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Summer transfers survey

West Ham 4 days ago
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Sam Allardyce

Latest Club: West Ham United
Previous Squads:

Bolton Wanderers

2014/2015 Barclays Premier League

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Previous Clubs: Limerick, Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn

Honours: Third Division: 1998; Championship playoff winner: 2012

Allardyce became a fixture in the Premier League during nearly a decade of service with Bolton and then took on the challenge at West Ham after less-than glorious stints with Newcastle and Blackburn.

He was never one of the game's greats as a player, but he enjoyed a good career with a host of clubs including Bolton, Sunderland and Millwall. The Dudley-born defender brought the curtain down on his playing days with West Bromwich Albion, but returned to one of his former clubs Preston to get a place on the coaching staff.

Allardyce would launch his managerial career in Ireland, after a spell in the backroom staff back at Sunderland, and his achievements with Limerick soon prompted interest from clubs back in England.

Blackpool handed him the chance to cut his teeth in the Football League and he had an immediate impact, transforming a side that had just avoided relegation to the Third Division into a team capable of challenging for promotion. After a mid-table finish in his first season, Blackpool just missed out on automatic promotion the following year, but Allardyce paid the price for the dismal end to the season as they threw away a promotion chance.

"Big Sam" was back in the management game in January 1997 when he was named as the new manager of Notts County. The Magpies had recently sacked Steve Thompson and turned to Allardyce to revive their fortunes. County stormed to the Third Division title in 1998, giving Allardyce his first medal as a manager.

Allardyce was a wanted man. He had already been rejected for the Bolton job on one occasion, but was determined to return to the club where he spent the majority of his playing career. After resigning from the Notts County job on October 14, he resurfaced at the Reebok Stadium just five days later -- on his 45th birthday.

At Bolton, Allardyce built up a reputation for rejuvenating aging players and getting the best out of previously wayward stars. His stock grew to such a degree during his time at the Reebok Stadium that he was talked about as a possible future coach of the England national side and, having gained promotion and then consolidated their position in the top flight, the club went on to achieve their highest ever top-flight finish of eighth in 2003-04.

The manager then took them on to another level. Wanderers had a great start to the season and the unfashionable club finished sixth in the table, just three points from a Champions League place but booking their first ever European campaign in the UEFA Cup.

The following season Allardyce steered them into the knockout rounds of the UEFA Cup -- eventually finishing eighth in the League -- but his eyes were opened by interest from Newcastle and he left the Reebok after eight years in May 2007. It wasn't a great move though. After a decent start at St James' Park, results faded as he was criticised for a brand of long-ball football and was replaced by Kevin Keegan with his reputation in tatters.

After almost a year out of the game, Blackburn turned to Allardyce to save their season, which he duly did and he went on to consolidate their position in the league the following year. However, following the takeover of Rovers by Indian poultry purveyors Venky's, he was relieved of his Ewood Park duties on December 13, 2010 and spent six months out of the game before choosing to take on the challenge at West Ham.

Allardyce brought all his pragmatism to the fore as he helped the Hammers to promotion back into the Premier League in his first season, and consolidated their place in the top-flight in his second, with an impressive 10th-placed finish. With some question marks over his signings and undeniable bad luck with injuries, Allardyce's third campaign was a rocky one; there was a sense of deja vu as West Ham fans called for him to be axed in the hope of bringing a more attractive form of football to Upton Park. Allardyce retained the backing of the board, though, keeping his job and keeping the club in the Premier League as his side finished 13th. 

Strengths: Experienced and forthright, he is not a man to be messed with. His innovative methods behind the scenes and attention to detail are revolutionary.

Weaknesses: His sides can be overly physical, while the man himself has been described as stubborn and cynical in his approach to the game.

Career high: Taking Bolton to 6th place in the Premier League in 2004-05.

Career low: His final days at Newcastle as the fans made him a scapegoat for "boring" football and poor results.

Tactics: Demands his players to adopt a physical approach and favours packing the midfield and playing a direct, rather than short, passing game.

Quotes: "His mandate was 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... 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." Sir Alex Ferguson on Allardyce, October 2012.

Trivia: Allardyce played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) for the Tampa Bay Rowdies; the team shared facilities with the NFL side Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Words: Dale Johnson and Jon Carter