A year on from Sam Allardyce's appointment at Sunderland, what state is club in now?

Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce
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A year to the day since he swaggered into Sunderland, Sam Allardyce is on his knees - but do the club he left behind have much to celebrate on his anniversary?

Allardyce was announced as Black Cats boss on October 9, 2015 and helped guide the club to Premier League safety, before quitting in the summer for the England job.

Lamine Kone celebrates a vital goal for Sunderland last season

Lamine Kone celebrates a vital goal for Sunderland last season

That role ended in dramatic fashion, but 12 months on from Allardyce's arrival at the Stadium of Light, are Sunderland any further forward?


Before Allardyce arrived at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland were sitting 19th in the Premier League after another poor start to the season, this time under Dick Advocaat. However, despite defeat in his first game away to West Brom, Allardyce then picked up nine points in his next six games.

This is a huge contrast to successor David Moyes’ first seven games as Sunderland manager, which haven’t featured a single league win.

David Moyes

David Moyes

That may be a harsh comparison, as Allardyce’s Sunderland did go on a five-game losing streak throughout December 2015. And Big Sam ended with a win percentage of just 29% during his tenure at Sunderland.

But there is no doubting the scale of the feelgood factor he created as the Black Cats lost just one of their final 11 games of last season to somehow stay up...or the negativity which has again gripped the Stadium of Light this season.

It is still early days for Moyes and Sunderland as the Scotsman searches for his first league win, but can the ex-Manchester United manager turn things around like Big Sam did?


After announcing that he’ll “live and die” by his transfer dealings, Big Sam quickly set to work improving the squad. Lamine Kone made Sunderland’s defence stronger and even contributed down the other end. His partnership with Younes Kaboul was another key factor in Sunderland’s survival.

Wahbi Khazri added that creative spark that Sunderland needed and the Black Cats now had a player who could deliver a set piece. Jan Kirchhoff struggled in his first appearance but settled in quickly and became a crucial component in Sunderland’s midfield.

While they are still settling in, the signs aren’t good for Moyes’ summer acquisitions.

Players such as Donald Love, Paddy McNair, Victor Anichebe and Steven Pienaar have yet to make an impact. All of these, plus Adnan Januzaj, played under Moyes at his former clubs.

Some fans see this as panic buying and could suggest that Moyes is surrounding himself with familiar faces rather than improving the squad like Allardyce did.

Allardyce was the first to bring through many of the youth players that are starting games this season and Moyes is reaping the benefits of this approach. The likes of Jordan Pickford, Duncan Watmore and Lynden Gooch have been regulars under Moyes, with Gooch earning his first international call up for the USA.


After pulling off another miracle survival there was very much a buzz on Wearside and fans couldn’t wait for the coming season. However, after Allardyce took on his dream role as England manager, Sunderland were left looking for their fifth manager in four seasons.

The next in line was David Moyes and the initial reaction was positive. This has quickly subsided after yet another disappointing start to the season.

When asked as to whether Sunderland will be in a relegation battle again this season, he said: “I think it will be, I don’t think you can hide the facts, that will be the case, yes."

It may have been honesty from the Scot, but it didn’t help the mood on Wearside two days in.

It seemed Sunderland were making progress under Allardyce. However, after a whirlwind summer and another poor start to the Premier League campaign, it could be suggested that Sunderland are worse off this season than they were 12 months previous.