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Eoin O'Callaghan

Eoin O'Callaghan

Eoin has worked in sports broadcasting in Ireland as a researcher, reporter, presenter and producer. He is currently a soccer reporter/anchor with the Fox Soccer Report


Hoddle, Keegan, Eriksson, McClaren, Capello, Redkna………

Written by on February 9, 2012 | 45 Comments »
Posted in England

With Harry Redknapp acquitted of tax evasion charges, we can now all safely return to debating whether or not he should replace Fabio Capello as England manager.

A victory for justice? Perhaps. A victory for perspective? Certainly not. But should we be surprised? After all, FA chairman David Bernstein has spoken previously of there being a ‘national desire’ that the next team boss should be an Englishman. A ‘national desire’? What’s that?

Ah, yes. The ‘real’ supporters. Those who ‘know’ the game. The Rule Brittania brigade. The Three Lions contingent. The England tribe. If the recent Luis Suarez and John Terry controversies are anything to go by, tribalism results in the most mis-guided and, at times, sinister opinions, thought-processes and dangerously ill-informed theories. 

When Capello was appointed back in December 2007, the FA’s former Chief Executive Brian Barwick discussed how restructuring the country’s coaching system could lead to identifying a potential successor to the Italian. But now we find ourselves here.

With Harry Redknapp front and centre in the current managerial debate. Progress, eh.

Back in 2010, in the aftermath of the World Cup debacle, he spoke about his interest in the England job, saying ‘I’m English. Who wouldn’t want to manage England? We should be able to produce someone who can manage the England football team and let’s be honest, they can’t do any worse than what they’ve [Eriksson and Capello] done’.

Them. The foreign lads. Actually, worth remembering that Capello and Eriksson both qualified the country for each major tournament they’ve been in charge for – unlike Steve McClaren, Graham Taylor (’94), Bobby Robson (’84), Ron Greenwood (’78), Don Revie (’76) and (uh-oh) Sir Alf Ramsey (’64, ’72, ’74).

Is it that a typical England fan can relate to Redknapp more than the other guys?

That cuddly, puppy-dog, reddened face. The crooked Cockney smile. The auburn-tinged hair. That’s real. He could control John Terry. And calm any potential dressing-room unrest. It’s simple. It’s a culture-clash.

Capello didn’t have a bond with these players or the supporters. He wasn’t from here. He didn’t get the quirks. The insecurities. The dysfunctions. He didn’t share an identity with these people.

So, it comes down to background then?

McClaren went to Grammar school. Hoddle is a religious nut, ain’t he? Taylor the son of a sports writer. Dagenham’s El Tel. Now there’s a proper England manager. Left school early, headed straight to Chelsea as an apprentice. In charge at Euro ’96 – when football came home. Well, almost. But for a missed penalty, as always.

The rumors of bungs and his unceremonious sacking from Spurs? Who cares! The players loved him. Remember when he refused to force through any suspensions in the wake of the Cathay Pacific incident? Loyal. And the fans adored him too. So much so that after Kevin Keegan resigned in 2000, a BBC online poll showed an incredible 40%  of voters wanted Venables brought back as England manager.

Forget that just two years previously the High Court banned him from being a company director for seven years. Forget that the case against him taken by the Department of Trade and Industry showcased examples of his bribery and deception. Bring him back! He was the best!

So, it comes down to success then? Capello has the best win percentage of any England coach in history. At his unveiling, Barwick told the room that the FA had appointed ‘an outstanding man with an outstanding record’. 9 league championships over a 16 year period with 4 different clubs in 2 different countries.

Oh, and the Scudetto win with Roma was their first league title in 18 years. Oh, and his 06/07 La Liga success with Real Madrid came 10 years after his first one during his second spell at the Bernabeu. Oh, and he’s also a Champions League winner.

Speaking with an ex-pro recently, he told me that a manager commands respect from a dressing-room in one of two ways. Either his record as an ex-player or as a boss is impressive and a squad realizes they’re in the presence of a proven winner or his personality has to be strong enough to cut through any immediate suspicion or dissension.

You would’ve thought Capello easily fit into the first category. But the England camp is a strange place. A place where during a World Cup tournament, the players grow bored of having only darts, pool and snooker as recreational outlets. Here it was. The toddler tantrum. They felt isolated and alone, like prisoners in comparison to other squads.

It never occurred to these players that they couldn’t be trusted to maintain a level of maturity, dignity and intelligence when left to their own devices. When they were, Capello had to clean up the subsequent mess.

John Terry openly discussing with the dumb-founded English press what was wrong with the camp, how the team had been restricted to one beer (the cheek) since the tournament began and how squad unity had been lacking ‘at times’. He didn’t even get the irony.

So, success means very little in this job. Bobby Robson once said that the biggest problem faced by managers today is walking into a room filled with millionaires.

What have England players got to lose when knocked out of a tournament? Dignity? Pride? Both old-fashioned traits and both long gone. In his autobiography, Jamie Carragher tells the story of the 2006 World Cup quarter-final against Portugal. He misses his penalty in the shoot-out, Ronaldo scores his and England are out.

After the game, he gets a text from a friend. It reads: ‘Fuck it. It’s only England.’ Carragher feels better about himself and admits, ‘Defeats while wearing an England shirt never hurt me in the same way as losing with my club’. Tribalism.

The players will return to their pimped-out mansion, escape to their ‘games room’ and try to win the World Cup with England on FIFA 2012 instead. And then tweet about it. Dysfunction runs right through a family. Man hands on misery to man.

In the aftermath of Capello’s appointment back in late 2007, Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA’s Director of Football Development, spoke cautiously about the dangers of getting lost in the fanfare of the Italian’s arrival.

The real problem, according to Brooking, wasn’t the coach of the senior side but the lack of technical development in younger players. He outlined how when clubs need to make a call on an English 16-year old, they’ve got many stand-out attributes – mentality, physicality, determination.

But technically, they’re behind a foreign player of the same age. Just prior to the World Cup in 2010, the England Under 17s proudly hoisted aloft the European Championship trophy after defeating Spain in the final. It was their first age-group title since 1993. Most worryingly of all perhaps is that there have been fourteen Under-17 World Cups since the first one back in 1985. England have competed in two. To contrast, the United States, have appeared in all 14 editions.

So, it comes down to the players then? And how England love their players. Even the fragile ones. Connor Wickham, who scored the winning goal in the Under-17 Euro final, was sold from Ipswich to Sunderland for over $12.5 million. He had scored 15 goals in the Championship. He’s 18 years old. No-one batted an eye-lid.  He’s scored one league goal in the top-flight. No-one’s batted an eye-lid.

Other curious cases abound, like that of Ravel Morrison. His better-known namesake expelled from the Conservatoire de Paris as a young man, though the attacking midfielder’s off-field problems and subsequent transfer from Manchester United to West Ham is probably more famous.

How do we know so much about men who’ve done so little?

And so to Harry Redknapp. The players want him. The media desperately want him. And the country appears to want him. He’s English, don’t you know? The fact he’s a caricature? Makes it more fun, doesn’t it? No one wants to attend boring press conferences and hear some bloke attempting to speak the language.

Tactics? No-one’s interested!

Imagine the sound-bytes? ‘Harry, do you think the French midfield will try to press or setup a little deeper?’ Y’know, Rob, I ain’t sure, pal. They’ve got the tall lad from Marseillaise – what’s his tits – ‘Allo Diarrhoea. He’s a top lad.’ Progress. Just liked the FA hoped for all those years ago.

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45 responses to “Hoddle, Keegan, Eriksson, McClaren, Capello, Redkna………”

  1. BC Spur says:

    It never comes down to just one thing. They all added their own spice to this vomit-inducing dish. The FA, the players AND Capello all share in this cock-up. Capello chose the players. Green, James, Heskey(!),Barry, Upson, etc were all his horrible decisions. As were his predictably awful tactics. His decisions were poor, there’s no getting away from that. Winning percentages for International managers are misleading as well. Sample sizes are never the same,etc. Too many caveats. International managers are rarely judged on the matches they win, rather the ones they don’t. Algeria anyone? Harry hasn’t even come aboard and he’s already being lauded and castigated. Everybody just calm down!

  2. Jonathan says:

    Great article, stop on, stop on!

  3. Kenny says:

    —This is (desperately holding back the f-word) BRILLIANT!—

  4. J Rob says:

    Great article Eoin.
    Maybe it’s just me but this might be a season when everybody forgets the actual game but remembers Evra/Suarez, John Terry, Capello quiting, Balotelli stamping, Redknapp being acquitted, every red card endlessly debated, Mancini’s touch-line theatrics etc. And something tells me that ther is more drama to come.

  5. joakal says:

    Great Stuff Eoin. As an American, I’m a bit dumbfounded… it’s great entertainment, but what the what?

  6. Peter Labib says:

    Great article. But just one comment…..
    I definitly see Harry being the manger but i also dont see him controlling the likes of Terry and A. Cole in the dressing room. He is too soft for me. Besides he just speaks anything that comes to his mind…he might do well but England will never win a major trophy with him.

  7. Ed Gomes says:

    The greatness of the piece can not be overstated. Well done.

    BC Spur, how do you know that Capello picked the players?
    Also, coming in as a new manager, you have to see what you have and once you do that, you can go ahead and make changes. I believe that Capello had shown displeasure as to how things were going for a while now. Becks was forced upon him, what makes you think that the FA doesn’t have a say to who gets in. Those players also help or could hamper your tactics.
    The players haven’t really listened to anyone, and have always gotten a pass. Yes they get killed by the media, but club loyalty is strong. Some guys just never get it, and unfortunately for England, they seem to be the guys that carry weight.

  8. Kones says:

    A real homerun this, Eoin. Struggling to remember last time I read a piece this good. So many good points. Two that really resonated with me: how fans/pundits/players/Tom/Dick/Harry (no, not THE Harry) can’t seem to see more than a few feet behind or ahead of themselves, when it SUITS THEM. So quick to forget the past and ignore future implications. Then there is the bit about why players who haven’t proven much of anything garner so much attention, praise and, in the worst cases, wages! If I had a dollar for every United supporter I personally witnessed calling for Morrison to be thrust into regular first team action for the Red Devils this year …..many ofgood those same people would’ve preferred to see his ridiculous wage demands met rather than shipped to London and would argue as much.
    Lastly, I love how 100% of the high profile English footballers I follow on Twitter, two of which have worn the armband, took to giving their personal endorsements for Redknapp via Tweet. Did social media do away with the need for professionalism?

  9. Alberta Gooner says:

    Fanastic piece, Eoin. This is one of the smartest and most insightful commentaries I’ve read on this tragi-comic mess about Capello’s departure.

    One quick question for you about the fees paid for young English players. While I’ve also viewed the inflated fees paid for domestic targets as a sort of jingoism tax, don’t the new homegrown rules instituted by the Premier League and UEFA force clubs to look closer to home? Perhaps the new rules have allowed clubs to indulge in their tribalistic instincts.

    In some cases, clubs have badly overpaid for young English talent, as you’ve pointed out with Wickham. But ask Arsenal “supporters” how they now feel about the 12m pounds shelled out by Wenger for the Ox — some of them have undergone a conversion experience similar to St. Paul on the road to Damascus since the start of the season, when there was a lot of bitching about Wenger shelling out for an unproven teenager from the lower divisions.

  10. Soccerlogical says:

    Quelle surprise, AG and a desperate positive Wenger comment which puts down any doubting supporters….. as we fight for 4th!

    It’s a good thing Wenger splurged on a promising creative player like Oxe (as opposed to integrating the likes of Benayoun and Yung) in the summer transfer window and not paying a few extra pounds for the likes of a versatile FB/CB or Cahill/ Samba to address the defense eh? At least we will make a 5M profit when Oxe departs and RvP moves on.

    re: England Manager
    How bout Domenech!? 🙂

  11. That would be the Cahill and Samba who have anchored the two worst defences in the Premier League this season.

  12. Alberta Gooner says:


    Learn the words to Blue Moon, yet? You’ll fit right in at the Middleastlands with the rest of the gloryhunters who understand the needs of the squad better than the manager because they’ve won the league on Football Manager or some other computer sim game. You are exactly the discerning type of customer they crave, SL. Run along, Chicken Little, or learn what it means to “support” your club.

  13. Soccerlogical says:

    So now Cahill and Samba are poor defenders who are worse than Mertesecker and Djourou? I guess Al Habsi and Figuero are crappy GK and LB because Wigan are bottom and Etherington is a poor winger because Stoke are second lowest in goals scored then…

  14. Soccerlogical says:

    AG – How you can post this nonsense after your proven ignorance about Arsenal’s “success” for this season is beyond me! 🙂

  15. Alberta Gooner says:

    Yeah, you’ve really exposed something, all right, SL, but it isn’t my ignorance. With all the sucking and blowing you’ve done around here and on my blog, tracing a coherent narrative from you is a difficult chore.

    But it must really suck to root against the club you claim to support because of the constant moaning and bitching about Wenger’s errors — real and imagined — here and elsewhere.

    When I have second guessed Wenger and was proven wrong, I’ve admitted it, as was the case last year when I was tubthumping to bring in an experienced keeper. You’ve not stopped chirping the tale of woe about Wenger’s summer signings. How does the 12m invested in the Ox compared to the 20m for Downing, 20m for Henderson or 18m for Ashley Young look now? If you watch Arsenal, you’d know Mertesacker has been pretty good and Djourou has been played out of position for most of the season. I don’t need to repeat Bobby’s comments about Cahill and Samba. I notice you’ve left Arteta out of your list of Wenger’s failures, which suggests there’s either some hope for you — because he’s been brilliant — or you’ve simply forgotten about him.

    Anyway, admitting mistakes just another difference between you and me, sport. One of us is a supporter. One of us has his coaching badges. And one of us has seen far worse times for the Arsenal.

  16. Tom H says:

    I’m not sure if Redknapp would now want to tarnish his image of success when Spurs are doing so well in the league… taking over after the Euros would have been a much better situation for him. And with England there is no wheeling or dealing needed. Of course he could just tell the boys to “run around”. Great article Eoin.

  17. Sam says:

    Fantastic article. As an ardent Spurs fan I must say that it is absolutely imperative that Harry Redknapp remain as Tottenham manager. Everyone knows that the success that Spurs have had is because of Harry Redknapp. The future of Tottenham Hotspur depends on Harry Redknapp. he’s built a great club and I fear that some players. who would otherwise remain with Spurs, would leave. I do not need to mention any names. One thing that I have noticed is that all of the Premier League managers that have given interviews all say that Harry should be the next England manager. Of course, they want him out of their hair! As manager of Spurs Harry has a golden opportunity to be champions of the Premier League, FA Cup, and win the Champions League. After all, he would be managing an English team that could boast being the best club team in Europe. I don’t want to make anyone angry with me but the reality is that the best hope for whoever takes the job of England manager for Euro 2012 is getting to lose to Spain.
    Peace, Sam

  18. Soccerlogical says:

    AG – Yer another brilliant rebuttal… clearly any Arsenal fan who suggested the purchase of an Alex, Cahill, Figueroa or Samba is equivalent to a supporter of Man City who have spent 100s of millions. FOX NEWS SPIN has an opening! 🙂

    Enjoy the Sunderlamd match.

  19. […] xenophobic “English for England” approach to headhunting Capello’s successor. Eoin O’Callaghan sees the FA indulging its tribal instincts again after the roaring success that was Schteve […]

  20. Alberta Gooner says:


    Right, we’ve now established you are in “I know better than Wenger” camp and it’s a pretty popular place right now for Arsenal “supporters” of a certain vintage. Those of us who remember Arsenal prior to Wenger’s arrival understand he isn’t perfect but understand we’re much better off now than before. We’re not going to let gloryhunting Chicken Littles like you run off our manager just as the braying Eeyores of Fleet Street and toothsucking idiots at the FA finally forced out Capello. It’s why Arsenal has been a lot more successful than the Three Lions and will continue to be so in the future.

  21. rdm says:

    Oh shit, is the season over?

  22. Al Harris says:

    To SL and AG:
    Neutral corner, lads. I thought the topic was ‘arry and the England job. I do find it amusing that everyone agrees they need an Englishman after the wonderful success of McClaren. I have yet to figure out how the most well known lover of the transfer window in the EPL is going to handle being told he can’t shell out for that little Argie lad wearing the number 10 at Barca to upgrade the striking force. Now that’s entertainment! For what it’s worth, I’d go after Rafa. He knows the culture (?), such as it is, and I think he’s a better manager than Harry. But, since he’s from Spain (what have they ever done in football), he probably need not apply.

  23. Soccerlogical says:

    AL – Sadly, it comes down to the most important factor which is….. what do the players want. And the sentiment seems to be that the England stars would be “happiest” under Arry…. at least at this juncture.

    AG – There is a difference between being a supporter and a subject. I’d like to introduce a certain word…. objectivity (perhaps you’ve heard of it).

  24. Alberta Gooner says:


    While I look up objectivity, why you look up perspective, or better yet, grab a little.

  25. Nick W says:

    I think it’s pretty obvious that England are now the 2012 Euro favorites…

  26. Gus Keri says:


    First of all, I have to say that you have a very beautiful style of writing. It’s like a breath of fresh air. You should do it more often.

    Now to the hard part.

    I agree with you on few points you mentioned like the lack of technical abilities of the young English players (and you shouldn’t compare them to the US U-17 team who are a huge fish in a small pond) and the interference of the FA in the selection of the squad.

    But I don’t agree on the issue of the tribalism.

    the example you brought was wrong. Jamie Carragher reaction to a text message could be seen as a defense mechanism to cope with the pain of the elimination. But what matters is how he did during the games.

    There was no doubt that Carragher worked hard in that world cup. Another Liverpool player, Gerrard, also known to give his best to the national team. And likewise, there are many players who performed admirably with their country.

    On the other hands, there are minority who don’t. Rooney and Lampard are just few of them.

    I am not going to fall in the same trap that you fell in and blame tribalism for their failure. There are many other reasons, like fear of injury.

    But I will blame the manager who should be able to figure out who is performing and who is not and he should not succumb to the FA’s pressure to use them, no matter what the consequences are.

  27. Ed Gomes says:

    I still feel that Harry could care less about any team he’s with, if he can nab more money elsewhere. I say that he will take the job and actually rake the FA over the coals for the amount he’ll get paid, just due to the fact of the FA itself saying how important the manager being English is.
    Everyone wants Harry, but frankly the players could care less who’s in charge. the FA has proven to bow down to them and hold power over decisions, so the players really don’t care. The Brits are also in the older side with players that have definitely slipped a bit, so expectations will be unreasonable. Sadly, I’m not so sure if any of the youngsters have proven to be good enough either. Walcott and Young are one trick ponies, Cahill has proven not to make a difference on his own either (see Boltons defensive stats). Will Welbeck be given a shot?
    I admit in not knowing the ins and outs of the Three Lions, so I won’t pretend to know much. But I do know that the players that have been there have gotten worse not better.

    Someone mentioned Rafa? Really? Until he proves that he could once again provide good managerial skills, I would steer away from putting him in such a significant position. No matter what anyone says he wasted and stole money from Liverpool, and then went and did the same at Inter.

    As for Wenger, I’ve been very critical of him. You can’t deny that he has done a wonderful job at Arsenal, but he has failed in making the right deal at the right time in order to get them over the hump.
    I know that Bobby doesn’t care for lists, but I found the Deloitte Football Money League very interesting. It only takes into account, gate receipts and money earned at stadiums, tv deals both Int’l and domestic and sponsorship/merchandise revenues. It does not take transfer money losses or gains into the equation. I know that operating costs differ from club to club, but what they are able to bring in due to their standing/prestige is significant.
    That being said Arsenal might be sitting 5th, but they did bring in less revenue than last season.

  28. In terms of the Deloitte List the devil is in the details. I don’t believe Arsenal brought in less revenue in sterling – any decrease was on account of exchange rates.

  29. RabidDeathMoose says:

    Re: Rafa Benitez “No matter what anyone says he wasted and stole money from Liverpool, and then went and did the same at Inter.”

    Strong words!

  30. Sam says:

    Nick W,
    What have you been smoking?

  31. John Bladen says:

    Well done, Eoin. I enjoyed the article very much.

    Brooking is closest to the mark here… no apologies for LFC or other club’s players (losers make excuses and we’ve had quite enough of that in the nat team of late), the ability just isn’t there and that’s why England keeps losing.

    Of the entire WC squad in 2010 only Gerrard and Cole could possibly be satisfied with their own performance. The rest were embarrassments – even by their own modest international standards. The captain complaining about poor morale and unity… you can’t sum up the problems with English football any better can you?

    The question is, if someone of Trevor Brooking’s accomplishments and position in English football realizes this is a problem, why isn’t a greater portion of the FA’s impressive annual financial receipts going into grassroots programs geared to technical skill development?

    If not now, when? If not Brooking, who?

    I’d like to think Robson was right about the “motivating millionaires” comment. It would be so convenient to think it that simple. But other nations don’t seem to have that problem and they have at least as many millionaires on their squads as England does.

    “Fuck it, it’s just England”, indeed.

  32. J Rob says:

    I really don’t think that the players are the problem for England. I think the biggest problem is the mental and physical state they are in when they play a tournament in June after playing 40-60 games most of which are in the most physical league in Europe.

    Look at the World Cup. Qualified with ease playing extremely well and came to the Finals with a tired squad and key players looking exhausted.

  33. J Rob – so the foreign players that make up most of the stars of the PL don’t get tired – just English players? A very strange phenomena that one.
    And one that seems that been around long before the PL when no one would even think of describing the English first division as the best in the world.
    Sorry that old chestnut has been done to death and does not fly.

  34. J Rob says:

    Bobby..while I would have agreed with you in the past I’d make a strong argument that was the case for the last World Cup. Or maybe they peaked at the wrong time.

    The three best European teams in the 2010 World Cup: Spain, Holland and Germany had six EPL players between them: Fabregas (used as a sub), Torres, De Jong, Kuyt, Van Persie and Babel (not sure if he played at all). Not counting Reina who didn’t play at all.

    Don’t know if you read the Secret Footballer in the Guardian today. Nice piece of myth-busting on the harmonious team.

  35. John Bladen says:

    J Rob:

    England’s record in WC 2010 qualifying:

    Andorra W 2-0, 6-0
    Belarus W 3-1, 3-0
    Croatia W 4-1, 5-1
    Kazakhstan W 5-1, 4-0
    Ukraine W 2-1, L 1-0

    Now, which of their impressive wins over weak opponents suggested they were quids in for the World Cup itself? They were evens against Ukraine, a nation that did not even qualify.

    I wonder if the FA would lobby FIFA for a lower seeding, thus allowing them to play better opponents in the run up to the tournament.

  36. J Rob says:


    Fair point but if my memory serves me correctly they played well in the qualifying games especially against Croatia. And you can only beat the opponents that are in front of you. On paper and that’s a big caveat they came into the World Cup looking as good as Holland and Germany re: how they qualified.

    That’s not to say that they should have made it to the latter stages automatically.

    And I know I am probably reiterating what others have said but doesn’t Cappelo’s record compare favourably with anyone including even Alf Ramsey?

  37. Joseph Nanez says:

    Not to be overdramatic, but according to Bobby Robson the next time England win a big tournament will be when the players are making way less. As long as the Premier league is what it is, the biggest spectacle on earth & there is big money pumped into cable networks where they read tabloid rags on air talking more about scandal & less about tactics, it will be same ol’ same ol’. Now I understand Eion how much it erks you the whole Tevez debacle & how its treated in the English media. Its laughable how just now on t.v. the english media , with dramatic music playing in background, fear that Gareth Bale would leave the EPL to fullfil Barca’s “wish list”. He seems like a very nice young man an athelete that would be capable of taking the challenge on to fight for a spot at Barca’. To think the same media outlet could just make it seem to viewers that Gareth Bale can just go there, take his someones place, & play the same full on hyper speed football without any thinking of or grasping of tactics is just fn farsical. Great read. Good that you don’t hold back. You & Bobby are genuine blokes & am picking up what y’all are throwing down. It has inspired be to continue writing more about my team the Houston Dynamo in a level headed yet entertaining way.

  38. Ed Gomes says:

    Bobby, I do believe that there haven’t been as many people in the seats at the Emirates, and I’m pretty sure Artetas jersey hasn’t flyed off the shelves the same way Cesc did. I would not be surprised with the drop in revenue at Arsenal.
    Actually, even though the top 3 (Real, Barca, Man United) increased revenue, the next six clubs saw losses. Granted, current economic problems have something to do with that.

  39. terry says:

    Great article. thoughtful and well reasoned….no one in the England set up would understand it.

  40. John Bladen says:

    J Rob:

    Several pundits have pointed out that Capello’s record is “better” than Ramsay’s, true.

    What they don’t explain is how they propose to compare records made 40+ years apart and against dramatically differing opposition in dramatically different qualifying systems etc.

    I don’t actually remember Ramsay’s tenure, of course, but it seems to me that far fewer competitive games were played against footballing minnows in his day than are the case now (anyone else care to weigh in on that?). 9-1 in the WC2010 qualifying group sounds very impressive… until you read the countries Fabio’s boys beat…

    If it were about football rather than money, FIFA would have at least a couple of those nations eliminated in pre-qualifying rounds and reduce the number of nations/groups that make it to actual qualifying. Instead, seeded nations in Europe play ten games against no hope opposition (in some/many cases).

  41. Derek Taylor says:

    Brilliant piece of writing.

  42. Torque says:

    No doubt should the next 3 Lions manager be English and come up short, England may well revert again to who they deem at that time to be the “best man” for the job. But in general, is it really so wrong for a country to want a national team manager of that nation, rather than a foreign mercenary, especially since this IS a nation-based competition after all? There are both principled and practical reasons for such a stance. Capello is a fantastic manager but I’m remembering the post match press conferences during the World Cup. He’d been with England for two years, yet at that moment he had a genuine look of utter cluelessness. He had no idea what was going on with his team or how to deal with it. I can’t help but think that the average Englishman would have understood and the “right” Englishman would’ve known how to respond.

    Regardless of the results, some would rather fail with one of their own nation rather than an outsider. Frankly I’m still disappointed the US decided on Klinsmann. So much of national team’s success is about motivation and the right inspiration. I don’t see a foreign manager being as capable of tapping that as one of their own… someone that actually lives and breathes for the same cause that he needs to motivate his team to play for.

  43. Ed Gomes says:

    Klinsmann is more American than German. He’s lived in the US for more than just a few years. One of the big issues of him managing the Germans was his residence here. The US is also in its infant stages of World Class football, meaning talent trumps everything.

  44. Soccer Banter says:

    J Rob, five players in the US team in South Africa had played more minutes throughout the 2009-10 season than the top English players.

    How come the likes of Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey and Jay DeMerit were not tired after their long English seasons?

  45. Soccer Banter says:


    Why is it imperative that Spurs keep Harry Redknapp as manager? What if they replace him with someone like Jose Mourinho? That would be a step up in my book.

    And what success has he brought Spurs? A CL place and a losing Carling Cup Final. Is that now considered success? What about the FA Cup loss to Fulham last year, the hammering at Real Madrid, and the current the Europa Cup campaign? Yes, Spurs are playing entertaining football and are a joy to watch, but if that is all down to Harry then we should also discuss the other side of the argument? His great defining moment last year was a loss at Inter when Bale put a great shine on the game. Yes, Spurs beat Milan in the last 16, but were outplayed and outclassed in both legs. Don’t let the score convince you otherwise.

    The future of Tottenham Hotspur does not depend on Harry Redknapp. It depends on Daniel Levy. It is Levy with Joe Lewis’ money that has built the modern Spurs and no amount of pro-Harry reporters can change that.

    Of course the other managers want Harry out at Spurs. It serves both their short term and long term plans for their respective clubs. Leaving now for England would destabilize Spurs and help Arsenal and Chelsea. It would also spark bids for Modric, Bale, van der Vaart, etc.

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