They’ve called it “The Impossible Job”, and judging by the performances of England teams in recent international tournaments, England’s recent managers have done a pretty good job of proving that particular title to be true.
But, with Fabio Capello set to step down after Euro 2012 next summer, who should come in to replace him?
The name most regularly touted is that of Harry Redknapp. The Spurs boss hasn’t hidden his interest in the England job and his relationship with the press will certainly go some way to improving the goodwill between the papers and the team.
But is “Happy Harry” really the right man for the job?
But where do YOU stand on the argument?
In this week’s instalment of Pitney v Coxon, the series where our two pubcast sparring partners take opposing sides for footballing arguments that we’ve heard (or had) with mates, cab drivers and workmates in the pub.
Should Harry Redknapp be the next England manager?
Simon Pitney says YES
Let me start by clarifying that I don’t think Harry Redknapp is the best manager for England – for sure the claims of Messrs Mourinho, Ferguson and an embattled Wenger would certainly ring far louder and truer than old cheeky chappy ‘Arry. However I do think that Redknapp should be the next England manager – providing the FA lurch once more towards the jingoistic cry for an “Englishman”.
With such a well defined criteria who are the realistic alternatives? Stuart Pearce has already ruled himself out as not experienced enough, Roy Hodgson still has the look of a man haunted by Anfield, Tony Pulis has done a fantastic job at Stoke, but much like Neil Warnock at QPR is tarnished with “up and at ‘em” approach that last had success in the global game in the late nineteenth century. Plus the latter two can hardly claim that they have been tested at the higher reaches of the game, although the Europaen adventures of Stoke this year are a step in the right direction.
With all of the above ruled out it only leaves ‘Arry – and lest we forget, this is a man who has taken Spurs into the Champions league and didn’t look fazed. His teams have always played attractive football which given the attritional nature of the game coached by Capello would be a welcome turn of events. With the ever advancing end of the oft called (but should be oft mocked) “golden generation” the next England manager will have to freshen the squad up and find new heroes. Perhaps it ought to be the man who saw the crop of Lampard, Ferdinand, Cole and Defoe (amongst others) through to the professional ranks and has never been afraid of throwing the youngsters in.
Critics will argue that a) ‘Arry is a wheeler dealer, and for all his notable successes there have always been some real stinkers and that b) until he inherited a very talented but underperforming Spurs team he had never really been more than a middle tier manager. As England manager – he doesn’t need to sign anyone – just do the best with whatever our forefathers seed has bestowed us. As for the latter – it may be true but then look back at all the other contenders and there isn’t a compelling case amongst them. Last English manager to win a major trophy, plays good football, gives youth a chance and has handled some big egos – which other Englishman can say that?
He may not be the best manager England could have, but he’s the best English manager England can have. Unless Peter Reid gets the job. That’s a joke.
Mike Coxon says NO
If ‘arry Redknapp becomes England manager I will officially stop supporting England.
I got my first England kit for my 5th birthday at the start of Euro 92. I remember Lineker being substituted, the disappointment of USA 94 (but what a goal by Ray ‘oughton) and the shame of Lansdowne Road. I remember the booing of Neville, Butt, Scholes and Beckham in 1997 for the crime of being United players and the booing of Beckham in 1998 for the shame of reacting to extreme provocation. I remember Eileen Drewery, slurs on disabled people and Keegan resigning in the showers. I remember the turgid Sven years (indeed, the best years of my England supporting life), the defeat at Windsor Park and the Wally with the Brolly. Most recently I remember South Africa. I’ve not always loved England or our players (the depressing Golden Generation springs to mind) but I’ve always kept the faith.
But ‘arry Redknapp would be a wrong turn. And I know, I know, I’ve been vocal in my disdain for ‘Arry in the past. And I do admit, ‘e ‘as done a good job at Spurs. But could ‘e really ‘ave done worse? ‘e’s ‘appy to remind us that when ‘e took over Spurs had 2 points from 8 games. They also ‘ad an expensively assembled squad that in the past three seasons ‘ad fininshed 5th twice and won the Carling Cup.
‘arry apparently is a marvellous “wheeler-dealer”. But for every Di Canio and Kanoute there’s a Soma or Boogers. And ‘e wastes talent. Look at the likes of Taarabt, who ‘ad to leave before fulfilling their potential, or Chris Gunter who was massively ‘ighly rated but ultimately wasted. ‘ell, look at the whole West Ham team from the mid-90s onwards. Ferdinand, Lampard, Carrick, Cole, ‘islop, Di Canio, Kanoute, Ian Wright, ‘artson, Kitson, Dicks, Stuart Pearce…this was a squad that could ‘ave challenged every year for a top 4 place but never managed it.
Fans of ‘is former clubs ‘ate ‘im. Supporters of West ‘am, Southampton and Portsmouth (twice) have been screwed by him. If ‘e doesn’t ‘ave potential to be a new Don Revie then I don’t know who does.
Alternatives? I’d punt for Martin O’Neill or Roy ‘odgson. And if one particularly interesting rumour is to be believed, I’ve always thought that Arsene knows…
Oh, and in case you ‘aven’t noticed…’e doesn’t pronounce ‘is bloody “h’s”!
Whose side are you on? Vote now!
Which Pubcaster do you agree with? Should Harry be England’s next manager after Fabio Capello? Register your vote using the poll below and we’ll announce the results on the next column. Also, feel free to add your thoughts and comments on the issue by using the comments box at the foot of this article.
LAST TIME ON PVC: Should the Champions League be reserved for championss only?
35% said YES
65% said NO
Score: Pitney 2-0 Coxon