Ex-England manager ‘Big Sam’ to sign up for Strictly
His 67-day tenure as England football manager was ignominiously terminated following a ‘ sting’ operation which exposed his apparent willingness to accept payment in return for circumventing FA transfer rules.
But now ‘ Big sam’ Allardyce is on the threshold of a new role which may propel him to national treasure status.
For i can disclose that the 64-yearold, whose most recent stint in the managerial dug-out was at Everton, is in discussions with the BBC to appear on its flagship programme, strictly Come Dancing.
‘He met TV executives this week in a hotel bar,’ my sequined informant tells me, before adding that ‘Big sam’, who owes his nickname both to his height – 6ft 3in – and substantial physique, took the opportunity to inquire what sort of standards he needed to meet.
‘They assured him that the show’s edited so that no one comes across as a terrible dancer, mentioning Katie Piper as someone who was not “a natural” but who got the public behind her.
‘They were talking to him about the Christmas special but emphasised that they want him on a whole series, rather than just a one-off.’
This seems to have heartened Allardyce, who inquired about two previous stars from the world of football — former England striker John Barnes and combative Welsh midfielder Robbie savage, once dubbed the dirtiest player in the history of the Premier League.
savage, who partnered Ola Jordan in 2011, managed sixth place, while Barnes was seventh in 2007, with the consolation of becoming the first male celebrity contestant to secure a perfect ten from the judges for his salsa.
That was good enough for Big sam, known for his uncompromising work in midfield during his playing days.
And it seems he is not worried about public criticism of his dancing. ‘He said: “Whatever they can say, i’ve had twice as bad.” ’
The BBC declines to comment on his prospective debut, while Allardyce’s spokeswoman says that she is ‘not able to confirm anything’. Let’s hope that the Beeb bungs him a decent fee.