Sam Allardyce tells Leeds United to sort out ownership before anyone can think about his future
The 68-year-old was brought in with only four matches to save the Whites from relegation and spent Sunday night apologising for being unable to do so, taking just one point from them.
Relegation was confirmed with a weak 4-1 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur littered with errors and soundtracked by terrace anger at the ownership of the club.
Chairman Andrea Radrizzani is the majority shareholder but spent the last week trying to push through a deal to buy Serie B-bound Sampdoria. He was not at Elland Road on the final day.
San Francisco 49ers Enterprises have a 44 per cent stake and an option to turn that into a controlling one by January, but with a £500m price tag it would be economic madness to exercise that. They could, however, seek to do a deal at a more realistic price for a Championship club, perhaps £150m.
They too were conspicuous by their absence.
Those who voiced their opinions at Elland Road on Sunday are keen for Radrizzani to sell up.
But with Allardyce's four-game contract over, he called for clarity before he can even consider if he is prepared to take on the job of returning Leeds to the top flight.
"I can tell them what I think needs to be done and then they can say what they think," said the former England manager. "How is the club going to go forward and who with?
"We all know that's probably the first thing that needs to get sorted out – is it going to be bought or stay the same (ownership).
"I can't really say I've enjoyed it. I'm glad I came back, I tried my best to get Leeds out of trouble, but I can't enjoy anything when I don't win.
"The disappointment's huge but getting into the training ground every day and trying to get the players to see the situation an get out of it, I've enjoyed doing that and particularly (working with) Robbie (Keane, his coach) and Karl (Robinson, his assistant) – outstanding back-up.
"We didn't leave a stone unturned and to the fans I apolgise that I didn't do better and the players didn't do better and win at least two out of the four games.
"You need to sit down and discuss the whole infrastructure of the club and how you can take what you've got and build on it. There's many things and many factors have to be in place for a football club to reap long-term success."
Allardyce had been out of work for two years after suffering his first relegation in 2021, when manager of West Bromwich Albion. He was asked the chances of his returning to management if he left Leeds.
"I think if I'm going to do anything it's going to be here but those discussions will have to happen in the next few days," said Allardyce, who confirmed he had not had any yet.
"We'll have to thrash it out for both sides to be comfortable.
"The last thing I wanted to do was be the man who took Leeds United down. I tried all we possibly could try to get better results.
"Even though I'm hugely disappointed I'm grateful for the opportunity."
The club released a statement insisting they “remain in a strong position to build a team that can challenge for promotion from the Championship next season” but a complete reset is needed.
Allardyce told television his team committed "professional suicide" in a game where they conceded inside the first two minutes of each half, and within two of Jack Harrison reducing the deficit to 2-1.
Asked what he put the defeat down to, he replied: "Unforced errors. The biggest thing about the Premier League is the opposition capitalise on unforced errors and punish you heavily. When you do that, they don't have to create a goal.
"We gifted three goals – you can write off the fourth (by Lucas Moura), it's neither here nor there in the last few seconds.
"One two minutes into the first half (was) gifted – it could have been cleared, we could have played a different pass, could have held onto the ball better.
"We recovered from that and played (well) overall in creative terms and pressure on the opposition – and this might sound daft to you lot. We created 21 opportunities and only had two on target, though. That shows you our huge problem.
"Tottenham had much less chances than we did, 10 or 11, seven on target and scored four.
"You can see the huge difference between the two teams.
"To gift the error in the second half exactly the same way ends up being a huge disappointment.
"Jack scores a goal and then what do we do again? Let them score. You'd have thought they'd have learnt from the first two.
"It ends up looking like a very disappointing performance by the team but actually the game itself was only those huge errors that made it such a very disappointing game.
"We'd have certainly had the opportunity to win the game with the chances we created but the sad thing was only two shots on target."
Wins for Everton – who survived – and Leicester City meant the Whites would have been relegated regardless. Aston Villa’s win denied Spurs European qualification but two Harry Kane goals took him to 30 in what could be his final season at the club.