Brian Clough’s reign at Leeds United was famously only 44 days. Sam Allardyce’s time as England Manager was only 67 days and one match old when he was shown the door by the English FA.
Clough coached seven games at Leeds in that time, Allardyce just one.
Clough admitted that he had tried to change things too quickly after taking over at Elland Road from Don Revie who had left to take the England job. Yet he admitted in later years his departure from Leeds played a big part in his latter success with Nottingham Forest, it made him financially secure and he learned from some of his mistakes.
If newspaper reports are to be believed Allardyce, who would have already been financially secure, has received a seven figure payout following his sacking from the England job after the Daily Telegraph published the results of an undercover investigation that showed him negotiating a fee of £400,000 to represent an overseas firm that was hoping to profit from Premier League transfers. This was before he had even named his first England squad.
It is the payout following Allardyce’s perceived greed while in a position where he was allegedly one of the highest national team managers that has caused English football fans to react on social media, and not surprisingly in the negative.
Here was a man who it appeared was being extremely well paid trying to negotiate another large sum of money to circumvent the rules. The FA had no choice but to sack their coach, and one wonders why they had to pay anything.
The 61-year-old Allardyce was appointed in July and at the time stated that he was “extremely honoured” to be given the role. He promised to return the feelgood factor to an England setup demoralised by a Euro 2016 defeat to Iceland that led to the resignation of hid predecessor Roy Hodgson. He was given a £3m-a-year contract, plus bonuses, and at the time said he had fulfilled his lifetime’s ambition by taking over as England manager.
Yet Allardyce has simply damaged England Football’s reputation even further leaving with the unwanted record of the shortest managerial reign for a permanent appointee.
Not only that, he has shown that it is not just the players who appear to be blinded by the money that is on offer at the highest level of the game, but so too the coaches.
It is one thing to talk about the honour of being the England manager but with that comes responsibility. Brian Clough was successful because he expected his players not only to play a certain way but also to behave a certain way. If they did not they were shown the door. He was, whether you liked him or not, a man with values. Talk to players who played under him and all will have stories about some of his strange ways but those who thrived under him talk about him with affection and respect.
To be fair, there have been accusations levelled at Clough that he too took unauthorised payments, which has never been proven and he never was charged. So one has to presume innocence…
England and the FA have shown that the problems they have with their national team run deeper than simply a coach picking the best players and moulding them into a team. Their problems are far deeper rooted and it is going to take a while before these wrongs are righted.
The only way forward is to pick a manager genuinely proud to take on the role and players who have pride in the shirt they are selected to wear. Until that time England’s national team will continue to be non-starters at major tournaments.