Sam Allardyce turns down chance to return to Newcastle United

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Allardyce's last Premier League job was at Everton.

Sam Allardyce has revealed he turned down the chance to take the vacant manager’s job at Newcastle.

The former England boss, who held the position at St James’ Park from 2007 until 2008, was under consideration to replace Rafael Benitez, who left the club at the end of June.

However, Allardyce told talkSPORT: “I was very flattered that I was considered but it’s that thing… ‘don’t go back.’

“It never got to the type of talks people are suggesting but it wasn’t for me. I politely said ‘no’.

“I never got to talk to Mike (Ashley, owner of the club). My agent contacted me, I had a think about it and a quick look at the situation and thanked them very much.

“it’s not for me. Maybe if it was the first time around I would have jumped at it. I appreciate the offer but I was surprised, I’ve not worked for a full season.”

Steve Bruce is believed to be Newcastle's first choice.

Steve Bruce is believed to be Newcastle’s first choice.

Allardyce continued: “‘It wasn’t something I thought about for too long.

“I thought it’d be better to make a quick decision for everyone. We’re in pre-season now and they’re back in training.”

PA understands that another former Sunderland manager, Steve Bruce, is the man at the top of the Magpies’ shortlist and that formal contact with the 58-year-old Sheffield Wednesday boss is imminent.

Allardyce believes Bruce would love to be offered the position, adding: “If he gets offered the job I’ll think he’ll jump at the chance.

“I think it would be one of his dreams to manage his hometown club.”

On his previous stint on Tyneside, Allardyce explained: “It wasn’t pleasant in the end but it was in the middle of the takeover.

“I had a fabulous start but we were desperate for better players. I was trying to forge forward and they wanted to go in another direction and I have no problems with that. It was handled brilliantly by Mike and his staff at the time.

Benitez has left for the CSL.

Benitez has left for the CSL.

“The fans are a bit more tolerant now. They were very good with Rafa because there’s not as much money as other clubs have got and were a bit more patient.

“The transfer market is the hardest part of the job at the moment and getting the right players to go to Newcastle, listening to what Rafa said before, has been a tough job.”

Allardyce is not ruling out a return to Premier League management but maintains the job has to be right for him.

The 64-year-old, whose last top-flight job – at Everton – ended in May 2018, added: “I wouldn’t rule it out but the offer that attracts me may not come now.

“Before I’d (be) ‘I’ll come and try to save you, can I do something here, yeah, let’s go’.

“But what happened at Everton really did disappoint me. This was supposed to be taking the club forward and I never got that chance – and that still rankles with me.”

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Frank Lampard claims Chelsea must improve fitness after draw with Bohemians

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New Chelsea boss Frank Lampard admitted his side need to boost their fitness after a draw with Bohemians.

The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw in Dublin after Michy Batshuayi’s opener was cancelled out by trialist Eric Molloy’s late goal.

It was Lampard’s first game after he was appointed at Stamford Bridge following his exit from Derby last week.

“Fitness was our issue, we’ve been working hard on it, even this morning,” he told a press conference after the game.

“Fitness was always going to be an issue against a team that’s halfway through their season. We certainly pushed ourselves to the limit.

“The quicker we get there the better. It’s about individuals getting fit. Some of the young lads were really good. We want to get a level of fitness and intensity in their game.”

Lampard gave Danny Drinkwater the chance to impress from the start after he was frozen out by old boss Mauricio Sarri.

Batshuayi, who had been on loan at Crystal Palace from January, also started and he fired in from close range after eight minutes.

Tiemoue Bakayoko and Kurt Zouma featured after their loans last term but Lampard was denied victory following Molloy’s 89th-minute leveller.

“I’ve enjoyed it, we’ve got great support over here. It was a tough game for us, we’ve only been here for a few days. But I’m pleased with how we got on,” Lampard added.

“I’ve been pleased with the players’ attitude since I arrived last week.”

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Newcastle to approach Sheffield Wednesday for Steve Bruce as Rafael Benitez replacement

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Newcastle are ready to make an approach to Sheffield Wednesday as they attempt to appoint Steve Bruce as Rafael Benitez’s replacement.

PA understands the 58-year-old Owls boss is the man at the top of the Magpies’ shortlist and that formal contact is imminent, with the club due to embark on their Premier League Asia Trophy trip to China on Saturday.

It is understood they would have to pay compensation of around £1million to release the Corbridge-born former Manchester United defender from his current contract.

Should Newcastle push home their interest, the former Sunderland manager will have a job on his hands to win over supporters still furious at Benitez’s departure, with some planning fresh protests over owner Mike Ashley’s controversial approach to running the club.

A series of fans groups have joined forces to call for a boycott of the opening fixture of the new Premier League season against Arsenal at St James’ on Sunday, August 11.

In addition Bruce, who has been linked with the Magpies in the past, would face the task of rebuilding a squad which has been shorn of leading scorer Ayoze Perez, striker partner Salomon Rondon, out-of-contract midfielder Mohamed Diame and loan signings Kenedy and Antonio Barreca since the end of the last campaign.

Rafael Benitez

While sources on Tyneside have insisted the £30million Leicester paid for Perez will be re-invested in the squad, a new manager will have to attract players to a club with an increasingly toxic reputation while operating under the restrictions which prompted Benitez to reject a contract extension and head for Chinese club Dalian Yifang instead.

Bruce is being targeted with 10 days having elapsed since the Spaniard’s contract expired, with a series of potential candidates, including Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, Patrick Vieira, Steven Gerrard and Chris Wilder, who signed a new long-term contract with Sheffield United on Tuesday evening, having distanced themselves from the job.

He played down the rumours when asked about them at Wednesday’s pre-season training camp in Portugal.

He told the Sheffield Star: “It’s news to me. God only knows what happened on Tuesday afternoon. John Terry was favourite yesterday. It was Mikel Arteta the day before, so who knows?

“As far as I am concerned, I am here, I am going home tomorrow and looking forward to walking the dog.”

Bruce was appointed by the Owls in February, four months after parting company with Aston Villa, who subsequently went on to clinch promotion via the Championship play-offs under successor Dean Smith.

Meanwhile, Benitez has aimed a thinly-disguised barb at Ashley in a blog looking back over his first week as manager of Dalian.

He wrote: “I must say that I have had more meetings with the chairman, the president and the general manager this week than I had in three years at Newcastle.”

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