I've got verging on next to no interest in soccer. But the shenanigans at Newcastle United over the last few months have provided, even me, with entertainment- and that's nothing to do with what the team serves up on the pitch.
Eight months ago, Sam Allardyce, who resembles a heavyweight boxer, was appointed manager.
Allerdyce appeared as star of the Panorama investigation " Football's dirty Secrets" broadcast on September 6th 2006. During that programme three player's agents accused Allerdyce of "corruption".
One agent, Peter Harrison, was secretly filmed saying-
"If I say, 'Listen Sam, I'll give Craig some money'... he'll say, 'Yeah, OK, we'll do a deal'."
Craig is Allardyce's son.
When he was subsequently interviewed, Allardyce senior denied receiving any illegal payments. But Panorama made no such allegation. They suggested that it was his son into whose wallet the cash ended up. The cash involved were illegal payments to secure transfer deals....bungs!
Allardyce snorted that he was going to sue the BBC, but he has not done so. His childish reaction was to refuse to be interviewed by the Beeb's reporters after matches in which his teams, Bolton and subsequently Newcastle, were involved.
Joey "The Animal" Barton
By May 2007, Allardyce had signed a three year deal to manage Newcastle who had to pay a substantial sum to Allardyce's former club, Bolton, to buy out the remainder of his contract.
One of his first signings was Manchester City's, Joey "The Animal" Barton.
When Barton packed his bags and left Manchester, he was on bail for assaulting his colleague, Osmane Dado, on the training field. He has subsequently been charged and is awaiting trial for that offence.
Whilst on bail for the Dado assault, he was involved in a serious affray in Liverpool. On 27 December, he was arrested, charged and refused bail. Barton spent this Christmas in jail.
And yesterday I read that the odds on favourite to replace Mr "Bung" is none other than Harry Redknapp. He was also named in the Panorama programme and is on police bail facing allegations of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.......You couldn't make it up....!