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What did Sam Allardyce do wrong?

Yesterday, the England manager resigned. “What’s odd about that?” you may say – assuming you’re not saying “Who cares?” – “They’re resigning all the time.”

They are but this is slightly unusual. For once – glossing over the departures of Fabio Capello and Glenn Hoddle – we have a resignation that has nothing to do with England’s performance on the pitch. Mr Allardyce has not failed as a manager but – we must assume – as a human being. Except in all the talk about “third-party ownership” and “bungs” I have no idea what he is supposed to have done wrong.

So, commentariat – at least, that tiny proportion of you that follow such things – tell me: is he being accused of doing something immoral or something illegal i.e. breaking the Football Association’s rules? [I assume he isn’t being accused of breaking the law.]

There will, of course, the usual frantic and incompetent search for a replacement. Luckily, I have a suggestion which I think will solve England’s run of disappointment forever: abolish the team. Sadly, I don’t think the FA will be taking me up on that so I can only hope they get someone cheap.

I wonder if Neil Warnock is available?

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37 comments to What did Sam Allardyce do wrong?

  • CaptDMO

    Help me out…(US)
    “bungs”?

  • pete

    Big Sam was great for Bolton in the 70s, and I remember him playing well in the promotion battle with Spurs at the end of that decade.

    Great Bolton manager in later years.

    As for his sacking as England manager I could not care less. England won the world cup when I was at infants school and since then the national team has been a joke, and Mr Allardyce’s antics are just the latest comedic episode.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    The tone suggests that it is immoral. He seems to have no morals, claiming to have been ‘entrapped’, which would only have worked if there was some moral looseness in him. I realise it is not cricket, but shouldn’t he be trying to enforce the law, not side-step it? And were they offering money for this service? Bribery suggests actual illegality.

  • Runcie Balspune

    @CaptDMO a “bung” is slang for a demanded (rather than offered) bribe, from “bung” meaning to put or throw something somewhere carelessly, example “Where should I put this hippo” “Just bung it over there in the corner”, but used as an illicit demand for monies to achieve something quicker/easier as in “Need to get rid of the hippo quickly? Bung us a few dollars and we’ll take it off your hands right now, no need to get the zoo involved”.

  • Stonyground

    Bung = Bribe.

    Yes I think that being caught accepting money in exchange for info on how to get away with breaking the FA’s rules is a resigning issue. The thing that gets me is the absolute unfettered greed, are they not paying him enough already? Like Pete, I was seven years old when England won the world cup but then I couldn’t care less about football anyway.

  • I’m like you, a bit baffled. I take no interest in football, but from what I can see, the rules he was supposed to be circumventing are entirely arbitrary. The sting was entrapment – creating evidence rather than gathering it, purely for the sake of flogging newspapers. The man is a fool, for he must have known that what he was doing would risk his job, but I cannot for the life of me see that it warrants the over active response. It’s just twenty-two blokes poncing about after a ball for ninety minutes. I’ve seen more entertaining pain drying.

  • Mr Ecks

    Never mind Neil Warnock, whoever the fuck he is.

    Give Neil Kinnock a chance.

    Now that would be fucking hilarious.

  • David

    The solution is if you transfer soccer/football to the National Academy of Dramatic Arts where it belongs there would be that much government funding the England Ensemble could afford the best producer available.

    Real men play Rugby Union.

  • bloke in spain

    The above comments & the post tend to confirm what I’ve always thought. There’s not actually a great interest in football. It’s prominence is much to do with the general shoutiness of football aficionados.
    My belief is grounded on knowing hardy anyone interested in the game, throughout most of my life*. It came as a surprise to discover, many years later, one of the lads in my year at school went on to become England captain. I hadn’t the faintest recollection who he was.

    *Except having an uncle who owned a fair chunk of a First Division (presumably became Premier Division? The difference eludes me) club. Best avoided at family gatherings, although the occasional free tickets had negotiable value.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Off-topic, but my post disappeared for a while, was it because of the hippos?

  • Jim

    Sam Allardyce was caught discussing how he could facilitate people circumventing his own employers regulations within their business, for a fee for himself of course. I think that would come under ‘instant sackable offence’ in pretty much any employment situation (unless employed by the State, where you would get sacked, eventually, after about 2 years on paid leave).

  • Cal

    What Jim said.

    The new bribery stories that are coming out involve managers and coaches taking bribes from agents (or agents’ reps) to influence their clubs to purchase players from those agents. If you were an employer at those clubs wouldn’t you want to sack those guys? They’re trying to get you to buy players, not because they’re the best players for the club, but because there’s backhanders in it for them.

    As for entrapment, well, technically yes, but it’s clear that the people involved have been at this sort of thing for years, and the Telegraph has been well informed about it all.

    Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, the QPR manager, is trying to pretend that he was just being paid £55k for a speech, and there’s nothing more to see. Except that the company paying him that money was also trying to sell players to his club. Clear conflict of interest there (and no-one in their right mind would pay him 55k for a speech). Not illegal, but nevertheless corrupt, and a sacking offence.

    To put it in terms that BIS can understand: imagine if the head of an opera company was caught employing second-rate singers because he got paid-off by the agents of those singers? Do you think he or she would stay in their job for long?

  • US Secretaries Of State can stay in the position for as long as they want, of course.

  • Off-topic, but my post disappeared for a while, was it because of the hippos?

    Probably down to the weirdness of quantum physics 😉

  • Andrew Duffin

    @BiS: “There’s not actually a great interest in football”

    Not a great interest around here you should have said.

    There must be a great deal of interest somewhere, because the reason all these neds and thugs enjoy telephone number salaries (plus bungs) is that millions, literally millions of people are willing to shell out £50 a month or more to Rupe, for the pleasure of watching the game on the idiot box.

  • unless employed by the State, where you would get sacked, eventually, after about 2 years on paid leave

    Before popping up immediately in another cushy state job, waving away any remarks with “lessons have been learned”.

  • The new bribery stories that are coming out involve managers and coaches taking bribes from agents (or agents’ reps) to influence their clubs to purchase players from those agents.

    I guess this is a problem that arises when you take the buying/selling of players away from the manager’s area of responsibility. If it were the manager, he’d not buy second-rate players because he’d have the most to lose when they took to the pitch. If it’s somebody else’s ultimate decision, he can simply say “Not my idea to buy him!” Although if he’s spent a month persuading them to do so, that excuse might not wash.

  • Cal

    >I guess this is a problem that arises when you take the buying/selling of players away from the manager’s area of responsibility. If it were the manager, he’d not buy second-rate players because he’d have the most to lose when they took to the pitch.

    But if you’re talking players who are roughly equal in ability, he may buy A rather than B because he gets a backhander, and it makes little difference to the results.

    But the actions of some of these guys are quite irrational, financially speaking, when you look at the longer-term picture, even supposing there’s no chance of being caught. The lure of quick cash is too much for them. Even John Terry, hugely rich England captain (at the time) and Chelsea captain, used to do ridiculous and sordid things just to make a few extra bucks.

  • mike

    The FA has rules, employee breaks the rules, employee resigns/is sacked. What is there to not understand?

  • JohnK

    Mike:

    Except that Allardyce did not actually break any rules.

    He was offered a £400,000 speaking gig, which sounds insane, but then we are in a world where Hillary Clinton commands $250,000 for a speech to Goldman Sachs, and that is apparently OK. He said he would have to run it past the FA before he could agree. I can’t see anything wrong there.

    What did for him was that he discussed ways round the ban on third party ownership of players. He didn’t actually do it, or offer to do it, he just discussed how it is done. It is clearly common knowledge. For this indiscretion, he received the black spot.

    Funny old game, Saint.

  • Cal

    Allardyce didn’t break any rules, but most sports contracts these days come with clauses where you can be sacked for bringing your team into disrepute, and I expect his contract contained one. He could take it to court and argue that he hadn’t broken any such clause, but it seems pretty clear that he did, he was aiding and abetting a firm who were seeking to break the rules.

    (Although I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton, I don’t think Big Sam is in her league. Mind you, Goldman Sachs paying her big money is also a form of corruption.)

  • mike

    “Except that Allardyce did not actually break any rules.”

    I bet you a pound to a penny he did; as Cal says, his contract will have some clause related to “upholding the values” of the FA or some other formulation of the same image-conscious imperative.

  • lucklucky

    Strange that the Torygraph is upset about this… they don’t seem upset with Hillary and Clinton Foundation…

  • Patrick Crozier

    “He was offered a £400,000 speaking gig…” That sounds an awful lot like bribery.

    I’m still baffled about third-party ownership of players. Should I be concerned about this?

  • JC

    This is some kind of Sportsball thing?

  • Cal

    “Should I be concerned about this?”

    Not really.

  • bloke in spain

    “There must be a great deal of interest somewhere, because … literally millions of people are willing to shell out £50 a month or more to Rupe, for the pleasure of watching the game on the idiot box.”

    I refer you to the shoutiness of football aficianados. There maybe other things on the box, would be generally popular. But if there’s a football fan in the house & a match on, that’s the channel it will be showing. For the consumption of football is regarded as a non-negotiable right (except in my house, where tears of denial have been shed). So how many contributors to those 50 quids have done so under vile duress?

  • lucklucky, September 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm: “Strange that the Torygraph is upset about this… they don’t seem upset with Hillary and Clinton Foundation…”

    There are upsides to mainstream media being less dominant and prosperous than when we were younger. There are also occasional downsides. These days, the Telegraph still funds investigations (witness the OP) but therefore must economise elsewhere, sometimes getting its routine US news from byline articles that (sometimes blatantly) were originally written in hope of sale to the NYT or similar. Its UK news may be called right-wing – if of an often conventional/establishment/ultra-moderate kind. Its US articles, sometimes not so much. 🙂

  • Watchman

    I am just trying to work out how anyone has any problems with a newspaper exposing that figures in an industry funded by massive public interest (by people who are not Bloke in Spain) are working with suppliers (agents) to get payments directly in such a way that threatens the interests of their employers, and also allows outright corruption (and remember, corruption is anathema to freedom) to grow.

    The particular incident I think concerns third-party ownership, where somehow a player’s registration can be owned by someone that is not a football club. This is clearly comodification of a bureaucratic invention. It may or may not be allowable (I personally agree with the FA that it is not acceptable for a system designed to ensure that it is clear which club a player is playing for to be used for personal gain – and as the FA regulate football in England, it is their perogative to ban this practice, as they have). Mr Allardyce was not advocating anything illegal (in common or criminal law) in working round this, but he was clearly going against the spirit of what his employers intended. They therefore are perfectly within their rights to fire him.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Third-party ownership of players doesn’t strike me as wrong so long as it’s based on consent of the parties, obviously.

    The problem, as Jim stated nicely, is Allardyce bragged of avoiding rules of the organisation that rewards him handsomely. Any employer would sack him.

    He hasn’t broken the criminal law, that needs to be said. He comes across as a rather unpleasant character, but then so many people in the game are. I’m a lot less interested in the sport than I used to be.

  • except in my house

    Mine too. There is an absolute moratorium on football, indeed any sports channels. I refuse to allow it. No pleading, no negotiations. You want to watch that mindless crap, go home and watch it.

  • polidorisghost

    Longrider

    Fair enough, but this does not apply to Cricket.
    OK?

  • JohnK

    True, because cricketers are such role models. Never a hit of corruption or match fixing in that sport is there?

  • polidorisghost

    Johnk

    Role model John?
    If I want a role model I’ll go to the vicar – A nice girl, if a bit happyclappy and jesus wants me for a sunbeam, but morally sound.
    No, I meant that cricket isn’t crap, as sports go.

  • but this does not apply to Cricket.

    Yup. That too. Anything involving balls, frankly. Profoundly dull…