First Touch

Big Sam And The Filthy Lucre

Let’s take a break from the pitch for once and concentrate on the ‘beautiful game’ off it.  Just recently we had the self-proclaimed Big Sam (just check out the signage on his villa in Spain) trying to earn an extra shekel, while coining in £3m annually from the FA as newly-appointed England manager.

By Matty Lawrence

The fact that Allardyce managed to last a whole 90 minutes in the job tells me that the rest of the candidates must have been dire at best, or deceased at worst. To think that a few old duffers from the FA sat around a table and came to the conclusion that Big Sam was the way forward is utterly laughable.


The last two jobs where BS has performed satisfactorily were at Sunderland (keeping a bunch of average players in an average league) and back when my kids weren’t even a twinkle at the bottom of a pint of Stella’s eye at Bolton. That was sometime at the turn of the last century.

I know, I know, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it didn’t take 20/20 vision to realise that with Big Sam at the helm, the job wasn’t exactly in a safe pair of hands. Indeed his hands were too busy grabbing, as the spy camera embedded in a Telegraph journalist’s bag showed.

Of course the incestuous old boys brigade of ex-players, pundits, and journalists supported the appointment as readily as football managers employ their own sons as agents. (Did I just type that? I would never insinuate that our beloved game has been corrupt for decades – or indeed ever)

So what’s the fallout from all this?

Obviously Big Sam lost his dream job, but I’d happily lose my job after 90 something minutes if you stick a million quid in my bank account and send me packing to my Spanish villa. (Of course, we are speaking hypothetically here, and hypothetically speaking my palatial pile would not be called ‘Big Matt’s.’ The wife will tell you as much, to be honest).

Big Sam, on the other hand, does have some HUGE cojones. I thought you’d need half of BAE Systems to bring down a set of balls and ego that large, but in the end his downfall was procured by one investigative journalist’s tiny piece of equipment in a hotel room.

My only concern now, apart from my receding hairline and my expanding follicles in other places, is that we’re going to have to listen to Harry Redknapp gloating from high up on his pedestal. But does anyone really think HE was the answer? Even the hapless FA didn’t appoint him when they had the chance, thinking Big Sam a safer bet. I reckon that tells you all you need to know.

Joey Barton’s Latest Controversy

In other news away from the field of play, Joey Barton’s latest controversy has brought footballer gambling back to the fore. Every single footballer knows they are not allowed to bet on football matches. It should be a no-brainer, but does that stop all footballers from gambling on football? Does it bollocks.

An extreme gambler will bet on anything, just as an extreme alcoholic will drink ethanol. A footballer with a penchant for gambling will not just stick to the horse racing and stay away from the football, no matter what the rules are. Add to this the nature of the beast that is gambling and you have bigger problems. Especially when you can bet on such asinine things as yellow cards, corners, or free kicks. You don’t think that players may try and play the system?

Don’t Bet On It

Football betting isn’t restricted to just the Premier League. You can bet on football games much further down the ladder, where money is so scarce that players are practically paying to play. I witnessed it first hand at the end of my career when I was playing non-league football. A group of just three or four teammates can collude to influence the outcome of their game.

I guess the crux of this article is that football has been of an incredibly spurious nature for many a decade. I have no interest in getting sued of course so I’m not naming names, but I’m pretty familiar with some of the managers, agents and players who like to push the boundaries and bend the rules. Do I have the proof, of course not!

Rumours of dodgy dealings were rife throughout my career, and by rumours I don’t mean some bizarre game of dressing room Chinese whispers. I’m talking about first-hand information that would implicate specific people. Will I elaborate on any of this? Not until the book tour.

Could the FA bring down a number of high profile members of the football fraternity?

I’m 99% certain they could do.

Will they?

I’m 99% certain they won’t.

At best a few bystanders may get thrown under the proverbial bus, as the chauffeur driven big-hitters idle by.

One final rant on a similar topic. Unless you absolutely need the money to pay the rent or feed your kids, can all you whoring ex-footballers who feel the need to associate themselves with, and take money from bookies please f**k off. You are a stain on society and have no self-respect. Try using those pea-sized little brains of yours to reflect on the people you are influencing and the lives you are damaging.

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