London (AFP) – Sam Allardyce says he could not bear watching England play even on television after he lost his job as manager of the national side following a newspaper sting.
Now in charge at Premier League Crystal Palace, Allardyce lasted just 67 days and one match as England boss.
The 62-year-old, who by his own admission acted like an “idiot”, left his dream job just a fortnight before what would have been his first home match as England manager, against Malta at Wembley in October.
He tried to watch on television but found the experience too painful, telling The Times and Daily Mail on Saturday: “I maybe lasted 15, 20 minutes. But I couldn’t continue. I had to turn it off and watch something else.
“It was Wembley and I hadn’t even had the opportunity to get a game under my belt there. That would have been a big moment for me. It was a gut-wrencher that.”
The England job was the pinnacle of a long career in management that saw Allardyce previously take charge of Bolton, West Ham, Newcastle and Sunderland.
“I wasn’t just proud to be the England manager, I was ready,” said Allardyce.
Allardyce, who at the time of his departure said he had been victim of “entrapment” by The Daily Telegraph newspaper, added Saturday he regretted mocking England predecessor Roy Hodgson’s speech impediment in his filmed meetings with undercover reporters.
“That was embarrassing for me. No doubt about that,” Allardyce said.
“I haven’t spoken to Roy. I made a decision not to call him because I thought it would be better to wait until I saw him, face to face. But I haven’t seen him yet.”
Just three months after losing the England job, Allardyce was back in football with Palace after being encouraged to return by former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, a longstanding friend.
“Fergie invited me to a game,” Allardyce recalled. “He told me to get up and get back out there. He’s a man of great wisdom. The more people like that support you, the quicker you recover.
“The only thing I could do to help myself was jump back into the game. I needed to do it for my own rehabilitation,” said Allardyce, who helped Palace avoid relegation this season.
“It was the only way I could try to put what had happened with England behind me.
“Otherwise I’d have been pondering too much. It would still be playing on my mind, simmering, seething.”
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