Greed will stop sanity getting grip of football

Paul Cook is after the powers that be to bring some sanity back to football.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 6th October 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:06 pm
Pompey boss Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler

But is there really any way back for a game which has long since taken leave of its senses?

And, if there was any further irrefutable evidence of that needed, we were given ample cause for its sectioning over the past 10 days.

The stench of the game’s murky side came wafting up once again with the Daily Telegraph’s investigation into football corruption last week.

We were promised findings to shake the game to its very foundations, by what was revealed.

In truth, aside from Barnsley coach Tommy Wright being caught with his fingers in the till, there was nothing to definitively bring down any of the figures under the microscope.

What was brought into focus for the public to digest, however, is there is no such breeding ground quite as fertile for greed as this beautiful game of ours.

And we had the man with the most prestigious job on these shores showing his financial gluttony to underline the point.

Oh, Samuel Allardyce. You had it all in your grasp.

We may have doubted your credentials for the role but, if nothing else, the fact the England manager’s job appeared to mean so much to you, well, it meant something.

Just that what you thought it meant was a passport to print money.

Now comes the reality the only trip you’re taking is one to your Spanish hideaway with the nation knowing your idiocy and avarice.

Whether Allardyce’s meeting with a fictitious Far East firm constituted a sackable offence is one thing.

Words mocking Roy ‘Woy’ Hodgson, having a pop at Gary Neville and his former FA paymasters were fluffy at best.

We’ve all had a moan about our bosses and gossiped about our peers; it’s hardly a reason to be given your cards.

The discussions over third-party ownership veer into a darker landscape, however.

Any suggestion of assistance to circumnavigate FA rules on the issue made his exit an open-and-shut case.

In the event, a ‘mutual agreement’ to terminate his contract made the debate largely inconsequential.

So Allardyce comes off looking a vaguely comical figure (‘keynote speaking, that’s what I’d be doing, keynote speaking. I’m a keynote speaker’), a bit like Alan Partridge doing a corporate presentation for Dante Fires.

But there’s also a tragic twist a man earning £3m a year in his dream role would grub around for an extra £400,000.

Tragic for Allardyce but sadder still for the game.

Still the 61-year-old can walk away content with a reported seven-figure pay-off for his 67 days work.

Who can’t conclude the game’s gone after drinking up those numbers for a second?

And who can’t be flummoxed by the stat offered up by commentator Rod Liddle on Question Time last week, the FA receive £30m of taxpayers’ money each year?

The fact Wright, a coach with a hitherto diligent reputation, could have his head turned by the prospect of an extra £5,000 is perhaps a clearer insight into the problems endemic within the game, though.

The reaction of people within football is telling when speaking about the recent reports.

The responses vary between a knowing nod and a shrug of the shoulders. Surprising it ain’t.

Often fuelled by braggadocio and bravado, these conversations take place all the time at every level of the game.

‘The game we love so much is being taken away from people,’ said an impassioned Cook last week.

‘The powers that be must bring some sanity to the game.’

Football’s now far too bloated and ill through greed for that to happen anytime soon.