Sam Allardyce



1999-present Bolton Wanderers
1997-99 Notts County
1994-96 Blackpool
1993-94 Limerick

1992-93 Preston North End (player-coach)
1989-91 West Bromwich Albion (player-coach)
1986-89 Preston North End
1985-86 Bolton Wanderers
1984-85 Huddersfield Town
1983-84 Coventry City
1983 Tampa Bay Rowdies
1981-83 Millwall
1980-81 Sunderland
1971-80 Bolton Wanderers


As Manager: Third division championship 1998
As Player: Second division championship 1978

In October 1999, thirty years after signing as a schoolboy with the club, Sam Allardyce was unveiled as the new manager of Bolton Wanderers, then in the bottom-half of the first division. Within a year, the Trotters were FA Cup and League Cup semi-finalists and playing Ipswich Town for a place in the play-off final. Although they lost all three matches, Bolton were back in the Premiership in 2001 and despite being written off as relegation certainties, Allardyce confounded the critics by assembling a surprisingly resilient outfit of high-profile loan signings and free transfers that became the first Bolton side to survive in the top flight for 33 years. When, two years later, they were in the final of the Carling Cup and finishing eighth in the league, Bolton had completed the transformation into an established Premiership side, thanks in the main to Allardyce.

Born in Dudley in 1954, Allardyce spent the first 11 years of his playing career at centre-back at Burnden Park, making his league debut in 1973 and winning the second division title in 1978. He left for Sunderland in 1980 and made 214 appearances for the north-east club, before becoming something of a journeyman, representing Millwall, Coventry City and Huddersfield Town - as well as a spell in the United States with the Tampa Bay Rowdies - all within four years. He returned to Bolton in 1985, but played just 14 times before moving to Lancashire neighbours Preston North End, where he made 90 appearances in three years with the club.

A brief spell at West Bromwich Albion followed, where Allardyce was player-coach, and he continued his coaching apprenticeship on his return to Deepdale in 1992, where he was also drafted in as caretaker manager. His first permanent appointment as boss was with Limerick, in the Irish league, but Blackpool were the first English club to spot his managerial potential, turning to Allardyce when Billy Ayre left in July 1994. His two seasons with the Tangerines promised much but ended in disappointment when the team twice managed to throw away their chances of promotion in 1996, going seven games without a win at the end of the regular season to concede their automatic promotion slot, then losing 3-0 in the second-leg of the play-off semi-final, having won the first leg 2-0.

Gary Megson replaced Allardyce at Bloomfield Road, but he was back in management in January 1997 with Notts County, bottom of the second division. Although the team finished the season in precisely the same spot, they bounced back in dramatic fashion the following year, winning the third division title with 99 points. After being happy to avoid relegation in 1998-99, County's brilliant start to the following season brought Allardyce to Bolton's attention. Sure enough, he resigned from the County Ground on October 14 and returned to Bolton, now at the Reebok Stadium, five days later.