Don’t be a mug and stick with Spurs. Know what I mean...

Don’t be a mug and stick with Spurs. Know what I mean ‘Arry?


So it’s “arrivederci” to Mr Capello and with that once again The FA are in search of fresh man with fresh ideas to manage the England football team. The now infamous “impossible job” is waiting ominously to be filled by a brave managerial soul and the national media appear to be in no doubt as to whom that man should be, yes it’s the half human half bloodhound hybrid, Harry Redknapp.

Redknapp, who was on Wednesday cleared of tax evasion at Southwark Crown Court, must have been relishing the thought of a quiet night in away from the intense media scrutiny which had been constant over the previous two weeks. Alas, he was to have no such luck as the media spotlight quickly beamed back on him, albeit for more positive reasons, following the resignation of Fabio Capello.

Seemingly the whole nation was immediately buzzing with talk of what Capello’s departure meant for the national team just four months before Euro 2012. The question constantly nagging me however was why? Why all the hysteria?

International football has become a rather underwhelming and dreary pursuit in the face of ever growing interest in the now epically hyped English Premier League and heavily revered Uefa Champions League.

How depressing the feeling has become when late on a mid-week afternoon as your attention turns towards the weekends domestic action you realise it’s an international break, a feeling only exacerbated further when the break is merely for a friendly.

The international breaks are often uninspiring, dull, an unwelcome distraction. It is becoming ever more commonplace that following a dispiriting international break the nation’s mood is once again lifted by a rip-roaring weekend of domestic football.

Success at International level was once considered the pinnacle of football achievement with the feats of Pele, Maradonna, Beckenbaur serving to immortalise them and the World Cup itself in the annals of football history. The former of these three football greats responded to Lionel Messi‟s third successive Ballon d‟Or by claiming the argentine magician cannot be considered a true great until he has achieved success on the International level.

The Pinnacle

The retort to this is straightforward; Messi has three Champions League winners medals, a competition which has undoubtedly superseded the World Cup as the pinnacle of excellence and achievement in the modern game. This is a fact which can be highlighted simply by identifying the two dominant forces in each spheres of the game. In the domestic game the superior outfit is clearly Barcelona, in international football it is Barcelona Lite, most commonly known as Spain……without Lionel Messi.

This is a major reason why Redknapp should stay put. He is already dining at football’s top table with an almost tangible chance of sitting at the head of it, at least domestically, providing he can find a way past the two Manchester’s and without the added pressure of a nations unrealistic expectations.

This is more than can be said for his chances with England, a team that despite a light sprinkling of exceptional players, still lacks the ball retaining ability, technical prowess and mental strength to compete with the offerings of Spain, Germany and Holland.  At international level Harry’s literally stuck with what he’s got and can no longer rely on his eye for talent and famous wheeler dealing that has helped him further Tottenham’s cause during his tenure.

The question Redknapp must ask himself is “can I actually be successful as England manager?” Obviously that depends on what is considered success but if the past is anything to go by that consideration will be seriously out of kilter with what is actually achievable and we all know how the story goes from there.

Contrastingly, at Tottenham he is potentially on the verge of something really special this season or the next with a couple of astute additions to a squad. A squad which, as Daniel Levy has already proved last summer with his resistance to the sale of Luka Modric, will not be dismantled, especially with Champions League football in the bag.

Impossible Job

Compounding all this is the very reason why we call the national the role the “impossible job,” the tabloid media. The England team has become less a body that regularly occupies football fans minds and more some form of toy for the national newspapers, with the football manager playing the most vulnerable of pawns in their often frenzied game.

Admittedly, Harry has them firmly on his side with pretty much unanimous support across the nations print rooms, but of course how quick this can change; Kevin Keegan anyone?

Following the failures of Steve McLaren the order of the day became experience, tactical knowledge, authoritarianism in order to get the best out of our over indulged “Golden Generation‟ and up until June 2010 Capello delivered this emphatically and was considered a shrewd appointment even at £6 million pounds a year.

Four disappointing games later and all that went out the window. His tactics were a problem, his grasp of English was a problem, his nationality, his wages, his choice of swimwear (who can forget the Speedos) you name it if it involved Capello it was a problem and remained a problem even after another successful qualifying campaign.

Accordingly, despite his managerial achievements still remaining relatively modest and indeed his own reservations regarding lack of daily contact with players, it is now the attributes that Redknapp possess which are in vogue.

But  its depressingly inevitable that the vulnerability of the role will eventually render these attributes unsuitable and ineffective and yet again we will be back where we are now, after all how can one succeed in the impossible job.

Commenting from a significant distant I think he‟d be mad to swap White Hart Lane for Wembley Way but nevertheless, it is highly likely that the lure of leading his nation will be, for Harry, a proud Englishmen, understandably too much to resist. I just hope he fully realises the position and potential he is walking away from and more importantly just exactly what he is walking into.

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  1. You make some good points, the job is not a good one, we know that from our observations of what has happened with previous England managers. Success for England in a tournament means bringing the trophy home, for some reason. Realistically we should view success the way a Dane would. Making it to the knockout stages and perhaps taking a big scalp, before bravely losing inevitably to a better side.
    Redknapp, though, wants it. I am certain of this. However, he must be kicking himself that the opportunity has come in the way it has. Mid-season, pre-tournament. Awful timing.
    The FA will ask him, and Harry will know that he has to say yes, or recognise that he might never be asked again. I feel sorry for him.
    One other observation, you name three of the worlds greatest players in your blog, and spell the names of two of them wrong?

    • Cheers for reading appreciate the feedback. Firstly, apologies for the spelling error – slack work on my behalf!

      Completely agree Harry definately wants the job and sadly even a promising future with an exciting Spurs team isn’t going to be enough to prevent him from self-harming.

      Hopefully he can get us a narrow semi-final defeat (at worst) to one of the big three and then no one can have any complaints.

      Although by then a couple of players will have broken curfew, one will have been recklessly sent off and a Krakow barmaid will have been sexually assaulted – something along those lines anway – the England National Team is just the story that keeps on giving…consistently for the wrong reasons

  2. Good Article!

    Nice to read a different perspective on events rather than the same old opinions peddled by most of the media on this topic.

    Mark, it would seem that you do not produce the same exacting standards in your own writing that you expect in that of others. If the last point you make is an observation then it does not need a question mark at the end of it. Or are you one of those people who goes up at the end of their sentences? so that everything they say sounds like a question? So that they sound like they are trapped in an Australian soap opera?

    Next you will be saying that ‘Arry has an H in it and the title is spelt wrong. In short, appreciate the article for the the points it makes coherently and confidently and take a step down off your pedant’s pedestal.

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