Fabio Capello announced this week that he will not stay on as England manager after his contract expires after the EURO 2012 tournament (assuming England qualify). Hardly a surprise is it? He had absolutely no chance of getting another contract. This announcement’s like me saying that I no longer want to be considered by NASA for their next moon landing.
The debate has already begun as to who Capello’s successor should be and if that man has to be English. Most fans are clamouring for the appointment of an Englishman, as predictably the response to the miserable World Cup is to point the finger of blame squarely at the manager and sweep every other reason for failure under the carpet. fficeffice" />
Harry Redknapp has declared his interest in the job already and insists that the next England manager has to English. Redknapp said of Capello “Capello’s a great manager now. If you look at his record - he’s top class... But it hasn’t worked so far in terms of the World Cup. I want to see an English boy have a go.” The FA has also stated that they want the next England manager to be an Englishman. Adrian Bevington, former communications director of the FA and current Team England managing director said “The view of everyone in the discussions so far is that we should have an English manager moving forward. My personal wish is that we should have an English manager post Capello and post the Euros-in the future the England team should have an English manager”
Well I think that the FA and Redknapp are wrong. Having an English manager is the ideal scenario, but hiring an Englishman just for the sake of it will be a huge mistake that might end up holding England back in their quest to win major tournaments.
As a nation England has always benefited from utilizing ideas from abroad and adapting them to suit their own purposes. The same is true of almost every country in the planet, the exchange if ideas helps nations advance. Nations tend not flourish when they are in isolation.
This is true with football. When English clubs were banned from Europe in the late 80’s, they fell behind their European counterparts after dominating European competition in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Being strong, physical and playing kick and chase football didn’t cut it anymore. It was only when foreign players and coaches came into the Premier League and introduced new tactics, philosophies and training methods that English clubs began to catch up. The truth is foreign managers have been good for the English game. Simply, English managers are not as good as their foreign counterparts. There still hasn’t been an English Premier League winning manager.
Unfortunately, the general thinking of football fans here in England still see England as being superior in World football to most nations (seriously), they believe the Premier League is the best league in the world. Therefore it stands to reason that an English manager must be better that a foreign one. That’s the kind of thinking the FA is pandering to with this decision.
Surely what is important is that England appoints the best person for the job. Capello got the job as he had a track record of winning trophies at some of the world’s biggest clubs. It didn’t matter where he was born or what nationality is on his passport, he was the best man for the job. There is no other organisation in the UK that would exclude a candidate on the basis of nationality; indeed it would be illegal for them to do so. The FA must do the same.
Let’s assume that the next England manager has to come from the Premier League. Therefore Carlo Ancellotti, Roberto Di Matteo, Roberto Martinez, Gerard Houllier, Arsene Wenger, Avram Grant and Roberto Mancini are out of the running. Alex Ferguson, Mark Hughes, David Moyes, Mick McCarthy, Chris Hughton, Owen Coyle, Tony Pulis and Alex McLeish cannot be considered as they are not English. That leaves as a potential managerial shortlist; Roy Hodgson, who barring disaster won’t be available. Ian Holloway and Steve Bruce are not serious contenders. That leaves Sam Allardyce, whose appointment would signal a return to the bad old days of kick and rush football and someone who nobody wants to see in charge of England. That means Redknapp is the only serious contender, but he’s not too popular with some members of the FA and this season will be his first time pitting his wits against against some of Europes elite clubs in the Champions League.
Other than the Premier League there is only Stuart Pearce but I can’t see him getting the job and it would be a huge gamble to appoint someone like David Beckham or Alan Shearer, who have little to no experience whatsoever.
Will the FA stick to this nationalistic policy if a top manager is available in two years time? Currently the newspapers are clamouring for an Englishman but that would change should one of the world’s best managers become available. Would they seriously turn down Jose Mourinho, if he’s outstayed his welcome in Madrid for Harry Redknapp. Can you imagine Guus Hiddink being turned down for Steve Bruce?
By publicly stating that the next England manager has to be English, the FA have managed to paint themselves into a corner trying to placate fans. I can’t see any reason at all why the next English manager has to be English. The job must go to the best man available, no matter where he was born.