West Ham co-owner David Gold finally lifts the lid on Sam Allardyce exit

Allardyce deflated

West Ham United co-owner David Gold has spoken for the first time about Sam Allardyce's departure from the club and hopes the pair will remain friends.

Speculation had engulfed the last few months of Allardyce's four-year tenure, as the club were heavily linked with a host of managers from across Europe.

At the same time, the Hammers were watching the high hopes built up by their best ever start to a Premier League campaign fade and die as they slipped from fourth at Christmas to 12th by the season's end.

While West Ham have stressed they wanted a new man to excite fans and take the club on to another level, Big Sam told the Independent in the wake of his departure that actually he did not want to stay on in East London.

He said: “I thought it was the right time to leave. Four years is a long enough spell, you don’t want to overstay your welcome."

Now, two weeks on from his departure, Gold - who is believed to have been a staunch supporter of Allardyce throughout his reign - has confirmed the 60-year-old former Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United boss was not simply trying to save face.

"I think It was timing wasn't it. He came to the end of his contract at the end of the season and I think it was time," Gold told West Ham's official website.

"I think it was time for Sam. You know four years in football is a long time, I think Sam was third or fourth longest serving manager in the Premier League."

Despite going their separate ways, Gold hopes the pair will remain friends in the future and has backed Big Sam to bounce back sooner rather than later.

He added: "There's absolutely no reason there should be any animosity, this is amicable.

"I am convinced Sam will be back as a manager, he said he's going to take six months off but it wouldn't surprise me if he's back sooner."

Gold's comments echo those of fellow co-owner David Sullivan, who had previously admitted after Allardyce's exit that the separation "was one of the most amicable I've had in football."

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