Bad week for Sam Allardyce.
But that might make it a good one for fans of Minnesota United, the soon-to-be Major League Soccer Team set to join the professional league in 2017.
Backstory, if you ain't been keepin' up with the London tabloids: The Telegraph newspaper conducted an undercover investigation of Allardyce, a longtime figure in coaching in English football. As of July, that's meant coaching the England national team.
As of last Tuesday, it hasn't. In taped conversations with shady "businessmen" who were actually journalists, Allardyce was caught saying he knew how to "get around" rules governing the transfer of players between clubs. That's pretty much an admission of cheating -- and the offer to help teach somebody else how to do it.
This didn't sit right with the Football Association, which showed "Big Sam" the door, saying his taped statements were "inappropriate" for the manager of the England national team.
But would they disqualify him from coaching here in America? In Minnesota? The Daily Mail tabloid speculates Allardyce might be looking to move next to the United States, relying on unnamed sources close to the scandalized coach. One says Allardyce "loved" his time playing in Tampa, Florida, during the 1980s, when he featured for the now-defunct North American Soccer League (NASL).
In his own book, Allardyce acknowledged the thought of coaching a team in MLS "appeals" to him.
NBC Sports is connecting some dots, suggesting the most available job in the whole league might be Minnesota's, as the United look to transition from their (unrelated) North American Soccer League to MLS.
Of course, United already has a coach, Carl Craig, who has Minnesota sitting in fifth place in the NASL standings at present. NBC observes it's not "certain" Craig will be brought along when the team moves up to the majors.
Would hiring a manager with a ruined reputation really be a good PR move for an incoming MLS franchise? Perhaps not. That said, Allardyce has coached at the elite level in England for many years and up until a very poor judgement call on meeting with a fictitious Far East company which turned out to be undercover reporters, he was England’s much-lauded national team manager.
It's a little tenuous at this point, sure. But what good is getting a soccer team if you can't chuck rumors against the wall and see if anything sticks?
Far as we can see, it's all upside for United to pursue Big Sam, who might make for a good fit here in the Midwest. He's been successful during stints in less-than-glamorous English towns like Bolton and Newcastle. Those teams were sometimes criticized for being boring, but Allardyce worked with what he had, and tried to at least keep his lads from losing.
Besides, he knows how to sign great players... even if it takes a little work to "get around" the rules.
UPDATE: Looks like this is fake. Well, not NBC Sports' report, but the intel behind it: The "rumors circulating that Allardyce could be offered the gig in the Twin Cities" came from noted local soccer blogger Bruce McGuire, one of the biggest Minnesota United supporters there is.
Apparently McGuire got the ball rolling (accidentally) with a single tweet this morning -- with its Trump-ian "people I respect are tweeting about it" phrasing -- an intended joke which was then picked up as a real rumor by NBC. We'll update if Sam Allardyce is spotted drinking at the Dubliner.