The next England manager appointment should go a little something like this:
“Look, this guy is dodgy as f***k, but he said he knows how to get the best out of Walcott, so get over it”.
The arse end of journalism stung Sam Allardyce. Seedy little men trying to sell a story at the expense of someone who hasn’t really done anything wrong. I mean, fair enough if you are on a quest to uncover criminality, but if all you find is a bloke slagging off his bosses, ranting about the tax man and telling you how to bend a few rules; you’ve got to ask yourself – is that really a story?
The Telegraph has robbed us of a perfectly competent football manager for the sake of shifting a few papers. All they’ve revealed is that working class football blokes aren’t as PR savvy as Etonian politicians when it comes to bending the rules. David Cameron lied to our faces about his daddy’s tax dodging, yet got to stay in his job. The moral of the story; do it, just don’t brag about it.
Big Sam should’ve known better, but let’s not forget a few forgotten facets of this story. When it comes to the £400,000 fee he was negotiating, Allardyce explicitly said he would have to clear it with his bosses. When it came to bungs, he wanted nothing to do with it. And when it came to Woy he said it how it woz.
The headline should’ve read: “Allardyce, the everyday top geezer that says it how it is”.
Now this might be one step too far, but the real question is – what kind of people get into fake sheikh sting set ups as a career? What kind of character do you have to be to build a relationship based on lies? What kind of person reveals nothing but an inflated ego and still runs the story?
Tulisa Contostavlos of N Dubz fame was accused of being the middle-man in a cocaine deal. A revelation that came about as a result of yet another fake sheikh piece of journalism, or rather, another story that wasn’t quite a story. “Girl from Camden knows someone who sells drugs” doesn’t quite seem like headline news to me, nor is it a ‘revelation’ that constitutes tearing someones world apart. Unsurprisingly, this case later collapsed after it was revealed the fake sheikh omitted comments Tulisa had made expressing her disapproval of hard drugs. News stories just aren’t quite as interesting if they’re not at least part fictional.
Whether it’s Big Sam or Tulisa from N-Dubz, all these stories do is reveal that none of us are perfect. To me that isn’t news.
The former United Biscuits and Birds Eye CEO Martin Glenn was left little choice but to let Allardyce fall on his sword. But the fact is that he actually did have a choice. The problem is that the Food and Drink industry is notorious for pragmatic decisions that’ll maintain a whiter than white image. He is from a world where the right choice tends to be the safe choice.
The Independant’s Mark Ogden wrote that Glenn had taken the easy choice. While he is absolutely correct in this assertion, the piece misses the point of Glenn’s appointment in the first place. He may well have been the man responsible for getting rid of Captain Birds Eye, which on the surface looks like a brave decision. However, it’s more than likely that Birds Eye was in such dire circumstances that drastic action was necessary. For the most part Food and Drink people make small decisions, hoping fall even smaller improvements in the name of career preservation. Sam Allardyce’s departure reeks of a Food and Drink decision.
To stick with Sam Allardyce would’ve been a brave decision. It would’ve shown an acceptance that in reality everyone talks badly about their bosses when they’re not in the room. It would’ve also been a decision grounded in common sense. The problem is that we live in an emotional, irrational and hypocritical world. We’ve been drawn into a narrative where the seedy sting reporter is a caped crusader for the truth, and the victim of the deception is demonised for our entertainment.
In the words of Sam Allardyce, “entrapment has won”, and that’s just sad.