09 May 2021

Sam Allardyce’s Premier League career as West Brom boss relegated for first time

09 May 2021

Sam Allardyce suffered his first ever Premier League relegation as West Brom’s fate was sealed by defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.

In 16 full or partial seasons with a Premier League-record eight different clubs including the likes of Bolton, Blackburn and West Ham, Allardyce had never finished in the bottom three until this term.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at the Albion manager’s top-flight career.

Bolton, 2002-07

Bolton celebrate Sam Allardyce's birthday in 2006 (PA Archive)

Allardyce’s Premier League career started with back-to-back relegation battles with Bolton after taking them up from the second tier in 2001.

After a 12-match winless run in their first season plunged them into trouble, they took 15 points from the next 10 games to reach 40 points, and virtually ensure survival, with three games to spare. That was followed by a second season which saw them take only 15 points from 18 games before Christmas but 29 from 20 after to avoid the drop on the final day.

Having come through both of those fights, a team featuring rejuvenated veterans such as Jay Jay Okocha, Ivan Campo, Fernando Hierro and Youri Djorkaeff proceeded to finish between sixth and eighth four seasons running, qualify for Europe and reach a League Cup final.

Newcastle, 2007-08

Having frequently been linked with the Magpies during his time at Bolton, Allardyce took over in May 2007 but was sacked midway through his first season as Kevin Keegan returned to St James’ Park. Newcastle went on to finish 12th.

Blackburn, 2008-10

Sam Allardyce shouts instructions to his Blackburn team against his former club Newcastle (PA Archive)

Taking over with Rovers 19th in the league in December, with just 13 points from 17 games under Paul Ince, Allardyce began his reign with a nine-game unbeaten run as he turned the team’s season around to eventually finish 15th. They averaged 1.33 points and 1.24 goals conceded per game under his management, compared to 0.76 points and two goals a game beforehand.

His second season brought a 10th-placed finish before he departed the following December after a dispute with owners Venky’s, with Rovers lying 13th – they would eventually finish 15th.

West Ham, 2012-15

Having secured promotion from the Championship in 2011-12, Allardyce returned to the Premier League and enjoyed three comfortable mid-table seasons, finishing 10th, 13th and 12th even as grumbling over his style of play provided a constant backdrop. He left in 2015 at the expiry of his contract.

Sunderland, 2015-16

Sam Allardyce (PA Archive)

Allardyce replaced Dick Advocaat just eight games into the season with the Black Cats on just three points and having already conceded 18 goals. Thirty-six points from their remaining 30 games saw them finish 17th, with Allardyce memorably celebrating on the pitch with his team and their fans after survival was clinched in the penultimate game against Everton before moving on in the summer.

Crystal Palace, 2016-17

After a solitary game as England manager before leaving in controversial circumstances, Allardyce replaced the sacked Alan Pardew at Selhurst Park just before Christmas and his January signings Jeffrey Schlupp, Patrick Van Aanholt and Luka Milivojevic, mainstays of the Eagles’ team to this day, helped secure survival with a game to spare that season.

Despite scoring fewer goals in his 21 games in charge than the 17 before he took over, an improved defensive record again proved key as Palace finished 14th. Allardyce left at the end of the season and appeared to announce his retirement.

Everton, 2017-18

The Toffees were 13th when Allardyce took over and finished eighth, with a familiar pattern of defensive improvement, a slight drop in goalscoring output and a fanbase unhappy with the football on show. Despite his relative success in his 24 league games in charge, Allardyce again stayed less than a season.

West Brom 2020-21

Albion were counting on Allardyce’s familiar formula but his first four home games brought four defeats by an aggregate 17-0 scoreline to Aston Villa, Leeds, Arsenal and Manchester City.

A late-season improvement, including stunningly beating Chelsea 5-2 and Southampton 3-0 in back-to-back games, was not enough to dig the Baggies out of the hole and all hope was extinguished by the Gunners with three games remaining.

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