Sam Allardyce has described the agony of losing his dream job as England manager after he was embroiled in a damning video last year.
What started out as joy quickly turned to despair for Allardyce, whose 67-day tenure was abruptly ended by mutual termination in September following alleged remarks he made in a video recorded by undercover reporters offering advice on how to circumvent rules on transfers.
The Daily Telegraph published footage claiming to be from a meeting in August of Allardyce telling two men purporting to be from a Far East firm that he could offer advice on how to "get round" Football Association (FA) regulations concerning the transfer of players under third-party ownership.
He was also alleged to have reached an agreement worth £400,000 to represent the fictitious firm to investors and be a keynote speaker at certain events, though he made it clear than any arrangement would need FA clearance.
Allardyce has since returned to management via Crystal Palace in the Premier League but the 62-year-old opened up on the mental and physical pain he suffered after his exit.
"Driving back that night, on my own, I had never driven so slowly in my life," Allardyce told Daily Mail. "A few people rang. I spoke to them.
"But that was a long, long drive. There was nothing on the road but I just sat at 50mph. Five and a half hours it took. Slowly, slowly. I couldn't turn the radio on; just drove in silence. It was just s*** … s*** … s***.
"And I wasn't just proud to be the England manager. I was ready. I felt comfortable being there.
"Our vision of changing St George's Park because we were going to work from there. All my staff were going to work from there to make things better. And we made a good start, winning that first game in Slovakia. And then all of a sudden it was over.' After 67 days. 'Apart from the last two they were very good days."
Allardyce continued: "It's worth remembering that the police didn't discover anything worthy of investigation. And before a parliamentary select committee Robert Sullivan from the FA said I hadn't been in breach of any FA rules. Or told anybody how to breach FA guidelines on third-party ownership.
"In fact, he said I was actually doing nothing more than stating the FA's position. When I went to Wembley I didn't think I was about to lose my job. I just thought it was going to be a discussion about how we navigate through it.
"But the process was not what I expected. People have told me that if it was a similar-sized business there would have been a lengthier HR process. I'm not criticising the FA because they felt they needed to make a decision. I didn't want to go but in the end there was a mutual agreement."
"When I got back from Spain, [Alex Ferguson] Fergie invited me to a game," Allardyce added.
"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."
Allardyce was replaced by Gareth Southgate and of the World Cup qualifier against Malta in October, the former said: "I couldn't watch. I tried to. 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."
|Man City aren´t one of the Premier League´s best ever - Rooney|
|Rose romps to Indonesian Masters title|
|The best answer is laughing - Ronaldo mocks Gremio boss Renato|
|Brisbane Roar 1 Melbourne Victory 2: Williams and Barbarouses boost pre-derby mood|
|LeBron James wants to break ´stereotype´ around ageing stars after passing Larry Bird|
|Hazlewood frustrated as Anderson issues rallying call|
|The Ashes Round-up: Weather holds up Australia|
|Perez keen for ´spectacular´ Ronaldo to never leave Madrid|
|Rain halts Australia charge for Ashes glory|
|Numbers tell the story as Cook´s Ashes woes continue|
|Golovkin, Alvarez scared to face me - Saunders|
|Cook, Root fall as Australia close in on win|
|Knicks top Thunder in Anthony´s return to New York|
|Saunders outclasses Lemieux to retain title|
|Chiefs too good for Chargers, Lions win|
|Australia push further ahead in Perth|
|Kroos: Madrid don´t need added motivation for Clasico|
|Howe discussed Liverpool criticism with Begovic|
|Pellegrino: I can´t control Van Dijk future|
|Perez suggests Madrid unlikely to make January moves|
|Packers activate Rodgers for Panthers clash|
|Gonzalez bids emotional farewell to Dodgers|
|Liverpool scouts to thank for Salah capture, says Klopp|
|Substitutes made the difference - Simeone|
|Sarri praises ´extraordinary´ Hamsik as Napoli go top of Serie A|
|Mutual trust at Man City is ´a dream´, says Guardiola|
|Thorley grabs four in Gloucester rout, Connacht trounce Brice|
|Stoger´s small changes getting Dortmund back on track|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Alaves 0: Substitute Torres breaks LaLiga duck to net winner|
|City defeat a ´good experience´ for Tottenham - Pochettino|
|Fury takes pop at ´carthorse´ Joshua|
|Zidane dreaming of sextuple after Club World Cup success|
|Running man De Bruyne makes it easier to manage City - Guardiola|
|Ronaldo and Zidane hoping for Ballon d´Or winner to retire at Madrid|
|Championship Review: Teenage debutant Maja snaps Sunderland´s home drought|
|In-form Neymar is good for all who love football – Emery|
|Napoli´s record goalscorers - how Marek Hamsik compares to Diego Maradona|
|Leinster rally to beat Chiefs, Bath gain revenge over Toulon|
|De Bruyne eyes titles over unbeaten season|
|Ninja Turtles invade pitch during PSG clash|
|Muller, Heynckes buoyed by Bayern Munich´s edgy victory|
|I´m confident, but what does that mean? - Wenger gives cryptic answer on Ozil future|
|Real Madrid win five trophies in a calendar year for first time|
|It´s nice to know - Hamsik plays down matching Maradona´s Napoli record|
|Borussia Dortmund 2 Hoffenheim 1: Pulisic late show extends perfect Stoger start|
|Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Silva-less City continue to set the gold standard|
|Hughes fumes at Lanzini ´dive´|
|Torino 1 Napoli 3: Historic Hamsik strike sends Sarri´s side top|
|Dyche credits Burnley´s resolve in battling Brighton draw|
|Conte refuses to discuss Chelsea interest in ´really good player´ Van Dijk|
|Real Madrid 1 Gremio 0: Ronaldo free-kick secures Club World Cup glory|
|Silva refuses to question Watford´s attitude amid dismal run|
|Wenger hails Ozil´s decisive ´gem´|
|City´s record run unfairly overshadowing Chelsea form - Conte|
|Murray ´normally very reliable´ from the spot - Hughton|
|Stoke City 0 West Ham 3: Returning Arnautovic has the last laugh|
|Rennes 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Two goals, two assists for Neymar|
|Hamsik matches Maradona´s all-time Napoli scoring record|
|Apologetic Spalletti had forgotten losing feeling at Inter|
|We stick to the plan – Valverde not risking Dembele before January|
|Watford 1 Huddersfield Town 4: Deeney sees red as Hornets´ slump continues|
|Chelsea 1 Southampton 0: Alonso extends Blues´ home run|
|Arsenal 1 Newcastle United 0: Ozil stunner sees hosts edge back to winning ways|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 0 Burnley 0: Murray pays the penalty for Seagulls|
|McGregor says MMA, not Pacquiao, is next on agenda|
|Stuttgart 0 Bayern Munich 1: Ulreich denies former club with last-gasp penalty save|
|Gattuso tries to shrug off Donnarumma, FFP controversies|
|Inter 1 Udinese 3: Leaders leave door open for Napoli as unbeaten run ends|
|Al Jazira 1 Pachuca 4: Jara & Sagal inspire Mexicans to Club World Cup third place|
|Benteke winning over Palace fans after penalty nightmare - Hodgson|