Sam Allardyce was last night in talks with the FA about the vacant England manager’s job, 20 years after suffering the ultimate indignity of being sacked from Blackpool by a chairman in prison.
The Seasiders gave former defender Allardyce his first permanent manager’s job in English football in 1994, after he had cut his teeth in coaching at Preston.
After a mid-table finish in his first season at Bloomfield Road, Allardyce agonisingly missed out on both automatic promotion and play-off glory in League Two (as the third tier was then known) in 1995-96.
Pool looked set to go up as runners-up to Swindon only for Oxford to pip them on the final day. Third remained Pool’s highest finish in the league pyramid since 1977.
In the play-off semi-finals, Pool won the first leg 2-0 at Bradford only to lose the Bloomfield Road return 3-0.
Allardyce was then dismissed by Owen Oyston, just days after the Blackpool chairman had been sentenced to six years in prison.
Allardyce bounced back the following year at Notts County, the team beaten by Bradford in that play-off final, before stints at Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham and, for the past nine months, Sunderland.
In three of those roles he was assisted by Neil McDonald, who branched out alone last summer for a disastrous year as Blackpool boss.