FORMER England manager Sam Allardyce has told reporters he made “an error of judgment”, adding: “I have paid the consequences.
The 61-year-old’s contract was terminated by mutual agreement on Tuesday night after crisis talks with the Football Association triggered by a Daily Telegraph investigation in which he was covertly filmed advising undercover reporters on how to sidestep FA transfer regulations.
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Clearly shaken by events, Allardyce told reporters outside his home in Bolton on Wednesday morning: “Entrapment has won on this occasion. I have to accept that.”
Allardyce suggested he thought he was helping out an associate when he was caught in the sting.
He said: “I think that on reflection, it was a silly thing to do. But just to let everybody know, I sort of helped out what was somebody I’ve known for 30 years and unfortunately it was an error of judgment on my behalf and I’ve paid the consequences.”
He said the agreement to leave his job after just 67 days and one match “was done very amicably with the FA”.
He said he had apologised to those concerned for the “unfortunate situation that I put myself in”.
The former Bolton and Newcastle boss said he had a confidentiality agreement and could not answer further questions.
He added: “I am off abroad just to chill out and to reflect and I’d like to wish all the England lads, Gareth and the staff all the very best.”
Asked if that was his last job in football he said: “Who knows. We’ll wait and see.”
Allerdyce’s departure means the FA is once again wounded and on the lookout for a new manager just months after crashing out of the Euro 2016 tournament at the hands of lowly Iceland.
His reign in what he gleefully described as his “dream” was the shortest of any full-time England manager.
The Telegraph, as part of a wide-ranging operation, covertly filmed the newly-appointed Three Lions boss making a variety of indiscreet and controversial comments to undercover reporters posing as businessmen.
Some were merely disparaging or offensive - such as those aimed at predecessor Roy Hodgson, who was demeaningly called ‘Woy’ in a reference to his speech impediment - while some constituted even graver lapses in judgment.
The willingness of Allardyce and his adviser Mark Curtis to negotiate a £400,000 pay day to act as a keynote speaker for investment firms in the Far East was not viewed kindly by employers who already paid him £3 million a year.
And his thoughts on ways around the FA’s ban on third-party ownership of stars was arguably even more damaging.
In an official statement released on Tuesday night, Allardyce gave a “sincere and wholehearted apology” for his part in the messy divorce.
“Further to recent events, the FA and I have mutually agreed to part company,” Allardyce said.
“It was a great honour for me to be appointed back in July and I am deeply disappointed at this outcome.
“This afternoon, I met with (FA officials) Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn and offered a sincere and wholehearted apology for my actions.
“Although it was made clear during the recorded conversations that any proposed arrangements would need the FA’s full approval, I recognise I made some comments which have caused embarrassment.
“As part of today’s meeting, I was asked to clarify what I said and the context in which the conversations took place. I have co-operated fully in this regard.
“I also regret my comments with regard to other individuals.”
England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate will take charge of the senior side’s next four games - the first of which is at home to Malta on October 8 - with a squad announcement due on Sunday.
After addressing the media outside his detached property, Allardyce and his wife, Lynn, were driven away with suitcases packed for their break abroad.
The former Bolton boss lasted just 67 days in the post, the shortest ever tenure for a permanent Three Lions manager, and he took charge of just one game. Here, is how Allardyce’s fleeting reign compares with other England bosses.
SAM ALLARDYCE (July 2016 - September 2016, one game)
Allardyce’s tenure began with a smile in July but ended in humiliation in October after just 67 days. Having left Sunderland to take up the role he craved for so long, Allardyce guided his country to a solitary 2018 World Cup qualifying win over Slovakia earlier this month. It is the shortest reign of any of England’s 14 permanent managers.
STEVE McCLAREN (August 2006 - November 2007, 18 games)
McClaren was appointed after the FA failed in its attempts to lure Luiz Felipe Scolari from his post as Portugal boss but it would prove to be a poisoned chalice for the former Middlesbrough manager. His failure to secure England a place at Euro 2008 - the first time in 14 years they had not qualified for a major tournament - saw him sacked after just 18 games.
KEVIN KEEGAN (February 1999 - October 2000, 18 games)
Keegan also lasted just 18 games and his spell ended in ignominious fashion after England fell to a 1-0 defeat against Germany in their final game at the old Wembley Stadium. Keegan, who went on to manage Manchester City before briefly returning to Newcastle in 2008, has the lowest win-percentage of any permanent England boss at 38.9 per cent.
TERRY VENABLES (January 1994 - June 1996, 24 games)
Venables announced five months before Euro 96 that he would be standing down due to off-the-field matters. Despite a largely successful tournament for the Three Lions, where they reached the semi-finals on home soil, the former Tottenham manager still left his role after two and a half years, and 24 games, and was replaced by Glenn Hoddle.
GLENN HODDLE (July 1996 - February 1999, 28 games)
Hoddle lasted just 28 games himself after he left by mutual consent in February 1999 following controversial comments he made about disabled people. His win-percentage of 60.7 per cent ranks favourably with his predecessors - England’s World Cup-winning boss Sir Alf Ramsey managed 61.1 per cent - and was touted as a potential contender for the job before Allardyce was appointed.
(List does not include caretaker managers)
Here is a transcript of the clips released by the Daily Telegraph:
• First meeting
Allardyce’s agent: “Is that third party ownership a problem though?”
Sam Allardyce: “It’s not a problem.”
Telegraph reporter: “Yeah, well, I mean there are, there are ways...”
SA: “It’s not a problem.”
Reporter: “...there are ways around that, as I understand it, or ways through that.”
SA: “(inaudible) and er (inaudible) they’ve been doing it for years.”
SA: “You can still get around it. Obviously the big money is here.”
SA: “What they would be better doing is, making sure they’ve got the ownership and the agent. So they own the agent, the agent works for them, as well. ‘Cause then the agent, if he gets sold on again, the agent will get more money if he gets sold on again.”
SA: “You get a percentage of the player’s agent’s fee, that the agent pays to you, the company, because he’s done that new deal at that club again, or, they sell him on and you’re not getting a part of the transfer fee any more, ‘cause you can’t do that. But ... but you get - because of the size of the contracts now, the contract’ll be worth 30, 40 million, at 10%.”
His agent: “Yes, I understand that.”
SA: “And you get, you get, you’ve done a deal with the agent where you’re getting 5% of the agent’s fee. Which is massive for doing about two hours work, like.”
Allardyce’s financial adviser: “But you’re, you’re setting up a fund to buy the economic rights, effectively, of these players?
Agent: “Third party ownership, yup.”
Reporter: “Certainly in the places where we can do that, yeah.”
SA: “Third party ownership is only banned in this country because, because we have...”
Financial adviser: “And France, and France.”
SA: “And France yeah.”
SA: “You can still get around it.”
Financial adviser: “And the fees will be sensible?”
Allardyce’s agent: “I would have though £100,000 a time.”
SA (to reporter): “Your guys set the agenda out of what it would look like. Me flying out on - on a day ... landing in Hong Kong or Singapore, staying in this hotel, meeting these people, doing that keynote speech, travelling back either two days later or one day later.”
• Second meeting
Unnamed agent: “What the player?”
Agent: “You wouldn’t give him anything?”
Agent: “Would you not?”
SA: “The player?”
Agent: “Well, if he’s recommending a player - if he says to him...”
SA: “Oh, oh, you’re not, do not, I haven’t heard that...”
Agent: “No, you’re right.”
SA: “I haven’t heard that, you stupid man.”
SA: “What are you talking about? You idiot.”
Reporter: “Yeah, it would never happen.”
SA: “You can have that conversation when I’m not here.”
SA (to the agent): “Yeah but you slipped up tonight.”
SA: “You can’t go there any more.”
Agent: “What’s that?”
SA: “You can’t pay a player, you can’t pay a manager, you can’t pay a CEO. It used to happen 20-odd years ago, 30 years ago...”
Agent: “No, no.”
SA: “You can’t do it now, you can’t do it now, don’t ever go there.”