Limerick priest prays for Sam Allardyce

Managing England has been described as an impossible job but Sam Allardyce might be able to count on help from above.

Fr Joe Young, the Irish priest who handed Allardyce his first job in football management, has revealed he has said and will say again mass for the incoming England boss.

Allardyce’s managerial career began in Limerick in 1991 when Fr Young, the club’s chairman at the time, gave him the chance to manage the League of Ireland side.

A quarter of a century on, Allardyce is now set for the top job in English football.

Fr Young told the BBC that Allardyce’s appointment is a “very emotional moment in my priesthood”.

He added: “I’m so happy — I said mass for him this morning and I’ll say mass for him tomorrow morning.”

Fr Young’s regard for Allardyce is understandable given the outgoing Sunderland boss won the First Division during his spell in Limerick.

“I feel that he believed in what we were trying to do in Limerick — help young people come through and believe there was more to life than the welfare system.

“Until you include the excluded, how can we dream any more? Sam believed in that.

“He was a purpose-driven manager and I never experienced so much joy in the fact that he believed that if you don’t bring them through with discipline, forget about it.”

Fr Young added: “I loved him in the dugout, he was so focused. I believed in big Sam — he was brilliant.”


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