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."
|Third DRS zone added for Australian Grand Prix|
|Ferdinand worried by England´s World Cup striker options|
|Hamilton an F1 great - Fittipaldi|
|Stam leaves Reading after wretched run|
|Neymar is great, we´ll see if he joins Real Madrid – Asensio|
|Appalling racism must stop - Inglis|
|Maguire tips ´nightmare´ Vardy to replace injured Kane|
|Red Bull duo: Mercedes still the team to beat|
|Wait and see - Root refuses to confirm new-ball role for Broad|
|Malcom ready to leave Bordeaux and chase Bayern ´dream´|
|Surprised Smith says Rabada appeal verdict draws ´line in the sand´|
|Asensio insists Zidane was not unfair to him|
|Griezmann wants future resolved before World Cup|
|F1 2018: Hamilton v Vettel - the race for five titles|
|Nocerino wants Conte return after Italy´s World Cup ´disaster´|
|Celtics capitalise on Thunder meltdown, Harden scores 42 points|
|Jason Day hungry to reclaim top ranking: My game is close|
|Iconic 2002 World Cup haircut was media distraction, reveals Ronaldo|
|New Zealand star Taylor fit for day-night Test|
|Teenager Anisimova to face Muguruza in Miami|
|McIlroy credits Wayne Rooney for improved putting|
|Stokes return a ´huge boost´ for England – Root|
|Wright: Difficult for Liverpool sensation Salah to resist Real Madrid|
|Yaya Toure yet to report for international duty, confirm Ivory Coast|
|Masters favouritism could hinder Woods, Thomas claims|
|I wish I could still play with him – Ortiz on Red Sox addition Martinez|
|Morrison confirms plans to play for Jamaica|
|Warriors target Friday return for Curry against Hawks|
|Starc and Marsh set to play at Newlands|
|Red alert: Richard Sherman ´excited´ to be a 49er|
|Germany should be proud to have Sane, says Tah|
|Bertrand out of England friendlies with back injury|
|Optimistic McIlroy ´crossed that line´ with Bay Hill win|
|Young backs Mourinho over Shaw treatment|
|BVBolt? Athletics great scores header while training in Dortmund kit|
|Fekir will look to leave Lyon the right way, says agent|
|Ex-Springboks coach Meyer takes charge at Stade|
|Spieth relishing Reed match play showdown|
|Alisson loves Roma and we haven´t discussed Liverpool move, insists agent|
|Henderson becomes third Ireland player to sign new deal|
|Romo ready to create ´mental bubble´ ahead of PGA Tour debut|
|McTominay: I always wanted to play for Scotland|
|Chiesa vows to honour Astori with Italy displays|
|England´s Pope ready for Heaton challenge amid World Cup race|
|Lautaro Martinez confirms impending Inter move|
|Morata wasn´t happy with Spain snub, admits Alonso|
|Raiola rages over Italy´s Balotelli snub|
|Injured Saunders postpones Murray fight|
|PGA tightens security at Dell Match Play in wake of Austin bombings|
|Raiola hopes Reina to Milan hastens Donnarumma exit|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton prepares to begin title defence in Melbourne|
|Former Sevilla coach Berizzo eyeing return after beating cancer|
|Cutrone did not expect whirlwind Milan season and Italy call-up|
|Saints punish North for missing training|
|´Happy´ Kepa mulled over Real Madrid move|
|GGG wants Saunders next if Alvarez bout is called off|
|Former All Black Mika passes away|
|Lucas Vazquez keen on Real Madrid stay|
|South Africa delighted to call on ´world´s best´ Rabada|
|Tiger Woods continues climb in FedEx Cup, world rankings|
|Juventus clear Chiellini of serious injury|
|Newcastle charged as youth team allegedly breach advertising regulations|
|Kearney joins Best in extending Ireland contract|
|I did not betray Roma – Pjanic could not pass up Juventus opportunity|
|Cardiff Blues appoint Mulvihill as Wilson replacement|
|Title-chasing Sarri closes on Napoli renewal as he hopes to repay fans|
|Cook: I wasn´t close to quitting during Ashes|
|Messi and Ronaldo reveal World Cup kits|
|Nara praises Inter project as Icardi talks continue|
|Best to lead Ireland in World Cup after signing extension|