New England football manager Sam Allardyce, pictured in the dug out in February 1992 during the Limerick v Cobh Ramblers en route to winning the League of Ireland first division title
PLANS are being put in place to afford one of the highest civic honours to new England soccer manager Sam Allardyce.
Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon says he is to put forward plans to hold a mayoral reception for the former Limerick FC boss, who spent one season on Shannonside between 1991 and 1992.
Mr Allardyce, who has managed in the English Premier League since the year 2000, has been appointed to one of the most high-profile roles in world football.
“As mayor of Limerick, I would like to congratulate him. I’m sure the people of Limerick will be delighted to see a man of his ability taking up this new position. It reflects well on Limerick.”
He said if Mr Allardyce – known to millions to soccer fans affectionately as ‘Big Sam’ – is invited back to Limerick for a reception, he would be welcomed with open arms.
“I’m sure if we had a reception for him, it would get huge promotion through all of Britain, as well as Ireland. I would be delighted, because it is a very positive thing for Limerick. Anything we can do to capitalise on this from the point of view of tourism and visitors to our city would be very welcome,” the mayor added.
Mr Allardyce – who will leave his role as Sunderland AFC boss – will be given a contract worth €3.5m a year.
Fr Joe Young, who brought him to Limerick, said: “I only wish I could afford to bring him back”.
In Limerick, Sam led the Super Blues to the League of Ireland first division title, before heading back to England where he had managerial spells at Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham and Sunderland.
“One thing I will always say about Sam is he has passion, purpose, and drive. He had that in abundance. When I thought who would be good for Limerick FC, I thought immediately of Sam Allardyce.”