Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Big Idiot

So Sam Allardyce leaves the England job with a 100% win record (1 streaky win from 1 easy game) in strange circumstances, the victim of a Daily Telegraph sting with reporters posing as businessmen. But arguably he was primarily a victim of greed and ego. Big Sam was very foolish and careless. But, I would say, so were the Football Association.

After all, England managers making an idiot of themselves is not new. Sven Goran Eriksson was the victim of the News of the World's "fake sheikh" sting, causing him and the FA discomfort in the run up to the 2006 World Cup. Eriksson had his agent, Athole Still (yes, I've typed the first name correctly), with him , just as Allardyce had his with him this time. These agents might earn a lot but they only seem to have a nose for money, not trouble.

And Fabio Capello collaborated with a commercial company to produce a player performance index which was due to be published in the run up to the 2010 World cup until the obvious penny dropped that this would cause embarrassment, so it was delayed until after the tournament. When it caused embarrassment as the ratings for England's players in their disastrous campaign were published, while Capello was still England manager.

So you would think that the FA would have sat down with Sam and possibly some PR gurus and say "Sam, we know you're a very experienced guy but just be careful. This is the job you always wanted - so ask yourself in any situation 'what's the worst that could happen?' If people approach you wanting things and making offers, why not just tell them you're fully occupied with England but you'll be happy to talk with them once the England job is over and done."

Indeed, I'm surprised the FA didn't have clauses in Allardyce's contract saying that he'd give the England job his full attention and not get involved in any arrangements with third parties without prior agreement from the FA. Well, maybe there were such clauses, as they would be pretty standard in such a contract I would have thought. Crikey, even I had such clauses in my employment contract for a management role a dozen years or so ago. And Allardyce did say he'd need approval from the powers that be to commit to any of the deals that were discussed.

Though I've never been an admirer, I feel sorry for Allardyce at his dream job ending in this way. The crass and ill judged things he said seem rather trivial reasons for his dismissal - for that's what it was, as I imagine he wouldn't have left by agreement if he hadn't been told he would otherwise be sacked. And the Daily Telegraph is saying that he might yet face "further disciplinary action" from the FA. That would be very careless indeed of Sam, if he's quit without getting it agreed that there would be no such action. Meanwhile the Telegraph is getting praised for its "investigative journalism", when it seems to me rather sly and for no great principle. It's not exactly thalidomide, MPs expenses, or charities bullying old folk out of their savings, is it? Rather, it's a surprisingly naive fool slagging off his predecessors and saying there are ways of circumventing a rule.

The reason the whole things seems needless is that Sam's most damaging comments, about how to get round third party ownership issues, could easily have been rephrased as "I can advise you how to live within the rules" if the FA had wanted to stand by him. So I can only assume they were actually embarrassed by things like the sending up of Roy Hodgson's speech impediment. None of this seems to me to warrant any more than a telling off. I feel that if his employer had taken more care to brief him it needn't have happened.

But you could say he's a big boy and he should have known how to look after (and behave) himself. And realise that the next time the fake sheikh might not bother to wear any robes.

1 comment:

  1. Good points Phil. Greed and feeling too self important are probably what brought him down and there could be others to follow him.