West Brom head coach Tony Pulis has praised Sam Allardyce ahead of providing the opposition for his counterpart’s return to Premier League management at Sunderland.
Sunderland travel to the Hawthorns on Saturday, searching for a maiden league win of the season with their new man at the helm for the first time.
Pulis points out that Allardyce has impressive form in steering teams away from relegation trouble and he also praised the 60-year-old’s time at West Ham.
Allardyce rarely enjoyed popular support from the Upton Park faithful despite steering their side to promotion from the Championship in 2011-12 and going on to re-establish the Hammers in the top flight.
West Ham are currently sixth in the Premier League, four points behind leaders Manchester City, under Allardyce’s successor Slaven Bilic.
“I know Sam well and I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves,” Pulis said, as quoted by the Daily Star.
“He did a smashing job at West Ham and you know his teams are always well drilled and well organised.
“People forget that when they got relegated, he got them promoted in the first year and they kicked on from there.
“He laid down the groundwork for the next manager who is now reaping the rewards.”
Allardyce took aim at the West Ham fanbase over their tempestuous relationship with him in the latest serialised extract from his autobiography.
In the passage released to the Sun, the former Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers manager accused supporters at the East London club of being “brainwashed” into believing in the fabled “West Ham way”.
“As soon as I was appointed West Ham manager in 2011 the big debate was whether I would follow the ‘West Ham way’, which nobody could define but, whatever it was, I apparently I didn’t play it,” he said.
“I felt the West Ham way was about wearing your heart on your sleeve and showing passion for the club and winning.
“But the fans were being brainwashed into thinking that, historically, the club had a particular style of play which was akin to Barcelona, which was potty.
“I once called the supporters deluded and I stand by that. I don’t know who invented the ‘West Ham way’ phrase, but it’s a millstone around the club’s neck.”