September 27 – England’s new manager Sam Allardyce has been caught up in a newspaper sting which threatens his position just weeks into the job and which could potentially plunge the reputation of the national team, desperate to get back on an even keel following the debacle Euro 2016, back into crisis.
Allardyce is alleged to have met undercover reporters posing as a consortium of Far East businessmen seeking advice on the Premier League’s transfer market.
Under the front-page headline: ‘England manager for sale’, the Daily Telegraph claimed it had filmed Allardyce, who has only been in charge for one World Cup qualifying match since succeeding Roy Hodgson, appearing to give advice on how to get round rules that ban third party ownership.
“You can still get around it,” the former Sunderland and West Ham manager was filmed saying. “I mean obviously the big money’s here.
Allardyce was also filmed negotiating a £400,000 deal with a football agency for him to represent the company to Far East investors and be a keynote speaker at events. But Allardyce does tell the undercover reporters any such arrangement would have to be cleared by the FA.
The footage, reportedly taken over the course of the last few months, also shows him mocking Hodgson’s speech and saying his predecessor sent his players “all to sleep” , adding that they had a “psychological barrier” and “can’t cope”.
The Telegraph’s startling revelations pose huge embarrassment and an unwanted headache for new English FA chairman Greg Clarke whose recent appointment in succession to Greg Dyke was widely welcomed. Allardyce, who was hired in July after England were knocked out of the Euros by Iceland, is preparing for England’s second 2018 World Cup qualifier against Malta next month.
As a result of the Telegraph story, the FA’s senior management went into a crisis meeting this morning when to decide whether Allardyce, two months into a two-year deal as manager, is guilty of poor judgment or a sackable offense after being in charge for just one game.
“I want all the facts, to hear everything from everyone and make a judgment about what to do,” Clarke was reported as saying. “Natural justice requires us to get to the bottom of the issues before we make any decision. It is not appropriate to pre-judge the issue. With things like this you have to take a deep breath.”
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