Big Scam

> Al­lardyce fights to save Eng­land job, as book­ies turn against man­ager <

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

SAM AL­LARDYCE is set for cri­sis talks with his Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion em­ploy­ers yes­ter­day as the Eng­land man­ager fights to save his job af­ter be­ing caught in a news­pa­per st­ing.

Al­lardyce gave ad­vice on how to cir­cum­nav­i­gate trans­fer rules, crit­i­cised the FA’s de­ci­sion to re­build Wem­b­ley and mocked his Eng­land pre­de­ces­sor Roy Hodg­son while be­ing se­cretly filmed by Daily Tele­graph re­porters pos­ing as Far East busi­ness­men.

Al­lardyce, 61, ap­pointed Eng­land man­ager in July on a £3 mil­lion (RM16.13m)-a-year con­tract, also agreed to travel to Sin­ga­pore and Hong Kong as an am­bas­sador for their fic­ti­tious firm for a fee of £400,000 (RM2.15m).

Se­nior FA fig­ures were said to be stunned by the rev­e­la­tions and Al­lardyce was seen driv­ing away from his home in Bolton early yes­ter­day amid re­ports he had been sum­moned to the gov­ern­ing body’s Wem­b­ley head­quar­ters to de­fend him­self. The FA probe leaves Al­lardyce in dan­ger of be­ing sacked just one game into his reign.

“I got a call re­lated to the is­sue and I want the facts in the morn­ing and I will look into it – it is not ap­pro­pri­ate to pre-judge the is­sue,” FA chair­man Greg Clarke told The Times.

“With things like this you have to take a deep breath and have all the facts and hear ev­ery­thing from ev­ery­one.

“Then you can make a judg­ment about what to do and that’s what we will do. Nat­u­ral jus­tice re­quires us to get to the bot­tom of these is­sues be­fore we make any de­ci­sion.”

Al­though they want to hear their man­ager’s side of the story, The Times re­ported FA chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Glenn and Clarke were lean­ing to­wards sack­ing Al­lardyce – whose only Eng­land match to date pro­duced a 1-0 win in Slo­vakia – just 67 days af­ter he was hired.

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.

“It’s not a prob­lem. We got (En­ner) Va­len­cia in (at West Ham). He was third-party owned when we bought him from Mex­ico,” Al­lardyce replied.

He also re­ferred to Hodg­son as “Woy”, mim­ick­ing his speech im­ped­i­ment, and said the FA had “stupidly spent £870 mil­lion” 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”.

He said Hodg­son’s as­sis­tant man­ager Gary Neville “was the wrong in­flu­ence for him. F***ing tell Gary to sit down and shut up, so you can do what you want”. Al­lardyce poured scorn on Eng­land’s fail­ure at the tour­na­ment by say­ing their play­ers have a “psy­cho­log­i­cal bar­rier” and “can’t cope”. The FA is now in a race against the clock to act – Eng­land’s next game is a World Cup qual­i­fier against Malta at Wem­b­ley on Oc­to­ber 8, with the squad set to be named this Sun­day.

But Ar­se­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger, who had nu­mer­ous pub­lic spats with Al­lardyce in the past, of­fered sup­port for the be­lea­guered boss.

“You have to let Sam Al­lardyce de­fend him­self and I just hope he will clear his name,” Wenger said.

“Noth­ing is proven. At the mo­ment it is only sugges­tions. We have to be care­ful, we live in a so­ci­ety that is very quick to ac­cuse peo­ple.”

How­ever, Al­lardyce is odds-on with book­mak­ers to lose his job. Book­maker Wil­liam Hill cut the odds on Al­lardyce be­ing sacked to 1-3 fol­low­ing a num­ber of bets yes­ter­day.

“We have seen hun­dreds of bets this morn­ing of up to £1,000 (RM5.38m) all for Al­lardyce to no longer be man­ager of Eng­land by the time they next take to the field,” Wil­liam Hill spokesman Joe Crilly said.

“You would have thought some de­tails have been held back for later this week and we now think he’s as good as gone.”

Al­lardyce’s com­ments were the cen­tre of de­bate in lo­cal and so­cial me­dia yes­ter­day, with some con­demn­ing him for seek­ing to line his pock­ets so soon af­ter his ap­point­ment and say­ing he should go.

It is not the first time Al­lardyce, nick­named “Big Sam”, has been linked with off-field scan­dals dur­ing his long man­age­rial ca­reer.

In 2006 he was named in a BBC Panorama pro­gramme which al­leged that he had taken il­le­gal pay­ments, or “bungs”, as part of trans­fer deals.

In 1999 Glenn Hod­dle was sacked as Eng­land man­ager af­ter com­ments he made about dis­abled peo­ple in a news­pa­per in­ter­view de­spite him apol­o­gis­ing for a “se­ri­ous er­ror of judge­ment”. – AFP/ Reuters

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