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Harry Redknapp for England – haven’t we been here before?

Rejoice everyone! That horrible Fabio Capello, the man seeped in failure, that didn’t understand what it meant to be English, didn’t utilise our unique qualities, who took our millions for nothing, is gone! The 18 month media-led campaign to rid us of this chancer can now end, and the righful owner of that most poisoned of chalices can take residence, fire up the boys, and lead us to an almost inevitable period of glory. WE’RE GOING TO WIN THE EUROS!!

And yet, something tells me we’ve been here before, and will continue the endless cycle of hope and then despair that can only be freed by death. Virtually every England manager is eventually hounded out, to the sounds of fireworks and popping corks. The campaign (mostly in the tabloids) to criticise Fabio Capello has run ever since the disastrous campaign in South Africa, but he hasn’t quit over that long-passed disappointment. In the end it was an adjourning of a player’s court case that did for him, and the nation as a whole called out for the man standing triumphant on the courtroom steps.

And many in the media would have you believe that everyone wants Redknapp now. Everyone wants an Englishman, because that’s how it should be, and foreign managers have proved to be an expensive mistake, unlike their English counterparts. This is the rhetoric used by Mark “Chappers” Chapman on the wireless last night, proclaiming the calls for Harry to be unanimous in their nature. I personally couldn’t care less about the nationality of the manager, thoughI fully understand why others feel differently. Michael Owen’s assertion that even the tea-lady should be English is pushing it a bit far, but then what would a foreign tea-lady know about stewing an English breakfast tea-bag eh? She wouldn’t know a tea cosy if it hit her in the face (not that I would condone such an action).

The response of sections of the media to Capello’s exit was sickening to be honest, none worse than the Sun’s Steven Howard, who has led a hatchet campaign for a long time. He even claimed today that Capello swearing at the players was proof that he had lost the plot, whilst in the past, failing to phone a player has been used, amongst many other things, as a reason to berate the national manager. It’s a good job Harry Redknapp never swears eh? Of course if he does, Howard will no doubt be quick to go to town on him. The Mirror’s Martin Lipton criticised him because of his treatment of Michael Owen. Sometimes, words really do fail you.

It’s poppycock of course that everyone demands the Spurs manager. Redknapp has his many friends in the media, and his charcter fits perfectly for a red-top journlaist to champion. Man of the people, always happy to talk to the press, a cheeky chappy who inspires players, plays beautiful football, entertains, and is as honest as the (winter) day is long. And unless he suddenly decides he doesn’t want the job, there is no doubt he will be the next England manager. But not everyone is rejoicing that a man with such a flimsy track-record is suddenly being portrayed as the messiah. He isn’t, though it turns out nor was he a naughty boy.

It’s just like the campaigns of old. We championed Kevin Keegan for his similar qualities – man management, passion, all those things that johnny-foreigner wouldn’t understand. Never mind that Harry Redknapp has won one trophy in his lifetime, which needless to say is considerably fewer than Capello, or Eriksson, nevermind that Capello’s stats show him to have won a greater percentage of game than anyone, his success only beaten by Alf Ramsey, for obvious reasons. Nevermind that Fabio and Sven saw us through qualification campaigns with minimum fuss, something past English managers could only dream about. Failure in finals is par for the course whowever manages, due to the rather incovenient truth that our players aren’t good enough, and don’t apply themselves properly either. Let’s not forget that Capello was installed to rid the squad of the indiscipline that was the feature of his English predecessor. As always, appintments will be made after the horse has bolted – to rid the team of previous failures by appointing someone who will introduce new flaws instead.

It is clear however that Redknapp has built an excellent Spurs team, and is having an excellent season. The “Fleet Street” propaganda campaign will have you believe that he took over a team on its last legs, and that he has built this squad of great entertainers (not quite true, not surprisingly) with no money, a true inspiration for our times. As i said, he’s done well, but somehow this isn’t as impressive as the endless list of trophies that some of his predecessors accumulated. But maybe he will be a good pick, because his friends in the media will allow him a free ride, and who knows what we could have achieved if previous managers had been allowed the same courtesy (nothing, probably). I’m not sure how happy Spurs fans will be though to see players of title rivals championing his cause on Twitter.

He will have a better relationship with the players perhaps, but these players should have been able to perform and follow orders without a best mate at the helm anyway. It is strange that we are championing a man who confesses to not be able to read or write, who has no organisational skills, whose accountant runs his life. Is this what we have been reduced to? As’s Nick Miller pointed out, as millions of Englanders talk of new hope and optimism for the future, what is the rest of Europe thinking? They’re laughing at us, that’s what.

The circus that has surrounded England over the past couple of decades has made me fall out of love with the national team. I will support them all the way, but it can never matter as much as a defeat for my club team. I  hope Redknapp is a success, for the sake of our national side. But journalists need to realise that not everyone thinks this is a new dawn, not everyone thinks he can turn the players into world-beaters, and I for one can say with confidence that I know how it will all end – the same as it always has done before. Though the bigger question is surely- why would anyone want the job in the first place?

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Article title: Harry Redknapp for England – haven’t we been here before?

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