Allardyce said: “Rebuilding the organisation is first and foremost. A lot of my stuff comes from George Graham, who I worked with at Millwall. All the stepping up, pushing out, dropping back, shuffling over. A lot of that stuff is what I’ve taken with me throughout my time, becuase we all know the importance of the clean sheet.”
Allardyce played under Graham during the latter’s management spell with Millwall, lining up in the defence of a coach renowned for his ability as a teacher of defensive football.
The Sunderland boss spent two years playing under Graham, before moving to a number of other sides in England, and then starting his coaching career in the later 1980’s.
Since Allardyce’s retirement, the 60-year-old has also become known as a defensive coach, with his pioneering use of statistics making his teams effective - if not boring to watch.
Graham’s time at Millwall was his first management job, before he moved onto a very a successful time in charge of Arsenal. He won two First Division titles, two League Cups, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, and the FA Cup.
After nine years in charge of the Gunners, Graham left, and was appointed Leeds boss - leading them to UEFA Cup qualification in 1998. Admittedly, the football was once again poor, but he completed his main job of improving Leeds’ defence.
The ex-Scottish international then moved to Spurs, and led the Lilywhites to a League Cup trophy in 1999, their first silverware in eight seasons. However, he could not improve their Premiership form, and left in 2011 - his last management job.
Allardyce is the natural successor to Graham in terms of style and management, and although he has not enjoyed as glittering a career as the former Arsenal boss, the current Sunderland manager has forged a successful career in the top flight in his own right.