Big Sam and a brief history of other England manager gaffes


A restaurant meal, a trip to Singapore and a journalist with a hidden camera. Yup - "Big Sam" Allardyce has unwittingly swum into a pool of hot water with just one game under his belt as England manager.

It could be a while before the fallout from The Telegraph's sting operation settles and we know what the future holds for the coach, but many have already predicted his downfall.

For a nation so abysmal at a sport it takes the credit for inventing, Big Sam wouldn't be the first England manager to resign after an unfortunate blunder, a poor show... or both.

Here's our round-up of some of the most #awkward.

Sam Allardyce

(John Walton/PA)

He's certainly made the headlines this morning, so it seems fitting for us to deal with Big Sam now. Allardyce is at the centre of a Telegraph sting on corruption within international football, namely for suggesting how to get round the current rules on third-party ownership of players.

Not only did Allardyce appear to make himself amenable to giving advice on the subject, he mocked predecessor Roy Hodgson with a cheap dig at his enunciation (dubbing him "Woy"), said he didn't have the character to lead the squad and attacked the FA for redeveloping Wembley Stadium, calling the decision "stupid".

Er... oops.

Steve McClaren

(Tom Hevezi/AP/PA)

Remember the 2008 European Championship? Nope. Neither do we. We burned it from our memories that August after we failed to get past the all-important final qualifier against Croatia (a draw would have seen us through to the finals).

McClaren was dismissed the next day. Dubbed the "Wally with the Brolly" by some who noticed his penchant for an umbrella, it's a shame McClaren couldn't make more of an impact in his brief tenure as coach.

Glenn Hoddle

(Croft Malcolm Croft/PA)

Glenn Hoddle took the top job between 1996 and 1998, when he gave an unfortunate interview to The Times in which he suggested that disabled people may be experiencing a form of punishment for sins in a previous life.

Hoddle received widespread criticism for the remarks, including from then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, but refused to resign, stating his words had been misinterpreted. The FA terminated his contract a few days later.

Roy Hodgson

(Mike Egerton/PA)

After the pitted and often-lacklustre campaigns of predecessors Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello, certain British press had called for a return to a more fitting home-grown lead.

The FA's answer was the esteemed Roy Hodgson, who, for all his quiet charm, couldn't produce more than a quarter-final against Italy in the UEFA Euro 2012 championship, and a disastrous defeat to Iceland four years later in the same competition in 2016. Hodgson then resigned.

Kevin Keegan

(Rui Vieira/PA)

A much-loved player during his on-pitch career, Keegan holds for record for having the lowest win-record in the history of the manager's job, at just 38.9 per cent of matches under his charge.

Keegan did, at least, bring England to a major football tournament - but ultimately resigned in the Wembley toilets after failing to get past England's first qualifier for the 2002 World Cup.

Graham Taylor

(Rui Vieira/PA)

If losing to Iceland sounds unfortunate, spare a thought for Graham Taylor, who was dubbed a "turnip" by The Sun.

England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup and Taylor found himself vilified for an all-round abysmal performance.

As The Sun headline read that same day: That's Your Allotment! We don't doubt a succession of terrible performances and other awkward gaffes will give us ammunition for a re-run in a couple of years' time, but until then keep watching the skies for flying pigs and news of England's glorious return to form.