Much ado about something

Published: Friday, 30 September 2016

I've waited all week, mainly because we've been promised fireworks all week. As it turns out The Telegraphs' explosive expose of the wrong doings in English football has turned out - so far - to be like a wet Guy Fawkes night. 

In fairness they certainly stirred things up early in the week reporting the 'sting' that cost Sam Allardyce his job. I said on the day that I was both disappointed with Sam and for him too. With him? Well, as he realised very quickly he really shouldn't have put himself in the position that he did - and not said many of the things that he did. I'm sorry for him because in trying to do a life long friend a favour he cost himself his dream job. By the way, why is it that in every report I've read in The Telegraph so far, Scott McGarvey's name keeps coming up. Why was he at every meeting that The Telegraph set up, both him and the Italian agent Pino Pagliara?

Having served Sam up on a silver platter were we told that eight P Lge managers - either working or 'resting' - would be exposed for taking bungs. So far - nothing. All we've had is two sacrificial asst managers, one - Eric Black - a really good guy, who was also trying to do McGarvey a favour. I don't know anything about Tommy Wright. Oh, and Jimmy Ffloyd, who as far as I can see, was looking to negotiate a fee for public speaking in the Far East. Don't we all want to get paid for the work we do? 

Now, The Telegraph might yet reveal something far juicier, but in the meantime, why all the hysteria? Gary Lineker wants the Police called in to investigate. Perhaps that's not a bad idea, but how far back do we go? Do we investigate everything from the early 80's when all our top talent was going to play in Spain and Italy? Those guys invented the brown envelope. Are we to believe all those deals were clean? 

Look. I'm no different to anyone else. I don't like foul play and if wrongs have been committed, let's route them out. But we need proof. I know all too well what it's like to be the victim of smears. Right now some really good football men are suffering a similar fate. We've all heard the names. It's wrong. Very wrong. 

Naturally the social media is screaming blue murder. A number of X-players with a few skeletons in the cupboard are 'insulted' by the content of the allegations - players who've missed out on England squads because of drink driving charges. Players that have been caught by their employers in secret meetings with the Chief Execs of other clubs talking about a transfer. Players that have even missed drug tests. It's amazing. 

We've also had Parliament up in arms. Almost inevitably every busy MP trying to make a name for himself has been quoted. Take Damien Green, the current Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. He's only temporarily in the job because his predecessor, Keith Vaz, has all sorts of life-style problems of his own right now. 

Honestly, MP's lecturing the rest of us on matters of decency and honesty? They can't be serious. How long is it since we were reading similar stories about their expenses scandals? That stench still won't go away. We still are hearing of many examples of similar fraud even now. 

And on that subject - my journalistic colleagues are full of opinions as well. How many of them can honestly hold up their hands and say 'I've never been creative with my expenses'. I'll tell you - none of them. What's the difference? It's all fraud isn't it? Some of the top guys have sat and laughed, enjoying the hospitality of individuals constantly linked with financial impropriety in our game. I've mentioned this before - I've even discussed the subject with one in particular. I asked him how he could put himself in that position?  'Oh, it's *****. he's only nicking a few quid'. Ah - so that's ok then? Of course it's not. 

I'm not defending anybody that's had their fingers in this sticky pie. It's wrong, but it's also how business and life often works. There are hundreds of countries in the world where, if you want to get a deal done, you've got to be 'creative' in doing it. It's how it works. 

So why is it always football and football people that attract so much criticism on this subject? 'Aren't they paid enough?' is a question often asked. Well, perhaps not. Does a City banker stop earning money if he pulls off a £100m deal? No, he wants £200m. It's life. Is it right that an F1 driver can earn a million for two hours work every fortnight? Yes, it is, if that's the going rate. 

Football is always getting a kicking. I repeat, where wrong doings are 'proved' then let action be taken, but we can't go round speculating and creating stories to fit baseless claims. It's not right. Remember - despite the fact that we now live in a very judgemental society - everyone deserves the right to be judged innocent until proven guilty.