By Tony Attwood
In the end the FA couldn’t even sack him. Instead we find that the appalling Allardyce left his job as England manager “by mutual agreement”.
As various newspapers have pointed out, Allardyce has been known for many, many years to be a man who regards the basic rules of football as an option to be dipped into when he feels like it. And yet the FA, funded by English tax payers, has been wasting yet more money bringing him as manager in and paying him.
In July this year the sports secretary in England, Tracey Crouch warned the Football Association it could lose government funding if it does not reform. It has not reformed. In fact in the Allardyce episode it has become clear that it has got worse, wantonly taking on a man whose behaviour in the 2006 football corruption saga in England was questionable to say the very, very least. As I pointed out yesterday, Allardyce stated openly that he was going to sue the BBC for what they said about him, and then backed down, leaving the accusations on the table. And the FA knew exactly what those allegations were.
Of course it wasn’t all bad from Allardyce. He did give us a laugh and a half when in the conversation with the Telegraph undercover operators he repeatedly said that he was a “key note speaker”. I had to get a new hanky to wipe the tears away on that one. You might as well employ Billy Bunter. (Don’t worry about it – its an old man’s joke).
And he (Allardyce not Billy Bunter) made the point to the Telegraph men that the FA were financially inept over Wembley. It was as if he had been reading Untold.
So what now? It seems as if tax payers like me will continue to fund the FA and the weak willed government sports ministers will continue one after the other to dust down the “FA will lose its grant if they don’t reform” speech, while waiting for the day they can do another job.
In essence the FA has become a criminally wasteful organisation throwing money at Fifa as it made its bid to host the World Cup (for which it got two votes, one being its own), rebuilding Wembley with money it didn’t have in the hope of someone else picking up the bill, making one third of staff redundant when it turned out that no one would pick up the bill, and endlessly refraining from reforming its internal structures. As I have reported countless times in the past, even Sport England withdrew its funding from the disgraceful body when it became clear the FA was diverting funds that should have been used to build new all-weather pitches for grass roots football, and using it to keep itself financially afloat and pay its own bloated elite bunch of old duffers.
Of course it is not just the FA that are to blame – they are remorselessly supported by the media who like the whole razzmatazz of international football. They don’t want the end of Fifa or Uefa because these organisations make easy shock horror news stories that cost nothing to cover.
Which is why the media has hardly picked up on the most simple basic fact of all – Allardyce had form in terms of the 2006 scandal and because of the unresolved issues therein, he should never have been appointed.
But there again, this is not a story that the media likes, because anything that suggests (as Allardyce does) that football is fixed is against the interest of the media that report it. They pay their money to the League and the FA for the rights to print fixtures and film matches, and there are unwritten rules resulting from that about what can and can’t be said.
It is just another part of the scam the media is involved in. Although time wasting by goalkeepers is hardly in the same league as the massive malfunction that was the offering of the position of England manager to Allardyce it is just another part of the hidden agenda, something that the media won’t pick up on because it is an issue that shows football in a bad light with no redeeming features.
Now we are going back around again and eventually the FA will appoint a new manager, and the newspapers and sport broadcasters will be happy with that because it uses up more space and more time without it costing them anything in terms of investigative journalism.
Mr Wenger’s name will be there, especially if the appointment can be delayed until the end of the current season. But I hope Mr W doesn’t sully his reputation by getting involved. Eddie Howe, Alan Pardew and Steve Bruce will be mentioned a lot.
Then we have Alan Shearer (because he has managed eight games and lost five of them) and Gareth Southgate, (because there is always Gareth Southgate – its written into the constitution), and Glenn Hoddle (because there’s…) Jurgen Klinsmann (because we always have a Johnny Foreigner on the list to show that we are not nationalistically biased)…
Now I must admit that to make up that list I cheated, and went and had a look on the BBC website where they deal with this issue, and many of these names appear there. Along with our Arsene.
And to my utter amazement, shock, surprise and bewilderment, I found this…
The Frenchman’s training methods have been blamed for causing injuries to Arsenal players. However, statistics for the first half of last season reveal the Gunners had fewer injuries than Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Now talk about a turnaround. Mr Wenger causing injuries through lunatic training methods has been part of the BBC’s mantra for ten years, and the notion that they might be about to drop it (even just in reference to half a season and three other clubs) took me aback. However I was reassured that the world hadn’t gone totally bonkers when I saw that the phrase “Blamed for causing injuries” linked across to a Daily Mail article which contained a load of bonkers gibberish from our old pal Verheijen. The Mail (inj the piece the BBC linked to) says,
“In Twitter comments, Verheijen hit out at the “pattern” of Arsenal injuries to players like Ramsey, as well as Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas in the past, before pointing to a 10-year UEFA study which reported “football coaches are responsible for most injuries”.
“Verheijen, who has a new book called ‘How Simple Can It Be?’, also used media interviews to denounce Wenger’s “old school” training methods, for which he was once heralded as a “revolutionary coach”.”
I think the herald in question was his aunt, but anyway, it is nice to know the old prejudices are always there reprinted without any recourse to actual evidence. Arsenal get more injuries than anyone else. Say it enough times and you might believe it, but look at the statistics year after year and it is never true.
However if the story means that other clubs rise up and say “You can’t appoint Wenger, he’ll send all our players back injured,” and that means we keep him for a bit longer, I’ll take that.
- Arsenal Belgium in the TV studios and Arsenal getting all the praise in the world
- Ref Review Arsenal – Chelsea : Another good performance from the ref!
- Biggish Sam, who was caught out in 2006, has been a naughty boy again and the truth is starting to come out.
- Excusing the ignorance of the past
Anniversary of the day
28 September 2002: Arsenal 4 Leeds 1. Arsenal beat Nottm Forest’s record of 22 away games without defeat. Olivier Dacourt of Leeds commented on the team,”We’re all fighting for second place now. It was demoralising. They just pass and move, pass and move. You find yourself working for nothing.” Arsène Wenger called the performance as “edging nearer to perfection… We are playing great, Total Football. Danger comes from everywhere.” Leeds manager Terry Venables said: “Manchester United have been exceptional for 10 years – but I’ve not seen anything as good as that.” Arsenal also beat Chesterfield’s 72 year old record of scoring in 47 consecutive league games set between December 1929 and December 1930 in the Third Division north. Arsenal player Jack Lee, who was transferred to Chesterfield in 1928, was very much part of Chesterfield’s run.