BBC 1. 10:15pm. BBC’s Panorama programme has just finished and the lid on football’s bung culture looks to have been lifted. Programme clips are even making the evening news. This looks like the start of something big, and could have a devastating effect on the shape of football.
Perhaps surprisingly was the level of involvement from Bolton Wanderers, not just surrounding manager Sam Allardyce, but also his son Craig Allardyce and Chief Executive Phil Gartside. From the sting set up by the Panorama undercover ‘agents’ it looks like Bolton have been well and truly caught with their pants down.
The whole issue of bungs in football was mainly thrown into the media spotlight earlier this year by Luton Town boss Mike Newell. Newell also played a part in the programme and looks looks to have rigged the explosives that the BBC have detonated.
Three main football agents were also highlighted as having dodgy, back hand dealings in the game with managers. Charles Collymore (the surname alone should ring alarm bells!), an agent of Fadiga at Bolton, Craig Allardyce, son of Bolton boss and agent for the likes of Hidetoshi Nakata and Ali Al Habsi (both at Bolton) and finally Teni Yerima, who again claims to have done illegal bung deals with Sam Allardyce.
But the main football agent caught in the act is Peter Harrison, a well known football agent with clients such as Andy Todd and Lucas Neill of Blackburn. He was also involved in the deal which saw Eidur Gudjohnsen move from Chelsea to – yep you’ve guessed it – Bolton Wanderers. Bungs involved? Who knows.
Harry Redknapp and former assistant Kevin Bond were also secretly filmed, along with Liverpool’s scouts. All three escaped relatively unharmed, but even being part of the programme will no doubt cast an eye over their recent transfer dealings.
And lastly good old Chelsea were back in the limelight AGAIN, this time with Frank Arnesen caught tapping up Middlesborough youngster Nathan Porritt.
Oh dear oh dear. Looks like one hell of a mess, and with the former Met chief leading an official investigation this looks like the beginning of the end for football’s bung culture.
What do you think? Allardyce to be sacked and stripped of a coaching license? Chelsea to be docked three points? More? 5 or more Premiership clubs to lose their manager to bung related allegations?
Answers on a postcard please….