KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Sam Allardyce is no longer England manager. The 61-year-old has lost the job of which he always dreamed after talking disastrously out of turn to investigative reporters posing as Middle East businessmen.
Allardyce was appointed by the Football Association in the summer after England’s dismal second round exit at the hands of Iceland’s minnows at the European Championship finals in France. He was handed a £3m-a-year, two-year contract but this, apparently, was not enough.
Within weeks of taking up the most prestigious post in the English game Allardyce, his agent and financial adviser, sat down with men they thought were businessmen and who were offering £400,000 for advice and motivational talks.
The advice Allardyce was recorded as giving by The Daily Telegraph included how to circumvent regulations outlawing third party transfer deals. He also talked in disparaging terms of managerial predecessor Roy Hodgson and ex-England coaching aide Gary Neville.
Within hours of the Telegraph publishing its revelations in the morning Allardyce was summoned from his northern home for crisis talks at Wembley with new FA chairman Greg Clarke and ceo Martin Glenn. Apparently he offered a “sincere and wholehearted apology” for his misjudgment but that was not enough to save him from a parting of the ways ‘by mutual consent’.
Clarke, who succeeded Greg Dyke during the summer but was not involved in appointing Allardyce, said: “The issue for us was one of our employee’s behaviour and whether he could carry on as England manager having said some of the things he said on television. He admitted that his behaviour was foolish and put his position in jeopardy.”
The newspaper has agreed to share more detailed findings with the FA while continuing to publish further allegations over under-cover payments to Premier League managers.
The FA, having been vehemently critical of corrupt and unethical behaviour within world federation FIFA, had no option but to act swiftly and decisively.
Gareth Southgate, the under-21 manager, will take over the seniors on an interim for the remaining four games of the year. His work will start on Sunday when he must name an England squad for next month’s Wembley World Cup qualifier against Malta.
Allardyce led England to a 1-0 win on Slovakia early this month in what has proved both his first and last match in charge.
In a personal statement, he said: “Further to recent events, the FA and I have mutually agreed to part company. 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 Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn and offered a sincere and wholehearted apology for my actions.”
After apparently discussing a lucrative deal to address overseas investment firms, Allardyce cautioned uselessly that he would have to “run it past the powers that be”.
His statement added: “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 co-operated fully in this regard. I also regret my comments with regard to other individuals.”
Third-party ownership was banned by the FA in 2008 over concerns it compromised the integrity of the game, since only the ‘outsider’ third party could profit from a player sale. Subsequently it was also outlawed by world federation FIFA.
Allardyce told the ‘businessmen’ that an unnamed group had been “doing it for years” and “you can still get around it”, suggesting they employ the player’s agents to compensate for the fact they are no longer allowed to profit from each transfer directly.
He was recorded saying: “You get a percentage of the player’s agent’s fee that the agent pays to you, the company, because he’s done that new deal at the club again or they sell him on, and you’re not getting a part of the transfer fee any more, because you can’t do that.
“But, you get – because of the size of the contracts now, the contract will be worth 30, 40million, at 10pc and you’ve done a deal with the agent where you’re getting 5pc of the agent’s fee, which is massive for doing about two hours’ work.”