2010/11: The England Job – runners and riders
When new football season kicks off in August 2012, England will have hosted the Olympic Games and the European Championships in Poland/Ukraine will be a distant memory. What we also know is that England will have a new International Manager. Now assuming that England qualify for the tournament and Capello isn’t sacked before then, the highest paid International Manager will step down from the job in 2012. In all likelihood and without wishing to be defeatist, that will be without England taking the European crown in 2012.
Already we have seen “candidates” throw their hat into the ring and there seems an inevitability that the next incumbent will be English. My concern about anybody declaring their hand this early is with regard to their focus on their current role. If a manager is thinking about another job elsewhere, even in two years time, it must act as a distraction. As a Chairman or a fan, I would be worried that any uncertainty would spread through the club and translate to the players. Would this for instance affect players signing for a club, if they thought the manager would be leaving? Some may argue that the possibility of the England job would spur on the manager to achieve even more at the club they are currently with. Unfortunately, as I’ve said I see it as a point of distraction.
So what of those English managers in the frame? Can somebody explain the role of Stuart Pearce? Is he genuinely being groomed as the next England manager? Pearce holds the position of Under 21 Manager and has had some success with the team. However, the images of Pearce beside Capello in South Africa and the inane “explanation” of the antics by Pearce, leave me with the impression that he is no more than a jester in Capello’s Commedia dell’Arte, and that the ex-Forest man will be gone once the Italian departs the stage.
Then we have Henry James Redknapp, who has managed Bournemnouth, West Ham, Portsmouth, Southampton and Tottenham. “Harry” has had some success along the way at these clubs, with the FA Cup win at Portsmouth his major prize and taking Spurs into the Champions League this season. Is it coincidence that the clubs Redknapp has managed have gone on to suffer serious financial problems? Add in the corruption allegations that have dogged him since the Panorama investigation of 2006 to the point of him being charged in January 2010 with two counts of cheating the public revenue and his suitability for the England job starts to look a little tatty around the edges. Although it never stopped El Tel……
Then we have Samuel Allardyce, who in his time has managed at Limerick, Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United, with his current posting at Blackburn Rovers. His darling of the media reputation as all things good about English mangers was built at Bolton. However, he has never won any of the major domestic honours as a manager and the style of football was and still is direct to say the least. Some will argue he did well with limited resources for the Trotters, but is that a major criteria for a future England Manager? Then like Mr Redknapp, “Big Sam” was featured in the football bribery expose by Panorama in 2006 and so a whiff of corruption also lingers around Mr Allardyce.
Roy Hodgson has not put his name forward, and that is the mark of this modest and respected football figure. He has International and European experience, although his detractors may argue he has got teams to Finals, but ultimately his teams haven’t gone on to take the trophy. If he manages to work his magic at Anfield, how likely would Liverpool be to release him after the barren years on Merseyside?
That’s part of the joy of football – the speculation. Memo to all: gentleman, concentrate on the job in hand and see what you can achieve.
2012 what an interesting year it could be……