One of the disadvantages of working a paying job whilst trying to build a readership on your own blog is that sometimes we get blindsided by events that need immediate reporting such as we saw today in London as England manager Fabio Capello resigned his position immediately following a meeting with FA Chairman David Bernstein. I wasn’t able to react immediately as I found out myself from my son who was good enough to call me at work with the news. However, my advantage is that I’ve had time to mull over the details and report with a clear mind.
To precis the circumstances leading up to today, England captain John Terry had been stripped of the captaincy of the team by the FA after Terry’s trial on racial abuse charges was set for July 9th, following the Euro 2012 tournament. Apparently the FA had done this without consulting Fabio Capello, who as a result, voiced his displeasure in an interview with Italian broadcaster RAI. Following this outburst, the FA called a meeting set for today to clear the air with Capello at which the England manager tended his resignation and the FA accepted. It appears that many experts felt surprised by these developments but I had commented on Twitter last night that I felt this whole affair was not going away and that we might need to start interviewing replacements for the position.
Strangely enough, I feel as happy and content today as I did the day Capello was given the job which gives you some idea how far the Italian dropped in my popularity charts during his time in charge. I originally saw him as an excellent hire who I felt was the best choice since Bobby Robson. A proven winner, he had been successful with every club he had coached. He was familiar with the best players in the world and how to handle them which came as a breath of fresh air following the “Wally with The Brolly” affair. He was disciplined and did not suffer fools gladly. How little did we know how badly it would go wrong. I am not going into a ton of detail about how his reign declined as there are many posts on this blog, and others, explaining my thoughts, except to say, good riddance. He lost his players in the warm up games before South Africa 2010 and it got steadily worse during the shambolic performances in the tournament proper. In my opinion, he should have been gone after that World Cup but the FA didn’t have the stones, nor the money, to pull the trigger.
The main question now is to look forward and ask who replaces him ? We are only 4-5 months away from the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine and currently we have no captain and no manager, but we do have a chance to sweep away the negativity and lack of enthusiasm and replace it all with youthful enthusiasm and vigor. I’m not suggesting that we all start to get giddy about suddenly becoming a world beating side on the back of Capello’s exit, that just isn’t going to happen, but the feeling in some areas is that we have plenty of time to choose a successor. Not at all. We need to pick someone NOW who can navigate this squad through Poland and Ukraine and start to bring the young players through into the senior squad. Now I’m not suggesting we pick the first warm body who happens to be an English manager, so don’t even bother trundling out Steve Bruce, Alan Curbishley, Neil Warnock or the like. I’m not interested in them or Roy Hodgson. For me there are only four realistic candidates :
Jose Mourinho has been suggested but he’s pie in the sky, as is Martin O’Neill. Neither of those two excellent managers would be chosen by those clowns at the FA who tremble at the thought of having a manager that will tell them all what to do in no uncertain terms. The four I have listed are all acceptable to the higher ups especially since Redknapp was cleared of tax evasion charges in the last couple of days. My own feeling is that all of this depends on Tottenham’s willingness to allow Redknapp to leave the club. Their fans would be simply outraged if he left them in the middle of what appears could be the club’s most successful season in the past 50 years. I believe Redknapp wants the job and if Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy can be persuaded to have Harry do the job on a part time basis for the remainder of this season, I would also install Stuart Pearce as a co-manager to handle the national squad when Redknapp’s Tottenham commitments prevent him from being around.
Failing this, Guss Hiddink would be an alternative who likes to work piece meal rather than on long contracts. He would have the quality to make England competitive for the Euros whilst allowing the FA to conduct a more detailed search and allowing candidates to at least complete their seasonal commitments. Pardew is a long shot who has definitely moved up the ladder since taking Newcastle from relegation strugglers to contending for a Champions League place in just over 18 months.
A lot lies ahead for the FA Board but we have been handed an opportunity here to inject some life into a jaded England side that looked to be going nowhere this year. Let’s not screw this one up too, boys.