We do not like greed and graft, Sleazy Sam-I-am. Not here, or there or anywhere
Those who claim disgraced England manager Sam Allardyce should have kept his job because fans accept corruption as part of the modern game are scoring own goals, blindfolded
The critically acclaimed children’s book Green Eggs and Ham endears across the generations because it encapsulates how, if you incessantly nag and offer no alternative, your powerless subject will eventually cave in and come round to your way of thinking – no matter how corrupted, daft, disgusting and unacceptable the touted product or ideology.
There are similarities between the corruption of Dr Seuss’ child’s palate and the latest despairing revelations to strike football.
Disgraced England manager Sam Allardyce has been fired for his decrepitude and bottomless greed. Here was a man on £3 million a year with one of the top, if not best, part-time jobs in football.
He would, however, for a few bundles more of the folding stuff (£400,000 to be precise), teach you how to bend and break the rules to enslave players through third-party ownership, aka slavery.
Allardyce was caught in a sting by undercover reporters who, 10 months ago, begun an investigation after being tipped off that corruption had become rampant in English game.
Over recent days and with more evidence of sleaze promised, this fine example of journalism has been shining a light on the greed and rot, exposing a rouge’s gallery oozing tawdriness, backhanders and bungs, exploitation and secret deals, and a flagrant disregard for the law, paying supporters and ambitious young footballers.
To spivs like Allardyce, football is their personal bank – a bottomless trough into which they can stick in their snouts and woof down unknown millions with impunity.
Big Sleazy Sam (as he might be forever known) and those caught on film negotiating or in the act of taking a stuffed envelope of cash – Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino, Burnley assistant manager Tommy Wright and Queens Park Rangers manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink among them – must be subjected to a criminal investigation.
The English game has now officially joined the same disreputable club that boasts Fifa and Uefa among its membership.
Yet some bemoan Allardyce’s sacking, arguing the English Football Association should have stuck by their man because he was speaking in a private capacity to people who had won his confidence over a period of time; he did not sign, take or agree to anything illegal as things stand, and made disparaging comments about his employers, predecessor, colleagues and royalty, which is hardly a crime.
Allardyce said FA regulations about third party ownership of a player can be, and are, regularly circumvented for a price. He named his. But on this occasion at least, he did not do any actual circumventing, nor receive any money.
Another argument put forward by Professor of Sociology Ellis Cashmore, a revered writer on popular culture and sport, is that fans actually like corruption in football because it adds to the theatre.
He claims supporters relish all the mad money and dodgy characters because they are addicted to the off-pitch dark-side drama as much as they are to 90 minutes of competition, if not more so.
Cashmore’s brazen take might intellectually excite neo-Marxists who despise football because of its capitalistic evil, while most genuine supporters will find his view nearly as vile as the subject on which he pontificates.
He is, after all, something of a pop-sociologist with books to flog.
On collision course: Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola prepare charges for the most expensive game in Premier League history
But he might be onto something. Just like Dr Seuss’ young Daniel, supporters have been so browbeaten, left so powerless by the amount of money and power concentrated in the hands of the rapacious few, they not only accept this disgusting hijacking of their sport, they now actually appear to like it.
That’s because, just like green eggs and ham, it is all that is on offer by those who now own the game. The only authorities able to stop the hoodwinking, the game’s governing bodies, are so weak and often so crooked themselves they offer zero solace let alone protection.
Meanwhile, governments, corporations and advertisers all reinforce the image that football is good for you, corrupt or otherwise.
Though this Orwellian assertion – dirty football good, clean bad – makes good headlines but is absolute bunk.
We do not like corruption. We will never be so accepting like Dr Seuss’ Daniel – brainwashed and tongue-lashed into liking the corruption and venality at the heart of our game.
When all the allegations and media evidence has been made public, the English Football Association must call in the police.
Then it can set about raising the bar higher than ever before. It must lead the world in the great football clean-up by setting an example.