This week, Sam Allardyce confirmed himself as the embodiment of everything that is wrong with modern English football. The Daily Telegraph’s fantastic sting operation revealed “Big Sam” to be greedy, egotistical, naïve, and a million miles from the reality of everyday life in this, or in fact any other country.
When Allardyce took up his position at the head of the English game 68 days ago, he did so saying that the role was his dream job, and that leading the national side out at Wembley Stadium was something that he’d dreamt of for many years. Fast forward to the sting, which took place before he’d even managed his first game in charge of England, and Allardyce was slating the national stadium, openly questioning his players bottle to a stranger whom he’d never met, and informing the same stranger that you can easily bypass the Football Association’s rules on third party ownership. The Football Association, you may have noticed, who were Allardyce’s employers at the time.
All of this makes you wonder – was managing England really Allardyce’s career long ambition? Or was it the accompanying status that Big Sam was so in love with? After all, it took him less than a month to use his newfound status to try and secure a £400,000 fee for “keynote” speaking in the Far East. Why bother earning your £3 million per year salary scouting England players when, after all, you can go behind your employers back and make a quick buck on the other side of the planet?
However, Allardyce is not alone in the footballing world as being money hungry and so far up his own backside to quite realise that he was committing professional suicide when he referred to his predecessor Roy Hodgson as “Woy”, all while consuming what appeared to be a pint (a pint!!!) of wine. Just to watch a game on television you have to fork over an excessive monthly sum to either BT or Sky, with terrestrial channels such as ITV and the BBC relegated to highlights packages and international competition. Attending games in person is even more costly to the average Joe – West Ham charged £25 for some seats to their third round EFL Cup tie against League Two side Accrington Stanley, a princely sum when you consider they were charging a solitary pound for a fourth round Worthington Cup tie against Nottingham Forest as far back as the year 2000. Replica shirts? They’ll set you back £50, and they change every season. None of this matters to the people who run Premier League clubs, however, not now the game has spread across the globe and pre-season tours to Australia, the United States and Asia are now as lucrative as season ticket sales from loyal fans who live locally.
Again, none of this is Allardyce’s fault. But unfortunately for the Dudley-born former Bolton and West Ham boss, this whole sorry, money grabbing episode as seen Big Sam become the poster boy for greed within football, and the sport’s complete disdain for rules, regulations and anything else that threatens to connect it to the real world.
For anyone who feels even a smidge of sympathy towards Big Sam – just remember the next time you fork out a month’s salary for your team’s season ticket that Allardyce wasn’t content with the £3 million he was earning per annum. He was willing to jeopardise his “dream job” for a quick payday before he’d even set foot in the technical area at Wembley. He even said that his departure from the England job was a “victory for entrapment”. No, Sam. It was a victory for the people in football who maintain a shred of dignity and decency. Not that there are many left.