LONDON (AFP) – Sam Allardyce’s reign as England manager came to a humiliating end on Tuesday (Sept 27) as he departed after just 67 days in charge following his controversial comments in a newspaper sting.
Allardyce’s reign was sensationally brought to a close as he paid the price for indiscreetly talking with undercover Daily Telegraph reporters posing as Far East businessmen.
The 61-year-old was secretly filmed giving advice on how to circumnavigate transfer rules, criticised the FA’s decision to rebuild Wembley and mocked his England predecessor Roy Hodgson.
Allardyce, appointed England manager in July on a £3 million-a-year (S$5.3 million) contract, also agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador for their fictitious firm for a fee of £400,000.
Allardyce and the FA agreed his position was untenable, leaving him with no choice but to walk away from the dream job he coveted for over a decade.
Gareth Southgate, England’s Under-21 coach, will take charge of the senior team for the next four matches.
Southgate’s caretaker role gives the FA more time to secure a permanent replacement and his first game in charge is a World Cup qualifier against Malta on Oct 8.
“The FA can confirm that Sam Allardyce has left his position as England manager,” an FA statement read.
“Allardyce’s conduct, as reported today, was inappropriate of the England manager. He accepts he made a significant error of judgment and has apologised.
“However, due to the serious nature of his actions, The FA and Allardyce have mutually agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect.
“The manager of the England men’s senior team is a position which must demonstrate strong leadership and show respect for the integrity of the game at all times.”
Allardyce’s incendiary comments were published late on Monday and by early Tuesday morning, the former Sunderland and West Ham boss was driving down to London in an unsuccessful bid to save his job.
FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn had showdown talks with Allardyce at Wembley and, unable to talk his way out of trouble, his fate was sealed just hours later.
Defending himself by claiming he told the undercover reporters everything he said about transfers would need to be run past the FA cut no ice with Clarke and Glenn, who quickly rubber stamped Allardyce’s exit.
Allardyce issued his own statement via the FA website that left little doubt he had been desperate to somehow remain in charge.
“It was a great honour for me to be appointed back in July and I am deeply disappointed at this outcome,” he said.
“This afternoon, I met with Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn and offered a sincere and wholehearted apology for my actions.
“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.
“I also regret my comments with regard to other individuals.” Allardyce had been appointed to replace Hodgson after England’s miserable Euro 2016 campaign ended with a shock last 16 exit against minnows Iceland.
But his brief reign has come to a suitably farcical end for a post that seems to ruin every manager who takes a shot at what was long ago dubbed ‘the impossible job’.
Allardyce’s problems began when he agreed to meet the undercover Telegraph reporters, who asked if it would be a problem for their fictitious agency to get involved in third-party ownership through funding football transfers, which is banned under Fifa rules.
The Telegraph reported Allardyce said he knew of certain agents who were “doing it all the time” and added: “You can still get around it. I mean obviously the big money’s here.”
He also referred to Hodgson as “Woy”, mimicking his speech impediment, and said the FA had “stupidly spent 870 million pounds” rebuilding Wembley, while also complaining that Prince William, the FA president, had not attended last week’s Euro 2020 launch event in London.
Allardyce also criticised Hodgson’s approach at Euro 2016, saying he was “too indecisive” and “hasn’t got the personality for public speaking”.
Allardyce poured scorn on England’s failure at the tournament by saying their players have a “psychological barrier” and “can’t cope”.
Glenn made it clear the FA felt they were left with no choice but to wash their hands of Allardyce.
“We’ve concluded and Sam’s agreed that his behaviour’s been inappropriate and frankly not what is expected of an England manager,” Glenn told FATV.
“We discussed a range of issues from potential contraventions of FA rules to through to personal comments that frankly just don’t work when you are the manager of England.”