Finally, England have a new manager. Roy Hodgson. I have to admit, this appointment took me by surprise. I haven’t really been following the gossip columns as much this season. It is a shame, but sometimes three kids just don’t make for good football viewage. Next season tho, Sunday morning, the tv, the sofa and Match of the Day are permanent fixture that will not be postponed.
After Fabio Capello quit the position of England manager – how great was it to see a man stand up for his own principles and beliefs. To walk away from a job because he didn’t agree with the politics of the game – I was screaming that there should be an English man take the helm. I am a passionate believer that the national team manager should be of the nation. The players have to be, and so should the man who leads them.
Of course, in my mine, there was only one person I could have imagined taking the job. Harry Redknapp, and I am not just saying that as a West Ham fan and ardent Redknapp supporter.
Harry seemed like the obvious choice, and not just to me, but to pretty much everybody. Even though he was to deny it, the rumours only seemed even more cemented. To be fair, the man does have a great track record, the job he has done for Tottenham (as much as it pains me to say) has been nothing short of phenomenal. Of course, secretly I am glad he didn’t take it because I am dying for Harry to quit spurs and just come back home to the Hammers. Big Sam is doing a good job, but he just isn’t ‘arry!!
Anyway, long story short, Harry isn’t the man the FA wanted. When I heard this I thought, great, it will be another foreigner. Why? There aren’t many other English managers to choose from. I mean maybe O’Neil, but he is kind of ballsing things up in Sunderland, and Paul Lambert at Norwich has worked wonders with a small squad and a limited budget. But then again… they are Scottish, so that kind of excludes them from managing England.
The along came Roy. The man has had a career that many managers can only dream about. Yet, he has shied away from the really big teams. Ok, he managed Inter, but he didn’t really win anything with them. Sweden was home to a lot of success for him, the Finnish national team were strong with him in charge and he actually led Switzerland to the number three spot in the world for a short time back in the mid 1990’s. Arguably, one of his best achievements was with Fulham. The team he created was incredible, they were hardworking and determined. They made it to the final of a major European tournament and were unlucky to lose.
Liverpool came along and almost ruined the man in a manner not dissimilar to Chelsea on… well… any world-class striker. Thankfully, another small resurgence in the performances of a West Brom side this season and moved Roy back into the upper echelons of managers.
Wait a second… has anybody noticed a pattern here? Roy Hodgson seems to do best with small, let’s be honest, mediocre at best sides. He molds them and gives them a belief. He instills them with a hunger that you just can’t give these prima donna, big money players.
Now that I think about it, maybe this is what makes Roy such a great choice for the job. England are a mediocre at best team. Our world-class players… yes those great sportsmen who just never seem to pull their thumbs out of their arses when the important matches come. Those high earning bastards who expect us to cheer there every fart in exchange for an attitude and moderate effort investment (with a few exceptions … Frank Lampard and Stephen Gerrard… unless you are playing together of course, because then… damned if I know.)
We all know the Euro 2012 is going to be nothing more than a last hoorah for the old guard. To be fair, they have earned it. They were the best (for their clubs) and while they never managed to pull it together for the Three lions of England, they stood there and tried. I say, let them have it. Send Lampard, Gerrard, Terry and like out in style. It is their last tournament and with it out-of-the-way, the real work can begin. With a 4 year contract, Roy is going to be with us until the end of the World Cup in Brazil. He will be 68 heading toward 69 then, and so probably won’t have a second term. I say, to you, the fans, the press, the strangers who turned up to read something about writing or horror, just give Roy room to work. Let him create a new look squad. New faces, new staff, and – please God – a new attitude. Let him stoke the fire in the English belly for a while and maybe just maybe, in 4 years time, we will have a team of 11 men that not only want to wear the shirt, but have the passion and the drive to deserve to.