“I’d have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you pesky kids” mutters ex-England boss Fabio Capello as he shuffle’s past the awaiting press pack on his way out of FA headquarters in central London. Replace kids with uncouth football dinosaurs and that would offer a fairer and accurate reflection of the bungling individuals charged with ruling over English football with an iron fist. I wonder which genius came up with the tactful ploy to totally disregard the Italian’s authority as manager and make a decision that should have solely been placed in his hands. I’m not saying the call to rip the armband off John Terry’s arm was an error just that the quick witted minds at the FA were perhaps a tad hasty in doing so without consulting the man they chose to lead the national team.
Admittedly I think this was the FA’s intention all along with Capello’s comments regarding the Terry decision giving them the leverage needed to oust him from the dugout. Thankfully for them the 64-year-old chose to walk away from the position opening the door for fans favourite and media darling Harry Redknapp to take over. The outcry for the Tottenham boss to be handed the Wembley reigns is both comprehensible and perplexing in the same degree. The media’s constant glorification of Redknapp has seemingly brainwashed the rest of the country into thinking he’s a managerial genius capable of returning the glory days back to football in this country. The demand for him to be appointed ahead of another foreign coach belies all sense.
Where did this deluded theory, that only an Englishman can lead England to the pinnacle of world football, manifest itself? Oh wait, I’m sorry, it must have slipped my mind that we devised the beautiful game and only a Union Jack wearing native can bring the glory days back. Honestly I forget that football existed outside the British Isles. Short mindedness has led to people forgetting that the national team isn’t exactly the powerhouse it once was. Capello’s 15-trophy haul following spells managing in Italy and Spain must have been achieved with a variety of tactical witchcraft. There is no way he could ever have accomplished anything similar in this country. Not a chance. One of the finest coaches on this planet was doomed to fail before a ball had even been kicked simply because he was never the nations first choice. Yet Redknapp is worshipped as being the greatest Englishmen to ever grace a dugout in the last 15-years. Remind me again what he’s ever won in his career? Oh yes one FA Cup and a Division One title with Portsmouth. Hardly a CV capable of landing a top job around Europe is it? After all and statistically speaking Capello was the best England manager there has ever been with a win percentage of 66.7%. It put’s him ahead of managerial greats Sir Bobby Robson, Ron Greenwood and Sir Alf Ramsey. Surely that has to count for something, right? Not over here it doesn’t.
He’s still considered a failure. Admittedly some of his decisions sometimes left many dumbfounded. What was he thinking when he decided to place an England cap upon the amply sized cranium of serial clogger Kevin Davies? But that’s just a damning indictment of the deficient talent pool in this country. What makes everyone think Redknapp is capable of undoing a decades worth of under performing to break the mould and actually progress beyond the quarter final in a major tournament. Tottenham’s ascent up into the Premier League top three has seen the nations champion become lauded for his ability to improve players. Lets face it any team with Emmanuel Adebayor, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Scott Parker would succeed. Unfortunately for him club management is significantly different to that of coaching a national team. No money to spend, limited time with players and having to make do with what is at his disposal. Redknapp’s man management is one of his strongest tools but with England games few and far between it would be difficult to forge bonds in such a restricted timeframe. Don’t even get me started on his insufficient tactical nous either. Does anyone recall Rafael Van Der Vaart divulging the secrets of Redknapp’s artful cunning when comes to playing strategy. A clipboard standing untouched in the dressing room before kick off. Is that some kind of modern inspiration technique? Is that really what you want from an England manager, someone who relies on luck to see him through? Surely a man with so little tactical understanding can’t improve the standard of the national team? Lest forget the most successful managers in the top flight are actually Scottish.
Frankly that is all brushed under the carpet, overlooked and forgotten about once Redknapp speaks to the media. They gush over him like a teenage boy lovingly gazing across the dinner hall at his high school crush. His popularity with the southern press pack and tendency to poke his head out of a car window and provide a potent soundbite has put him head and shoulders above any other candidates. Disparaging against foreign coaches has become a favoured custom for the media who’s constant chirping about English pride and all that tripe has brainwashed the rest of the country into believing Redknapp is some sort of messiah. Judging the situation from a level playing field I can honestly say there are better managers out there and a majority lie abroad. It remains to be seen whether the FA will find themselves caught up in the media love in and eventually submit to the nations desire to see loveable ‘Arry installed. According to some leading journalists he’ll play the English way. Whatever that is. Anyone expecting him to perform miracles will be sadly disappointed.
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