Newly-appointed Everton boss Sam Allardyce insists the chance to rub shoulders with the Premier League elite was the determining factor in his decision to end his self-imposed retirement.
Former England boss Allardyce has signed an 18-month contract at Goodison Park and becomes the permanent successor to Ronald Koeman, who was sacked in October with the club languishing in the relegation zone.
The 63-year-old has been out of work since leaving Crystal Palace at the end of last season whereupon, having guided the Eagles to safety, he hinted at bowing out of the game for good.
But in the intervening months his stance softened and, having always billed himself as capable of managing at the highest level, Allardyce insisted the chance to revitalise Everton was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“I’ve always thought Everton was a great club. It is a great club.” said Allardyce. “Obviously, the club has gone through a difficult spell and hopefully I can put that behind us as quickly as possible and start looking upwards again.
“Ultimately, it’s the ambition of the owner and the board allied to the fact that it’s Everton and all the fantastic history, which have proved to be key for me.
“Ambition is important for any manager or coach, owner or director. It’s what you need to have and hopefully we can deliver to the fans to get this club high up the league. That’s what we’re aiming for.”
With Allardyce watching on from the stands, Everton ended the turbulent caretaker spell of David Unsworth with a 4-0 hammering of West Ham on Wednesday, a win which lifted the Toffees to 13th place.
“I think that whatever’s happened before we’ve just got to all rally around together because we are all in it together and let’s pull in the same direction,” added Allardyce, who has never suffered relegation from English football’s top flight.
“Let’s try and get a healthy spirit around the club. That’s difficult when you’re losing but the win over West Ham and the magnificent atmosphere around Goodison has lifted everyone.
“Last season showed what the club is trying to build and we need to demonstrate that level of ambition and assuredness again. We can. It’s a question now of putting in the work to do that and I’m really enthused by the prospect.”
Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s largest shareholder, said: “Sam understands the long-term ambitions we have for this great club and I know he is a man who gives it his all and is focused 24 hours a day on the club.
“Evertonians are the most passionate and best fans in the world and when the club does badly we all suffer. But in football everything changes very quickly, so I hope this will help to propel us to where we should be.”