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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 April 2007, 19:00 GMT 20:00 UK
Allardyce made massive impact

By Phil Gordos

Sam Allardyce uses an earpiece to communicate with his coaching staff on the bench
Allardyce spent a total of 18 years as a player and manager at Bolton

Sam Allardyce was a candidate for the job of England manager 12 months ago.

Now he is out of work, albeit voluntarily, after deciding to step down as Bolton boss.

Just what plans the 52-year-old from Dudley has for the future remains a secret but he is already being linked with his next posting.

Manchester City and Newcastle United have both been touted as possible destinations for the man known as 'Big Sam', whose love affair with Bolton began as a player in 1973.

A no-nonsense centre-half, he began his career with the Trotters, helping them win the old Second Division title in 1978, before enjoying spells - some briefer than others - with Sunderland, Millwall, Coventry, Huddersfield, Preston, West Brom and American side Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Allardyce never won a major trophy as Bolton manager but that did not stop his stock rising dramatically during his eight-year tenure.

Not even allegations of wrongdoing - which he vehemently denies - by BBC's Panorama programme 'Undercover: Football's Dirty Secrets' seem to have tarnished his burgeoning reputation.

1954: Born, 19 October
1973: Makes Bolton debut
1978: Wins Second Division title, his only playing honour
1993: Takes first managerial post at Limerick
1999: Appointed Bolton boss
2001: Bolton win promotion to Premiership after beating Preston in play-off final
2005: Bolton finish sixth in Premiership to qualify for UEFA Cup for first time
2007: Resigns as Bolton manager, 29 April

He is, after all, currently the highest-placed English manager in the Premiership.

Allardyce has also transformed the fortunes of a club that was languishing in the bottom half of the old First Division when he took over in 1999.

Bolton may be criticised for their sometimes bullish style of play, yet the once-unfashionable Lancashire outfit have become a constant pain in the rear ends of the Premiership's top four.

They have also, thanks largely to Allardyce's powers of persuasion, been able to lure some of football's big-name foreign stars to the Reebok Stadium, the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Youri Djorkaeff, Ivan Campo, Fernando Hierro, Jay-Jay Okocha and Fredi Bobic.

It is his ability to cajole players of, let's say, dubious temperament that has made Allardyce such a hit.

After all, the ability to get the best out of your players, no matter who they are and what level they play at, is the benchmark by which all good managers are judged.

Sam Allardyce (right) and Nicolas Anelka
Allardyce was able to convince men like Nicolas Anelka to join Bolton

Allardyce has also been willing to embrace modern technology to further his ambitions.

He was one of the first managers to use ProZone, the computer system that tracks every physical detail of a player during a match.

He is also wired up to his bench an earpiece during games and has consulted the expertise of Humphrey Walters, the business guru Sir Clive Woodward credits as being a big influence in the England rugby union team's 2003 World Cup triumph.

Allardyce is also a fan of non-football methods such as massages, t'ai chi, yoga and Pilates.

Yet for all the success he has enjoyed at the Reebok after managerial spells at Limerick, Blackpool and Notts County, it is no secret that he wants to test himself at a higher level.

Under his stewardship, Bolton may have reached the final of the Carling Cup, losing to Middlesbrough in 2004, and qualified for Europe for the first time in their history in 2005.


But, with all due respect to the club, they do not have the base from which to launch an assault on the game's major prizes.

They simply do not boast the funds or the standing to challenge the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal.

Whether Allardyce has quit Bolton because he genuinely needs a break from football or because he wants to smooth the way for a move to a bigger club is open to speculation.

Perhaps other reasons will emerge for his self-imposed exile.

Whatever happens, Allardyce's managerial achievements thus far deserve high praise.

Allardyce resigns as Bolton boss
29 Apr 07 |  Bolton Wanderers
Sam's reign in photos
29 Apr 07 |  Football
Chelsea 2-2 Bolton
28 Apr 07 |  Premiership
Bolton dismiss new Allardyce link
20 Aug 06 |  Bolton Wanderers
McClaren named as England manager
04 May 06 |  Internationals
FA could have Allardyce - Bolton
06 Feb 06 |  Bolton Wanderers
Allardyce staying put, say Bolton
08 Jan 06 |  Bolton Wanderers
Allardyce aims to manage abroad
05 Oct 05 |  Bolton Wanderers
Allardyce wants to manage England
09 Sep 05 |  Internationals
All-embracing Allardyce
12 Sep 02 |  Eng Prem
Allardyce's retirement date
19 Oct 01 |  Bolton Wanderers


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