Lifting the threat of widespread redundancies has come as a huge relief to everyone employed at Sunderland, admits Sam Allardyce.
The Sunderland boss was feeling a touch worse for wear at his pre-match press conference yesterday after celebrating the Black Cats survival long into the night with chairman Ellis Short.
Sunderland will bank around £100million from the new television deal and avoid the savage cuts on and off-the-pitch which would have accompanied relegation to the Championship.
Allardyce saw the behind-the-scenes cost of the drop when he took over at West Ham in the summer of 2011 and is glad that Sunderland have been able to avoid that scenario by securing their top-flight status in the penultimate game of the campaign.
“It’s a huge relief for people who have been employed at the football club for many years,” said Allardyce. “They will have been thinking ‘will they cut me if they go down and make me redundant?’
“Redundancies would have happened right across the board very dramatically, because I experienced that when I went into West Ham.
“You have to cut your financial costs on the fall-out of relegation. If there was ever a season you didn’t want to get relegated, this was it because of the new TV deal being so big.”
Sunderland blew several opportunities to record precious victories during the final four months of the season, when the impact of the January signings had transformed Allardyce’s side.
But the manner in which Sunderland secured safety with back-to-back wins over Everton and Chelsea still has Allardyce enthusing about the accompanying Stadium of Light euphoria.
“It was a massive emotional relief for everybody when you see the end product to the season and the supporters give you so much love,” he added.
“We shouldn’t be about survival and fighting relegation. We should give the fans much more than that.
“But they were absolutely fantastic, as they’ve been all season. To finish our fight against relegation off by beating Chelsea 3-2 at home and then Everton 3-0, which is no mean feat, shows how far we’ve come.”