Sunderland have appointed Sam Allardyce as their new manager. The former Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and West Ham United boss has signed a two-year deal at the Stadium of Light to replace Dick Advocaat, who parted ways with the club earlier in October.
Allardyce will now be tasked with saving Sunderland's Premier League status after a rotten start to the season, where they have picked up just three points from eight games.
"I have enjoyed my break from football and now I'm raring to get back. I met with Ellis and we spoke at length about the club and his ambitions and I knew I wanted to be part of that," Allardyce said via the club's official website. "I hope to be able to help to bring the stability and success that everyone wants.
"Of course it's a challenging job, but it's something I have experience of in the past. I'm looking forward to working with the players and of course I will be relying on the help of the Sunderland supporters, whose tremendous passion I have experienced first-hand. I can't wait to get started."
Sunderland have scrapped for Premier League survival in the last three campaigns, sacking three managers in just over two years. Black Cats chairman Ellis Short stressed in a statement that he did not have to persuade Allardyce to return to the north east, insisting the 60-year-old showed a "great deal of enthusiasm" when approached.
Short said: "Sunderland is a club he knows well and he was the obvious best choice for the job. He has vast experience of managing in the Premier League and an understanding first-hand of the north east and the passion of our fans, which will stand him in great stead.
"I would like to assure our fans that once Dick made us aware of his intention to leave, Lee Congerton oversaw an organised and structured recruitment process, that bore very little resemblance to what has been described in the media.
"For example, this was a very popular job, proactively sought after by a large number of managers – contrary to much of what has been portrayed. The process was made easier by the fact that Sam was such an obvious choice.
"The other misconception is that Sam had to be persuaded to join us; nothing could be further from the truth. From the very beginning, he understood the importance of this job and showed great enthusiasm for the role and a desire to be part of moving this club forward."
Allardyce left West Ham when his contract was not extended at the end of the 2014-15 season.