MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Sam Allardyce flew out of England on Wednesday after expressing regret over “silly” unguarded comments to undercover journalists that cost him the England manager's job.
While apologizing for his indiscretions, Allardyce complained about “entrapment” by the Daily Telegraph that made his England job untenable after only 67 days and one match in charge.
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A covert video showed Allardyce appearing to offer advice to fictitious businessmen on how to sidestep an outlawed player transfer practice and also to negotiate a 400,000-pound ($519,000) public-speaking contract to top up an annual England salary of 3 million pounds ($4 million).
A further video showed Allardyce mocking predecessor Roy Hodgson, who was fired after England's humiliating loss to tiny Iceland at the European Championship in June, questioning the FA's financial strategy, and talking dismissively about the organization's president, Prince William.
The 61-year-old Allardyce was filmed in a London hotel in August and a Manchester restaurant talking to the undercover reporters.
“On reflection it was a silly thing to do, but just to let everyone know I'd sort of helped out what was somebody I'd known for 30 years,” Allardyce said, referring to football agent Scott McGarvey. “Unfortunately, it was an error of judgment on my behalf and I've paid the consequences.
“Entrapment has won on this occasion and I have to accept that. The agreement was done very amicably with the FA. I apologize to those and all concerned in this unfortunate situation I've put myself in.”
Allardyce never even got a chance to manage England at the national stadium, Wembley, with his only game in charge a World Cup qualifying win in Slovakia earlier this month.
Speaking outside his home near the northern English city of Manchester, the former West Ham, Sunderland and Bolton manager said: “I am off abroad, just to chill out and reflect.”
England is not rushing to replace Allardyce.
Gareth Southgate, the manager of England's Under-21s, will take charge of the senior team's next four matches—against Malta, Slovenia, Scotland, and Spain—across October and November. That means there is less urgency for the FA to hire a new manager with the following game not until March 2017 when England hosts Lithuania in its fifth World Cup qualifier.