Neil Humphreys: Three things Big Sam needs to do
To succeed as England coach, Allardyce must put old habits to bed
With the farcical Three Lions about to make a managerial appointment so surreal it makes their Euro 2016 campaign look normal, here are three key problems Sam Allardyce needs to fix quickly.
1 WIN OVER SCEPTICS
In the interests of both clarity and comedy, it's worth highlighting Allardyce's managerial honours.
He's achieved promotion, via the play-offs, with Bolton and West Ham, earned the old Third Division crown with Notts County and, lest we forget, reached a pinnacle in Limerick, where he won the League of Ireland First Division title.
Even Steve McClaren had a League Cup win on his resume before hiding under an umbrella for his country.
Allardyce's appointment must be considered England's nadir, the darkest hour for a country that essentially invented and codified the world game and then dropped the ball.
The 61-year-old has won nothing of note and managed no club side of real pedigree, beyond a dreadfully unpopular stint at West Ham, where the limit of his ambition was to avoid relegation.
Slaven Bilic led the Hammers into Europe last season with an attacking pattern of play entirely alien to Allardyce.
As Rio Ferdinand pointed out, Roy Hodgson's appointment succeeded only in hinting at a nation's demise.
Allardyce, like Hodgson before him, ensures that the Three Lions get the manager they deserve.
He's another Englishman with an inferiority complex about his Englishness, still insisting that he'd be a top-four manager with a surname like "Allardici".
No, he'd just be an English coach in favour of a two banks of four with all creative (risky) players tasked with tracking back. He just has a funny name.
So the first job, the only job really, that Allardyce must pull off in his opening World Cup qualifiers is convince sceptics that he is worthy of leading a mediocre nation to another early exit at a major tournament.
The task isn't an easy one. Expectations of England getting to at least the quarter-finals every two years remain stubbornly high, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Allardyce has nothing to fall back on, beyond a reputation for putting out resilient sides that are tough to beat; traits shared with every pub team coach at Farrer Park.
England are already at rock bottom. Should they descend any further, historians won't judge the Allardyce era. Archaeologists will.
2 REGENERATE THE ENGLISH SPIRIT
Steve Bruce recently lamented the loss of the English spirit and everyone laughed, partly because these trite comments suggest mental strength and endurance are uniquely English qualities.
The Germans, French, Portuguese and those bearded brutes from Iceland might disagree.
But mostly because the alleged English spirit evaporated in the Mexican sunshine the moment Bobby Charlton was substituted against West Germany in 1970 and hasn't been since seen. However, at the risk of jumping feet first into a quagmire of cliches, Bruce has a point. England freeze at major tournaments.
Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Joe Hart, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy just could not replicate their club form at Euro 2016.
Glenn Hoddle was arguably the last England manager to get close to maximising his resources.
But there is an undoubted aura about Allardyce, a willingness to get his hands dirty (and often around a poor performer's neck), that the Three Lions have sorely missed.
A chequered career, embracing Limerick, Preston, Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham and Sunderland, instilled a backbone - in both the dugout and the dressing room that eluded Sven-Goran Eriksson, McClaren and certainly Hodgson.
Allardyce has a decent track record of analysing each player in microscopic detail to get a different, better outcome from essentially the same squad.
3 COACH LIKE 'ALLARDICI'
Allardyce's argument that his birth certificate curtailed his managerial progress has always had a grain of truth.
Foreign managers are trendy. Their hiring and firing follows fickle cycles. Without Jose Mourinho, the EPL would have been spared Andre Villas-Boas for instance.
But Allardyce's view that Sam "Allardici" could challenge Pep Guardiola doesn't hold up under close scrutiny.
He loathes the "hit and hope" long-ball stereotype, but he rarely grants creative freedom without limits, if ever.
At Bolton, Youri Djorkaeff and Jay-Jay Okocha usually had their wings clipped, their explosive talents often stifled for the overriding masterplan.
At West Ham, there was anarchy on the terraces, with supporters booing dreadfully dull 1-0 victories.
The Hammers' misplaced sense of entitlement aside, Allardyce's reputation for sterile play and irritating gamesmanship are well earned.
Rafael Benitez, Arsene Wenger and Mourinho all sucked on sour grapes after coming unstuck to a rugged Allardyce side.
That's the Allardyce way. Now it's time for "Allardici" to shine.
He inherits a young, talented squad that eclipse anything he's handled at club level.
Until yesterday, Allardyce always said the colour of his passport restricted his progress.
Today, it's the only reason for his appointment. To succeed as the new England manager, Allardyce must put old habits to bed.
The long-ball king is dead. Long live "Allardici".
Dyke: Big Sam is new boss
Sam Allardyce was set to be appointed as England's next manager at yesterday's Football Association board meeting at Wembley, outgoing chairman Greg Dyke has confirmed.
Allardyce has been selected as Roy Hodgson's replacement by a three-man panel comprising FA chief executive Martin Glenn, vice-chairman David Gill and technical director Dan Ashworth, beating out the likes of Steve Bruce, Eddie Howe and Juergen Klinsmann.
Reports suggested that Arsenal's Arsene Wenger had been their first choice but, with no indication the Frenchman would accept the job, the Sunderland boss earned the nod.
Yesterday's meeting represented Dyke's final day in office after three years and, although he was not involved in the head-hunting process, he was present as Glenn and Gill presented their reasons for nominating Allardyce.
Asked if Allardyce was the man for the job, Dyke (above) told Sky Sports News: "Clearly the three-man group are convinced he's the right man and I go along with that, yes.
"We appointed a three-man committee to go out and look at all the candidates, come back with a recommendation whom they thought was the best man.
"They've taken that decision and, obviously, we'll agree with them.
"I think you'd have to ask them but, as far as I understand it, that's the discussion."
Once that is ratified, the business of finalising the details will take precedence - with personal terms still to be settled and a compensation package for Sunderland among the outstanding issues.
All parties would prefer a swift resolution, with the new Premier League season on the horizon and England's World Cup qualifying campaign beginning on Sept 4, but it is possible an official announcement on Allardyce's appointment may could be held up by negotiations.
The Black Cats, who appeared to have found stability in the dugout after several seasons of managerial strife, have already made their unhappiness clear and could hold out for a sizeable pay-off.
Allardyce took charge of the Wearsiders for what should be the final time during a 3-0 friendly win over Hartlepool yesterday morning (Singapore time), but did not re-emerge for the second half.
At the conclusion of the match, a club statement read: "Naturally, we are aware of the intense media speculation this evening. However, at the present time, Sam Allardyce remains our manager.
"We share in the anger and frustration of our supporters and would like to assure them that we are working to conclude the matter in the best interests of Sunderland AFC."
It is thought Allardyce will be offered an initial two-year deal, covering the 2018 World Cup campaign. - PA Sport.
Who will form Big Sam's backroom?
1. NEIL MCDONALD
The 50-year-old has a Uefa Pro licence and is a long-time Allardyce lieutenant, having worked as his assistant manager for four years at West Ham. He has also been on the staff at Blackburn and Bolton.
2. MARK TAYLOR
First appointed by Allardyce as a physio at Blackpool in 1995, he has since worked his way up the ladder, working as head of sports science and medicine at both Bolton and Newcastle.
He was the sole Allardyce appointee at Sunderland too, named as performance director, but was surprisingly dismissed after six months to the manager's frustration.
3. SAMMY LEE
The "Little Sam" to Big Sam at Bolton. Allardyce recommended his former assistant as his successor at the Reebok Stadium, though the appointment was brief and unsuccessful.
Lee has since worked as a coach with Liverpool and Southampton and was a former full-time employee of the Football Association during the Sven-Goran Eriksson years.
4. TEDDY SHERINGHAM
Teddy Sheringham was brought in by Allardyce as an attacking coach at West Ham and impressed with his work alongside the likes of Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate.
Left the Hammers to be coach of Stevenage on Allardyce's advice, but was sacked in February and is now available.
5. PETER REID
An outside bet but a close friend and contemporary of Allardyce for many years. His work at Sunderland between 1995 and 2002 was frequently used as a touchstone by the latter.
6. KEVIN NOLAN
The inter-generational bromance between Allardyce and Nolan, spanning their shared time at Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham, is well known to everyone. Allardyce might be seriously tempted to bring arguably his most trusted former player into the coaching set-up.
Nolan had a brief player-manager's gig at Leyton Orient, but has since departed. At 34, he may be considered too young.