Sam Allardyce had deal to be Man City manager ‘done and dusted’ until phone call

Sam Allardyce claims he was set to become Manchester City's new manager in 2007 before a sudden phonecall altered his fate.

City were on the verge of being brought by Thai business magnate Thaksin Shinawatra, and had ousted ex-boss Stuart Pearce. But before Shinawatra gained full control of the club, owners John Wardle and David Makin attempted to put Allardyce at the helm to usher in a new dawn at the City Of Manchester Stadium – the name of their old ground before it was rebranded as the Etihad when Sheikh Mansour brought the team in 2008.

The British pair were impressed by the work Big Sam had done with Bolton and he had left the Wanderers ready to take on the job at City. However, Shinawatra had other plans and pulled the plug on Allardyce's switch at the 11th hour, opting to go for Sven Goran Eriksson instead, leading to the 68-year-old's subsequent spell with the Magpies – who were also under new ownership following Mike Ashley's takeover from Freddie Shepherd.

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Allardyce detailed how his City move was scuppered at the last minute to William Hill and Footy Accumulators’ podcast, No Tippy Tappy Football. He explained: "I was going to be the Manchester City manager when Stuart [Pearce] left in 2007.

“That was a deal that was done and dusted which was going to happen with John Wardle and David Makin, the owners of JD Sports. I think that they wanted me to come and help rebuild the club because they’d seen what I had done at Bolton.

“I’d left Bolton and was ready to go into the job and of course the day before it was due there was a phone call from either John or Dave to say ‘I’m very sorry Sam but we’ve sold the club and they want Sven-Goran Eriksson.’

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"That was a disappointment but I ended up at Newcastle, so it looked like it was going in the right way at Man City and that changed unfortunately for me when the ownership changed, but Mike Ashley took over from Freddie Shepherd at Newcastle who chose me as manager."

But Allardyce's spell at Newcatle was short lived and he was sacked in 2008, before going onto have stints at several clubs including West Ham, Sunderland, and Everton. He was also England manager – albeit for one match following his dismissal for alleged malpractice in 2016.

Allardyce has been out of management since leaving West Brom in 2021. He was tipped for a return to the dugout with old club Everton in 2023 before Sean Dyche was given the role.

However, the veteran still has his sights on a return to the top flight and has confirmed his interest in the vacant Leeds role, if they want him. He told the aforementioned podcast in a previous interview in February: "I’d have thought by now if they were interested in me, they know where I am, so call me.

“If someone called me I wouldn’t turn down going chatting about it, certainly not at Leeds United. But there has been no call, so before anyone starts any speculation, nobody from Elland Road has called me about the job in hand.

“I watched them against Man United and I wouldn’t see any problem sorting them out, from my point of view with my experience.”

Could you imagine Big Sam replacing Pep Guardiola this summer? The change is play would be more drastic than Burnley under Vincent Kompany…


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