The Sam Allardyce era is over.
Following publication of the bombshell investigative piece from The Telegraph showing his meeting with foreign businessmen, both the FA and Allardyce agreed that his position as England manager had become untenable. The FA just released a statement within the hour saying they and Allardyce had reached a “mutual agreement” for him to leave.
“Allardyce’s conduct, as reported today, was inappropriate of the England manager. He accepts he made a significant error of judgement and has apologised. However, due to the serious nature of his actions, The FA and Allardyce have mutually agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect. This is not a decision that was taken lightly but The FA’s priority is to protect the wider interests of the game and maintain the highest standards of conduct in football. The manager of the England men’s senior team is a position which must demonstrate strong leadership and show respect for the integrity of the game at all times.”
The FA also announced that U21 coach Gareth Southgate will serve as caretaker manager for at least the next four scheduled fixtures.
The Telegraph’s article came as part of a lengthy investigation into corruption and bribery in English football, the findings of which will be published throughout this week. Allardyce was caught on camera meeting with a group of men in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as in a restaurant in Manchester. Thinking these men were representatives of a Far East investment firm looking to make money from the Premier League’s recent windfall, Allardyce was seen and heard talking broadly about getting around FA regulations concerning player transfers.
While he didn’t offer specific advice, he noted that the rules banning third-party ownership were largely useless and easy enough to get around. He also tried to broker a deal to do regular consulting work in Asia worth up to £400,000— all in his capacity as England manager. He also volunteered some sharp criticism of his employers, members of the England squad, and his predecessor, Roy Hodgson.
As it turned out, the men were undercover reporters for The Telegraph, and his comments made for fodder in English football’s latest scandal. In the wake of the article’s publication, the FA launched an investigation into Allardyce’s dealings. Chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn met to discuss the brewing crisis and review original footage from The Telegraph. Later in the day, Allardyce was summoned to Wembley to meet with the FA’s braintrust. We know now the result of that meeting was what most of us suspected when the news broke— whether or not the tape showed conclusive evidence of impropriety, there was really no feasible way for Allardyce to continue on as England boss. While Allardyce did reportedly fight to keep his job, Clarke and Glenn clearly felt there was no way back.
Allardyce leaves his post having only spent one fixture in charge of England, a 1-0 win over Slovakia in a World Cup qualifier earlier this month. Southgate will serve as caretaker manager for the next four games in October and November: World Cup qualifiers against Malta, Slovenia, and Scotland, followed by a friendly with Spain. This will close out 2016 for England, meaning Allardyce’s successor won’t take charge of the team until the international break in late March, 2017.
As for Allardyce, it’s unclear where he goes next with his career. Assuming he still has one after today.