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Games That Changed My Life: Sam Allardyce tells FFT the defining fixtures that made him

Sam Allardyce
(Image credit: PA)

Sam Allardyce is a management legend. From the days of being Galacticos and European football to Bolton, to his stints at Blackburn, Everton, Sunderland, West Ham and West Brom, Big Sam has been there, done it and got the t-shirt. But does he count his one match as England manager as one of the biggest four of his life? You bet he does. 

Here, he tells FourFourTwo about the matches that changed his life...

This article first appeared Issue 294 of FourFourTwo. Subscribe now and get 13 issues a year delivered straight to your door.

Notts County 1 Leyton Orient 0

“Winning the league so early helped to establish me as a manager – I think it’s the quickest anyone’s won it since the war. Mark Robson scored the winner. Although we had record-breaking runs, it was probably the only time Meadow Lane was packed to the rafters.”

Bolton 3 Preston 0 (First Division play-off final)

“I started my playing career at Bolton as a 15-year-old, so becoming manager, getting to the play-offs and beating Preston in Cardiff was special. We didn’t think we’d do it that season because we had sold some of our best players in Eidur Gudjohnsen, Claus Jensen and Mark Fish. But we pulled together loan players and players who had fallen out with other clubs, and got promoted.”

Sunderland 3 Everton 0

“Sunderland had three points from eight games when I took over. They needed new players and I managed to get some in; not long after that we beat Manchester United, then in May we beat Chelsea 3-2, but beating Everton next to stay up was the big one. It was a relief, achieving what I was brought in to do.”

Slovakia 0 England 1

“I have to choose the one win I had with England in... Latvia? Lithuania? [FFT: Slovakia] Slovakia, yeah. It was a great pleasure to work with those players for that short period and get so much out of them in that game – even though we missed chances and should’ve won about 4-0. I was thinking we’d be criticised if we didn’t win, but Adam Lallana scored – it was a great feeling.”

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Sam Allardyce made over 500 club appearances throughout his professional career as a footballer before becoming one of the foremost manager in the English game. He has won promotion with Limerick, Notts County, Bolton and West Ham, and has also managed Blackpool, Newcastle, Blackburn, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Everton and West Brom, as well as a brief stint as England coach.