by James Willis

Ever since the departure of Fabio Capello from the England hot seat last month, the media and bookies have had a field day getting people to predict who would be the next manager to step into the doomed role. Although there seems to be a downside to all of them.

Harry Redknapp: Controversial past. Disliked by many.
Stuart Pearce: Poor 2011 Under 21 European Championships. Perhaps still too young.
Jose Mourinho: Would prefer a British club side as mentioned in interviews.
Roy Hodgson: Struggled with Liverpool on the big stage.
Hope Powell: She’s a woman.

Alright, I hear you. That’s a little bit sexist. Is being a woman really a downside to being a successful football manager?

Now you’re perhaps questioning the real reason she won’t be given the England job and most likely not even considered for it. It’s not solely because she’s a woman. It’s not solely because she’s black. It’s, instead, a combination of both with the fact that there has never been a female manager on the international stage.

What an embarrassing PR mess it would be for the FA if they had to clean up after the shambles of employing a female manager. They’d be the laughing stock of the world. England would no longer be respected or feared as a footballing giant. They’d be making a mockery of the game. Andy Gray would not stand for such drivel.

Of course, there is already a bit of a mess to clear up regardless of who’s employed next by the FA. England are already a joke in world football, at least to the more pessimistic British fans they are. As for being respected and feared? Well that’s got to be earned. Respected for pioneering a new idea and breaking through a glass ceiling would be one thing. Feared? Well, that depends on results.

If employing a female manager would be making a mockery of the game, then really the game deserves to be mocked for lagging behind the rest of society in gender equality. As for Andy Gray, who really cares what he has to say?

Hope Powell is the first woman to have achieved the UEFA Pro Licence and has already set herself apart as one of the most recognised figures in the women’s game. Although we can’t say for certain, it seems unlikely that she would be too scared by the constant attention of the media if given the England job.

Would the famous chauvinists in the England changing room stand for such a change? Once again, who cares? If they wouldn’t, if they don’t want to see England try and pioneer a new idea of their own, if they’re not already proud enough to represent their country regardless of who’s in charge, then throw them out of the squad entirely. These may be drastic measures but after years and years of trying nothing else has worked.

With nothing to lose, why are the FA still so limited by their own perception of how the world sees them? That’s the real question that should be being asked here. Not why a woman can’t be placed in charge.​

You can read more from James here