Sheffield United can hardly claim to be whiter than white when it comes to overpaying.
But in a black week when a £3m a year England manager humiliatingly lost his job for appearing to grub for an extra £400,000, United’s value-for-money creed is now in tune with what the game as a whole needs.
Sam Allardyce was more a victim of gross stupidity than gross misconduct in assuring undercover reporters there was an easy way round third-party ownership rules, which was telling no-one (Carlos Tevez and the Blades anyone?) anything they didn’t already know.
But what Allardyce and the whole of football has to grasp is this: what doesn’t LOOK right ISN’T right. It’s why Big Sam had to go. And anyone else pushing the boundaries to earn more money on top of a fortune.
Listen here to Blades-supporting Richard Caborn, the former sports minister and ex United director, who tells me: “£9.3 billion to the Premier League across three seasons is huge. The redistribution needs to be far greater. The money going into players’ wages is ridiculous, absolutely stupid. There needs to be some discipline on bringing that down – because in the world of football we’re hated. We’re sucking in all the players from around the world on huge money and then we take all the television money. There’s not enough going down the leagues.”
The FA are rightly criticised for being ineffectual. But they did the right thing on Allardyce. If only they had enough muscle to control the Premier League and restore some morals.