Sam Allardyce’s brief tenure as England manager ended in embarrassment and recrimination last night after just one game in charge.
His contract was terminated by mutual agreement with the Football Association as chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn confirmed there was no way back from his appearance in a Daily Telegraph investigation into corruption.
Allardyce had been in what he gleefully described as his “dream” job for just 67 days, meaning his reign was the shortest of any full-time England manager.
The Telegraph, as part of a wide-ranging operation, targeted the newly-appointed national manager and covertly filmed him making a variety of indiscreet and controversial comments to undercover reporters posing as businessmen.
Some were merely disparaging or offensive — such as those aimed at predecessor Roy Hodgson, who was demeaningly referred to as ‘Woy’ in a reference to his speech impediment — while others were taken more seriously by the FA.
The willingness of Allardyce and his adviser Mark Curtis to negotiate a £400,000 pay day to act as a keynote speaker for investment firms in the Far East was not viewed kindly by employers who already paid him £3million a year, despite his belated caveat that he would need to run any deal “past the powers that be”.
And his thoughts on third-party ownership were arguably even more damaging, as he discussed the apparent circumvention of a practice that was banned by the FA in 2008.
The former Sunderland, West Ham and Bolton manager, whose England side beat Slovakia 1-0 earlier this month, gave a “sincere and wholehearted apology” for his part in the messy divorce.
“Further to recent events, the FA and I have mutually agreed to part company,” Allardyce said.
“It was a great honour for me to be appointed back in July and I am deeply disappointed at this outcome.
“This afternoon, I met with Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn and offered a sincere and wholehearted apology for my actions.
“Although it was made clear during the recorded conversations that any proposed arrangements would need the FA’s full approval, I recognise I made some comments which have caused embarrassment.
“As part of today’s meeting, I was asked to clarify what I said and the context in which the conversations took place. I have cooperated fully in this regard.
“I also regret my comments with regard to other individuals.”
England U21 manager Gareth Southgate will take charge of the senior side’s next four games — the first of which is at home to Malta on October 8 — with a squad announcement due on Sunday.
The status of Allardyce-appointed coaches Sammy Lee, Craig Shakespeare and Martyn Margetson has yet to be revealed, indicating they could assist Southgate, who could be considered for a permanent contract alongside the likes of of Alan Pardew, Eddie Howe, Steve Bruce and Jurgen Klinsmann.
Glenn will be hoping for a better appointment this time, having led a three-man panel including board member David Gill and technical director Dan Ashworth this summer that decided Allardyce was the right appointment. Glenn told FATV that Allardyce’s behaviour “has been inappropriate and, frankly, not what is expected of an England manager” but described parting ways with him as “painful”.
Clarke, who was not yet chairman when Allardyce arrived, went further by suggesting Allardyce was doing “a cracking job” prior to the revelations. “I don’t think it’s embarrassing. I think it’s rather sad,” Clarke said.
Despite any regrets that may still exist on either side, the wording of the formal announcement left no doubt that had an agreement not been reached, the result would have been dismissal.
“Allardyce’s conduct was inappropriate of the England manager,” read the FA statement.
“The manager of the England men’s team is a position which must demonstrate strong leadership and show respect for the integrity of the game at all times.”
Former England defender Rio Ferdinand believes other nations will be barely able to contain their mirth at the FA’s latest plight.
‘’I think the rest of the football community around the world will just be laughing at us. It just feels like it’s become a comical event, the England manager’s role,” he said.
‘’This is the man who was probably the most vocal about getting the England job, the most passionate outwardly about getting the England job, but unfortunately he’s backed the FA into a corner and they’ve had to act because of his actions.”
Former England captain Alan Shearer was even more definitive on Twitter, writing: “Still stunned. Staggering misjudgment by Sam. I thought post Euros @England had hit an all-time low but this has to be rock bottom.”
Seemed to be a new man after swapping Newcastle for Crystal Palace and some fine early-season results saw him seriously linked with the England job for the first time in his career. Reached the FA Cup final but league results tailed off badly.
A slow start to this campaign has been followed by three successive Premier League victories.
A smart, erudite and tactically-savvy coach who, at 38, looks to have a bright future at the top of the game. The manager has flourished at Bournemouth and only last week described coaching England as the “ultimate” job. “I would never say no,” Howe said.
Highly thought of by the decision-makers at the Football Association, the former Middlesbrough boss was brought into the fold to coach the Under-21s with an eye on future progression. Faltered at last year’s Under-21 European Championship but led the team to victory at the Toulon tournament in the summer. Had no interest in succeeding Hodgson, but will take charge for England’s next four matches against Malta, Slovenia, Scotland and Spain while the FA looks for a permanent boss.
The former Manchester United defender, pictured below, was interviewed in the summer about the vacant England manager’s job. Just days after speaking to the FA, Bruce decided to call time on his spell at Hull, where he had become the most successful manager in the club’s history. He remains out of work.
The former Tottenham striker has managerial experience at international level, having been in charge of the United States for almost five years and Germany before that.
America fell to a semi-final Copa America exit in the summer, while Klinsmann guided Germany to the last-four stage at the 2006 World Cup.
Seemed a heavy favourite to progress from his role as Hodgson’s assistant until his ill-advised stint with Valencia saw his stock plummet.
It may yet be decided that was a case of the wrong job but the right man.
Out of coaching since exiting with Hodgson during the summer, the videos of Allardyce appear to show him saying Neville was the “wrong influence” on his predecessor.
The big question surrounding Big Sam
The most controversial comments made by England manager Sam Allardyce in The Daily Telegraph sting were about third-party ownership.
What is third-party ownership?
Third-party ownership is where a player’s economic rights are owned wholly or partly by private investors, often in partnership with the player’s club. The investors hope to make a profit when the player is sold to another club.
Is it legal?
No. The practice was banned in England in 2008, with Fifa following suit in 2015 by instigating a worldwide ban.
Why is it controversial?
The practice has been compared to modern-day slavery and opens up ethical issues about potential influence of third parties over selection and transfers.
Does the Premier League have history.
Yes. When Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano moved to West Ham from Brazilian side Corinthians in 2006, it emerged that third-party investors were heavily involved with both players. Though the practice was not then banned, West Ham were fined £5.5m by the Premier League for irregularities in the players’ contracts.
After Tevez scored the goal that helped West Ham avoid relegation in 2007 at Sheffield United’s expense, the Blades launched legal proceedings against both the Premier League and West Ham. They settled with the Hammers out of court. The Premier League’s ban on third-party ownership was a legacy of the case.
What did Allardyce say?
Allardyce is filmed saying third-party ownership is “not a problem”, adding “you can still get around it”.
He explains to the fake investors that they could employ a player’s agent and then take a percentage of the agent’s fee, now third parties are no longer allowed to profit from transfer fees.
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