Football: Palace shock as Big Sam makes his exit

An elated Sam Allardyce after Palace's 4-0 thrashing of Hull on May 14, which ensured their Premier League survival and demoted their opponents. The club will now have to look for their eighth manager in seven seasons.
An elated Sam Allardyce after Palace's 4-0 thrashing of Hull on May 14, which ensured their Premier League survival and demoted their opponents. The club will now have to look for their eighth manager in seven seasons.PHOTO: REUTERS

Allardyce hands in his resignation as he opts out after just five months at the helm

LONDON • Crystal Palace are looking for their eighth manager in seven years, after Sam Allardyce shocked the English Premier League football club's chairman Steve Parish by tendering his resignation as he seeks a break from top-level management after a tumultuous year.

Allardyce only signed a contract till 2019 at Selhurst Park just before Christmas, having been charged with steering a struggling team into a fifth straight top-flight campaign.

That was eventually guaranteed with a 14th-place finish, and eye-catching wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool en route, only for the 62-year-old to quit on Tuesday, just five months into the role and two days after the side's last game of the season.

He was due a bonus of around £2 million (S$3.6 million) for keeping the club in the Premier League, with Palace having eventually finished seven points clear of the cut-off, and had initially suggested he would approach the task of restructuring the squad this summer with relish.

However, that stance shifted over the weekend as he reflected on "the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager".

He met Parish at the club's central London office on Tuesday and, after a 26-year coaching career that has included spells at six top-flight clubs, he informed the chairman that he did not wish to remain in the post.

 

"In some ways this has been a very difficult decision to make, but in others it has been a simple one," he said in a statement released. "I will always be grateful to Crystal Palace and Steve Parish for giving me the opportunity to go out with my head held high, having helped keep the club in the Premier League.

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    Clubs (Crystal Palace, Sunderland, West Ham, Blackburn, Newcastle and Bolton) Sam Allardyce has managed in the Premier League .

"More than that, they gave me a chance of rebuilding my reputation after what happened with England (when he was sacked as manager in the wake of a newspaper sting). I felt I needed another shot at being a Premier League manager and Palace gave me the chance of rehabilitation."

The club have now been in left in a familiar state of flux, with players unsure where their futures lie.

Allardyce's initial intention had been to pinpoint up to 10 new players with the intention of ensuring Palace avoided being sucked into another relegation scrap next term.

One of them, bottom side Sunderland's Jermain Defoe, is to join Bournemouth on a three-year deal worth around £65,000 a week and a sizeable signing-on bonus.

Palace may now seek to ascertain Marco Silva's situation as the Portuguese prepares to depart Hull, with Porto having expressed an interest in securing his services.

The former Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini, may also be sounded out.

The new incumbent will have to be shrewd in the market this summer, with the board having spent heavily in January as they sought to edge clear of the bottom.

That mid-season spending could yet influence the club's policy over the summer, as they seek to comply with financial fair play regulations within the Premier League.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2017, with the headline 'Palace shock as Sam seeks rest'. Print Edition | Subscribe