Sam Allardyce is the new manager of Leeds FC till the end of the season. Leeds appointed him on Wednesday after the relegation-threatened club fired manager Javi Gracia.
For the second half of the 2020–21 season, Allardyce served as West Bromwich Albion’s head coach. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to keep the team in the Premier League.
That hasn’t stopped Leeds from appointing Allardyce, previously regarded as a survival specialist, as his replacement for Gracia, who leaves after two months in charge and having won only three of his 12 games.
Leeds lost five of its seven games in April and allowed 23 goals. It is the most in a single month in Premier League history. Gracia’s last game was a 4-1 loss at Bournemouth on Sunday.
With four games remaining, the team is in fourth-to-last place in the standings, just a goal difference away from relegation.
Sam Allardyce Statistics
Sam Allardyce will earn more than 3 million pounds ($3.75 million) if he keeps Leeds in the Premier League, according to the British newspaper The Times of London. It is his ninth managerial job in the top flight and his sixth during a season, both of which are records.
“Obviously, there’s a tingle that runs through your veins when you take over a football club,” Allardyce said before announcement of his appointment.
“I know it’s in big trouble. I’ve seen a lot of trouble in the past, and hopefully — I could have used a little more time, but four games — we can make a difference and keep this fantastic club in the Premier League.”
The opportunity, according to Allardyce, “shocked” him.
“I never thought there would be jobs available at this time of year,” he said. “I knew who it was right away when the phone rang with a name I recognized.”
So it only took me two seconds to say yes.”
Allardyce’s four-game stint begins with matches against two of the top three — Manchester City at home and Newcastle away — before a trip to West Ham and a season-ending home match against Tottenham, which is vying for European qualification. West Ham and Newcastle United are two of Allardyce’s previous clubs.
Allardyce to lead the Leeds now
It is a desperate late-season move from Leeds, which has gone from having something of a cultural phenomenon in Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa in charge to appointing Allardyce, an old-school English manager who has taken charge of 537 Premier League games, in the space of about a year.
The difference in styles between the two coaches could not be more pronounced, highlighting Leeds’ lack of direction.
Nowhere exemplifies Allardyce’s preferred direct, pragmatic style more than the title of his weekly podcast, “No Tippy Tappy Football.”
The week at Elland Road has been chaotic, with director of football Victor Orta losing his job on Tuesday.
The Premier League has a wild season overall, with a record number of managers getting out of job this year as the pressure on clubs to make it to Europe or stay in England’s lucrative top division wears thin.
Southampton, Leicester, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, and Leeds are the six teams with interim managers.
The appointment of Allardyce continues a trend of clubs appointing experienced managers to achieve end-of-season goals.
In March, Palace hired Roy Hodgson, a 75-year-old former England coach. He stayed there for the final weeks of the campaign as the team was on the verge of being demoted. Palace has won four of its six games under Hodgson, virtually ensuring its survival.
Middlesbrough appointed 74-year-old Neil Warnock as manager in February in an attempt to avoid relegation in the second-tier Championship. It appears to have worked, as the team has risen from the abyss as the season comes to a close.