Is this the end, then, for the Ordinary Bloke as gaffer? Has the fallout from Entrapmentgate steered football further from the working man than ever? And is that more meaningful and painful than the other stuff about morals and money?
Possibly not. But in doing a favour for a friend of thirty years and then falling into the most obvious of pits-with-tarpaulins-slung-over, Mr Allardyce has undermined your chances (Dave) and yours (Derek, Bazza, Brian, Jim) of rising to high office. Which you might think is gutting.
So who’s to blame then? Slimy undercover journo’s or a clumsy or naive or disturbingly shifty bloke with a napkin (apparently, fitfully) on his head? Or… is that the question?
And how did it come to this? Meaning either how the hell did that bloke become England Manager anyway or how come this paper did this entrapment thing? Both almost equally weird. Throw in the assumption of dentist’s-chairloads of booze, cartoon-character machismo and gert big wedges of money and you really do have a scene we can moralise over, luxuriate in – a scene for our times.
Tough enough already to avoid the view of top-level footie as near criminally grotesque: this latest episode doesn’t so much reinforce that impression as plonk a shiny silver flag on top and krank upp the klaxons. No wonder The Simpsons has been so widely referenced in the reactions; this is Maximum DOH, people!
And yet it maybe does feel unfair. Not just in the possibility that Allardyce has been exposed more for a fool than a criminal but in terms of the influence on this case of the scale of contempt around the game itself – contempt which I am certainly guilty of contributing towards.
Sure other sports lack the garish weight of football’s tackiness – though many clearly share some of its depressing shades. The environment is such that disproportion thrives and fair judgement may be elusive – through that context of diving foreigners and blinged-up lifestyles. How then, can we reconcile the feeling that ‘developments’ following Big Sam’s meeting feel uniquely football and symbolically rotten, with more focussed appreciation of the actual events?
Maybe there can be no event without that baggage? So that appalled but unsurprised, we may not have the heart to search for detail: we may not ‘need to.’ This is all crushingly obvious, after all.
It’s a crappy and predictable do, this, maybe more so because of Big Sam’s crassness but esssentially because this is just how football is. Football is guilty; that’s how most of us feel. Said this plenty times myself, over recent years. Football is guilty.
Can we bothered to go past that? (Is that the question?) Or does that obviousness, that donkey-centre-halfness imply guilt and is that game over?
If we were getting real in a faintly ‘legal’ or philosophical kindofaway we might seek out what it was exactly, that took the England Gaffer into the Plainly Unacceptable Yonder? That may be a pertinent question but it is one which I, for one, disillusioned, can barely be arsed to ask.
Except I have. I know I’ve been prejudiced against Big Sam so I’ve thought a lit-tle more. Read stuff… before returning to my instinct that he’s too dumb-blokey to inhabit the role and that this probably matters enough. Or carries over into the You’re Nailed column, thus nailing him.
So – Telegraph. Allardyce. Two fascinatingly different arms of the Footie Psychomonolith. The latter we imagine boozy and sweated-up, the former more inclined to feint, to weave, to cheat out a weakness. Because this was a kinda pugilistic occasion – or became so.
Look until a complete transcription of the two(?) meetings becomes available, we’re speculating and/or lumping in our opinions, high or low. Meaning I can find it in my heart to forgive myself, for assuming the daft bugger got a bit flash, bit tempted and told The Telegraph (asitappened) just enough of what they wanted to hear.