Manchester United boss backs ‘underrated’ Sam Allardyce as only man to lead West Ham to success

By Dean Wilkins

Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson was one of the first to open his arms to Sam Allardyce after returning West Ham to the Premier League in just one year – and hailed the job he has done in London.

The former Blackburn and Bolton boss took over the Hammers in June 2011, after Avram Grant oversaw his second consecutive top-flight relegation, and has led them to just two points off fifth place in the table.

Allardyce’s performances with West Ham have dispelled critics’ claims that he would not succeed at Upton Park, and Sir Alex is backing Big Sam to continue achieving great things with the club.

“He went to Upton Park a year and a bit ago and the cynics said he’s not a West Ham manager as he doesn’t play football,” the Scotsman told 

“What was his mandate? To get them up into the Premier League as quickly as possible and he got them up within a year. Tell me someone else who could’ve done that?

“He’s also had to rebuild the team and get two or three players out because of their salaries. He’s very underrated, it’s as simple as that.

“There’s a sort of impression about him being a certain type of manager. It’s not really fair and I’m pleased he’s back in the Premier League.”

Allardyce spent eight successful years at Bolton, leading them back into the Premier League and their first ever UEFA Cup spot – after finishing sixth in 2005.

And after deciding to leave the Trotters to chase silverware – he moved to Newcastle in 2007 where he spent eight months before departing and sealing a move to Blackburn Rovers.

He was sacked after two years in charge – despite the club sitting 13th in the league – and Sir Alex, along with many players and staff at the club, was shocked by the decision.

“The Blackburn situation was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen but I think Sam was more disappointed with what happened at Newcastle,” he added.

“He was unlucky that a new owner came in and wanted a certain type of manager. He didn’t get a chance in his first really big job with the expectation and fan base up there – he didn’t get a chance to do the job right.”

United host West Ham tomorrow and could extend their lead at the top of the table if chasers Manchester City fail to overcome Greater Manchester rivals Wigan Athletic.

Picture courtesy of Sergio Crahan

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