Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Pay It Again Sam

Sam Allardyce – where to begin? How about this.  At the National Football Museum there was a display of autographs.  Amid all the squiggles and indecipherable signatures, one stood out in clear print. ‘Big Sam’.  The self styled big cheese, who even took the trouble to invent his own nickname (fact) and presumably even signs birthday cards that way.

Big Sam the big time manager who mystifyingly never had a big job or won even a little trophy until his sheer ambition and self belief landed him the England gig, at a time when suddenly anything was possible, even a quiz show buffoon becoming Foreign Secretary.  

And not just that, in the Telegraph video he clearly thought he was a big shot businessman too, nailing down a £400k deal in the Far East whilst bragging about his connections to impress the audience.  For the undercover journos this must have been laughably easy: just dangle talk of an easy payday under his slavering chops and press play. 

Among all the tawdry details it was also quite revealing when the conversation briefly turned to the England job.  Asked who the next opponents were, Sam correctly recalled that first up it was Malta, then “Slovenia or something”. Exactly the sort of attention to detail and preparation that £3m a year buys you.  Combine that with allowing the fading talisman Rooney to decide where he wants to play and it’s easy to conclude that Allardyce saw this role as a cushy reward for all his years of trying to squeeze Premier League survival out of limited resources. 

Well now of course he has even more time on his hands to pursue business opportunities, though he might find that the fees have shrunk. And I look forward, after maybe a brief interval, to him popping up on the ITV sofa next to Hoddle or some other bushed flush, giving us the benefit of his insight from all 93 minutes of that brief but memorable international career.   
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