Depressing news this week, as Sam Allardyce was forced to stand down as England manager after a single game in charge. Not depressing because I thought he would be a good manager (I thought his England would be dull and would be no more successful than in recent years). It’s depressing because it’s one of those things that make you think the world is an awful place. And that “the beautiful game” is tainted beyond endurance.
Allardayce was caught in a journalistic sting in which he touted his services for £400,000 per annum, mocked FA regulations and sneered at professional colleagues.
The England manager’s job is very well paid. £3 million a year, I read. It’s better paid than managing, say, Germany even though Germany is a “bigger” job. It’s better paid than the Portugal job, despite that team’s recent success at the Euros. It’s much, much better paid than managing, say, Northern Ireland though that is a far more “challenging” task. People used to say it paid well because of the “high expectations” of English supporters – but I think that no longer applies. We don’t expect to win tournaments anymore. Another argument is that you “have to pay the best to attract the best” but I don’t think anyone can seriously argue that Allardayce or his predecessor Roy Hodgson are even “among” the best managers in world football.
I think it pays so well because the English love football and will pay to watch it. Football in general and the English game in particular is full of money and it attracts unscrupulous people. Probably it corrupts people who weren’t initially just in it for the money.
Allardayce was already well rewarded for a job he claimed (and a lot of people believed) was his dream job. So why did he risk it all for more money?
Possible conclusions are “it’s just in his nature” or “he just thought he could”. Either way, it’s a depressing thought.