Everyone’s got what they want. England once again has an Englishman, managing the national team. The fans, players, media and FA are all happy. We can rejoice.
Well actually, not quite. The Englishman now in charge, isn’t the one that the fans, players and media originally wanted. The FA threw a red herring and landed a kipper.
Harry Redknapp was the popular choice. A talented manager, who has resurrected the fortunes of Tottenham Hotspur in recent years. Redknapp, was the England manager-elect. Surprisingly ignored, when the vacancy was last available in 2008. Surely the FA wouldn’t deny good old Harry this time? Let’s just say that the FA are acutely aware, of Redknapp’s ‘extra-curricular activities’ (for want of a better term). His face just does not fit, at the Wembley headquarters. So rightly or wrongly, the FA have plumped for Roy Hodgson.
Let’s take a look at Roy Hodgson. 64 years of age. Has had an extensive club and international managerial career. Highlights include, guiding the Switzerland national team to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup, and reaching the UEFA and Europa League finals (with Inter Milan and Fulham respectively). To say that Roy Hodgson is qualified for the job of England manager, is a huge understatement. His 36 years of managerial experience testify to that. However, I can’t help thinking that the FA has got this appointment wrong, very wrong.
Imagine the scenario.
A reputable global business clinches a deal, on a brand new multi-million project. Months before the start of the project, the team leader resigns. Due to an alleged bust-up with the board. This particular team leader, was the businesses’ top salesperson, for the last 5 years. So what do the board do?
1) Do they appoint the number 2 salesperson in the company, with a slightly questionable past?
2) Or instead opt for the reliable guy who’s been with the company for 20 years, but never really amounted to much?
Ok, all this might be a little harsh on Roy. However, the rational and logic by the FA is still highly questionable. They’ve hounded out a man with a proven track record (Capello), and ignored the credentials of a suitable replacement, due to ‘off-field’ concerns. The FA believe that they’ve got their man. Most of the football fraternity think differently.
On February 8th 2012, Fabio Capello resigned as England manager. The reasons behind his resignation are still unclear. However, many believe the removal of John Terry as England captain (without Capello’s consent) was the main contributing factor. I personally like Capello. He’s a winner with a forthright opinion. Very clear on his objectives, and how he wants to go about them.
However, the media and certain sections of the English public, never quite understood Fabio. Some blamed his accent, and occasional jumbled grasp of the English language (very xenophobic in truth). Others would criticise his stand-offish nature, with the English media. It is here where Capello’s downfall started. He didn’t give the media, the sound bites they craved. They would often complain about his reported £6 million a year salary, and pick holes in his team selections, and press conferences. Capello was constantly ridiculed, and undermined.
The performances of the England team however, meant that Capello was virtually untouchable. His win percentage of 66.7%, is the highest of any England post-war manager. Like I said previously, Capello is a winner. Yes, he made mistakes. Such as some of his decisions, at the 2010 World Cup. Sources say that Capello treated the players like children. Too controlling, rigid, a disciplinarian etc. Confining them to their hotel rooms, on days off.
However, lessons were learned from that experience. Let’s not forget, it was Capello’s first foray into international tournament football. He admitted post the 2010 World Cup debacle, that change was needed. Fluidity and flexibility crept into England’s style of play, during the 2012 European championship qualifiers. We also saw a number of debutants during this time, like Jack Wilshire, Andy Carroll, Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck. Change was certainly taking place. I am sure Capello wouldn’t make the same mistakes at Euro 2012.
Unfortunately, we will never get the chance to find out.
Now England are on the eve of a major tournament, with a manager who has only had 2 games in charge. The squad has been decimated by injury, and English optimism is now at an all-time low. Could you imagine this type of disarray happening anywhere else?
So roll on Euro 2012. The nation doesn’t expect, we just hope.