Sam Allardyce Departure — Stitch Up or Sting?

Samuel (Sam) Allardyce who is also known as “Big Sam” has been in the news recently because he fulfilled his greatest ambition: He had been appointed national team manager of the England soccer team. This came with a salary of three million pounds per year. He subsequently lost his job after sixty seven days in controversial circumstances.

The issue arose when the English Football Association (F.A.) at short notice summoned Mr. Allardyce to a meeting regarding reports in the Daily Telegraph Newspaper about reporters who had posed as businessmen. They filmed a meeting with Sam Allardyce where the supposed businessman was offered to get around F.A. third party ownership and also provisionally agreed a £400,000 contact with the businessmen. At the conclusion of the FA meeting with Mr Allardyce it was “mutually agreed” to end his term as England manager immediately.

Opinion is divided as to whether this turn of events were a ‘sting’ or a ‘stitch up’ to get rid of Sam Allardyce. This article is going to provide some background on Sam Allardyce and then the reason I believe that it was a sting but also that the reporters from the Daily Telegraph were justified in their action.

Sam Allardyce played with a total of nine clubs in England, Ireland and the USA between 1971 and 1992. Big Sam did win a Second Division title in 1977/78 with Bolton Wanderers. He also was on the Preston North End side that won promotion from the Fourth Division in 1986/87. Allardyce built up his reputation in football through his subsequent management career. He worked with a total of eight club teams and of course the international management job with the England team. A combination of man management and appropriate team tactics led to the following honours list, First Division title Limerick 1991/92, promotion Notts County 1997/98, promotion Bolton Wanderers 2001 (also achieved qualification for the League Cup Final and subsequently for the Europa Cup), promotion West Ham 2012 and finally saving Sunderland from relegation in 2016.

It is a well established fact that the England football team manager and the previous background history of that person could be a strong lead for a reporter to build or write a big controversial media story. Many previous England managers such as Alf Ramsey, Don Revie, Terry Venables (El Tel), Sven-Goran Eriksson and Glen Hoddle are all colourful football characters that over the years have attracted numerous written reports, discussion and controversy. On that basis and due to the fact that a BBC Panorama investigation programme was made in 1996 alleging bribery involving both Sam Allardyce and his son, illustrates clearly that there was ample justification for research and that there was the bones of a good controversial story that could run for a good sustained period of time if the sting was to proceed.

A sting is defined in this context as a carefully planned operation typically involving deception. A stitch up is defined as an act of placing someone in a position in which they will be wrongfully blamed for something or manipulating a situation to one’s advantage. Looking therefore at recent events specifically Sam Allardyce made himself available for meetings outside of the normal requirements of the manager of the National Soccer team. He used the powerful position he had to his advantage. He showed a lack of integrity and did not put together a forceful argument to remain in his job and most importantly of all Big Sam did not show remorse after he lost the job he had sought in order to fulfil his longstanding and financially rewarding ambition in the field of football management. As a final conclusion I would contend that a stitch up would not have gone far enough to deal appropriately with the evidence uncovered by the Daily Telegraph reporters against Sam Allardyce. Also based on what was found there is little doubt that other football people may come under pressure to answer further corruption charges in the future.