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Hammers boss Allardyce removes self from Pontiff frame

Back of the Net's Paul Watson reports that Big Sam won't be giving up the Boelyn for the Vatican...

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has moved to curb speculation that he will become the new head of the Catholic Church when his present Hammers contract expires this summer.

Pope Benedict XVI is set to become the first Pope in 600 years to leave by mutual consent citing âÂÂdisappointing recent resultsâ and admitting that at 85 years of age he had âÂÂlost a yard of paceâÂÂ.

There will be no shortage of candidates for the Catholic hot seat, but, despite leading West Ham back to Premier League comfort, Sam Allardyce wonâÂÂt be throwing his hat into the ring.

âÂÂ[Big] Sam is completely focused on leading West Ham to survival,â a spokesman for the straight-talking jowl hoarder told FourFourTwo.

âÂÂOf course heâÂÂs flattered at being touted as a potential Pontiff and I think his successes at Bolton, Blackburn and, to a lesser extent, West Ham, show that he has what it takes to exercise the Petrine ministry. But, I want to stress that SamâÂÂs focus is very much on Tottenham at home.âÂÂ

While Prefect Emeritus for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Francis Arinze, is widely seen as the frontrunner to replace Joseph Ratzinger, Allardyce is instilled as second favourite with most bookmakers at 15/2.

Odds on the Dudley native shortened considerably after an unusually theological press conference following West HamâÂÂs 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa in which Allardyce skirted over his sideâÂÂs poor recent form, preferring to stress the importance of âÂÂdealing with the challenges of secularism and materialism in the western worldâ before likening Mark Noble to the âÂÂvictim soul of St GemmaâÂÂ.

At 58 years old, Allardyce would be young for the role, but his conservative brand of effective football is said to have impressed many in the Vatican.

âÂÂAllardyce is seen by many as the kind of man who could go to 7.30am mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and get a result. HeâÂÂs all about winning ugly and thatâÂÂs what we need,â a Vatican insider told FourFourTwo.

âÂÂOn his day, Ratzinger produces some beautiful, flowing homily, but all too often heâÂÂs guilty of trying to pass it in.âÂÂ

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