Sam Allardyce has finally come to terms with his ‘Fireman Sam’ tag as he prepares to embark upon his latest rescue mission.
The man who used to bristle at being branded a survival specialist has been parachuted in to save West Brom, his eighth Premier League club, from relegation.
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Allardyce guided Bolton into Europe and led West Ham to promotion, achievements which earned him a shot – albeit brief – at the England job.
But it is the exploits at the foot of the table in keeping Blackburn, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Everton up which seem to define him, a fact the 66-year-old is now comfortable with.
“At some of the clubs we’ve only done until the end of the season. I’ve said to the owners ‘now I’ve saved you, go and find the man you want’,” he said.
“That’s why I’ve moved on, and the clubs have moved on. And then later down the line someone comes along and says ‘Sam’s done it before, can he do it again?’.
“In the early years it wasn’t like that. It was about building your reputation as a good manager through all the divisions, and finally building a reputation by taking Bolton to where they were.
“But most of that has been forgotten again now, it’s about who I am at this moment in time.
“I have already had texts from my mates calling me ‘Red Adair’. I can’t get away from that tag.”
Allardyce has been out of management since leaving Everton in May 2018 but when the Baggies – 19th in the table – came calling, the lure of the Premier League proved too much to resist.
“That’s the stimuli you need. It gives you energy. It makes you feel worthwhile,” Allardyce added.
“When you are used to the level of scrutiny I’ve been under all these years it gets embedded in your DNA.
“It’s a bit of a relief in the early stages but as time goes on… I wanted to be in the Premier League. This opportunity came along and I felt it was right.
“It’s what everyone thinks I can do, so I thought let’s give it a shot and see if I can do it again.
“I’ve been addicted to football since I was 15. I thought I’d cracked it after two years (out) but my wife said she could see I’d been restless for months, so she knew I’d take this job.”