Sam Allardyce mocked predecessor Roy Hodgson - and hit out at Gary Neville in meeting with undercover reporters
An undercover investigation by the Daily Telegraph in London has published video of Sam Allardyce mimicking his predecessor Roy Hodgson’s speech impediment by calling him “Woy” and also criticising Gary Neville.
Football Association officials will launch an investigation into the conduct of England manager Sam Allardyce, amid suggestions that it is “touch and go” whether he will survive in his job, Independent.ie understands.
Allardyce made the unguarded comments to undercover reporters posing as Far East businessmen where they were discussing opportunities for earning extra money.
Allardyce has been caught encouraging what turned out to be fake football agents to break Football Association rules on player transfers.
The Telegraph article entitled 'England manager Sam Allardyce for sale' has been produced after a successful sting operation to catch out a brash Allardyce as he staged a meeting that saw him agreed a £400,000 deal to work with the fake agents.
Allardyce was filmed agreeing to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador and he went into details on how they could get around third party ownership of players, which is illegal according to the rules set out by his bosses at the FA.
Allardyce, who took over from Hodgson after England's dismal Euro 2016 campaign, claimed the Three Lions had lost to minnows Iceland because Hodgson had been “too indecisive”.
He described Gary Neville, Hodgson’s assistant manager, as “the wrong influence” and said he should have been told to “sit down and shut up”.
Allardyce’s derogatory remarks about Hodgson are likely to cause serious unease at the Football Association.
The FA has previously complained about the use of the word “Woy” when referring to Hodgson.
The investigation revealed that during a one-hour meeting with the reporters, the first time Allardyce had met them, he spoke openly about his views on England’s football team and its previous manager.
Asked if Hodgson had outside earnings, Allardyce said: “No, he wouldn’t want to, he’d send them all to sleep, Roy. Woy. He hasn’t got the personality for it.”
Allardyce also explained why he thought England under-performed in France.
“Psychologically, we can’t cope,” he said. “There’s a psychological barrier.” Referring to Hodgson he said: “The players let him down in the end. I think maybe he was too indecisive. Cast a bit of an anxiety over to the players maybe. If that ever happened to me as a manager, I’d be absolutely gutted. It would be my fault.
“So I’d have come in at half time and gone, right: bang bang bang bang bang. And then if that didn’t work I’d have gone bang, substitute, substitute, know what I mean, and changed the complete style in the team…but he ummed and ah-ed and Gary Neville arguing about when to bring Rushford [sic] on…”
He also revealed his anxiety over the fact that some of his England players are not guaranteed starters at club level and he would find it difficult to justify starting them for England.
“Can’t play them then,” he said. “Joe Hart. Jack Wilshere, on the bench for Arsenal. Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench. You can play them, but they’re not playing for the club. When they’re not playing for the club, they’re just short of match practice.”
Asked if managers would fight him to stop him taking their players on international duty, he said: “That’s the name of the game innit, like.
“When they finish the game on Sunday I’m in control of the players. Not them.
“So if I want to call them up, I’ll call them up, whether they say I can or I can’t. I’ll call them up anyway. I don’t give a s--- about what you say.”
Allardyce also took aim at his employers, the FA: “They’re all about making money aren’t they? You know the FA’s the richest football association in the world?”
He then qualified his statement by saying the FA had the biggest turnover, but were not the richest, because “they stupidly spent £870 million on Wembley, so they are still paying that debt off”.
He said England’s home stadium was “fabulous”, but went on: “If they’d built it anywhere else, it would have cost about 400 million… most of the money the FA make will go to the interest on the debt”.
He also criticised Prince William for failing the official launch of the Euro 2020 football tournament in London. Wembley will host the semi-finals and final of the tournament in four years time.
He said: “He’s our ambassador for the Football Association, so it would have been nice if he’d have turned up but he obviously had more, much busier things on.”
While his arrogant comments do little to banish the notion that Allardyce may be a little less than equipped to hold such a high office in the game, it is his comments on bypassing the FA's third party ownership rules on players that may be the most damaging to his reputation.
Third party ownership is common place in world football and sees companies or several individual investors owning part of the rights to footballers, before selling them on to clubs for a huge profit.
The practice has been described by some as "slavery" and the English FA have led the way to combat third party ownership rules, yet Allardyce described the laws as "ridiculous" in his comments to the undercover reporters.
Allardyce was implicated in a BBC programmes suggesting top football managers took bungs on player transfer back in 2006, but he was quick to suggest that practise was no longer acceptable as he was quizzed on illegal payments to players and managers by the fake reporters.
At the very least, this story will be a source of huge embarrassment to the foolish Allardyce and it remains to be seen whether his future as England manager will now be called into question.
He is set to take charge of his first home game as England manager next month, with his reputation already tarnished by a story that will doubtless dominate the soccer agenda over the coming days.