Prior to Sunderland’s preseason friendly against Hartlepool United, it was widely reported that their manager, Sam Allardyce, was certain to fulfill his dream of becoming manager of the England national team. All eyes were on Allardyce when he took his seat on the bench, but once the match began, Big Sam’s eyes weren’t on the pitch for very long.
From the Sunderland Echo:
Sam Allardyce only witnessed 45 minutes of what was his final game as Sunderland boss.
The soon-to-be England manager spent the second half at Hartlepool United in the Victoria Park tunnel, chatting with his players and club staff at the end of what is a painfully brief stint in charge of the Black Cats.
And during the 45 minutes that he was on the bench, he chatted on the phone, presumably arranging to have a pet lion delivered to his new office at FA headquarters. Then he left before the final whistle.
Told that Sam Allardyce left Victoria Park at 9pm, 15mins before full time. Sunderland are now effectively managerless.
— Craig Hope (@CraigHope_DM) July 20, 2016
Given the situation, and his actions during the match, it’s odd that Allardyce even bothered to show up. But I guess those pictures of a jubilant Big Sam with a “make way for the England manager” grin on his face wouldn’t have been able to be taken if he didn’t.