Leeds appoint Allardyce after sacking Gracia

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  • Post published:May 3, 2023

Leeds United have appointed Sam Allardyce as their new manager for the final four games after sacking Javi Gracia.

After only 10 weeks and 12 games in charge, the Spaniard is leaving Elland Road with the club only one point above the relegation zone due to goal differential.

The 68-year-old Allardyce is Leeds’ third permanent manager this season after Jesse Marsch was replaced by Gracia in February.

“We thank Javi and his team for their efforts under difficult circumstances,” the club said in a statement.

“The remaining four games of the season will be overseen by experienced head coach Sam Allardyce.”

On Tuesday, Victor Orta, Elland Road’s director of football, departed the club by mutual agreement.

After failing to keep West Brom in the Premier League, former Bolton, Newcastle, West Ham, and England manager Allardyce has been unemployed since the end of the 2020/21 season.

Allardyce left the Hawthorns six months into an 18-month contract after the club was relegated from the Premier League for the first time in his 30-year managerial career.

Despite his stellar track record as a club manager, he was only in charge of England for 67 days and one match before being fired in 2016 due to a newspaper sting operation.

A “shocked” Allardyce said it only took him “two seconds” to accept the offer to try to save Leeds.

“I have seen a lot of trouble before and — I could have done with a little bit more time, but four games — hopefully we can make a difference and keep this fabulous club in the Premier League,” he told TalkSPORT.

A £2.5 million bonus awaits Allardyce if he can keep Leeds in the league, on top of a reported £500,000 ($625,000) base salary for his four games in charge.

Gracia led Leeds to ten points in his first six games, but the club’s fortunes have plummeted in the past month due to a string of poor performances.

After losing 4-1 to Arsenal, 5-1 to Crystal Palace, and 6-1 to Liverpool, they lost 4-1 to Bournemouth on Sunday.

Leeds’ Premier League-record 23 goals allowed in April set a new monthly record.

With Gracia’s dismissal, the Premier League has seen 15 different managers this season, five more than any other season in the league’s history.

Two managers have been fired at Leeds this season, making them the fourth Premier League team to do so.

Former Watford boss Gracia issued a statement in which he said he was “grateful for the opportunity and proud of the team” after a “very intense period”.

“I am confident the team will achieve its objective,” he added. “It is a committed squad full of quality.”

On Saturday, Leeds will visit title contender Manchester City, while on Wednesday, they’ll host third-place Newcastle at home. The season concludes with a trip to West Ham and a home game against European contenders Tottenham.

“Obviously they are very difficult games, Man City, Newcastle, West Ham and Spurs,” said Allardyce.

“You can all point out where the easiest fixture might be and of course, there are no easy fixtures in the Premier League, but we can only go and do what we can try and achieve.”

Despite leading Leeds to the Premier League in 2020, after a 16-year absence, Marcelo Bielsa was fired as the team’s manager in February of last year.