Another Pyrrhic Victory? – Panorama “Bungs Scandal”
The BBC thought they had scored a hit with their recent documentary supposedly exposing the kickbacks involved in English football but was it the opening salvo of hope in the fight to reclaim the Beautiful Game or just another blank being fired?
The Panorama documentary “Football’s Dirty Secrets” was much billed in the national press as the exposé that would lift the lid on a can of worms that is Premiership football and precipitate a major clean sweep of the top division with some top-level casualties along the way.
While it was alarming to realize just how ingrained the tradition of managers seeking to cream off a percentage of a transfer fee is now, thanks to the connivance of unscrupulous Data Sgp agents, what was revealed really ought not to surprise us one jot.
After all, Arsenal’s George Graham was forced to resign back in 1995 after it was revealed he had profited to the tune of £425,000 from transfer dealings involving a bent Norwegian player representative called Rune Hauge.
Fast forward eleven years and we are still dealing with exactly the same issue; in this case Bolton Wanderers’ boss Sam Allardyce accused of pocketing pounds on transfer fees with his son as the broker [Allardyce has claimed he is “utterly innocent” of any wrong-doing and is planning to sue the BBC].
Harry Redknapp, the alleged prince of bungs, had expected to be shot to pieces by the Panorama programme and had issued a pre-emptive statement in the press, but he need not have worried as his involvement in the documentary was limited to expressing interest in signing a player under contract elsewhere.
Alas, the latest exposé of wrongdoing will fail to clean up the game unless powers from beyond football intervene to enforce the law. Football has shown itself to be spectacularly incapable of policing itself so many times before and has operated more like a private betting syndicate in the back of a pub than an open and above board …