Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has told Gillette Soccer Saturday, broadcast on February 27 at 12.15pm, that Newcastle United would not have suffered relegation from the Premier League if Sam Allardyce had been given more time in charge of the club.
After eight successful years at Bolton Wanderers, Allardyce was appointed manager of the Magpies, but he would last just 24 games as the club decided to make a change in the dugout in January 2008, eventually bringing back Kevin Keegan.
Sixteen months later, Newcastle were relegated to the Championship after Joe Kinnear and Alan Shearer endured separate spells at St James' Park after Keegan left during the opening weeks of the 2008-09 campaign.
Newcastle would earn an immediate return to the top flight but Merson has suggested that the North-East giants would never have suffered 12 months at the second tier if Allardyce was given the opportunity to bring stability to the club.
Merson also feels that Allardyce will lead Sunderland to safety this season, and says that his appointment was pivotal in the improvement in their performances after just three points from their first eight fixtures.
The former England international said: "If Sam Allardyce wasn't manager of Sunderland now, they would already be relegated, and if Newcastle United never got rid of him, they wouldn't have got relegated either."
Ahead of Sunderland's game at West Ham United this afternoon, Allardyce had won six of his 19 games in charge at the Stadium of Light.