whilst fans of Sunderland bit their nails nervously as they were about to lose the man they saw as the person who could drive Sunderland forward. The media rumours and reports were rife and rampant which was leaving everyone in no doubt about what ‘Big’ Sam wanted also.
This certainly was not helped by Allardyce’s mysterious disappearance for the second half of the game. His absence spoke volumes and fans were beginning to accept the fate of their manager.
This was sure to have left the Sunderland board furious and frustrated with Allardyce, the FA and the uncertainty of the whole situation. After the game with Hartlepool, they released the following statement.
Naturally we are aware of the intense media speculation this evening, however, at the present time Sam Allardyce remains Sunderland manager.
We share in the anger and frustration of our supporters and would like to assure them that we are working to conclude the matter in the best interests of Sunderland AFC.
Whilst the club were expressing their frustration with the unsettling uncertainty of their managers position, it was clear they were resigned to losing him and were already looking elsewhere.
On this day, Sky Sports were reporting that Sunderland had already commenced talks with a potential successor to Allardyce.
Sky Sports News HQ understands talks have already taken place with Moyes with Sunderland keen to have a contingency plan in place should the FA plump for Allardyce over Hull boss Steve Bruce.
A deal to bring the former Everton and Manchester United manager to the Stadium of Light could happen quickly once the England appointment is confirmed.
As we all know now, these reports all turned out to be true. Allardyce’s bright beaming smile took over television sets across the land as the confirmation of him as the new England manager was announced.
His infamously short stint as England manager still lingers with frustration with many Sunderland fans as we inevitably question what might have been had he not left.
Moyes’ appointment as Sunderland manager was announced a day after ‘Big’ Sam’s appointment and he cited his determination to continue the good work that Allardyce had began.
I am delighted to have joined Sunderland,”
“I am relishing the challenge and excited by the opportunity.
“I have taken over a big British club with a great support and I’m looking forward to working in the Premier League again.
“I look forward to continuing the good work done by Sam.”
The less said about how that season unfolded the better, but it certainly seemed to be the beginning of the decline for the club in what was a sorry episode.