Sam Allardyce says he is aiming to achieve “glory” with Everton and establish the Club as a "Premier League force", as the Toffees manager prepares to oversee his 1,000th competitive match.
Allardyce was appointed to the Goodison Park helm back in November, the 10th club post of his ongoing 25-year career in the dugout. He joins an illustrious and exclusive group in the League Managers Association’s Hall of Fame 1,000 Club, with Brian Clough, Sir Alex Ferguson and former Everton boss Joe Royle among the 30 existing members.
Allardyce’s first managerial stint came with League of Ireland side Limerick in 1991. He has subsequently masterminded promotion campaigns with Notts County, Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United, and in his past two posts hauled Sunderland and Crystal Palace out of the mire and to Premier League safety.
But the 63-year-old, who led Bolton to four successive top-eight finishes in the mid-noughties, insists he is fully focused on spearheading a prosperous era at Goodison Park.
“To leave a football club in a better position than when you took over is extremely satisfying,” Allardyce told evertontv.
“You do not get heaps of praise for what you have done – but it is something you appreciate with your staff when you have worked so hard.
"Now at Everton it is about what glory can we achieve together. With the ambition the Club has I am expecting to taste more glory, if that is possible, and build for the future.
“That means, on the football field, trying to qualify for Europe again – and trying to get to a cup final and win it.
“That would be in the near future. But right now it is about making sure we survive and banish the threat of relegation by getting enough points, so mathematically we are not in that danger area. And the building can start from there.”
Allardyce steered Limerick out of the League of Ireland First Division as champions in his sole season in charge and admits that auspicious start “indicated I might be alright as a manager”.
After leading Blackpool to within one point of automatic promotion into Division Two (today’s Championship) in the 1995/96 campaign, Allardyce subsequently took charge at Notts County and oversaw the team’s runaway Division Three (now League Two) title win in 1997/98 – a triumph he describes as a “godsend” for the springboard effect it had on his career.
But despite also being able to reflect on his unprecedented reign of success at Bolton, where he was the first manager to guide the north-west team into European competition after they finished as the sixth-best team in England in 2004/05, and acts of escapology at Sunderland and Palace, Allardyce is still bubbling with ambition.
“I hope so (the best is to come),” said Allardyce. “There are a lot of things we need to put in place together – on and off the field.
"We all need to improve… all members of staff at Everton Football Club need to improve, in my opinion. They need to think about how they will get better.
“There is a tendency in football to let time move on and not take the time out to go and improve yourself, to go and educate yourself more, to find the next level in your department.
“As a manager I have always encouraged staff to go out and get better. We support the players – and the better we support the players, the more opportunities and confidence we give them to perform at the highest level.
"Players have to take more responsibility for improving themselves and not rely on us all the time. And use the tools available to them to improve – not ignore them.
“It is their responsibility to find that information and monitor their own progress in areas where they are strong, to make them stronger… and in areas where they are weak, to make them better.
“If everybody has that policy and desire it will not be too long before Everton become a force in the Premier League.”