Sam Allardyce is not contemplating calling time on his managerial career, irrespective of whether he fails in his bid to keep Sunderland in the Premier League this season.
Speculation has mounted in recent weeks that Allardyce will retire at the end of 2015-16 if third-bottom Sunderland slip into the Championship.
But the 61-year-old, who had a stint at the club during his playing days, insists he is invigorated by the challenge of reversing their fortunes, having ended a short spell out of the game to take charge in October on a two-year deal.
“Retirement isn’t on the horizon, I don’t think so,” Allardyce told The Telegraph. “There is a lot to be talked about at the end of the season, but I’ve got a lot more to give. I’ve got no regrets about taking this job.
“I contemplated retirement. I rotated as a pundit at the start of the season, I didn’t think a job I wanted would come up as soon as it did. It caught me by surprise. I couldn’t say no to Sunderland.
“I could have had longer off, but I knew what this club is; I knew about the facilities, the stadium, it’s a big, big club. This is a relatively deprived region in terms of wages, but it’s vibrant and there is a passionate love of football up here. That was very important for me.”
Allardyce left West Ham at the end of last season following a four-year spell in which he steered in club back into the Premier League. Ultimately, however, a perceived pragmatic playing style triggered criticism from fans and he remained without a club until Sunderland came calling.
Yet the former Bolton Wanderers boss has claimed Sunderland have always been a bigger club than the east-London side.
“I do have an emotional bond. It’s a huge club,” he added.
“It’s a bigger club than West Ham, or at least it is prior to West Ham’s move into the Olympic Stadium.”
Sunderland face Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.