LONDON – Sam Allardyce’s reign as England manager came to a humiliating end last night as he departed after just 67 days in charge following his controversial comments in a newspaper sting.
Allardyce’s reign was sensationally brought to a close as he paid the price for indiscreetly talking with undercover Daily Telegraph reporters posing as Far East businessmen.
The 61-year-old was secretly filmed giving advice on how to circumnavigate transfer rules, criticised the FA’s decision to rebuild Wembley and mocked his England predecessor Roy Hodgson.
Allardyce, appointed England manager in July on a £3 million-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.
Allardyce and the FA agreed his position was untenable, leaving him with no choice but to walk away from the dream job he coveted for over a decade. “The FA can confirm that Sam Allardyce has left his position as England manager,” an FA statement read.
“Allardyce’s conduct, as reported today, was inappropriate of the England manager. He accepts he made a significant error of judgement and has apologised. “However, due to the serious nature of his actions, The FA and Allardyce have mutually agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect.”
Allardyce’s incendiary comments were published late on Monday and by early Tuesday morning, the former Sunderland and West Ham boss was driving down to London in an unsuccessful bid to save his job. FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn had showdown talks with Allardyce at Wembley and, unable to talk his way out of trouble, his fate was sealed just hours later.
Allardyce had been appointed to replace Hodgson after England’s miserable Euro 2016 campaign ended with a shock last 16 exit against minnows Iceland. But his brief reign has come to a suitably farcical end for a post that seems to ruin every manager who takes a shot at what was long ago dubbed ‘the impossible job’.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly but The FA’s priority is to protect the wider interests of the game and maintain the highest standards of conduct in football,” the statement read.
“The manager of the England men’s senior team is a position which must demonstrate strong leadership and show respect for the integrity of the game at all times.” Gareth Southgate, England’s Under-21 coach, will take charge of the senior team for the next four matches.
Former Crystal Palace defender Southgate, 46, has to name a squad this weekend for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia and will remain as boss for another qualifier against Scotland and a friendly with Spain in November.