A Song of Ice and Fire

Sam Allardyce has announced that he is to take a year out of football in order to read the A Song of Ice and Fire book series.

The 60-year-old has decided to treat his dismissal as West Ham United manager as an opportunity to ‘really get into’ the fantasy epic – on which the hit HBO series Game of Thrones is based – written by George R. R. Martin.

He told reporters: ‘It’s a good chance for me to put my feet up and devote two, maybe three hours at a time to the books.

‘I’m a big fan of the T.V. show, but Kevin [Nolan, West Ham’s captain] told me that it’s not a patch on the books. When I came in to training the morning after the Red Wedding episode and told him how shocked I was, he just looked at me smugly. Now I’ll get the chance to give other people that look. Which is a bonus’.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that he will then move on to finally getting round to reading Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy, but Allardyce was unwilling to either confirm or deny the suggestion.