Sam Allardyce can end his roller-coaster year on a financial high on Saturday by securing Crystal Palace’s Premier League status and banking another survival bonus.
Allardyce earned £2million for keeping Sunderland up last season and was given a £1m pay-off when sacked by England in September.
But from the lowest point in his career, he has returned to lead the Eagles to 38 points and victory over Burnley at Selhurst Park will secure their place in the top flight for a fifth year.
It will also see Allardyce, never relegated from the top flight, rewarded with another £2m bonus in the most lucrative and controversial 12 months of his long spell in management.
“A bit of a roller-coaster? It could be a series, never mind just a bit,” he smiled. “I’m only delighted I’ve helped to guide Crystal Palace through a very difficult period, with lots of help from many people.
“None more so than the chairman and the new owners from America. Without their backing and help in January, we wouldn’t be as high in the league as we are now.
“We wouldn’t have acquired the players we did at that time. So everyone has contributed to what we’ve done up to now, but we need to finish it off.
“Three points is going to do it, though some people might say mathematically it is still not done. I don’t think that would happen if we get to 41 points. Everybody says you can’t say it, keep your mouth shut.
“You don’t want it to bite you but I think 41 points will be enough. As the games tick by, it can happen many different ways. If other teams lose, they can’t catch you up.
“We want to do it ourselves if we can and that is by beating Burnley and getting to 41 points.”
From failing to win his first five games – and then being thumped 4-0 at home by Sunderland in February – Palace could now beat their 10th place in 2015 for their highest ever Premier League finish.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” Allardyce admitted. “It’s been far distant from my mind. The next game is about winning, and once we’ve won it, saying to the players, ‘Right lads, how many points can you get now?’ ”
A knee injury to Mamadou Sakho will see a first start since February for 35-year-old Damien Delaney.
“There’s no doubt he will be peeved about the scenario but he’s a professional who’s kept himself fit and is still playing in the Premier League at his age which is getting rarer and rarer these days,” Allardyce said of his Republic of Ireland defender.
“I expect him to be 100 per cent professional, as he has always been. He has handled the disappointment extremely well.
“I hope he plays to the level he can play at. If he needs to show me what I was missing I hope he does that as well and says, ‘There you go, you should have played me sooner’.”