It has been quite a 24 hours for the FA. Last night, The Telegraph released an investigative report which showed how “Sam Allardyce used his position as England manager to negotiate a £400,000 deal and offered advice to businessmen on how to “get around” FA rules on player transfers”, whilst he also mocked ex boss Roy Hodgson, was critical of Gary Neville and described the FA decision to redevelop Wembley as “stupid”. The full story and all its ins and outs can be found here.
A tiny, tiny part of me feels sorry Big Sam. Obviously it was a huge honour for the 61 year old to manage his country, and he made no secret that it was his ‘dream job’ when he was appointed just 67 days ago. Despite a relatively dull start against Slovakia that nonetheless resulted in a 1-0 win, positivity was perhaps as high as it could be after an embarrassing Euro 2016 exit to Iceland.
But then Allardyce only has himself to blame for throwing away the opportunity of his life with his selfish and disrespectful actions. For a man on a reported £3 million a year contract to be going after an extra £400,000 shows just pure greed. For one of the most experienced men in English football to advise on how to bend the FA rules, the FA being his employers, shows a complete lack of morals. For a professional to speak with such rudeness and disregard about fellow high profile figures in the game shows a complete lack of respect. His actions were downright stupid, which I’m sure he realises in hindsight, but as the saying goes, hindsight is a wonderful thing. To even contemplate the idea of advising such corrupt business when you’re in a position of great authority baffles me.
People accusing The Telegraph of being gutless (or as TV presenter Jake Humphrey put it, ‘poisonous’) and being responsible for Allardyce losing his job, need to rethink who they are portioning the blame to. Surely the only person to blame here is Sam himself? If he hadn’t been so brainless, the press wouldn’t have a story to report on. They are a newspaper, their job is to report and investigate. And quite frankly, if they hadn’t sent undercover reporters, then this sort of thing would continue to go on under radar and ruin the beautiful game. They would not have gone to trouble of sending multiple reporters to the Middles East had they not had any prior evidence of corruption, so unless anything emerges, I can see no way that this was unlawful journalism and commend The Telegraph for their investigation.
So, Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate will take charge for the next four games against Malta, Scotland, Slovenia and Spain before likely either he, Alan Pardew, Steve Bruce or Eddie Howe is given the job on a permanent basis. But what next for Sam Allardyce?
Yes his reputation has been damaged during this incident, but I’m sure he’ll be back in a job by this time next year, undoubtedly much sooner. He wouldn’t have got the England job in the first place had it not been for his impressive CV, and with a 22 year managerial career under his belt, with much of that time in the Premier League, he will appeal to plenty of clubs. Of course he’ll always have this investigation lingering over him, but at the end of day he is a manager who gets results on the pitch, which is what football is primarily about. He’ll likely be employed on that basis with little consideration for how he acts off the pitch. Whether that is a good thing is debatable, but personally I wouldn’t want my team being managed by a man who regards FA rules as optional.
But I’m sure for the next couple of months the Midlands born boss will go back to partying in Marbella, vowing never to speak to any journalist ever again.
Do you feel sorry for Allardyce? Where do you think he’ll go next? Let me know your thoughts on the situation in the comments or on Twitter.