Oh deary me. Poor old Sam Allardyce. The England manager. The chosen one. The man to lead the England team out of the wilderness and into the promised land of another…….quarter final!
Big Sam might be the man who is famed for his man-management skills but he may have just man-managed himself into the sack? After a sting operation showing big Sam’s love of ‘extras’ there has been much angst and hand-wringing in the press and over the nation’s airwaves. What’s to be done? Will Sam survive? ‘Does he really know how to circumvent strict rules on third party ownership of players? Will the FA be consistent? Will the FA do sod-all?
In the middle of the furore I listened to the radio and to one of TalkSport’s less ridiculous programmes where guest, Matthew Syed, no less, no I had no idea who he was either thought apparently he’s an ex ping-pong player which obviously makes you an expert in all FA related matters. Matthew opined that Sam Allardyce had done nothing illegal, which appears to be the running theme of the day. But, alas this is where poor Matthew showed his footballing sense of fair play to be lower than a pair of whore’s knickers. Because he and quite a few others, seem to have no complaints with the recent ban that the FA imposed of Burnley’s Andre Grey for anti-gay tweets that the player made………four years ago!!! Of course, as a target for the FA’s belated moral outrage, they don’t come much softer than poor little ‘ole Burnley. Imagine if Andre Grey played for Manchester City. It wouldn’t have even garnered a mention. Anyway, the English Football Association said six postings made by the Burnley striker on his Twitter account between Jan. 9 and March 11, 2012 brought the game into disrepute. Some of the tweets appeared to be slurs against gays. Terribly out of order of course and all worthy of condemnation but here’s the thing. He did nothing illegal? The discriminatory comments only came to light when they were retweeted by other people after he scored his first Premier League goal for Burnley in the team’s 2-0 win over Liverpool on August the 20th this year. Grey himself released a public apology after the match.
But my displeasure at journalists like Syed and his ilk is grounded in the diminution in the relevance of the moral actions in this and so many other instances. They don’t appear to be all that interested in the morals of the situation at all. If it’s legal then that’s all OK and screw anybody who has a problem with it. I suspect that Syed is all in favour of Therapeutic Use Exemptions. After all, there’s bound to be ping-pong player somewhere with an ingrown toenail that needs sufficient amounts of painkiller that just so happens to contain banned performance enhancing chemicals that, most unfortunately, have the ‘unintended?’ consequence of providing more than a slight advantage over any opponents? It reminds of the Irish Government’s cosy tax deal with Apple that allowed one of the world’s largest and wealthiest corporations to pay 0.05% tax. Which meant that for every one million in profits, Apple paid €50 in tax. All perfectly legal of course, which is more than enough to satisfy those who are blind to the moral bankruptcy of the deal.
And yet if the FA can ban a player for a series of bad taste tweets four years ago then sacking Allardyce is surely a no-brainer? My own view is that his position is untenable because if there’s no integrity in the game there’s nothing. Indeed integrity is probably the only aspect of professional football that’s worth saving.
But ask yourself this. If that video had shown not Allardyce preparing to line his pockets but a certain Mr Sepp Blatter how do think our newspapers and press and Mr Syed would have reacted then? I think you know the answer and it would have had little to do with legality.


27th September 2016