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Big Sam returns

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We’ve seen it all before. The season is reaching its end. There is panic among the relegation-threatened sides. The financial hit incoming due to relegation is too huge to consider. On the pitch, the team is leaking goals, and can’t score to save their life. It’s all doom and gloom. Enter, the “firefighter” brigade of the Premier League. This time, Leeds United are the ones making a plea to Sam Allardyce, a proud member of the brigade. With Sam Allardyce’s relegation record, it’s no wonder that the Yorkshire club has thrown away its more traditional “Bielsa” principles to prioritise safety above everything.

So, what is Sam Allardyce’s relegation record? Can he keep Leeds United up and add to his list of “saved clubs”? We take a look-

Sam Allardyce relegation record 

Remarkably, throughout his career, Sam Allardyce has been relegated only once from the Premier League. The relegation happened when he was parachuted into West Bromwich Albion with the club lying in 19th place when he arrived. However, this remains the one and only blot on his career.

It is a blot because traditionally, whenever “Big Sam” has been appointed, he has left the club in a better place than he found it in. Here are some examples-

Everton (2017/18)

When Allardyce arrived- 13th

When he left- 8th

Fans of The Toffees will now look back at this tenure with much more appreciation. The club is threatened with relegation and appointed Sean Dyche to save them.

In 2017/18, Ronald Koeman’s impressive first season gave way to a collapse in the second year. When Everton were unable to get Marco Silva, their first-choice, they turned to Sam Allardyce, with the club lying in 13th place and in free fall.

He steadied the ship, and Everton finished eighth, a high they haven’t improved on since.

Crystal Palace 2016/17

When Allardyce arrived- 17th

When he left- 14th

Another club that turned to a firefighter this season in Roy Hodgson, Crystal Palace are no strangers to flirtation with relegation.

In the 2016/17 season, Crystal Palace were sleepwalking to relegation under Alan Pardew when Sam Allardyce took over. In the last 13 games of the season, 7 wins arrived as Allardyce engineered a great escape. Defensive solidity was the name of the game as famously leaky Palace kept five clean sheets in six games during a stretch of the season to avoid the drop.

Sunderland 2015/16

When Allardyce arrived- 19th

When he left- 17th

Another club, another example of the history treating his tenure with kindness. At the time, Sunderland looked like relegation favourites every season, before going down eventually a year later in the 2016/17 season. However, this is arguably the biggest escape job of his career.

The Sunderland side since then even fell to the third division of English football, getting promoted only this season. Allardyce took over a side everybody had written off, pulled off a famous 3-0 win against fierce rivals Newcastle, and steered the club to safety in remarkable circumstances in what would eventually be their last great escape.

Blackburn Rovers 2008/09

When Allardyce arrived- 19th

When he left- 13th

December month, Blackburn still haven’t won in the league. They are lying 19th and Paul Ince has been dismissed. Who do they call?

Sam Allardyce’s relegation record saw one of its finest entries with this one. He guided the team to a nine-game unbeaten streak upon his arrival, and the club finished 15th that season. However, here he also showed he could be more than just a firefighter.

Blackburn finished 10th the next season until their trigger-happy owners sacked him with the club in 13th place. They eventually finished 19th and got relegated. They haven’t been back since. Another entry to Sam Allardyce’s relegation record that has aged like wine.

Sam Allardyce’s relegation record under threat at Leeds?

Now that Sam Allardyce’s relegation record has a blot in the entry with his failure at West Brom, it would be interesting to see how he fares at Leeds. The club is above the relegation zone only on goal difference and with only four games remaining, and all against formidable opposition, this could be his toughest gig yet.

Leeds are leaking goals, conceding the most in the Premier League at the time of writing with 67. Sam Allardyce is a master at tightening up the defence. His tenure will start with a baptism of fire at the home of the champions, Manchester City.

If he manages to somehow save Leeds considering the fixtures to come and the short bandwidth he has been provided, it would be one of the greatest entries to the Sam Allardyce relegation record.

Vatsal Gupta
A die-hard Red Devil, who has straight up not had a good time since 2012. Lives on Korean dramas and books and can often be heard talking about armchair psychological stuff.

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