Big Sam and a brief history of other England manager gaffes

A restaurant meal, a trip to Singapore and a journalist with a hidden camera. Yup – “Big Sam” Allardyce unwittingly swam into a pool of hot water with just one game under his belt as England manager.

However Big Sam isn’t the first England boss to resign after an unfortunate blunder, a poor show… or both.

Here’s our round-up of some of the most #awkward.

Sam Allardyce

Allardyce is at the centre of a Telegraph sting on corruption within international football, namely for suggesting how to get round the current rules on third-party ownership of players.

Not only did Allardyce appear to make himself amenable to giving advice on the subject, he mocked predecessor Roy Hodgson with a cheap dig at his enunciation (dubbing him “Woy”), said he didn’t have the character to lead the squad and attacked the FA for redeveloping Wembley Stadium, calling the decision “stupid”.

Er… oops.

Steve McClaren

England missed out on the 2008 European Championships after failing to get past the all-important final qualifier against Croatia (a draw would have seen them through to the finals).

McClaren was dismissed the next day. Dubbed the “Wally with the Brolly” by some who noticed his penchant for an umbrella, McClaren wasn’t able to make more of an impact in his brief tenure as coach.

Glenn Hoddle

Glenn Hoddle took the top job between 1996 and 1998, when he gave an unfortunate interview to The Times in which he suggested that disabled people may be experiencing a form of punishment for sins in a previous life.

Hoddle received widespread criticism for the remarks, including from then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, but refused to resign, stating his words had been misinterpreted. The FA terminated his contract a few days later.

Roy Hodgson

After the often-lacklustre campaigns of predecessors Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello, certain British press had called for a return to a more fitting home-grown lead.

The FA’s answer was the esteemed Roy Hodgson, who, for all his quiet charm, couldn’t produce more than a quarter-final against Italy in the UEFA Euro 2012 championship, and a disastrous defeat to Iceland four years later in the same competition in 2016. Hodgson then resigned.

Kevin Keegan

A much-loved player during his on-pitch career, Keegan holds for record for having the lowest win-record in the history of the manager’s job, at just 38.9 per cent of matches under his charge.

Keegan did, at least, bring England to a major football tournament – but ultimately resigned in the Wembley toilets after failing to get past England’s first qualifier for the 2002 World Cup.

Graham Taylor

If losing to Iceland sounds unfortunate, spare a thought for Graham Taylor, who was dubbed a “turnip” by The Sun.

England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup and Taylor found himself vilified for an all-round abysmal performance. As The Sun headline read that same day: That’s Your Allotment!

More in this Section

Football rumours from the mediaFootball rumours from the media

Granit Xhaka denies Arsenal are mentally weak after Evra criticismGranit Xhaka denies Arsenal are mentally weak after Evra criticism

Edwards admits Wales are wary of threat from South Africa dangerman KolbeEdwards admits Wales are wary of threat from South Africa dangerman Kolbe

Referee Jaco Peyper not selected for Rugby World Cup semi-finals after photo rowReferee Jaco Peyper not selected for Rugby World Cup semi-finals after photo row


Put provenance first this season and make 'Made in Munster' the label to be seen in. With outstanding craftmanship and commitment to quality, these homegrown designers are making Munster-made fashion wish list worthy around the world. Shopping local has never looked so good. Carolyn Moore reports.Made in Munster: Shopping local has never looked this good.

Karen Cunneen-Bilbow Owner, Fabricate IrelandMade in Munster: ‘I turned my hobby into a business’

An invitation is extended to all to pay a visit to Bride View Cottage, writes Charlie WilkinsSeasonal cheer will spread early in Co Cork as an invitation is extended to all to visit Bride View Cottage

After a week of Fortnite Chapter 2, we think it’s fair to say Epic lived up to their name with the game’s ‘re-launch’.GameTech: Happy after a week of Fortnite Chapter 2

More From The Irish Examiner