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Chelsea assistant coach steps in to help lead England in wake of Allardyce scandal

Big Sam's stat-perfect reign ends after 67 days. Southgate takes over for the next four matches, with Holland making the step up from U21s as well.

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Let me bury the lede completely by first talking about how this seems like a bit of an over-reaction from the FA, to fire (errr... agree to terminate by "mutual consent" the contract of) Sam Allardyce as England manager after the Telegraph's "sting" operation (i.e. entrapment, which is illegal in most states) has revealed the big man making some money on the side in some, possibly semi-shady, deals.

I know, I know.  "You mean the FA are more than willing to give in to the wild swings of the fickle public opinion?" you might ask with feigned shock and outrage remembering the campaign and the fines against Chelsea and Mourinho and the yellow cards for Costa for breathing in too foreign of a way and so on and so forth.  The Telegraph say that they supplied the FA with their "findings" prior to going public, but it still seems a rather hasty and transparent attempt at PR damage control. (Non-company man Allardyce did appear to criticise the FA over the decision to redevelop Wembley, which also no doubt contributed to his swift downfall.)

Allardyce's conduct, as reported today, was inappropriate of the England manager. He accepts he made a significant error of judgement and has apologised. However, due to the serious nature of his actions, The FA and Allardyce have mutually agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect.

This is not a decision that was taken lightly but The FA's priority is to protect the wider interests of the game and maintain the highest standards of conduct in football. The manager of the England men's senior team is a position which must demonstrate strong leadership and show respect for the integrity of the game at all times.

-FA statement

Then again, is this really that much of a surprise, somebody using their position to make more money?  What Allardyce is accused of seems such a non-issue compared to the shady third-party ownerships that still exist around the world, not to mention all the moneys and favors that are traded under the table.  Sure, we don't hear of those very often, of someone greasing someone else's hand to make a deal, but are we really that naive to assume this isn't going on with just about every opportunity?  Mourinho and Mino and Mendes, Chelsea and Joorabchian and Bertolucci — personal relationships is how business gets done.  I'd assume "bungs" and whatever other silly terms might get thrown around are far more common than we'd think; just as the use of PEDs is probably far more common than we'd like to think.

That of course excuses none of that (especially if they're against the letter of FA or FIFA law), but in a way it still seems like a pretty big hill was made out of a teeny tiny little molehill.  And just wait until the eight names are revealed at some point!  Swimming in clicks, the Telegraph.

Here's the Guardian's Dani Taylor with a similar opinion piece that you should read.

In any case, one man's loss is another man's gain, and with Allardyce out, the new interim England manager is Gareth Southgate, who's been in charge of the England U21s for a few years now.  Joining him on the interim staff is none other than Chelsea assistant Steve Holland.

Congrats, Steve!  (Can't wait for the next round of "should John Terry unretire?" stories, as a result.)

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