Sam Allardyce made it a day to remember for hundreds of Sunderland supporters as he signed copies of his new book in the city.
The SAFC manager was at Waterstones book shop, in The Bridges, to meet hundreds of supporters who were eager to get their hands on Big Sam: The Autobiography.
The former West Ham United, Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers boss spent an hour signing copies of the big seller ahead of Saturday’s game against Watford at the Stadium of Light.
Hundreds of fans waited patiently in line to get a chance to meet Allardyce.
Among them was lifelong Sunderland fan John Houghton.
“I’ve always been a fan of his,” said John, 60, who lives in Houghton.
I was there watching at Roker Park when he was a tough centre-half playing for us in the 80s so it was a bit of a shock when he came back as managerSunderland fan John Houghton
“I was there watching at Roker Park when he was a tough centre-half playing for us in the 80s so it was a bit of a shock when he came back as manager.
“But I think we should have had him here before now.”
The Black Cats are in danger of relegation however and lie in 19th place in the Premier League table.
But Allardyce has began a revival since taking over in October, winning three of his first seven games in charge.
His first home game saw Sunderland beat rivals Newcastle United 3-0, the sixth game in a row that the Wearsiders have beaten the team from Tyneside.
“We’re in a bit of trouble now but Sam has sorted the defence so we’ll see what else he can do,” added John.
“I just hope he gets some money to spend in the January transfer window.”
Also getting books signed was Fiona Hinder, of Grangetown.
“I’m a big Sunderland fan so I was always going to come down and see him,” said the 52-year-old.
“I asked him when he will get us to the top of the division and he said he would settle for halfway up!”
The book features details of Allardyce’s life growing up in Dudley, the West Midlands, before he made his breakthrough in the professional game as a young defender at Bolton Wanderers.
Following a spell as a player at Roker Park and others at Millwall, Coventry City and Preston North End among others, he took the manager’s job at Blackpool and has gone on to become one of the top coaches in the English game.