Why would a man earning £3 million per year, plus hefty bonuses, and working in his dream job risk everything for a £400,000 fee from a shadowy Far East firm?
That’s the main question to come out of the Sam Allardyce scandal, which saw the 61-year-old coach step down from his much-coveted role as England manager after just 67 days in charge.
But, in my opinion, Sam was led astray by the lure of being an influential, powerful and respected figure who could command heavyweight cheques just for turning up somewhere – the actual money itself was just an incidental bonus.
Big Sam is a man who seems to have always craved respect from his peers.
Undoubtedly a talented manager, Sam has always been labelled with playing ‘long ball’ football, and has never been seen as glamorous enough to warrant a high-profile club job.
In fact, back in 2012, Allardyce once commented that if his name was Sam Allardici he’d be in charge of a top-four Premier League side.
And during some of the dodgy meeting uncovered by the Telegraph, I found some of Sam’s comments really fascinating – if a bit cringeworthy – particularly the ones about Robbie Williams and Sir Alex Ferguson.
During the meeting, whilst negotiating his fee, he remarked that Sir Alex gets “four hundred, five hundred grand a pop” for speaking engagements, while Robbie Williams got “£1.6 million for a wedding. Just singing”.
Sam, mate, what on Earth are you talking about?!
You’re not Robbie Williams, whose had seven number one albums and was once the biggest popstar in the world, and you’re most certainly not Sir Alex Ferguson.
You’re Sam bloody Allardyce! You’re only in the England job because the last two or three major tournaments have been an absolute disaster.
But, deep down, Sam will know he’s not in the same bracket as those two but, and here’s the key, he was desperate to be.
Finally, in charge of England, Big Sam had an opportunity to be heralded as a top coach; a man that people almost had to respect because of his position; finally, he’d receive all of the adoration and praise he’d deserved all these years, and he was going to lap up every second of it.
Of course, if anyone offers you £400,000 to simply go to a hot country and give a speech or two, it’s definitely going to be a tempting offer, but I don’t think the money was at the heart of why Sam was caught out.
For me, Sam found himself at a meeting where he was the main man, and people were actually offering him big money to hear what he had to say – something he’d craved for the best part of three decades.
Sam wasn’t greedy for money, he was greedy for acceptance and recognition.
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