Sam Allardyce has refused to confirm whether he would be prepared to stay on as Sunderland’s manager if they are relegated next month. Although the 61-year-old is less than halfway through his two-year deal at the Stadium of Light he is understood to have a break clause facilitating a potential exit this summer in the event of the team dropping into the Championship.
“That decision will be made between me and Ellis [Short, Sunderland’s owner],” said Allardyce, who had previously hinted he would consider remaining to oversee an immediate promotion bid.
Now, though, he has made it clear that would only become a reality if he felt his squad was strong enough and his budget big enough to sustain such a challenge. “I’m not going to speculate because I don’t know how the budgets are going to lie, what and where we’d have to cut financially. And I don’t know exactly what sort of squad I’d be left with until that position arises. And I don’t want to talk about that prospect.”
Instead he remains confident Sunderland can survive while consigning Newcastle and Norwich to joining Aston Villa to English football’s second tier. “I have a squad that looks like they enjoy each other’s company. It looks like they bond well together. It also looks like they have started to dig each other out, one or two of them. That’s a massive bonus for me, them telling each other off if they think somebody is not doing it as well as they should be doing.
“And we also have a consistent performance level that has made me feel very confident about the team at the moment. It’s just a frustration and disappointment that we haven’t collected as many points as we should have done in the last few weeks.”