Leeds United name Big Sam as new manager to replace Javi Gracia in bid to avoid relegation

Leeds United have appointed Sam Allardyce as their new manager for the final four games of the season in a last-ditch effort to avoid relegation from the Premier League, the Yorkshire club said on Wednesday.

Allardyce replaces Javi Gracia following a crushing 4-1 loss to fellow-strugglers Bournemouth on Sunday that left Leeds without a win in five games and only out of the relegation zone on goal difference from third-from-bottom Nottingham Forest.

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Following the defeat Sunday, the club's Supporters Advisory Board issued a statement of no confidence in manager Gracia, placing "on record its lack of faith in the current management team at the club."

Victor Orta, Leeds' director of football, also left the club amid concerns from club owners about decisions he has made.

Under Gracia, who only replaced Jesse Marsch as manager on Feb. 21, Leeds took 11 points from 11 games. They also have the league's worst defensive record, having conceded 18 goals in their past five games, and will now be hoping that Allardyce can solidify the team for the final run-in.

Allardyce, 68, has been out of management since his six-month stint in charge of West Bromwich Albion ended with relegation to the Championship in May 2021. He was also manager of England for one game in 2016 and has taken charge of Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United and Everton among others in a much-travelled career.

He has developed a reputation for guiding troubled teams to safety, notably doing so with Sunderland and Crystal Palace after joining midseason.

But Allardyce now has just a quartet of games to maintain Leeds' top-flight status, beginning with a daunting trip to champions Manchester City on Sunday before facing former clubs Newcastle and West Ham and culminating in the visit of Tottenham on the final day.