by Tom Exelby
WE NEED A MANAGER. Every week I sit down to write this column and assess the performances of England’s top 30, or so players. I half suggest who should be in the squad and I change my mind constantly, I sway with popular opinion as I jump on board every bandwagon going and attempt to shed some light on England’s potential Euro squad. Do the FA realise how hard they are making this column by simply refusing to appoint a manager? How am I supposed to second guess the squad when I don’t know who I am second guessing? And more importantly the FA aren’t just hindering my column and thus angering my loyal readership (hi mum), but they are also undoubtedly damaging our chances at the Euros.
When Fabio Capello resigned the whole country collectively shrugged its shoulders and mouthed Harry Redknapp. He was the obvious and unanimous choice, an Englishman with a cup and Champions league experience in the past few years, he was presiding over an imperious Tottenham team who had a chance at winning the title. The press where impressed with his sides flowing football and having fought a tough legal case without letting it affect his sides results they seemed to agree he could handle the pressure at the top. The press were joined in their admiration by the players themselves and the fans. Harry was all but appointed, manager in waiting, all he had to do was declare his “100% focus on Tottenham Hotspur”
The FA avoided appointing Redknapp straight away for fear of derailing Spurs’ outstanding season, and it was widely believed that once Tottenham confirmed their Champions League qualification then the FA would begin negotiations for their manager. However Tottenham’s season has been derailed without the FA grabbing their manager. Champions League qualification is now not a “when” but an “if”, so is Harry still the outstanding candidate?
The FA seem insistent that Capello’s successor will be English, and it is this fact alone that makes Redknapp the (slightly less outstanding) candidate. His fellow English top flight managers are a rare breed; Alan Pardew, who despite having had an extraordinary season and finding his reputation at a probable career high, has declared himself “too young” for the post whereas youth is not a problem for 64 year old Roy Hodgson.
And I for one would be all for a Hodgson appointment – he has been in charge of massive clubs including Inter Milan and Liverpool (where in retrospect he was less disappointing than at first thought) and he has already experienced international football with Switzerland and Finland. However his main problem is that he is not Redknapp, the man so unanimously backed 2 or 3 months ago and his authority would suffer following all the gushing tributes to his rival for the position by players, the media and fans.
Redknapp must be appointed but the FA have been victims of their own fair play. They must wait until Spurs have nothing to play for meaning every week England’s chances at the Euros take a hit. And not only that but this column descends into ruin, as I aimlessly attempt to guess at a squad that Harry himself hasn’t even thought of yet (I bet he has) due to his ‘100% focus on Tottenham’.