Welcome to the seventh Sweet FA podcast of the 2016-17 season. This week, regular panellists Rob Mitchell and Hugo Jennings look at some of the England manager scandals over the years, as well as other wrongdoings involving English managers.
First up is Terry Venables. Whilst he was not proven guilty of any wrongdoing, he was accused of transgressions including giving a bung to Brian Clough in order to sign Teddy Sheringham and also had a long legal battle with Alan Sugar following his departure from Tottenham Hotspur. On a similar note, Hugo and Rob take a look at the infamous “dentist’s chair” incident in the build-up to Euro 96 and the media reaction to it.
Next, the two move onto Harry Redknapp. A few hours before the podcast was recorded, “‘Arry” was one the alleged names in The Telegraph‘s list of eight Premier League managers accused of taking transfer bungs. Since then, he has claimed that his players bet on the outcome of a game in which they were playing, but denied any wrongdoing. Most famously, he was embroiled in a tax scandal, where he allegedly hid bungs worth £189,000 in an offshore bank account in Monaco, using his dog’s name on the account.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, Hugo and Rob look at Glenn Hoddle. He famously appointed “faith healer” Eileen Drewery as an advisor to the England football team when he was manager, which was bizarre enough, but his reign ended in tears when he said in an interview that disabled people had sinned in a previous life. Perhaps surprisingly, the British public and media were able to forgive and forget, and he was able to continue his career in management before going into punditry.
Before moving onto other scandals, the two talk about the England manager’s job and how much of a poisoned chalice it is on so many levels. For starters, the high expectations of the media and fans means that it’s hard to please anyone on the pitch, but even if you do, the paparazzi will do all they can to discredit you off it.
The subject of intruding into people’s private lives brings the podcast very nicely onto Sven-Göran Eriksson. Sven had a decent enough run as England manager, but the press leaked details of his affairs with Ulrika Jonsson and Faria Alam in ruthless fashion. Although adultery is not to be encouraged, since there were no allegations of assault or harassment—unlike, for example, in the case of Bill Clinton—was this really relevant to his job as a coach? At the end of this segment comes a brief discussion of Sven’s Aston Villa controversy.
The podcast ends with a discussion about Sam Allardyce. He’d been after the England job for such a long time, so why didn’t he think to stop his goings on behind the scenes straight away? Why did he think that discussing such a controversial matter to a complete stranger was anything but a huge risk?