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Blackburn Coach Sam Allardyce Fired by Soccer Club’s New Owners

Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce was fired today by the Premier League club, which last month became the first Indian-owned English soccer team.

“We have taken this decision as part of our wider plans and ambitions for the club,” poultry firm Venky’s Group said on the team’s website. Allardyce and assistant manager Neil McDonald are leaving with “immediate effect.”

The club is 13th in the league, with 21 points from 17 games, after losing 2-1 at local rivals Bolton Wanderers yesterday. It’s five points clear of the three-team relegation zone.

“I am very shocked and disappointed to be leaving Blackburn Rovers,” Allardyce, 56, said in a statement released by the League Managers’ Association. “I am extremely proud to have managed this club and I enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the players, my staff and the supporters during my time in charge. I now wish them and the football club every success for the future.”

His departure comes a week after Chris Hughton was dismissed at Newcastle, the first Premier League firing this campaign.

Allardyce took over at Blackburn in December 2008, replacing the dismissed Paul Ince when the club was in 19th spot in the 20-team league. The former Bolton and Newcastle manager signed a three-year contract. Rovers finished that season 15th and came 10th in 2009-10, when it also reached the semifinals of the League Cup.

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Allardyce has been linked in media speculation with the coaching post at bottom club West Ham, where Avram Grant is under pressure after getting only two league wins from 17 games this season. Blackburn hosts the Hammers in its next match, on Dec. 18.

First-team coach Steve Kean has been put in temporary charge at Blackburn, the 1995 Premier League champion which was bought by Venky’s on Nov. 19.

Allardyce previously managed clubs including Blackpool and Notts County, and his playing career included spells at Bolton, Millwall and Preston.

Rovers -- built up by the investment of late British steel magnate Jack Walker and controlled by a trust bearing his name - - had been looking for new owners for more than two years. Two other Indian groups had been linked with a buyout before Venky’s, a supplier to McDonald’s Corp., KFC and Pizza Hut in India, made its move.

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