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Sam Allardyce has only been manager for Sunderland for about two weeks, but he’s already feeling the pressure heading into the weekend’s game against Newcastle.
Allardyce, 61, replaced Dick Advocaat as manager after the Dutchman resigned. Sunderland has had an abysmal start to the season and sits in last place in the Premier League with three points in nine games. The team is still looking for the first win of the season, and Allardyce will be hoping that it comes against rivals Newcastle on Sunday.
Allardyce spoke about the big picture during the pre-game press conference, saying that it’s not just the players he has to worry about.
“There’s hundreds of staff that work here and they would have to be severely cut back if we got relegated,” said Allardyce to The Guardian as he’s preparing for the Tyne-Wear Derby against Newcastle United on Sunday.
“So my responsibility is bigger than just survival. It’s saving people’s jobs, people who have been working here for a long time and love this place. I have a big responsibility to try to make sure their jobs are safe. The fallout from relegation, the devastation, is massive.”
He also spoke about the importance for soccer in the North East of England that both Sunderland and Newcastle manage to find a way to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
“It’s really important that both Sunderland and Newcastle stay in the Premier League,” Allardyce said. “It’s critical for this part of the world. Both clubs have spent money to try to do that and whether they’ve spent it wisely enough we’ll see. That’s the key element. Recruitment is everything today because, with the money you have to spend on players, if it’s not right it quickly turns against you.”
Newcastle sits in 18th place with six points after getting their first win of the season last weekend after a 6-2 thumping of Norwich.