Sam Allardyce says he has enjoyed a “great journey” as he prepared to take charge of his 1,000th match when his Everton side host West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
The 63-year-old — who may be best remembered for his 67-day spell in charge of England undone by ill-judged remarks to undercover journalists — has managed 11 clubs.
He thought he had already qualified for the English League Manager’s Association’s “1,000 Club” for coaches who spent at least part of their careers in England and have passed that number of club games. Allardyce will be the 31st member.
Allardyce started his coaching career in 1991 as player-manager at Limerick, guiding them to promotion to the top tier of the League of Ireland, but those games did not qualify as they are not regarded as a full-time professional club.
“I actually thought I was already there when I left Crystal Palace because if you counted Limerick I was well past 1,000 games, but unfortunately those games weren’t added because it wasn’t a full-time professional football club,” he said at his Friday press conference.
“Having got the nod last week this was going to be my 1,000th game I’m absolutely delighted to have hit that milestone, mainly all in the Premier League.”
Allardyce, who said last May he would never manage again after standing down from the Crystal Palace job, joked he had never worked in his life.
“To experience so many different clubs with so many different cultures has been a great journey for me,” said Allardyce.
“I’ve never worked since I left school so this is just a continuation of what’s been a lovely way to spend my time in this industry.
“I look forward to the lads making sure we win tomorrow and I can celebrate it a little bit more when we get those three points.”
Allardyce, who is regarded as a fireman for saving clubs threatened with relegation from the Premier League and has never experienced the drop from the top tier, said his counsel for managers starting out was simple.
“Survival is the first thing on your mind,” he said.
“That is about understanding what is needed at that football club with the players at your disposal.”