Sam Allardyce quits Crystal Palace after proving a point
Former England manager leaves with his 'head held high' after achieving 'rehabilitation' at Selhurst Park
Sam Allardyce may have brought the curtain down on his 26-year career as a manager after quitting Crystal Palace five months after he was brought in to save them from relegation.
Having achieved his aim, the 62-year-old former England coach "stunned" the south London club by leaving, says the Daily Telegraph.
He made it clear "there has been no bust-up or disagreement with Palace chairman Steve Parish over transfer funds, recruitment or signings".
In a statement, Allardyce indicated that his reasons for leaving were personal rather than professional.
"In some ways, this has been a very difficult decision to make but in others it has been a simple one," he said. "I will always be grateful to Crystal Palace and Steve Parish for giving me the opportunity to go out with my head held high having helped keep the club in the Premier League. They gave me a chance of rebuilding my reputation after what happened with England. I felt I needed another shot at being a Premier League manager and in helping to achieve something. Palace gave me the chance of rehabilitation.
"But there comes a time when you have to take stock of what direction you want your life to take - and that's been the simple part for me. I want to be able to savour life while I'm still relatively young and relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager."
Whatever his reason, Palace are now searching for their eighth manager in seven years, adds the Telegraph, "although the club are appreciative that Allardyce has told them quickly and they now have time to draw up a list of potential candidates".
It adds that Allardyce will have to pay Palace compensation if he takes another job within two years, but "he genuinely wants to take time off".
Oliver Kay of The Times says there were two reasons for his departure."One was a growing feeling that the adrenaline rush of this season's battle to avoid relegation, after his appointment in December, would be hard to replicate amid the perennial Selhurst Park challenge of meeting financial fair play regulations.
"The other was more straightforward: a mood of contentment that had taken hold of the former England manager since the survival mission was accomplished… the Palace experience had served its purpose, which was to get the England humiliation out of his system."
He will be in demand among next season's Premier League strugglers, adds the journalist, but "the idea of yet another job battling against the odds to try to avoid relegation is said to hold less appeal than ever for a man who believed that when he was appointed England manager in July last year he had served his time at the lower end of the Premier League".
According to The Guardian, Marco Silva, who left Hull after they were relegated, is the Eagles' top target to replace Allardyce.
Sam Allardyce set to replace Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace
A lacklustre line-up of festive football has been given a boost after Crystal Palace sacked Alan Pardew three days before Christmas, with the south London club poised to appoint former England boss Sam Allardyce in time for their televised clash with Watford on Boxing Day.
Palace sacked Pardew on Thursday after almost two years at the helm. He leaves after a run of eight defeats in ten league games, and 22 losses in 2016, with the club languishing one point above the Premier League relegation zone.
Most observers agree that Palace's American investors wanted change with the spectre of relegation hanging over the club.
"Although Pardew had anticipated overseeing Palace's game at Watford on Boxing Day, the hierarchy appear to have sacked him for fear that they might miss out on Allardyce, who had fielded tentative interest from clubs in China and agents claiming to work on behalf of Swansea City over the past few weeks," reports The Guardian.
Allardyce is not the only candidate for the job, says the Daily Telegraph. Roy Hodgson, whom Allardyce replaced as England manager in the summer, and Wales boss Chris Coleman are also in the frame.
But Allardyce is "the outstanding preferred choice and has been for several weeks as Palace have been considering a change", says the paper. "He is likely to be offered a two-and-a-half year deal, including a seven-figure bonus for avoiding relegation."
The former Bolton, West Ham and Sunderland boss has been out of work since September, when he quit as England boss after just 67 days following a newspaper sting.
Although many feel that Allardyce was unfortunate to lose the England job there will be some concern among Palace fans, says Ed Aarons of The Guardian.
"While there is no doubt about Allardyce’s coaching ability, given a track record that includes taking Bolton Wanderers into Europe and the saving of Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland from relegation, what will concern Palace supporters is the amount of control he will demand at a club which has always prided itself on promoting local talent."
Those concerns are echoed in The Times, which reports that "concluding a deal with Palace, barriers such as the size of his backroom team and transfer strategy will need to be overcome".