Sam Allardyce lost his job as the England manager after just 67 days in charge. He leaves after being at the helm for 1 game, quite extraordinary.
Allardyce and the FA partied company after a newspaper sting recorded him openly discussing ways to get around the ban on 3rd party ownership of players, chasing 400k pounds for guest appearances, making fun of the previous manager, criticizing his employers on their project management when rebuilding the national stadium and also having a dig at Royalty and the role they play in the FA.
Did it all really warrant the guy losing his job?
As much as I think the FA are far from perfect I believe in this instance they had no option but to relieve Allardyce of his duties. The FA see themselves as the governors of the beautiful game and want to be seen as whiter than white. They value their reputation and want no scandals. Allardyce was filmed advising on loopholes for a rule implemented by the FA to stop 3rd party ownership of players. To also be filmed speaking derogatively about your employers with regard to money matters and then about the Royal family who have ties to the FA meant there could be no reconciliation and they had to let him go.
Over the past 30 years the role of England football manager has become one of the most scrutinized jobs outside of politics. The press in the UK have relentlessly targeted the national team boss, delving into his private life, the private lives of his family and at times crucified them with regards to football (warranted at times!). The pressure within that job must be unbearable at times and those who take it on are very brave, although getting a few million quid a year will probably ease the pain.
Sam Allardyce knew all this but the England manager job was his dream role. He’d waited his whole career for this, all those years battling to save relegation at club level had paid off and it was his chance to shine for his country as a manager. He believed he could be the one to end the 50 years of hurt. The smile on his face during his unveiling was great to see, a man who had fulfilled his dream.
So why oh why did he put himself in the situation to be stung??? I think we are all baffled by his judgement. He was earning 3 million pounds a year as England manager, he’d been a premier league manager for over 10 years, he is a very wealthy man. So why chase 400k for doing a guest appearance for a foreign firm (fictitiously created by the newspaper). It must just be pure greed. It has to be. The press have no morals but they will say their job is to uncover corruption, although to be fair Allardyce did say he would have to discuss any payment given with the FA so there was no corruption unveiled just downright stupidity in being so loose tongued with strangers when you have such a high-profile job.
Big Sam has some history though with regard to scandals. Both he and his son were accused of taking transfer “bungs” during the mid 2000’s, an accusation that Allardyce denies. I think after this current debacle we could be forgiven for suspecting that the 2006 accusations might have some truth in them.
Reports suggest he has received a 7 figure pay off which is remarkable for losing your job due to your own stupidity and 67 days work so I can’t have too much sympathy for him really.
Is Sam a big loss to the national team? Probably not. The game he managed against Slovakia was same old same old so I didn’t really envisage a footballing revolution during his reign, although the FA did state that he had brought an enthusiasm to the team off the field and during training that had not been see in a long time.
Who takes over? Well it looks like as long as Gareth Southgate doesn’t lose every game during his 4 game “trial” he should get the job. He fits the bill after “Sam gate” in that he’s a good guy with no dodgy history and will probably go along with what the FA wants. To be fair he’s also a young manager who has done all his top coaching badges and overseen the U21’s for a while and done well so why not give him a chance. I’d like to see someone like Glenn Hoddle come in as an adviser to Southgate. Hoddle’s footballing philosophy fits international football better than club football. I honestly believe that if he hadn’t been fired for his religious beliefs in the late 90’s England may well have won an international tournament by now so being alongside Southgate might prove a masterstroke but will the FA bring in someone they once fired? Probably not.
I believe England currently have some very talented young players who if managed correctly could do well for the national side over the next few tournaments.
Pity for Big Sam that he won’t be there to oversee it but his stupidity cost him that privilege.