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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Bolton chairman rallies behind Allardyce

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside has pledged his full support to Sam Allardyce after breaking his silence over the bung allegations made against the club's manager.

Panorama's `Undercover: Football's Dirty Secrets' claimed that Allardyce and son Craig, until recently a football agent, were given illegal payments to facilitate player transfers.

The BBC programme - in which Gartside also featured - aired while Lord Stevens was conducting his own inquiry, backed by the Premier League, into the way clubs conducted transfers. The detailed findings have yet to be published.

Allardyce has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and the Bolton manager retains Gartside's full backing.

Speaking for the first time about the BBC allegations, Gartside told Sky Sports News: 'I have not doubted Sam. I know what the truth is.

'We have done our own investigation - there is the Stevens investigation. It has been very thorough.

'There is no evidence we have done anything wrong.

'When you see the tactics used, with hidden cameras, that is going beyond what you should do. That's what I object to.

'A person's reputation gets tarnished by something that is not true.

'It hurts him and I feel for him. Sam has handled it extremely well.

'The only worry is that people will read things into a situation which are actually not true.'

Gartside is also furious at the way he was portrayed on the Panorama programme.

'With the benefit of seeing transcripts, when people are cutting and pasting (editing) an interview, it becomes a bit naughty,' he said.

'I am very angry and remain angry. I cannot see a time when I will not be be angry about this.

'No amount of apology or no amount of compensation can repay the anguish and the torment we have had to go through both personally and professionally.

'You need the support of family, friends and colleagues. I would like to thank everyone who has given us that support.'

Gartside added: 'It has been a very difficult period because we feel you cannot defend yourself in certain incidences.

'There has been some creative reporting and it has been difficult to balance the pressure when you have a job to do anyway.

'But we are coming out of it now with a more positive attitude.'