Former England boss Sam Allardyce has announced his intention to retire after sensationally quitting as Crystal Palace manager during a meeting with chairman Steve Parish earlier in the day.
Discussions between the two took place in central London yesterday where Allardyce informed Parish of his decision to leave Selhurst Park less than six months into a two-and-half-year contract.
Despite Allardyce previously speaking of the need for funds to be made available to strengthen the Palace squad this summer, the 62-year-old insisted his departure had nothing to do with a disagreement over transfer policy.
The ex-Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn and Sunderland tactician cited a desire to bow out on a high, having rebuilt his reputation after a 67-day spell in charge of England was brought to an end in September amid suggestions of impropriety.
“I will always be grateful to Crystal Palace and Steve Parish for giving me the opportunity to go out with my head held high having helped keep the club in the Premier League,” read a statement.
“They gave me a chance of rebuilding my reputation after what happened with England. I felt I needed another shot at being a Premier League manager and helping to achieve something. Palace gave me the chance of rehabilitation.
“This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.
“Steve Parish has been superb during our conversations today. I know it came as a shock to him that I would walk away but our discussions have been incredibly civilised with no recriminations and no fall-out.
“This is not about transfer targets, finances or anything along those lines. This is me taking the decision I believe is right for my family and myself.”
The news of Allardyce’s decision came five months to the day since he was named as Alan Pardew’s successor as Palace boss and set about guiding the club away from Premier League peril.
At that stage, Palace occupied 17th place and were a solitary point above the drop zone, and just one win in his first eight matches led to accusations that his zest for a relegation dogfight had been tarnished by his truncated stint England boss.
But Allardyce and Palace turned the tide and victories over eventual champions Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal during April boosted their survival hopes. The Eagles eventually finished the season in 14th place, seven points clear of relegation.
Only Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Harry Redknapp and David Moyes have managed more top-flight matches than Allardyce, while his departure has left Palace looking for their eighth manager in seven years.
Allardyce added: “I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren.”