Sam Allardyce says he expects a rapid decision about his managerial future once West Brom know which league they will play in next season.
The 66-year-old signed an 18-month contract at the Hawthorns when he was hired in December with a mission to save the club from relegation but there is a break clause allowing for a parting of the ways if West Brom go down. They go into Monday’s Black Country derby against Wolves 11 points below 17th place with five matches left.
Allardyce says he will definitely stay if his team stage a sensational revival and avoid the drop; but if they are demoted, he will only stick around if he is given enough backing to lead West Brom straight back to the Premier League – and if the club do not want to appoint someone else.
“Hopefully I am staying,” he said. “Absolutely certainly if we can pull off this miracle and stay in the Premier League.”
Asked what would happen if West Brom do not survive, Allardyce said: “It depends on what we can come together on and what we can agree on in terms of what we need to get back in the Premier League at the first time of asking. It can only be done when our fate is sealed. If that’s what the club want to do and that’s what I want to do, then there are certain criteria that we both have to meet, as there were when I joined.”
“The criteria has to be met by both sides – me and the club – to say: ‘This is the way forward.’ Or they might just turn around and say: ‘Look, Sam, we’re going to go for somebody different, thank you very much’. And I’ll say: ‘That’s fine by me. That’s the way it is if that’s what you think. I apologise for not keeping you up. I’ve done all I possibly could.’ Let’s hope we’re not talking like that. But it may end up like that because we’re in a very difficult position.”
If such a talk is required, it would probably not take long. “I don’t think there will be any hesitation from both of us in sitting down for a couple of hours and ripping right through where we are and what we need to do, if we’re in the Premier League or the Championship, and then find out which is the way forward.”
Allardyce says that although he hopes to stay at West Brom, he would be available for other work if he were to leave. “It’s only the end if no one rings you up and asks to manage their club.”