Thursday, 9 February 2012

England: Where Now?

Capello's resignation was a little bit of a suprise but not a great one if Im honest. After his comments at the weekend with regards to John Terry it was going to lead to some sort of showdown with the FA. They had to be seen to act and he was a man of principal, personally I think they both saw it as a chance to part ways. They had clearly had enough of each other.

Capello isn't a bad manager, his record in club football is second to none, he also has the best win percentage of any England Manager at 67% (Ramsey is 2nd on 61%). That however hides the truer fact that in his one and only tournament he was a total disaster. Like so many before him he wasn't able to bridge the gap between club and international management. Add to that the problem he didn't speak English and you have to ask yourselves what exactly the FA were thinking when they hired him in the first place!. Yes we had just had the wally with the brolly (Steve Maclaren) but I think we went for a name instead of the manager that was suitable for the job.

We now have fans and media clamouring for Harry Redknapp to take the job. A good candidate of that there is no doubt but changing the manager isn't the problem. The last truly world class England side we had was 1990. Euro 96 doesn't count really because:-

1. We had an easy group, Switzerland, Scotland and a totally disorganised Holland squad (sound familiar)
2. We were extremely lucky against Spain who had 2 goals disallowed before we won on penalties
3. We played all our games at Wembley and all the support that went with it.

Don't get me wrong it was a brilliant time to support England, following on from the failure of USA 94 and Graham Taylor but once again we didn't build on it as Terry Venables left at the end of the tournament facing a court case (sound familiar?).

The last manager who the fans went mental for was Kevin Keegan, the peoples choice, a good club manager but severely found out at International level and a disaster at Euro 2000. Winning 2-0 against Portugal we lost 3-2, beat Germany 1-0 in an awful game and lost 3-2 to Romania and came home. What did we do? We went foreign and Sven arrived.

Harry Redknapp is nailed on for the job but should he take it? No he shouldn't. He is onto a great thing at Spurs and has built a good side that plays attacking football. Why would he want to give that up for England and the thankless job that will be?. The minute he loses the press will be on his back giving him grief and he will never get back to where he was at Spurs. The moment would have passed.

Our main problem is the men behind the team, the men that make decisions on the future of the game in this country. Im not getting into the whole Sky debate but I will say this. When your Elite Football Director is a man who failed at club management, step forward Gareth Southgate and a man who managed a Premier League side to relegation, stand up Trevor Brooking then we have real issues.

We need technically gifted players to work behind the scenes, to set the training schedules and coach the kids. To set training standards for the whole country and a plan for the next 15 years. What we don't need is the two we have at the moment. Nice blokes certainly but no good for the future of the game in this country. We need the Beckhams, Scholes, Neville's, Shearers, Adams, and the Seamans players who were the best in their positions and who are technically gifted and can help coach the kids of the future.

We need then too allow the kids to come through and accept that until they do we are not going to win a thing and drop the whole 1966 and how great we are because we aren't its that simple. We are an average team with players who cannot live with the best in the World and perhaps don't want the pressure of playing for their country knowing they will get slaughtered the minute they lose.

Personally I would offer it to Wenger he would be brilliant at it. He is coming to the end of his time at Arsenal and he would transform the training and coaching system as he did when he first went to Arsenal. Allow him time to change things and build a new team around the kids that are coming through.

Make sure that the best English coaching talent is rising to the Premier League and they get the experience needed to run the national team. It isn't an over night fix, we have tried them for the past 46 years and they haven't worked. So this time lets make sure we plan properly for the future and that we have something to be proud of for the next generation instead of making the same mistakes again and again.

Redknapp will take the job though because he is that type of old school manager who sees managing their country as the pinnacle of their career and I wish him all the luck in the world for it, he is really going to need it. I hope though that he doesn't regret it when it all goes pear shaped in 6 months time.


  1. Decent piece Ant. Agree we need to bring in the likes of Beckham, Shearer's etc. as they are specialist's in their positions. However, don't agree we are just an average side, most of our squad play for top clubs in the PL and a lot of them also perform on the Champion's League stage. We're not ranked 5th in the world for nothing, realistically we are probably the 8th best side in the world which means we should be expecting to win every major tournament we are in. Harry's the man for me, has the most experience in getting the best out of his players and is one the fan's will give time to get things right.

  2. I would go with Redknapp as an advisor to Sir Trev as he want's to take Spurs to the champions league and i don't think the FA cronies could handle him.