Sunderland have made the decision to sack manager Jack Ross with the club sixth in League One – but is there any chance Sam Allardyce will return to the Stadium of Light?
Ross has had his contract terminated by chairman Stewart Donald with James Fowler to take charge of the Black Cats this evening when they play Grimsby in the leasing.com Trophy – LIVE on talkSPORT 2.
The 43-year-old former St Mirren manager guided Sunderland to the League One play-off final in his debut season as boss, but they were beaten by Charlton in the Wembley showpiece to miss out on a return to the Championship at the first attempt.
The Black Cats have been doing well this term, and they remain in the play-off places after 11 matches despite losing to Lincoln City last time out.
But the club’s off-pitch future is in doubt amid rumours that a proposed takeover by MSD Partners – a group backed by computer company Dell – has collapsed.
That is one problem for Donald to solve, and he promised to update supporters over the weekend, and another pressing matter is hiring a new manager.
Big Sam spent nine months in charge of the Black Cats after joining four years ago tomorrow, going on to lead them to Premier League survival before taking the England job.
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He has managed Crystal Palace and Everton since then, but has been out of work for over a year having left the Toffees in May 2018 and not yet taken a new job.
But could Sam swoop in and return to Sunderland now Ross is gone? He was asked that very question on talkSPORT – and gave a resounding answer.
“Unfortunately I’d have to say no to that,” Allardyce said on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. “There is no chance.
“I loved my time there, but I don’t think it’s right to go back.”
Asked about any possible return to football, Big Sam insisted he remains open to offers – but he’ll only pick and choose those right for him rather than rushing to accept the first opportunity that comes his way.
“The longer it goes the less chance there might be that somebody wants you,” he continued. “But whoever wants to give it a go and whoever is interested in me, we could have a conversation and if I have the right feel for the club that wants to go in the right direction then I would be interested again.
“You can never leave it alone if somebody comes in for you.”