Fabio Capello has officially resigned as the ringleader of the circus that is the English national football squad, amid controversy between the FA (England’s governing football body) over their stripping John Terry of his captaincy, while keeping Capello in the dark. Capello took it upon himself to leave and now we have one of the most coveted positions in football up for grabs.
Granted, he has had more success in his tenure than many before him as he took England to the 2010 World Cup, the upcoming 2012 Euro’s, and leaves with the highest winning percentage of any English National Team manager in history (66.7%). His World Cup was less than stellar as England looked overmatched and fizzled out early. In spite of that defeat and all the criticism he took, he continued on and lead England to the Euro 2012 tournament, beating the reigning World Champions along the way. Ultimately, he was paid a King’s Ransom and came with a wealth of promise, but failed to guide this team to the Apex of World soccer.
I know this may sound crazy, but I personally believe in the FA’s completely asinine concept that the English national team should be managed by an Englishman. Foreign managers have come in with a lot of fanfare and left England’s faithful with a sour taste in their mouths. These foreign mercenaries have no loyalty to the country of their employ and have always left under less-than-ideal circumstances. A true Englishman is needed more than ever to revive this morose group that is left in complete disarray, just months before the Euro 2012 tournament.
The Decision Makers
David Bernstein– The Football Association (FA) chairman
Alex Horne– FA General Secretary
Sir Trevor Brooking – Director of Football Development
Adrian Bevington – Club England Managing Director
These four men will look themselves in a room like a Papal Conclave (you can argue the relevance of that comparison on your own time) and narrow down a list of potential suitors. There will be no expensive head-hunting this time, nor will there be long drawn-out interview process.
As stated by Adrian Bevington, there are specific qualities they are looking for in their new leader.
• Foundation for Long-Term Success – Friendlies, World Cup 2014 in Brazil, Euro 2016, and even World Cup 2018 in Russia.
• Player’s Respect
• Good Track Record
• Fan Support
• Developing the Youth System
• Good Standing with Club Managers
The Powers-that-be also spoke of creating a model similar to Spain and Germany, where consistency is not dictated by managerial changes.
Here is my list of the legitimate suitors, with stars indicating their chances. One of these individuals will undoubtedly be named by the FA’s estimated date between March and May.
Steve Bruce – *** – Widely-known as the greatest footballer to never play for England. Steve Bruce is currently unemployed after receiving a pink slip from Sunderland mid-season. He is a talented manager, but the fact that Martin O’Neill has completely changed the atmosphere of Sunderland, definitely hurts Bruce’s chances. At this point, O’Neill would be more sought after than Bruce. However, he has shown his ability to rebuild and fight against relegation, which is England’s scenario at this moment.
Gareth Southgate – ** – A colleague of Trevor Brooking, Southgate is the current Head of Elite Development of FA. Southgate had a great run with the National team as a player from 1995-2004. He has only three years of managerial experience and they were fairly uninspiring, as he managed Middlesbrough out of the Premier League and into the Championship league, where they have remained ever since. He has taken a step back, and probably knows more about the England squad than all of the other candidates.
David Beckham -** – I know what you’re thinking; he just signed a new contract and wants to be a member of the 2012 Olympic squad, as a PLAYER. He has shown no interest in the coaching aspect of the game, but that will come. Do I think Beckham will eventually move to the sidelines? Yes. Do I think it will happen in the near future? No. Do I think it would be a crazy choice, which could have big returns? Absolutely. However, it won’t happen, especially at this time of uncertainty.
Roy Hodgson – *** – Hodgson has had a rocky few years. He was fired from Liverpool, only to take the West Brom months later and save them from relegation. He now finds his West Brom squad slipping closer to the bottom three with every passing week. He was widely considered the favorite to take over after the World Cup debacle, but it seems that ship has sailed.
Stuart Pearce– **** – Pearce takes over as the interim manager with his first try-out coming on February 29th, in a friendly versus Holland. He is current manager for England’s Under-21 squad and manager of England’s 2012 Olympic squad. He has had great success with the youth and has shown that he is adept at managing at the club level with pre-affluent Manchester City. He was looked at as being the natural successor, but nobody thought it would happen this soon. He will be under the microscope of all of England on February 29th.
Harry Redknapp – ***** – After being cleared of tax evasion charges, Harry finds himself as the heavy favorite to take the job. Currently the manager of #3 Tottenham, Redknapp encompasses every quality on the FA’s wish list. He is well respected, excellent motivator, and a player’s coach. Most importantly is the transformation of Tottenham under Redknapp’s influence. Harry took over the Spurs when they were on the cusp of relegation and has turned them into Champions League and potential title contenders. In the days following the announcement, there has been heavy support from the fans and players for ‘Arry to take the helm. In my opinion, there is no better candidate for this position, but it would be hard to see him wanting to leave his crowning achievement.
In the end, there is a bright side to Capello’s departure. He resigned defending his captain and leaving on his own terms, which keeps his legacy intact. As an American, I have the ability to see this scenario from afar. I have no emotional attachment, but I would be hard-pressed to find anyone more capable than Redknapp.
Probably the most important tidbit, it gives the FA a wake-up call to invest in their own talent pool. Giving the reins to an Englishman, no matter his status, is just as important as making a splash and immediate success.