As Fabio Capello’s deserted desk chair enters its final revolution the search for his successor has already began to pick up heat. The Italian’s decision to quit as England manager last night surprised few who had reached the conclusion that his tenure at Wembley had simply become untenable. The Football Associations’ decision to go over his head and strip John Terry of the captains armband proved to be the final straw for a man who was never universally accepted by both the media or supporters. The verbal sparring on twitter over a predictable selection of names, topped by everyone’s flavor of the month Harry Redknapp, is becoming increasingly dull. The Tottenham chief is the nations preferred choice to fill Capello’s seat in the dugout before it’s even had a chance to cool down even in these subzero temperatures.
However with Spurs currently in the midst of a three-way tussle for the Premier League title it’s unlikely Redknapp would be willing to abandon his mission at White Hart Lane in favour of England, which, in essence, is a bit-part management role. Whilst an inevitable tug of war between FA chairman David Bernstein and Spurs supremo Daniel Levy will ensue over the 64-year-old there have been suggestions that the job will be offered on a part-time basis. The idea of a manager fulfilling the role on an interim basis has been mooted before but should the FA finally choose to scrap the England job as a full-time position?
It’s a role that leaves a manager with a substantial amount of time to sit and twiddle his thumbs along with taking in the occasional football match; in Capello’s case that meant anywhere within a 150 mile radius of London. The former Real Madrid chiefs £6 millon-a-year salary has seen him become labelled as an expensive mistake in some quarters. In the current economic climate fans are being forced to dig deeper into their pockets to attend football matches so would the FA be willing to appoint another manager on a similar deal? They’re almost caught in a catch-22 with their clamour to find a cost effective Englishman who possesses the necessary experience to end the Three Lions’ 46-year trophy drought. I’m just making assumptions here but you can bet your bottom dollar the FA will be anxious to avoid splashing out heavy six-figure sums on a deficient English coach never mind another johnny foreigner.
Frankly the options are thin on the ground at the moment with many free agents considered inadequate for a position of this magnitude. Stuart Pearce could be tempted into the role but having already admitted that he isn’t prepared for the big job it’s unlikely he’ll be the man the FA turn too. That has the entire country scribbling Redknapp at the top of their list of candidates to fill the breach. From my viewpoint the England manager’s job has become something of a poisoned chalice in recent years with the pressure to succeed in a major tournaments proving to be the undoing of several individuals including Capello. Would the media’s tendency to change their opinions at the blink of an eye and ruin reputations once results go south appeal to a manager already coping with the stress of domestic management?
Once again it all comes down to the financial incentives that come with a position that situated firmly in the glare of the media. Despite Redknapp’s supposed patriotism it’s unlikely he’ll leave Tottenham, whether it be permanently or part time, to manage England on the cheap. The same applies to any club manager the FA has in it’s cross hairs. Truthfully the current squad is in need of a major overhaul after Euro 2012 with the supposed ‘golden generation’ failing to perform in a decades worth of major tournaments. It’s in this respect that the need for a full-time manager would come in useful purely for scouting purposes. The need for fresh blood in the squad requires some serious reconnaissance stretching the length and breadth of the country which is something that Capello failed to do adding yet more justification to describe his pay cheque as absurd. The fact is a part-time manager wouldn’t have the time to tackle such a burdensome task due to their commitments at club level therefore having to rely on a team of scouts to effectively choose the squad for him. Even a manager without club ties might feel that he isn’t compelled to make the effort if it isn’t included as part of their pay packet.
For me there is no definitive answer to whether the England manager’s job needs to be a full-time position. The pressure, constant media scrutiny and hopes of a nation weighing heavy on one mans shoulders makes it a position requiring an experienced and level headed individual. However a man possessing those qualities usually comes at a cost and it’s unlikely the FA will ungrudgingly fork out a large sum once again even if they have their eyes set on Redknapp. The prospect of an amateur stepping in surely leaves the FA in a quandary over whether a full time manager is the right path to take. Where they go from here is unknown.
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