Stunning news on the front page of BBC Sport. Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has quit with 2 games left in the season, the day after an excellent draw at Stamford Bridge saw Bolton move one step closer to UEFA Cup qualification.
I am flabbergasted. Completely baffled by this turn of events, and Bolton fans have to be utterly gobsmacked. With European qualification not yet secured, I'm amazed he's stepped down now, but the rationale that the new manager will need time to settle and get match-day experience makes some sort of sense. Bolton's final two games will be at West Ham and against Aston Villa.
Part of me wants to be pleased, because Allardyce's Bolton teams are perpetually a thorn in Liverpool's side, but you have to respect the job he's done over the past 7 or so years, turning a club that had bounced in and out of the Premiership after an extended period in the lower leagues into a top 10 side every season. That's an outstanding accomplishment, especially in this day and age where money rules all.
The BBC article speculates that Sam's got his eye on Stuart Pearce's job at City, but with Pearce narrowly steering his side away from relegation, I'd be surprised if he got the sack, even with Allardyce available.
What I had been hoping, if the English national team's results say along the same vein, would be that Allardyce replace McClaren if it came to that, as has been suggested at times and despite the overwhelming fan opposition to him when McClaren was named manager. His strong-willed personality and take no nonsense approach could be a tonic for a side that seemingly lets the inmates run the asylum. The next England match is against Estonia in June, and it's the only match (not counting the friendly against Brazil that will christen Wembley) until September.
In the meantime, I firmly hope former Liverpool great and current Bolton assistant Sammy Lee gets the job. He certainly deserves it, Sammy is top class.
Strange day this is.