Why Steve McClaren does NOT fear the Sam Allardyce factor

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren.
Newcastle manager Steve McClaren.

Steve McClaren says Sam Allardyce’s arrival at the Stadium of Light has NOT made Newcastle United’s task any harder.

The Wear-Tyne derby tomorrow will be Allardyce’s first home game as Sunderland manager.

I think Sam’s a great club manager, as he’s proved wherever he’s gone and that’s what he’s like. I think he’ll do a good job at Sunderland – although hopefully not too good on Sunday!

Steve McClaren

Allardyce has been tasked with keeping the club in the Premier League.

Newcastle, beaten in the last five derbies, are three points above basement club Sunderland, beaten by West Bromwich Albion last weekend.

United head coach McClaren, while aware of the impact managerial changes on Wearside have had on recent derbies, doesn’t think the game will be any harder with Allardyce in charge than it would have been had Dick Advocaat not walked away from the job during the international break this month.

Asked if Allardyce’s appointment had made the job harder, McClaren said: “I don’t think so.

“I think it was difficult enough. I watched them against West Ham. This is a tough game. I don’t think the game’s different now than it was two weeks ago.

“It’s different in terms of Sunderland, (but) I don’t think it’s different in terms of where we are and what we want to achieve.”

McClaren, however, feels the appointment of Allardyce – who he controversially beat to the England job in 2006 – will prove an astute one.

“I respect Sam as a person, as a manager,” said McClaren.

“(He has) great experience and he’s done a good job wherever he’s gone. And rightly so.

“Good to see him back in work – I wish him well.”

Allardyce’s autobiography was published this week.

In the book, the 61-year-old wrote that he felt he was wrongly passed over for the England job after the departure of Sven-Goran Eriksson.

As it was, England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and McClaren lasted just 16 months in the post, and was replaced by Fabio Capello.

Asked if he saw Allardyce as his big rival for the post at the time, McClaren said: “There was quite a few (candidates), as there always is.

“I’m sure the next one he’ll be put forward for that as well – if that comes up.

“But I don’t think Sam is concentrating on that – I certainly wouldn’t recommend it, to actually do it. That’s just a personal opinion.”

Allardyce also said in his book that he wants to be considered for the post when it next becomes available.

Asked if he should be considered, McClaren said: “I wouldn’t like to comment, really.

“I think Sam’s a great club manager, as he’s proved wherever he’s gone and that’s what he’s like.

“I think he’ll do a good job at Sunderland – although hopefully not too good on Sunday!”