For a man that had craved a “top job” for the better part of 10 years, Sam Allardyce did not bring a top job mentality to the role of England manager. Yes he leaves the post as the only man in England history with a 100% record. But it wasn’t his on the pitch performance that brought about the quickest exit in England football managerial history. It was the greed of a man that should’ve know better.
Allardyce was reportedly on £3.5 million pounds, (including performance related bonus) a year to take England back to the top of international football. To put that into perspective Joachim Low, the current coach of the World Champions, earns about a millions pounds less. Yet Allardyce was out chasing £400,000 extra, off the back of his position. What does this say about the greed of English football, when £3.5 million is not enough?
Sam Allardyce is not a naïve man, according to reports he knew early on his position was untenable and that he wouldn’t be leaving Wembley the way he came in. But getting caught out, despite thinking the conversation was private, mocking the previous manager, and describing the ways to circumvent the rules set out by your employer, is incredibly naïve. The one small saving grace for Allardyce, is that he repeatedly said on the video he would have to run anything by the FA.
However the FA had to act, and were left with very little alternative but to depart with Allardyce’s services. In the final reckoning, the FA clearly felt that as guardians of the rules and the body that judges others, Allardyce’s words on third-party transfers, his naivety and poor judgement in discussing intimate FA and footballing matters with relative strangers, the notion he might even consider himself as a potential advisor to this albeit fictitious company, weighed too heavily against him, making Tuesday night’s split inevitable.
The FA have been accused of dithering over these kind of problems in the past, so it is only fair to commend them for taking swift action. The only thing is, as Alan Shearer described last night English football is “Once again a laughing stock of world football”
Sam Allardyce was brought in to lift the gloom of the Euro 2016 debacle. The loss to Iceland had eroded all confidence in the England national team, and the players had also lost confidence. Allardyce himself in the video admitted that the England players were suffering from a psychological barrier, and they couldn’t cope.
Allardyce, who many felt was the best of a bad bunch of choices, was a victim of his own success. His tactics, seen by many as a ‘hit and hope’ style of football, the most basic of styles launching the ball up to a big target man, bypassing the midfield. However Allardyce never suffered a relegation from the top flight, and one only has to see where former clubs Bolton, Blackburn, and Sunderland all find themselves currently.
Being labelled as long-ball merchant was something that bothered Allardyce immensely. He claimed that if he was the manager of Real Madrid he win the treble every season. With the England job, he had the opportunity to work with the players he felt could lead him to glory.
It is only fair to judge Allardyce on his one and only outing as England manager(Allardyce had refused the opportunity of a friendly at Wembley), against Slovakia in the World Cup qualifier at the start of the month. England won the game, with Adam Lallana scoring in the 95th minute to give Allardyce his only win as England manager. But nothing can disguise that this was a largely pedestrian and colourless display until a late surge of pressure against a tiring Slovakia side.
Too often, this performance offered up a painful reminder of the flaws England demonstrated at Euro 2016, with England’s failure to capitalise on superiority of possession. But for all the faults on display, this was a crucial if very unspectacular win – a very small building block in restoring confidence.
The only lingering issue for Allardyce coming out of the game, was the lack of verve in the attack, and surely this would have been addressed by the addition of Marcus Rashford for the games against Malta and Slovenia.
England would have no doubt qualified for the World Cup, the one thing England have become good at is qualifying for major tournaments. It’s when they get to the finals that it all falls apart. However the performance in Slovakia suggests that the FA have acted early in Allardyce termination, and that the national team would’ve been on the hunt for another coach come the summer of 2018.
So what next for England? Gareth Southgate has taken on the temporary ownership of the senior role. He will be in charge for the games against Malta, Slovenia, Spain, and Scotland. However Southgate himself said when the job was available post Euro-16 that while he wanted the senior job one day, he wasn’t ready for the responsibility now. While Southgate has done a good job at the under 21 level, most fans would agree that his permanent appointment is far from awe inspiring.
Ideally for most England fans the next permeant manger would be English. But the options are slim at best. Steve Bruce interviewed at the same time as Allardyce, is available having left Hull City, which would appeal to cash conscious FA. Alan Pardew has been installed as some of the bookies favourite, but his recent form at Crystal Palace his hardly the stuff of World Cup winning mangers. Eddie Howe could be a great England manger one day, but would a 38 year old, who has built a fantastic reputation at Bournemouth, want to take on the poisoned chalice of the England job?
It is most likely the FA will make a foreign appointment. Jurgen Klinsmann was strongly linked to the England role, and has international pedigree. Arsene Wenger is in the final year of his Arsenal contract, and has the respect of the FA powerbrokers. Louis Van Gaal is currently a 33/1 shot with some firms. But he has international experience, sets out teams to keep the ball (something England have struggled with for some time) and knows how to get a result in big games.
The one issue for England is how to come out of this latest debacle on the other side. The build up to this game will be dominated by the now former manager. For the faith of the nation England will need 2 convincing performances, in 2 games they should easily win.
“It’s a sad day, sad for Sam as well. I’m sorry for what’s happened. It’s probably a lifetime dream of his to be England manager and to end so quickly is unbelievable really.” Harry Redknapp
This will not be the last of Sam Allardyce in English football. Many people have done worse things, and have gone on to have successful careers. He will no doubt spend some time away from the game, and is he is sensible he won’t take any punditry offers that may come his way.
However the idea that Allardyce will ever get a top job, has now gone. But the work he did in keeping Sunderland up can’t go ignored, especially with the position they find themselves in this season. No doubt Allardyce will be back in a dugout this time next year.
The question for Allardyce is, will he want the stresses of day-to-day management after such a spectacular rise and fall?
By Rich Lee @RichLee2202