Sam Allardyce has been appointed as the new England manager on a two-year deal, the FA has confirmed. The 61-year-old replaces Roy Hodgson following his resignation after the Three Lions' second-round exit at summer's European Championships in France.
Allardyce leaves Sunderland after less than 10 months at the Stadium of Light, during which he defied the odds to keep the club in the Premier League. The Dudley-born coach has managed nine clubs during his 25-year managerial career including spells at Limerick, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and West Ham United.
A three-man selection panel of FA chief executive Martin Glenn, vice-chairman David Gill and technical director Dan Ashworth nominated Allardyce for the position at a meeting with board members at Wembley on Thursday [21 July]. He becomes the 18th man to take charge of the national team and will be based at St George's Park in Burton.
"I am extremely honoured to be appointed England manager especially as it is no secret that this is the role I have always wanted," he told FA.com. "For me, it is absolutely the best job in English football.
"I will do everything I can to help England do well and give our nation the success our fans deserve. Above all, we have to make the people and the whole country proud. While my main focus will be on the senior team and getting positive results, I want to add my influence to the great work being done across the development teams at St. George's Park – a facility I have used with my previous clubs. I know we have talented, committed players and it is time for us to deliver."
Following Hodgson's resignation in the immediate aftermath of England's exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of Iceland, Glenn, Gill and Ashworth consulted with figures from outside the game including Team Sky chief Sir David Brailsford and ex-England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster before beginning the recruitment process.
Hull City's Steve Bruce was the only other manager interviewed, though the FA reportedly consulted with Bournemouth's Eddie Howe, United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann and ex-England boss Glenn Hoddle. In addition, The Daily Telegraph understands Arsene Wenger was offered the role but turned it down in favour of staying at Arsenal.
The first game of Allardyce's reign will come in a friendly on 1 September before the opening World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on 4 September. His maiden position in international management, which comes after he was interviewed to replace Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2006 but lost out to Steve McClaren, follows a club career in which he has never won a major trophy.
After a playing career with Bolton and Preston North End among many others, Allardyce's first coaching position came with West Bromwich Albion and then Bury, before he stepped up into management when he was appointed player-manager at League of Ireland side Limerick in 1991. He returned to Preston on a caretaker basis, then remaining in the north-west to manage Blackpool. He joined Notts County in 1996, failing to save them from relegation – the only time he's managed a relegated side – though he made amends by winning his first piece of silverware the following season with County, securing the Third Division title.
This success caught the attention of Bolton, with whom he won promotion to the Premier League in 2001. Allardyce turned the club into an established top-flight side and helped them qualify for Europe for the first time in their history. An ill-fated spell with Newcastle followed before he moved to Blackburn Rovers to keep them in the Premier League in the 2008-09 campaign.
Allardyce's career has been dogged by criticism over his physical style of play and that disapproval returned when he moved to West Ham in 2011. Promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs came in his first campaign, but his failure to implement an entertaining brand of football saw him under constant pressure from the Upton Park faithful.
The Hammers parted ways with Allardyce at the end of the 2014-15 season but he was back in the game the following October when he was appointed to replace Dick Advocaat at Sunderland with the club in the relegation zone.
A run of three wins in their last six matches, including against local rivals Newcastle, secured survival but he leaves them less than four weeks before the start of the season. The Black Cats have begun the process of looking for a new boss, with former Everton and Manchester United man David Moyes the current bookmakers' favourite.
Having endured a tempestuous relationship with a number of current managers, including Wenger and United boss Jose Mourinho, who has previously accused him of playing 19th-century football, Allardyce must rebuild bridges when it comes to convincing them he can manage the fitness of their star players. The international future of captain Wayne Rooney and goalkeeper Joe Hart will be among the key decisions facing the new England boss.