Sam Allardyce has become the first manager to express an interest in the Sunderland job after Roy Keane quit the club on Thursday.
Allardyce has already been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite for the vacancy, even though such a switch would make him the first man to manage local rivals Newcastle and Sunderland.
”Sunderland are a great club so of course I’d be interested in talking to them,” said Allardyce, who quit Newcastle 10 months ago. ”I have huge respect for the chairman Niall Quinn and the job he has done.”
Allardyce, who made 25 appearances for Sunderland in 1980-81, and who worked as a coach at the club under Peter Reid, added in The Sun: ”I enjoyed the year I had at Sunderland and also when I did some coaching work there under Peter Reid. I also know how passionate the fans are about their team.”
“I also know how passionate the fans are about their team.”
Allardyce’s candidacy has was backed by Kevin Nolan, who played under him at Bolton. ”I would definitely give the job to Sam if I was Sunderland chairman – no doubt about it,” he said.
Keane resigned as manager after a recent run of poor form that has seen Sunderland lose five of their last six games with the club slipping into the relegation zone.
Despite nearly 48 hours of talks with Quinn and the board at Sunderland he ended his tenure at the Stadium of Light.
“Obviously, to find somebody to fill Roy’s shoes, there are various components,” said Quinn.
“Of course, to be a good manager, but in terms of the box office, that’s going to be a tough one.
“When all is said and done – Roy’s said it and I have said it – this club isn’t about Roy Keane, isn’t really about Niall Quinn.
“Yes, it’s maybe about the fans, but the club is the big, big thing.”
In an attendant statement Keane said: “I would like to thank my staff, players, Niall Quinn and, in particular, the fans for their support during my time at Sunderland and I would like to wish the club every success in the future.”