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Allardyce's Antics Have Nothing On The Rarely Mentioned, Flagrant Arse-Chancery Of Don Revie

Allardyce's Antics Have Nothing On The Rarely Mentioned, Flagrant Arse-Chancery Of Don Revie
By Gavan Casey Updated

When news emerged in The Telegraph last night that England manager Sam Allardyce was, by all accounts, 'at it', the online football world plunged into its typical schadenfreudig utopia.

You'd expect nothing less. This is, after all, the internet, and Big Sam has never been afraid to rip the piss out of his adversaries in the past. By the same token, however, the frenzied criticism towards the 61-year-old seemed somewhat over-the-top, or at least misguided; it's almost instinctive, now, that when we see grainy footage of someone in a hotel room or restaurant, recorded unbeknown to the subject, our brains immediately think "SCANDAL!"

Calling Prince Harry "a naughty boy" or claiming that Roy Hodgson would put you to sleep isn't exactly the kind of natter that'd turn heads down your local, is it? Both have doubtless heard themselves described in a far worse light. But, ultimately, Allardyce's odd naivety and the far from small matter of a £400,000 verbal agreement - which also saw the England boss divulge information that might aid the circumventing of rules regarding player transfers - will be the sword, or swords, he falls on. And in fairness to The Telegraph, whose 10-month investigation has culminated in the last 24 hours of shit-meet-fan-style controversy, the latter is no small matter where a national team manager is concerned.

Roy Hodgson's watches - they were a small matter. The Capello Index? Hardly ideal, but not a corruption-level national scandal, by any stretch. Sven Goran Ericsson's video games were truly appalling, but that's a story for another day (terrible, terrible games). Prior to that, of course, there was El Tel and his various legal proceedings, most notably against then-Spurs owner Alan Sugar - a situation for which the term 'untenable' was certainly created.

However, none of these cowboys - Allardyce included - had a patch on the great Don Revie.

Under The Rug

Revie succeeded the legendary Alf Ramsey in 1974, having won two league titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup at Leeds United, as well as experiencing numerous near misses - the Yorkshire club's treble hunt in 1969-70, for example. But by 1976, England under Revie had failed to qualify for the European Championships (this on the back of missing the '74 World Cup under Ramsey's tutelage), and Revie himself was on poor terms with the FA, tied up by bureaucracy and failing to garner the same loyalty amongst his squad as he had at Leeds.

The same fate followed for the 1978 World Cup, and Revie's feud with FA chief Harold Thompson reached farcical levels. Amidst all of this, he missed a friendly with Brazil in Rio De Janeiro, claiming to have travelled to Italy to do some 'scouting'. In reality, he was scouting for potential employers, and travelled to negotiate a deal worth £340,000-per-annum to take the reins at the United Arab Emirates on a four-year contract. Furthermore, he sold his story to the Daily Mail for yet more cash moola a day before the English FA received his resignation letter, which they initially attempted to reject.

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The FA suspended him from football for 10 years for 'bringing the game into disrepute' - a ban which would later be overturned in court, with the FA deemed to have acted wide of its span of control. It would later transpire, however, via a Daily Mirror investigation, that Revie had been suspected of widespread match-fixing - a charge conveniently neglected in many writings about the iconic former Leeds manager today.

Richard Stott, the Mirror's former editor who in 1977 was one the paper's senior reporters, had collected evidence from former Leeds goalkeeper Gary Sprake, who reportedly exposed Revie as a match-fixer. It was suggested at the time that it was when Revie discovered that Sprake was about to come clean that the former vanished to the UAE.

With Revie in Asia, more witnesses began to emerge. According to Roy Greenslade in The Guardian, legendary Tyne-Weir figure Bob Stokoe (who starred for Newcastle before later managing Sunderland), revealed that Revie tried to bribe him to lose a match.

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Richard Stott of the Mirror presented the FA with what Greenslade describes as a 315-page dossier, cataloguing Revie's long period of corruption.

Revie sued the Mirror for libel, but never pursued his legal action. Instead, the FA - while still attempting to ban Revie from the sport for a full decade - swept the entire affair under the rug. Effectively, too, as it's so rarely mentioned when Revie crops up in conversation in modern times.

One can only hope that Steve Bruce's only extra-curricular quirk is his penchant for writing incredible novels.

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