Sam Allardyce’s time as England manager is over after one match after his contract was terminated by mutual consent with the Football Association.
Allardyce was targeted in a Daily Telegraph investigation into alleged corruption in English football, and the departure of the 61-year-old after just 67 days at the helm was announced following crisis talks involving FA chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn.
“Allardyce’s conduct, as reported today, was inappropriate of the England manager,” read an FA statement.
“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.
England Under-21 boss Gareth Southgate will take charge of the senior side for the next four games in an interim capacity.
Allardyce described the Three Lions post as the culmination of his career in football and his dream job, but it has ended in embarrassment and recrimination.
When taking the reins from Roy Hodgson in July, following an abject Euro 2016 performance, he had denied the England national side was at rock bottom.
It seems impossible to reject the same contention now, as evidenced by the grave language used by the FA.
“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,” continued the statement.
“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.
“Gareth Southgate will take charge of the men’s senior team for the next four matches against Malta, Slovenia, Scotland and Spain whilst the FA begins its search for the new England manager.
“The FA wishes Sam well in the future.”
Allardyce gave a “sincere and wholehearted apology” for his part in the messy divorce.
“Further to recent events, the FA and I have mutually agreed to part company,” he said in a personal statement on the FA website.
“It was a great honour for me to be appointed back in July and I am deeply disappointed at this outcome.
“This afternoon, I met with Greg Clarke and Martin Glenn and offered a sincere and wholehearted apology for my actions.”
Videos released by the Telegraph show 61-year-old Allardyce appearing to make a variety of indiscreet and controversial comments to undercover reporters posing as businessmen, with the newspaper having agreed to share more detailed findings with the FA.
While Allardyce is seen talking in an unguarded and potentially damaging fashion about his predecessor Roy Hodgson, former assistant manager Gary Neville and selection policy involving individuals, the most serious issues appear to be his apparent willingness to pursue a £400,000 deal to address investors in the Far East and his views on the outlawed practice of third-party ownership.
After apparently negotiating the lucrative payday – on top of his £3million wage deal – to act as a “keynote speaker” to overseas investment firms, Allardyce adds the caveat that he would have to “run it past the powers that be”.
That was clearly deemed too little, too late.
“Although it was made clear during the recorded conversations that any proposed arrangements would need the FA’s full approval, I recognise I made some comments which have caused embarrassment,” Allardyce’s statement continued.
“As part of today’s meeting, I was asked to clarify what I said and the context in which the conversations took place. I have co-operated fully in this regard.
“I also regret my comments with regard to other individuals.”