Sam Allardyce is glad he did not listen to his school careers officer who told him he was “stupid” to think he could have a career in football.
Manager Allardyce’s future is in sharp focus as West Bromwich Albion’s immediate return to the Championship draws ever closer.
They cannot mathematically be relegated yet, even if they lose their local derby with Wolves at The Hawthorns on Monday, but the chances of the Baggies retaining their Premier League status are now so slim it is nearly impossible to imagining it happening.
Allardyce has already said he wants reassurances about the backing he would get to lead a promotion fight before he commits to a second season with the club – and at the age of 66, there is no guarantee he would get another job if he did opt to step away.
Still, with more than 1,000 games and eight stints at different top-flight clubs as a manager, in addition to 578 appearances as a player, he has more than justified his decision to make football his chosen profession.
“I never bothered about anything else apart from football,” he said. “I never bothered about school.
“Teachers were a pain in the backside – not that I want any kids to ignore their education – but all I was going to be was a footballer and no-one was ever going to stop that dream.
“Not even the careers officer when he sat me down and said I was stupid. So if that careers officer is still alive, up yours.”
The break clause in Allardyce’s two-year contract at West Brom can be triggered in the summer.
Until then, he said: “The only way to get me out is to sack me.”
Allardyce’s aim is to reach the final day of the season with the Baggies still having a chance of staying up, but even that seems a forlorn hope.
Albion’s recent results are enough to have them in mid-table in the current form table, but a return of two wins from their first 23 games of the season left them facing a steep climb to safety.
“Do I stay? That is not a discussion we can have until our fate is decided,” added Allardyce.
“I know I can do a job anywhere, for anybody, and be successful. It is just about whether you get the opportunity.
“It is only the end if no-one rings you up and asks if you will manage their club. Eventually, it happens to us all. None of us can go on for ever.”