Scottish Daily Mail


Allardyce owns up to ‘silly mistake’ yet plenty of clubs will want him as manager


THE seven-figure pay-off might ease the sense of embarrassm­ent and regret but Sam Allardyce cut a sad, broken figure as he faced the cameras outside his Lancashire home yesterday.

There was a brief hint of the old bravado, with Allardyce claiming ‘entrapment has won on this occasion’ in reference to the Daily Telegraph’s sting.

But he was not really looking to apportion blame. Indeed, in the briefest of conversati­ons the previous night, he had admitted to being a ‘complete f***ing idiot’ and did not even attempt to suggest he had been given some bad advice.

He had been warned, after all, of the potential perils of being England manager.

‘The small things are big and the big things are massive,’ one senior football writer used to say and that point could not have been emphasised enough to Big Sam once he landed the job he had craved for more than a decade. He needed to focus on his responsibi­lities and be content with the £3million a year he was being paid by the Football Associatio­n.

Allardyce was actually urged not to attend the second of the meetings with the undercover reporters who were posing as businessme­n. The first meeting had left his advisers feeling anxious.

But the 61-year-old said he wanted to help an old friend as well as make a few extra quid and chose to go, only to come out with what probably were the more damaging comments that were caught on camera.

‘On reflection it was a silly thing to do,’ he said yesterday outside the modest, £400,000 house that has been his family home since he was a player at Bolton in the Eighties.

‘But just to let everybody know, I sort of helped out what was somebody I’ve known for 30 years and unfortunat­ely it was an error of judgment on my behalf and I’ve paid the consequenc­es.’

He added that it was an ‘unfortunat­e situation that I put myself in’.

Asked if he would work in football again, he said he would ‘wait and see’. But once he has had time to reflect in the luxury of his sumptuous Spanish villa — ‘I need to go away and lick my wounds,’ he said late on Tuesday night — he may well return to the business of winning football matches after securing a 1-0 away win over Slovakia in his only game in charge of England.

Those closest to him certainly think Allardyce will be back, not least because he will not want a career that spans almost half a century to end in such unedifying circumstan­ces.

And while Allardyce might be damaged by the controvers­y of the last two days, no sport offers second chances like football. The moment a club runs into trouble — or are looking to secure promotion — you can be sure he will be high on their list of managerial candidates.

While Allardyce works out how to rebuild his reputation, his former Wembley employers must formulate a plan for the future of an England side their recently appointed manager was supposed to be guiding to the next World Cup.

Understand­ably, they had not planned to lose him after only 67 days and the news that Arsenal will move to see off yet another approach for Arsene Wenger will also limit their options.

As, you would imagine, will the latest revelation­s from the Daily Telegraph. The FA hierarchy might not be too alarmed by the unsubstant­iated claims of some seriously dubious individual­s. But they will doubtless be aware of the rumours and therefore nervous about making another appointmen­t they could soon come to regret.

Yesterday the FA remained in a holding pattern, attempting to maintain something resembling continuity by asking the principal members of Allardyce’s backroom staff to remain in their jobs and assist Gareth Southgate over the next four games.

Sammy Lee and goalkeepin­g coach Martyn Margetson will join forces with Steve Holland — who steps up with Southgate from the Under 21s — in supporting the interim manager. He must try to secure further World Cup qualifying wins against Malta and Slovenia.

Last night Southgate released a statement via the FA.

‘It’s obviously been a difficult situation for the FA but it was important that there was some stability and continuity for everybody,’ he said. ‘So, from my point of view, it was important to step forward and give us the best possible chance to win these games.

‘The fact that I know so many of the support team and the players already is really important, given the time that we have to prepare for these matches.

‘I’m a passionate Englishman and I think people know where I stood on the long-term role in the summer. The interim role was never discussed at that stage because the FA were always confident that they could get somebody permanent.

‘With my experience with the Under 21s in internatio­nal football, and having worked with so many of the players who have moved up to the seniors as well, I think we are in a good position to prepare for these games.’

Southgate neverthele­ss expressed his regret at seeing two England managers lose their jobs in such a short period of time.

‘It’s a difficult circumstan­ce for me, because we’ve lost two senior coaches in the last few months who have both been very good to me,’ he said. ‘I certainly wish them both all the best for the future.

‘I was very proud to have played more than 50 times for my country and to have worn the armband, so to manage England will be a huge responsibi­lity and a huge honour for me.

‘The focus now has to be on playing football, putting in good performanc­es and getting results, starting with Malta at Wembley. These are four big games for us as a country, I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m confident that we can get good results. We have an excellent group of players and the future is certainly bright for this England team.’

I need to go away now and lick my wounds

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? On the front foot: Allardyce at home yesterday
GETTY IMAGES On the front foot: Allardyce at home yesterday
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