Big Sam 'respects' Newcastle
Premier League Everton v Newcastle Live Sky Sports (KO 8.0)
Everton manager Sam Allardyce insists his 'hurtful' dismissal by Newcastle over a decade ago has been consigned to the past.
The 63-year-old lasted just eight months at St James' Park as fans quickly turned against him but since then he has gone on to take charge of Blackburn, West Ham, Sunderland, England and Crystal Palace before arriving at Goodison Park in November as Ronald Koeman's successor.
"It's been that long I have nothing but respect for the football club," said Allardyce ahead of tonight's visit of the Magpies.
"It felt unjust but I have moved on.
"From a difficult period they have managed to recover and get in the Premier League and they have turned it round.
"They have put together a run of games and we'll see a better Newcastle than we saw up there (when Everton won 1-0 in December).
"Rafa has progressed very well. He has always expressed his disappointment with not enough funds - we can all say we don't have enough funds.
"What he has managed with the funds he has, particularly in the January months, has been excellent."
Allardyce famously had a spat with Rafael Benitez when they were respective managers of Bolton and Liverpool as he felt the Spaniard did not show him and his side enough respect.
That feud, however, is also long forgotten.
Asked about his history with Benitez, Allardyce replied: "There is none. That's water under the bridge and 15 goddam years ago."