Sam Allardyce’s sacking and the media outcry before, during and after is just so typically English, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
First things first, Big Sam was never the right man for the job. Not in a million years and not while managers like Eddie Howe and Steve Bruce are still hungry for work. And we haven’t even begun to list the vastly more experienced foreign options that should come into the equation.
Secondly, Allardyce was wrong. Blame entrapment all you want but he should’ve known better. Much bettter. There’s not a shred of evidence that the former Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United manager was at that meeting for anything else than a large bank deposit – £400 000 to be exact. As it turns out, his greed and not his shortcomings as a tactician were his downfall.
If he re-appears in management I’d be the first to spit my tea out in shock. He’s a PR nightmare and not worth the risk anyway.
Now, let’s get onto the topic at hand. How typically English this whole situation was …
Since the storm erupted a few days ago, I’ve struggled to work out why the Telegraph would go after Allardyce like this? It makes no sense. I don’t for a second think that they had pure intentions of rooting out fraud, corruption and generally underhanded conduct in the game. They were after sales and sensationalism. And boy did they get it.
It’s almost as if they English press were on a collective WhatsApp group when a message screamed ‘Right lads, let’s tear this fool apart!’ and off they went, churning out hundreds of articles slamming his conduct.
‘A pathetic figure, undone by quite gratuitous greed and weakness, his only legacy is that the number 67 in English football will now resonate with almost the force of 66,’ wrote the Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel. ‘The year England won the World Cup: 66. The number of days Allardyce lasted as England manager: 67,’ continued Samuel, leaving little to the imagination of how the rest of his Allardyce bashing article would continue.
‘Our national team has suffered many embarrassments, not least the Iceland shocker at the Euros. But to hire and fire this wide-boy in just 67 days has made us an even bigger global laughing stock,’ wrote the Sun in just one of their numerous articles on the matter.
Anyone remember the Glenn Hoddle scandal? Allardyce’s comments are a million miles off that mark.
‘Allardyce has come nowhere close to matching Hoddle’s indiscretion and those calling for his head are merely jumping on a bandwagon of mock outrage,’ questions the Independent’s Mark Ogden. But Ogden does label Big Sam ‘naive, indiscreet and crude’ in his headline.
The Mirror’s John Cross didn’t believe Allardyce should be sacked. But what he did say was … ‘While I think he’s been an idiot …’ before going on to list all the other famous errors made by the English managers of yesteryear. ‘Sven Goran Eriksson and the fake Sheikh. Fabio Capello and the Capello Index. Even Roy Hodgson and monkeygate. Hodgson famously got caught telling a commuter on the Tube that Rio Ferdinand was finished.’
There’s nothing like a current scandal to allow you to bring up all the past failures, is there?
Michael Owen, who I rarely agree with, made an interesting point. He argues the media should be reporting on stories, not creating them. I haven’t fully digested that comment but I can see the rationality in it.
And while the list of articles continues to flow into cyber space, decreeing Big Sam to be one of the worst humans alive (maybe a slight exaggeration on my part), I can’t help but conclude that the English did this to themselves. Much like their string of poor decisions, like hiring Roy Hogdson and then the subsequent failure to sack him after Brazil 2014. What followed? That performance against Iceland at Euro 2016 and, of course, then they went on to hire Sam Allardyce. Woefully short on the stuff it takes to manage a top nation.
They (read: the press, large sections of the population and/or even the FA) fed into the outrage of Allardyce’s indiscretions and created this circus. They have only themselves to blame. But I think deep down they enjoy the turmoil, the headlines and the oh-so familar feeling of them bashing their collective heads on the table.
Former England captain Alan Shearer has labelled English football the ‘laughing stock of the world’.
He’s not wrong, is he?