Then-newly-appointed manager of England Sam Allardyce was the biggest name to be caught up in the investigation, ‘Football for sale’. He was just a few days into the job at the time of the secret filming between himself and undercover journalists purporting to be businessmen representing a company hoping to profit from the Premier League’s billion-pound transfer market.
Dodgy deals in the ‘beautiful game’
After the countless failings of England’s national football team over the years, it seemed that the nation was at rock-bottom following the humiliating defeat to Iceland in the Euro 2016 Championships. Sam Allardyce was always seen as a risky appointment – given the fact that he is perceived as being ‘old-fashioned’ and often outspoken.
That proved to be the case, as Allardyce’s careless conversation with the journalists led to him discussing how to circumvent the rules of his employers, the FA, regarding third party ownership of players.
Allardyce accepted he was in the wrong, blaming “entrapment” for his shortcomings and eventual forced resignation after just 67 days.
He said: “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.”
Embarrassment indeed, not only for Allardyce, but also for the FA. Football is a modern game where so much is at stake financially that the likelihood of financial corruption and rule-breaking at some level is favourable – the FA must focus on closing loopholes and prohibiting such activity.
The world continues to advance, and football must do the same at all levels. Increasingly, social media becomes the undoing of some people involved in the game, not only for recent activity but also past posts. Nowadays, maintaining a clean image requires full concentration and a full audit of previous online activity – as well as a careful, calculated approach to the image that people and companies intend to portray.
How can Big Sam recover?
The revelations of Daily Telegraph’s investigations – which allegedly included eight current Premier League managers in addition to Allardyce – have tarnished more reputations than just the individuals in question. The FA and the whole reputation of British football has also been damaged. According to recent reports from the Telegraph, the FA may now miss out on up to £40m of public funding by failing to comply with the Government’s “gold standard charter”. The Allardyce case has had an effect far and wide, including the devaluation of the reputation of Singapore, which was the intended venue of the fictitious deal.
Fortunately for Allardyce, he works in an industry where second chances come as quickly as the first ones are lost. Football fans have a reputation for being fickle, and it’s unlikely that he will be unable to find another job in football.
Big Sam has always divided opinion with his old-fashioned approach, but now comes with the added reputation of being greedy, careless and devious. The fans of the next British club he manages won’t mind though – especially if he starts winning football matches.