Sam Allardyce resigned as England football manager this morning.
Sam Allardyce resigned as manager of the England football team this morning after only 67 days in the job.
So what did he do wrong? In broad terms, the Daily Telegraph newspaper set out to entrap him and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
The paper set ‘Big Sam’ up in a meeting with reporters posing as what they described as ‘businessmen’. The men were so obviously crooked the alarm bells should have been ringing if not in the analytical Allardyce mind then in those of his agent Mark Curtis, and his financial adviser, Shane Moloney who were also at the meeting.
Instead, Sam Allardyce found himself carried away by the attention and the lure of money.
The England manager offered advice on how to get around Football Association rules on third-party ownership of players – for a very large fee. A man already being paid £3 million a year by the Football Association demanded £400,000 to advise characters he had only just met on how to invest in players. He also made unguarded comments about individuals.
West Ham United’s Trevor Brooking Stand
THIRD PARTY OWNERSHIP
In football terms the ‘first party’ is the player, and the ‘second party’ is his club. The involvement of a ‘third party’ to invest in that player and take a cut out of any transfer fee has been described as a form of ‘slavery’ by Michel Platini, the former president of European football’s governing body Uefa.
Formerly prevalent in South America, and brought to attention when Argentines Carlos Tevez and Javier Maschera joined West Ham United in 2006, it is now outlawed internationally.
Sam Allardyce was recorded saying there were ‘ways round’ the ban. But underneath, it was greed and a loose mouth that did for the England manager, who had been only in his ‘dream job’ for 67 days.
Rev Joe Young appointed Sam Allardyce to manage Limerick FC
When Allardyce was appointed manager of England, an Irish Roman Catholic priest recalled the time when he appointed an ambitious young man to his first managerial position.
Twenty-five years ago, Joe Young was chairman of Limerick FC. It was he who sought out Allardyce and persuaded him to take on the job of player-manager for the Irish team. When the now 61-year-old was appointed as manager of England, Fr Young revealed he had been praying for his former associate.
On 5th April this year (2016), after his Sunderland side could only manage a goalless draw with West Bromwich Albion, Sam Allardyce spoke of the ‘Black Cats’ needing ‘divine intervention’ to avoid relegation. He told BBC Newcastle, ”I need to go back to church and start praying. I can’t ever imagine in my long career dominating a game for so long, creating so many chances and not winning it.’ His prayers, if he made them, were answered. In their final seven matches, Sunderland only lost to champions Leicester, went on to beat Norwich, Chelsea and Everton and stayed in the Premier League.
MORE BIBLICAL WARNINGS
Greg Dyke criticised Sam Allardyce for ‘greed’
But how much better it would have been for Sam Allardyce if instead of resorting to prayer when his back was against the wall, he had made seeking the Lord his way of life. He would have read in his Bible:
Exodus 23:8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous. (KJV)
Former Football Association chairman Greg Dyke spoke on BBC news this morning of a man earning £3 million a year and ‘grubbing around’ for another £400,000. ‘He was just being greedy, wasn’t he?’, asked Dyke. It is no wonder that the Bible warns directly about that and gives a promise for the opposite attitude:
Proverbs 15:27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
Ludwig Glötzle’s 1891 representation of St. Paul ordaining Timothy as Bishop of Ephesus.
The Bible carries so many warnings which Mr Allardyce could have heeded. Perhaps the most famous is the Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy:
1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
As for ‘perverting’ one’s words, the context of Exodus 23:8 is that of passing a legal judgment, but it can also be applied to any form of dialogue.
There were unguarded words in the Telegraph’s recordings from Sam Allardyce on his predecessor Roy Hodgson, coach Gary Neville and Prince William. He spoke disparagingly of Prince Harry. But the Bible says plainly:
Ecclesiastes 10:20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.
All of us need to heed the Bible’s teachings on guarding the tongue, as the Apostle James put it:
James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! … 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
The Bible is the word of God. It speaks of salvation through Jesus Christ and warns against greed and loose talk.
GRACIOUS TALK RETAINS RICHES
As for loose talk, the warnings to speak well and carefully are all over the word of God. For example:
Eccl 10:12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
Perceptively, Sam Allardyce described himself as ‘a fool’ after the event. It is even written, in a proverbial parallelism, that being gracious in our talk brings financial advantages:
Proverbs 11:16 A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.
We all know that the mindset which is necessary to drive successful men can also lead to their downfall. Sometimes we ask too much of our statesmen, artists, military heroes, even football managers. We set them on pedestals and put our ‘trust in princes’. Then we are shocked when they fall. But it does not have to be like that.
FAITH ‘EVEN MORE ESSENTIAL’ FOR THE MIGHTY
The spiritual strength brought by the Christian faith is there for all. Belief in Christ and the renewing of the mind which the Holy Spirit sets in motion will both bring salvation and change anyone for the better.
How the Daily Telegraph reported their scoop
The power of the Gospel is transformative for every individual and every society. The Bible’s warnings against wickedness and its encouragement to live according to the ways of God apply to every single one of us.
Those in positions of power and leadership may think they are above all that, that they are ‘self-made’ and resilient, but the Christian faith is if anything even more essential for them in equal measure as it may be more difficult for them to humble themselves, accept the Gospel and put their trust in Jesus.
The Lord God can even empower a sincere believer to resist the false witnesses employed in Daily-Telegraph-style entrapment:
1Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Will a leader prosper or a sportsman be more successful if he has faith in Christ? That’s what the Bible teaches! And above all that such a one will find rest and forgiveness of sins. Let each of us pray for just one soul in a position of power and responsibility to turn to the Lord today.
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