PUBS & CLUBSSPORTS

FA sacked Sam in a panic

Spitalfields pub is the venue for Eamonn Holmes' chat with Sam Allardyce

In today’s episode of the podcast A Pint with Eamonn and the Gaffers, Sam Allardyce says the Football Association (FA) made a ‘panic decision’ on sacking him to ‘save its reputation’.

Dudley-born Sam is not short of London connections. He managed both West Ham and Crystal Palace and also played for Millwall. He shared a beer with popular broadcaster Eamonn Holmes at The Gun pub close to Spitalfields Market in east London.

Here are some key points from the podcast:

  • Sam Allardyce reveals the FA made its decision to relieve him from the England job within ‘hours’ and was made ‘in panic’ to avoid ‘damaging their reputation’.
  • The former defender believes players asking for so much money entitles clubs to make demands of the players including world tours, which is having a negative affect on the players’ mental and physical health. 
  • The 65-year-old also believes managers need to stop being so ‘soft’ on their big players, such as Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.

Kicking off on the subject of his short time as head coach of the England team, Eamonn asks about Sam’s memories of losing the job. Sam Allardyce replies: “I think, how the decision was made so quickly by The FA that you wonder why they came to that particular decision that quickly…they [the FA] said I can’t carry on and if I had done that much wrong, I look back now and I was in a cloud at the time, I wasn’t allowed any representation. That was a real thing for me in terms of that institution not allowing you the opportunity basically to defend yourself. So that was I think, done and dusted in a few hours and when I look back on the fact that I was just coming, with very little sleep, from home back down to The FA sitting and talking to them for an hour and then sat in a room where they just made that decision.

During the interview Allardyce continues: “If I had my time over again then I probably would have done it differently but that’s happened and why they came to that decision has never really been explained to me but I can only consider that it was panic on their behalf on what they thought it would do, in terms of damaging their reputation.”

Just to recap, Allardyce lost his job over allegations made by the Telegraph newspaper after a sting operation in which it is claimed he advised the paper’s journalists posing as fictitious businessmen how to circumvent the rules about third-party ownership of players. There are those who say Allardyce was merely pointing out the loopholes that existed.

Allardyce adds: “Clearly as time wore on and the amount of negative publicity of what people were saying about me and The FA was untrue. And, of course, if I had have done that much wrong then they wouldn’t have paid me off. So, I don’t really know why they did it, only they can tell you that and the only thing that saved me in the end was Steve Parish ringing me up and saying, ‘please come and help Crystal Palace out’. That really was the time I could bury it into the sub-conscious, never forget about it but put it away, the release of going and doing what you’re good at.

Eammon Holmes then moved the conversation onto whether club football has become more important than the national side. Sam said: “It’s the demand from the football club and from England that is the concern but, unfortunately, because the players ask for so much money, the demands on that player becomes more and more demanding. 

“I’m not too sure their bodies and their minds can cope with it. For instance, they would only be getting three weeks off a year; if they’re a good player then they will have played for the club in the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup, the Champions League, at international level; then they get three weeks off and the club say, ‘well we’ve got a tournament in China, Australia and the USA which is going to net us 10/15 million quid. We’re going to have to do that because you’ve asked for so much money’, so where does a player, not just physically but mentally too, get a rest? That’s one of the problems that the game, I think, will suffer from.”

Finishing on a question such as how to solve a problem like Paul Pogba, Sam Allardyce shares his input. He said: “One of the things I think as a manager is that we don’t get too soft with them, if they tread over the line then you’ve got to discipline them…their agents are very difficult and I’m glad there’s a director of football so I’m not dealing with them any more because that’s not what I want to do.”

The chat with Sam Allardyce forms part two of Eamonn Holmes brand new series, which launched on the 18th November with legendary gaffer Martin O’Neill and will be featuring Stuart Pearce and Steve McClaren in great British pubs across the country. 

TV presenter and lifelong football fan, Eammon Holmes, has launched podcast ‘A Pint with Eamonn and the Gaffers’ in association with Heineken, proud supporters of the great British pub. Throughout the series, Eamonn will be cosying up with legendary footballer managers including Martin O’Neill and Stuart Pearce to discuss their career, including the highs and lows, over a pint in a pub. The podcast series will be available on iTunes, Spotify and all other major podcast platforms.

Eamonn Holmes said: “I’m a huge football fan and have wanted to make this podcast for a while.  And what better place to do it than the great British pub? Once you’ve got a quiet corner and a couple of pints people really open up and get to the heart of things. I enjoyed these chats so much and I hope the listeners will really feel like they’re there with us.

“For me, pubs have always been a place where relationships start, friendships are cemented, and memories are made.  I’m passionate about football and have so many memories of watching the big matches in the pub. So sharing a pint with these big figures of the game was a real honour. They shared some amazing stories about their own careers – and some big opinions on the current Premier League season too.”

Stephen Watt, on-trade director for Heineken, said: “This new podcast series plays at the heart of British culture – pubs, football and chat.  A Pint with Eamonn and the Gaffers’ will remind people how great their local pub is to get together, watch a game and have a chat. “Fancy a pint?” to us means “let’s go to the pub and catch up.” Pubs are the original social network and, without doubt, the best place to watch the football with your mates.”

The podcast series was launched on November 18 and is available to download from iTunes, Spotify and all other major podcasting platforms. Accompanying the podcast is also a series of short films which can be viewed here.   

Through its Star Pubs & Bars business, Heineken owns 2,700 pubs across the UK, and demonstrates that the great British pub is at the heart of communities and a place where people from all walks of life can come together.   

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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