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Sam Allardyce's England departure: The FA are equally to blame

Friday 7th October 2016
Sam Allardyce was appointed as England manager on 22nd July, but just 67 days later, Allardyce's reign abruptly ended in acrimonious circumstances, which has left two big questions. Was Allardyce's departure essential? And who's ultimately responsible for the situation England find themselves in?

Sam Allardyce longed for the chance to manage his national side; on the 22nd of July, his dream came true when he was appointed to succeed Roy Hodgson as England manager. It was the job Allardyce had sought throughout his time in management, and he had finally been presented with the opportunity to prove himself as a top class manager, in by far the biggest role of his career.
England travelled to Slovakia for a World Cup qualifier in Allardyce's first game in charge. It was a close encounter between the two sides. Adam Lallana found the net late on, which proved enough to earn England a 1-0 victory. Sam Allardyce's England career had gotten off to a positive start: played one, won one. However, that record would last forever, as Allardyce's time at England ended before he would oversee his second game.

The Daily Telegraph set up a sting that implicated the England manager. Video footage emerged of Allardyce making comments on how to bypass FA rules, and he also mocked former England manager Hodgson. Regarding third-party ownership, Allardyce was quoted as telling an undercover journalist: ‘it's not a problem. You can still get around it. Obviously, the big money's here'. Then, when asked about Hodgson potentially making earnings from public speaking, Allardyce said: ‘No, he wouldn't want to, he'd send them all to sleep, Roy. Woy. He hasn't got the personality for it.'

The comments made by Allardyce instantly drew criticism as the story escalated around the country. The opinion being that this was no way for the England manager to behave; Allardyce had crossed the line, which left his job hanging by a thread. The FA acted immediately, as just hours later, on 27th September, the inevitable happened: Allardyce left his role at England by mutual consent. After only 67 days of being England manager, Big Sam was gone.

The FA Chief Executive Martin Glenn made his feelings known to FATV: ‘ His (Allardyce's) behaviour has been inappropriate and frankly not what is expected of an England manager, discussing a range of issues, from potential contraventions of FA rules, through to personal comments that frankly just don't work.' 
If Allardyce had remained England manager, there would have been added pressure on him to succeed, as the scrutiny he received would have become unbearable, which could have had an impact on his side's performances. So the correct decision was made: Allardyce had to go for the good of the team. But it's difficult not to feel any sympathy, as during Allardyce's managerial career, he worked his way up from the bottom, until he reached the pinnacle, only for his life's ambition to evaporate in the space of a few short hours.

Former England striker Alan Shearer summed up the current mood surrounding the England national team. When talking to the BBC, Shearer held nothing back: ‘I didn't think England could stoop any lower from what happened in the summer at the Euros. Now here we are, a laughing stock of world football'.

Is Shearer right in what he said? If the answer is yes, then it's taken more than just one man to get England to this point, therefore, the blame can't all be placed on the shoulders of Allardyce. Although Allardyce must take full responsibility for his comments, other influential members high up in the FA must also share some of the responsibility and criticism. After all, these people were responsible for appointing Allardyce as manager to begin with.
Allardyce made an error, one that he's paid for immensely: he lost the job that he was deeply passionate about; at the same time he's witnessed his reputation in football plummet, and his future in the game is looking increasingly uncertain. But should all of England's current problems lay at the feet of one man? Only then to be swept aside and forgotten once the dust has settled, leaving the FA unaccountable for their decisions. We know Allardyce made a huge mistake, but the FA has also made numerous mistakes over the years. Most noticeably the appointment of several unsuitable managers.

Although England's latest controversy was set into action by remarks made by Allardyce; we shouldn't let this detract from actions undertaken by the FA. England have reached this conundrum, not because of recent events, but because of errors and lack of judgment from people at the very top of English football, which go back twenty years. Since 1996, the FA has appointed seven England managers, and all have failed to meet expectations in some form or another. Including foreign coaches who came to England with big reputations: Sven-Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello.

Former England managers are blamed for England's poor results and failure to meet expectations in major competitions, but is it possible for so many England managers to have failed because of their own faults and lack of managerial ability? Or is it more likely that the problem lies higher up with the decision makers? While it's easy to blame the managers, and players - the men in the spotlight, maybe it's time to dig deeper, by focusing on the people who make the key decisions in English football. The FA has to be held accountable for their blunders, as until that happens, mistakes will continue to be made, and English football will remain in the wilderness.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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