England boss Sam Allardyce’s future looks uncertain after he last night faced a series of embarrassing accusations following an undercover investigation carried out by a national newspaper.
Before his first match in charge of the Three Lions, Allardyce was filmed by the Telegraph allegedly advising reporters posing as representatives of a Far East firm on how to circumvent Football Association (FA) rules on player transfers. During the meeting, former Bolton, Blackburn and West Ham manager Allardyce is said to have mocked predecessor Roy Hodgson and branded the FA’s decision to redevelop Wembley Stadium “stupid”.
Allardyce is also reported to have agreed a £400,000 deal with the bogus businessmen to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador.
The claims will raise questions about Allardyce just two months into his reign as England manager, a job he has coveted for most of his managerial career. The FA told the Telegraph it wanted to study the allegations further before commenting.
Allardyce, 61, gave advice on how to dodge FA rules, introduced in 2008, which prohibit third party ownership of players, making reference to his signing of Enner Valencia while at West Ham. There is no suggestion he broke any rules in doing so.
“You can still get around it,” said Allardyce. “I mean obviously the big money’s here.” He added: “It’s not a problem, we got Valencia in. He was third party owned when we bought him from Mexico.”
As well as referring to Hodgson as “Woy”, making reference to the ex-Fulham, West Brom and Liverpool manager’s speech, Allardyce was less than complimentary about his leadership qualities.
“I think maybe he was too indecisive, cast a bit of anxiety over the players maybe,” said Allardyce. “I mean prior to the Iceland game, he won all 10 qualifiers.
“We’d drawn with Russia, we should have won. We beat Wales, and that was our worst performance. We drew with Slovakia, and we only had to draw with Iceland to get through, he just collapsed.”
Hodgson’s assistant Gary Neville, who like the manager fell on his sword after England’s embarrassing European Championship exit to Iceland in the summer, was not spared criticism.
“They were arguing for 10 minutes about bringing him [Marcus Rashford] on, him and Gary Neville,” added Allardyce. “So Gary was the wrong influence for him. ****ing tell Gary to sit down and shut up, so you can do what you want. You’re the manager.”
Wembley Stadium reopened in 2008 after a £800m rebuild, sanctioned by Allardyce’s new paymasters, the FA. Allardyce said: “They stupidly spent £870m on Wembley, so they’re still paying that debt off. If they’d built it anywhere else, it would have cost about £440m.”