When is enough enough?
As Sam Allardyce flies off somewhere nice to reflect on the circumstances and decisions that led to the loss of his ‘dream job’ the rest of us less fortunates are left wondering what it was about the top job in English football and a £3 million per year salary that wasn’t quite enough for ‘Big Sam’.
A lot has been said of this sorry affair in the last few days so please indulge me as I drag out my soapbox to add my thoughts on this tawdry matter (you may see where this one is going…).
As I write this Allardyce’s comment that ‘entrapment has won’ is ringing in my mind. Well Sam, that’s one way of looking at it. Perhaps another perspective may aid his reflections. Maybe, just maybe, he was trapped not by undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph but by his own greed and sense of entitlement.
You see, for all the talk of no rules having been broken, the bottom line is that here is a man who was so giddy with excitement at landing his dream job – the one he had waited his whole life for – and was so determined to bring pride and passion back to the sorry mess of ego and underachievement that is the England football team, that within months of embarking upon his dream he was considering offers of how he could train his laser-like focus on earning another £400k. Oh, and offering a little advice on how to breach his own employers’ rules so that more people could pad their pockets with professional football’s ill-gotten gains.
And he’d have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for those pesky journalists.
Oh, incidentally, it’s worth pointing out that the Daily Telegraph who carried out this sad entrapment of an honourable man, is the same newspaper that exposed the disgusting abuses of privilege by the right honourable MPs that govern us whilst raiding the public purse for spurious and often obscene expenses.
I don’t remember much sympathy being bandied about for MPs but I’ve heard a number of people expressing their shame and sadness that a nice fella had to lose his job over ‘non-footballing matters’.
But that’s just bollocks isn’t it?
For a man whose job was to bring pride back to a nation, a man who is very well remunerated indeed for leading his country’s team out on some of the world’s biggest stages, the question of character has to be relevant and has to impact upon his ability to attend fully to footballing matters. I wouldn’t put much faith in a newlywed that maintains their Tinder account to resist scratching the seven year itch, nor would I put a whole lot of faith in a man still in the honeymoon stages of his very demanding dream job that sees fit to entertain other offers to maximise his income.
We live in a society that encourages and applauds continuous striving to better ourselves, often to the extent that many people feel that nothing they do can ever be enough. Opportunities in life can be fleeting and need to be grabbed while they are there. I’m all for it. But what we’re striving for has got to be worth it, what we stand to gain has got to be worth more than what we risk to lose.
Too often it seems to me that everything – everything – comes down to money, to the bottom line. And in the pursuit of more money everything else gets lost in the dust that is kicked up by the chase.
People dying due to cuts to disability benefits? Ah, but look how we’ve reduced the deficit.
The bottom line – however important it might be – has to be balanced by questions of principle, morality and wider questions about the kind of world we wish to live in. The real bottom line is that when it comes down to it we spend our money on what we want, more so than what we need and what is good for us. This applies at governmental level as much as it does at a personal level.
Our relationship with money is an important one but it is a means to an end, and what end is worth losing our reputation and our integrity for?
Sam Allardyce may well rue the day he met with the Telegraph’s undercover reporters but in the end he made his choices and he showed where his values lay. For all the pride and passion, in the end it was money that talked, money that promised… What? What more could £400k have given Sam Allardyce that he didn’t already have?
“It’s very, very sad what’s happened to Sam and it could happen to any of us. Sam innocently has paid the price. Privacy can only be found within the four walls of our own home.”
No Steve, it isn’t sad what happened to Sam. Sam has happened to Sam. Sam’s own greed and sense of entitlement caused him to pay the price, and whether in the privacy of our own home or otherwise our character will come out in what we do.
For the sake of English football it’s good that Allardyce’s character has been revealed now and not under the increasing pressure of football’s most demanding job. Until more people in the increasingly self-congratulatory, entitled, money-grabbing world of football realise this there will be plenty more scandals to come.