By Tony Attwood
Sam Allardyce has won the plodding meander to succeed Roy Hodgson – but only it seems after Arsene Wenger said “non” and reminded the FA that there are some people in the world who, unlike them, believe that contracts are there to be honoured. He said (once again) that he has never broken a contract and had no intention of doing so now, as he moves towards the latter parts of his career.
The word started to go around a few days ago that the FA were asking Mr Wenger to be the new boss, and then the Daily Telegraph confirmed it; Very Large Sam was the second choice after they had moved on and also talked to also fairly rotund Steve Bruce.
So the FA have moved on to the simple job of treating Sunderland with the total contempt that they treat most people and most organisations with. “We’re having him so bugger off,” more or less sums up their approach. Whereas most deals are dependent on agreements between the parties, this doesn’t apply to the FA. They say, they command, they demand. They really are the most appalling organisation, and quite possibly they and Fat Sam (the man who threatened to sue the BBC after they raised the issue about all his misdemeanours in terms of footballing rules, and then singularly failed to do so) deserve each other.
It doesn’t stop here of course because the Large One will also want to go around nicking backroom staff. Eddie Howe has been mentioned, so another club loses out just as the season is starting. But does the FA care? Of course not.
The FA were particularly said to be impressed with Allardyce’s track record in club management. We can guess the number of trophies won by looking at the clubs
|2011–2015||West Ham United|
There is also talk of his “vision”. And they will undoubtedly have noticed his ability to bend the rules so far that they almost disappear whether it be with the level of fouling or the timewasting.
His first competitive game in charge will be the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on September 4.
“Everyone we have spoken to about the job is massively enthusiastic about the prospects for England. There were a lot of good things about the Euros…” After that, I sort of lost the will to live for a while. David Moyes, the man who said that the jury was still out on Mesut Ozil, will probably take over at Sunderland.
And there’s one other thing. The Football Association has said that England’s new manager must make a concerted and innovative use of sports psychology to build mental resilience in the face of the “world’s most intensely passionate” media. I wonder if they were still remembering the Fat Man’s fight with the BBC. If that was psychology, it certainly wasn’t covered in the courses I took.
The FA also said that they didn’t want a “short-term mercenary.” So let’s look again that Fat Sam’s past. We have seen how often he has dedicated himself to long term service there as a manager, but what of his life as a player?
|1983||Tampa Bay Rowdies||11||1|
|1986–1989||Preston North End||90||2|
|1989–1991||West Bromwich Albion||1||0|
|1992||Preston North End|
But let us ponder for a moment who the FA want the England team to play. While Leicester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham are being ordered to play the teams of a nation whose athletes have been found guilty of state sponsored doping, we are going to be asked to support a national team that might well be drawn against that country in a competitive game. Did the FA think we might not notice that there is only one Russia and it has been found guilty of doping in every sport?
It sort of trails off at that point. Never mind. Whoever thought ethics had anything to do with the FA and its bedfellow.
Today’s special anniversary
Today we commemorate the birth of Tom Whittaker, one of the four managers who between 1930 and 1953 transformed Arsenal from a club that had never won anything to the most famous club in the world, and the club that had won more titles than any other in the Football League.
We have asked Arsenal FC to erect a commemorative monument to celebrate the work of the men who undertook this transformation: Herbert Chapman, Joe Shaw, George Allison and Tom Whittaker.
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