Football: Agent says Sam Allardyce sacking 'a joke'

Former England national football team manager Sam Allardyce walks out of his home in Bolton on Sept 28, 2016.
Former England national football team manager Sam Allardyce walks out of his home in Bolton on Sept 28, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

London (AFP) - The football agent who set up the meeting that led to Sam Allardyce losing his job as England manager has labelled the decision to sack him "a joke".

Scott McGarvey, a longstanding friend of Allardyce, said on Thursday he felt "devastated" to have set in motion a train of events that led to the former Bolton, Newcastle, West Ham and Sunderland boss being sacked by the Football Association after just one game in charge of England.

Allardyce, 61, was sacked following the publication by the Daily Telegraph last month of controversial comments made to undercover reporters.

He was secretly filmed giving advice on how to circumnavigate transfer rules and mocking England predecessor Roy Hodgson.

Appointed England manager on a £3 million-a-year contract (S$5.07 million), Allardyce also agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador for their fictitious firm for a fee of £400,000.

Allardyce attended the meeting in a London hotel at the instigation of McGarvey.

"I'm devastated for him (Allardyce)," McGarvey told Sky Sports. I can't think of anything worse that could have happened.

"He's got to feel I'm responsible because I'm the one who's brought him to the meeting, but he's only come for me. He's never once spoken about money. He's never once said anything about money. It was only, 'Are you okay, lad? I'll help you'."

McGarvey insisted he had no knowledge either he or Allardyce were being set-up in a newspaper sting until long after the meeting.

"Do I think he holds me responsible? I think he's known me for a long, long time. He knows that I'd never do that to him or to anybody in football," McGarvey said. "I can understand if he doesn't speak to me again.

"It might take a bit of time because I know how hurt he is at losing the England job. It doesn't matter if you're the manager of Crewe and you lose your job but if you're the manager of England and you lose your job after one game, it's a joke."