In a reign reminiscent in length to Steve Coppell for Manchester City, and marred with the lack of integrity usually associated with UEFA officials, Sam Allardyce has left his post as England manager. Already opinion is divided but taking a moment to reflect reveals why he had to go.
Big Sam has always been outspoken. It was his brash nature that led many (including this writer) to believe he would never be seen as hireable for the role of England manager. But a desperate FA went for a gamble when faced with a limited pool of options. That risk has backfired and Sam’s mouth is once again the big trouble behind the problem.
A man so worldly cannot cry naivety. Quite what motivated him to seek money on the side after landing his dream job is a question only he can answer or understand. To the rest of us, seeking £400,000 on top of a £3m-a-year salary looks like greed.
The crux of the issue goes beyond the immorality of financial gluttony. It’s about respect and representation. As England manager he is expected to be the face of English football. To denounce rules they have implemented, before suggesting it’s possible to circumvent them, is tantamount to treason.
Some will say he was caught in the moment, still on a natural high after being given a prize he never reasonably expected. But he’s not a 19-year-old lad on his first big night out.
He’s a 67-year-old professional that should have removed himself from the situation.
Why he was even there is a side issue in comparison to the way he allowed himself to become embroiled in this scandal. The Telegraph will be criticised for upsetting the national team so soon into Sam’s tenure but had the England manager acted properly, there’d have been no story to expose.
In an age where corruption and scandal after ubiquitous in football, the FA can’t be seen to stand by a manager that at best looks like an out of touch relic when it comes to social interaction, or worst, a man willing to talk inappropriately and highlight the flaws in the laws they set.
The FA aren’t making an example of Sam Allardyce by confirming mutual termination of his contract, he’s getting off lightly. Had he still been a club manager, organising a trip across the globe after suggesting third party ownership rules can be deceived, he’d be facing serious charges and in the dock.
Instead the punishment for a lack of judgement is one that will scar him forever. His integrity will be questioned, with most settling down to view Big Sam as a tainted character. But the worst loss he will feel is the “dream job” slipping through his fingers after one game because of one ill-advised meeting.
His saving grace will come because of the clarity he offered within the meeting, explaining he would have to ratify any deal with the FA. This shows he wasn’t trying to sneak a big-deal in under the radar. Also, much of what he said is more opinion than inflammatory. Many disagree with the stance taken against third-party ownership. His negative comments about Roy Hodgson and the mental block England players appear to suffer have been echoed around the country.
When the dust settles, many will feel sorry for a man that lost his dream because of a moment of arrogance caught on camera.