“ Sports: Football „
What I aim to give here is totally subjective look at the job itself.
Let's look at a very basic job description:
1. Select England squads for friendly and competitive fixtures.
2. Organise training regimens for players once released by their clubs.
3. Try to implement a set of tactics for their players to follow in matches.
4. Perform media duties that the FA are contractually obliged to meet.
Ok, so how would an England manager select an England squad. Well he has to go and watch these players play. This will entail going to watch matches live at stadiums and also watching tapes of other games that have happened simultaneously. He will also have to take account injuries which would be reported to him by club managers.
So far not so bad. Watching live football matches is a great experience and having to do that once or twice a week, every week must be exceptionally good fun - especially in the executive seats. Watching tapes of other matches - again great fun given there isn't much else to do during the season for an England manager. Injury reports - given to you. Nice and easy.
Organising training programmes - ok, getting harder, I couldn't do it. Then again an England manager would be a fully qualified coach with lots of top level experience (Steve McClaren excepted) doing a job that he loved. I should also point out that an England manager would only have to put on around 10 training sessions a year compared to a club manager who would put together hundreds. Watered down Premiership manager's role? Sounds like it.
Implementing tactics - with top class players who should be astute at following a game plan this shouldn't be the hardest thing. This is difficult though, getting a group of players who don't regularly play together to follow a game plan would be difficult. Worst job in England though? Can think of a lot worse.
The media - Ok, here we have the one terrible thing about the job. I don't mean the press conferences which are straightforward - I mean all the speculation, the rumours, the following and the degree to which your work is dissected for public scrutiny must be difficult to handle especially when you take into account public expectation.
But you know what? You get paid millions to do this job. This job isn't the worst, it's not even that bad. In fact it's an incredible job which 99% of men would give their right arm to do. Steve McClaren must have been laughing when got this job - he was guaranteed to make millions even if he failed, which he did. If you get this job, it's a win win situation.
Some people say this is the worst job in football, and to a certain extent it is, but I have to ask is it worse than managing Scotland or Ireland or Wales and if so why?
Well the England team many years ago was chosen by the FA and the manager was simply the coach, this really didn't work well as the FA was made up of regional club chairmen and each were keen for their own players to be in the team, improving their worth and the clubs profile, therefore we had a situation where the England team was a disparate group of individuals rather than a strong team (spooky sounds almost the same as England circa 2006-2007). Eventually England allowed the manager to choose his squad, this proved a successful evolution when Sir Alf Ramsey created a team advocating hard work and movement, it meant no place for world class players such as Jimmy Greaves but proved effective in beating a spirited German team in the 1966 final. Ramsey lasted until the early 70's when a forgettable selection of managers came and went and England floundered under the weight of football hooliganism and a rise of flair players who were distrusted by the establishment.
Following failure of a promising squad in Espana 82, Ron Greenwood left the post and was replaced by the then Ipswich Town Manager, Bobby Robson, Robson developed a team who played for each other and while they were beaten 1n 1986 in Mexico by the eventual winners Argentina they got to the semi-finals in 1990 in Italy and the tourament will always be remembered as the time when football came back to the fans.
Subsequently Robson left due to press hounding and was replaced by Graham Taylor, his term was unsuccessful and he was hounded out by the press and replaced by Terry Venables, during Euro 96 in the UK, Venables had his team outplaying pass masters such as Holland and beating effective teams such as Spain, we lost again in the semi-finals and Venables left as the press had uncovered financial irregularities which were deemed unsuitable for an England Manager. We subsequently had Hoddle, Errikson and Mclaren, all had variable degrees of success and all were mercilessly hounded and eventually bowed to pressure from the English press.
My point here is that England fans are passionate and want to win, but we're realistic, if we're not good enough then so long as we do our best great. But the press build things up, look at the Wag issue, if the press didn't overwhelm us with every detail of peoples lives would we care if a player took his wife to the tournament, would we care if Steve McClaren had lessons in speech, its not relevant, we should let the manager concentrate on football, be allowed to see out their contract to its agreed term and judge them then. To my mind Robson, Venables and Hoddle were hounded out and each had got to a point where they were getting results, its a shame and we accept it.
In terms of the job itself, getting paid £6m to watch football every week and pick the best 11 players in the country and tactics to negate and beat generally inferior opposition is a great job, the pressure is the only negative.
I have been impressed by Don Capello and his handling of this situation, he speaks sense, values teamwork and spirit and inspires players and fans to believe this too, the press seem intimidated by him, he is professional and has few skeletons in his cupboard, though i'm sure some will come out when we lose a game. He watches matches and picks players on form and how they fit his system not picking individuals and moulding the team to them. I am hoping Fabio Capello will prove this nonsense about this being the worst job in England false once and for all, its an insult to soldiers, nurses, firemen and anyone who puts themselves on the line daily for poor pay and little reward.
I believe while the public are desperate for England to win something, and as the birthplace of modern football it is a shame we've only ever won one tournament, the press build the England football team up to such an extent that they are on a pedastal ready to be knocked down.
I can see why most people would think that but Worst job in England? No way! What other job can you get, do terrible in and get a £2.5 million pay off? Of course im talkin of the late great Steve Mclaren the amazingly average former Middlesborough manager, who took the reins of the prolific underachieving england. Mclaren was in charge for a total of 18 months a fair time to earn £2.5 million im sure you'd all agree. 18 months seems like a long time at first but when you look at i closer it wa only 12 games, which works out at £208,333 a game!! And this awful spell hasn't hampered his career prospects as he now is manager of a dutch club with champions league prospects, which is better that manageing dreary middlesborough. Of cousre everyone always looks to the press and media and says " but look how much he was criticised" but I don't honestly believe that there are many top athletes or managers which havn't had there spell of being slated by the media, and even thought it may be bad at the time it all washes over and no one cares, a great example of this is Sven, when he was england everyone wanted him out and the press had a field day, but in a matter of years he turns around Man City, press loves him Man City fans didn't want him to leave and he's in contention for the Chelsea job and the Mexico managers position.... not a bad setup if you ask me and i can't finish without mentioning the several million pounds he has amassed from all this "work".
The England coach, of course, will always be balancing on the edge of a cliff in this job, ready for the fall with the voracious British tabloid mafia press always aiming the shotgun at their heads, and it will be no different for the man they call the Italian Job. As the fans sang England to a 2-1 victory last night to that ubiquitous England theme tune from the same movie ...'it's the self preservation society...' the pertinent lyrics were all the motivation the players needed on the pitch if they wanted to stay in this team. You have to say it was the most intriguing and interesting friendly for a very long time last night at Wembley.
How fitting for Fabio Capello to kick off his England career against the country that still has most of his unpaid taxes-allegedly, although not in gold ingots yet. I wonder if the FA`s first priority was to help him fill in his self assessment form last week before the deadline. Let's hope the other monkey on his back in the long since forgotten match fixing allegations against his teams and country will also disappear like his receipts, although if he does throw any England games then at least we will win as the underdogs always get the best odds in a two horse race.
Poor old Beck's was again the first casualty of the coach who has a name that sounds like a fashion house, getting the dreaded phone call that he wont be required at Wembley, again the scapegoat for England intrinsic failures, even though it was Beckham that turned the game against Croatia. I think this time it was the right decision to stand him down, his 'DB' initialed England tracker rightfully handed over to his ready made replacement in David Bentley, another two footed and confident midfielder who had a storming game last night. I just can't understand why Beck's didn't go out on loan somewhere until the U.S season kicks off in March if he wanted to prove himself so much? All Beckham has done since October is released a couple of perfumes, the same number of competitive games he's played since the summer of cents and scents. Was his heart in it this time around or was he secretly expecting the very public poke in the eye by his old Madrid boss? Maybe Fabio phoned him (how did Capello get his number? Was it Nancy?) and offered him two options-your 100th cap on condition it's a retirement and an appropriate Swiss watch and you walk off into the Hollywood sunshine, or take the 'pick me on merit option'; meaning if Beck's does get back in on current form he can beat the all-time cap record. Maybe because the game was also about the Munich Disaster it was inappropriate to mix the two. I suspect, though, the video of him playing keepy-uppy on a Brazilian beach on youtube probably made up Capello's mind on David's state of mind to play for England right now.
People may criticize Beckhams pace and tackling abilities but he was one of very few stone masons in a team of rock-breakers for the last five years. Half of all goals in international football come from accuracy from set pieces and that's the exact percentage of the goals and assists he has contributed to team England. Beckham and Owen at their peak really were our only world class players and have yet to be replaced. People seem to hate Beckham because he's good looking and loaded, rather than admire him for the decent guy and footballer he clearly is. Yes he is easily led by current trends and fashions but for me he has been an outstanding pro and patriot and poorly treated.
The last England manager...
I am reading an Erickson biography at the moment and its interesting stuff, explaining how the FA draw up short-lists for the England managers position and how Lazio didn't stand in the Swedes way, even though he had delivered the championship for the unfashionable Rome 'Seria A' side for the first time in a long time. The huge salary was because England wanted him ahead of many other clubs and countries and he seemed to be worth it as he took England from bottom of their world cup group to top, over hauling a five point deficit to the pesky Germans with that 5-1 win after the Keegan disaster. I think we seem to forget how good Sven was at the group stages and needed to blame him for our failures straight after the 2006 World Cup.
Erikkson's strengths was he kept the players respect by keeping his distance, his quiet manner and need to treat the guys returned in kind. "The better we know men the less we respect them".
He would tell the players where to be on the pitch and the tactics they would use and then say you are responsible for your actions on the pitch. When the players came up against Brazil in that quarter-final with Sven's instructions getting them that far it was they, and not the Swede, who failed that day, a reflection of England as a nations deteriorating character today. At the end of the day our football style is basic and working class and no England manager can change that intrinsic mindset. We fired the guy because we don't like to think that about ourselves as a nation in that mindset. You can see that approach in our fans, nothing uglier in football than English supporters away. We have seen how good Eriksson is in British football by turning around a very average Man City side and so now need to accept it was the team that failed and not the iceman. I'm sure Capello will be a similar style manager and I'm also sure we will again fall short when we meet a more technical side in the latter stages of the World Cup in South Africa.
The tabloid press!
The Press is the bane of all England mangers, middle class English guys who have never played the game at professional level all too willing to bring down the working class game and all involved with vicious tattle and devious quotes. They never game McLaren a chance from day one and I'm sure are already digging up stories on Cappello. Fair play to the Italian for feigning bad language skills to avoid their questions to be misquoted early on but you know that deliberate distancing will rattle the hacks when we start to lose. The Sunday Times sports writer in Brian Glanville tells a story about two groups of journalists, tabloid and broadsheet, journeying together through the desert. Stumbling upon an oasis, the broadsheet boys fall to their knees to drink, only to spot the tabloid hacks relieving themselves upstream. The waters around the England managers and their private lives have long since been poisoned by the redtops and it won't change. If Capello stays distant they will be gunning for him. It's their job to give him a hard job until England managers have to be sacked. The tabloid press just won't give the national team a chance. They deliberately talk up England's chances in big tournaments so to be able to swat them down from that pedestal. We are not good enough to win the World Cup and so it annoys me when the press deliberately play devils advocate on that one.
My favorite England manger was Sir Bobby Robson, probably most people's favorite football man right now, his heartfelt standing ovation at the Sports Personality Awards, testimony to. Ok, he had a bad start in the 86 European Championships but amended that with his brilliant World Cup, the best tournament since 66-in many ways- for England. But the press wanted him gone and by 92 it was Turnips and Swede heads as the hapless but likeable Graham Taylor bombed England to oblivion with the long ball in Denmark. I was also a big fan of Glen Hoddle as a coach, but again the press got their man wit that odd disability comment from Hoddle and that was that. Although when you have a right wing Christian Democrat who believes in Creationalism running for the Whitehouse, Hoddles comments may not be as odd as they seem in the modern world. The colorful Venables also went the same way with the Sun and co and the best coach we ever had was dumped into oblivion after drinking rather too much from the poisoned chalice.
Previous England managers
Sven Goran Erikkson
Not Brian Clough...
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Howard Wilkinson on England:" I'm a firm believer that if you score one more goal than the other team then you will win".
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Capellos first squad was fairly predictable and familiar so you wonder why we spent all this money on a new manager. With around 50 English guys playing in the premiership every week selection is limited. Only 38% of our professionals are English and it's dropping 5% every year. It works for the Australian cricket team to have so few to choose from but not for England football teams
Goalkeepers: David James (Portsmouth), Scott Carson (Liverpool on loan at Aston Villa), Chris Kirkland (Wigan)
Where's West Hams Rob Green? He tops all the fantasy league statistics for keepers from any country in the Prem, let alone England? I think we already know Carson is too nervy. It was great to hear he has banned cell phones and play stations and he's calling the over-paid posers by their second names. I suspect some of the older players will soon be retiring, whether they wanted to or not.
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Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Curtis Davies (West Brom on loan at Aston Villa), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicky Shorey (Reading), Wes Brown (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Everton), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Matthew Upson (West Ham United), Jonathan Woodgate (Tottenham Hotspur)
Ashley Coles election is odd because he isn't playing, like Beck's. Nice to Curtis Davis in from Villa, perhaps the only real surprise pick here. He's one of five Martin O'Neil's players in Capellos 30.
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Midfielders: Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham Hotspur), Owen Hargreaves (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), David Bentley (Blackburn Rovers)
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Forwards: Emile Heskey (Wigan Athletic), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Michael Owen (Newcastle United), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Defoe (Spurs).
An unfit Owen had to be picked, purely because there's no one else. If hod-carrier Emile Heskey is classed as a striker then I'm George Bush. Davel Kitson of Reading is the top scorer of English qualified strikers but ignored here. Where was young Milner and Walcott?
Capello thinned the squad to 23 before Sunday's games, losing an injured Heskey and Abgonlahor and ousting Downing, Glen Johnson, Michael Carrick, Curtiss Davis, Ledley King and Nicky Shorey.
My starting eleven from Capellos squad...
James is too old to be a new mangers keeper and Carson craps himself. For me Green has proved his worth and as the number one penalty stopper in the prem ready for the big time. I think Rio Ferdinand is gormless at time with his passing and Woodgate has much better feet and awareness, the sophistication we need in the back four. Gerrard as temp captain for me too and that added responsibility will hopefully be the spark to get this guy performing. The reason he looked lost before is because he couldn't take charge of games like Bryan Robson did without the armband, leading from the front. Robbo beat his shield with his sword on the centre spot whilst Gerrard peeps over his shield from just in front of the back four. I think we will see a new Stevie G for England.
I like Joe Cole because he's a trick player and drags men away from others and leaves gaps, his passes more likely to set up goals than Lampard and Hargreaves lateral ones. Up front it has to be Agbonlahor who deserves his chance and his pace would help Rooney's game.
Like I said earlier, half of all international goals come from set pieces and if you perfect them then you end up like Greece and win the European Championships. Because we have six-foot eight Crouch the temptation has been too great not to ignore that advantage, corners and free kicks heading for one man only, easily defended from those set-pieces, negating Rooney and Owen. Tactic two for McLaren was the lump it long to a point man and Owen mops up. It seems to work with Heskey and Owen but that won't be the one used under Capello. He will play passing football and deploy the deadly 'Cattancii', the infamous and seemingly impregnable flat back four. If you don't conceded you can't lose-unless its penalties!
-Capellos match day team-
England: James, Brown, Ferdinand, Upson, Ashley Cole (Bridge 73), Bentley, Jenas (Wright-Phillips 57), Gerrard, Barry (Hargreaves 73), Joe Cole (Crouch 57), Rooney (Young 87).
Subs Not Used: Carson, Richards, Lescott, Woodgate, Owen, Defoe, Kirkland.
Goals: Jenas 40, Wright-Phillips 62.
Switzerland: Benaglio, Lichtsteiner (Behrami 46), Senderos (Grichting 55), Eggiman, Spycher, Inler, Gelson (Huggel 84), Barnetta, Yakin (Margairaz 63), Gygax (Vonlanthen 46), Kudos (Derdiyok 46).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Coltorti, Ziegler.
Goals: Derdiyok 58.
The minutes silence for the Munich disaster seemed to stretch into the national anthems as tentative and touristy crowd was notably quiet during God Save the Queen, unusual to say the least. The players were as equally nervous in a turgid first half-hour, the surprise selection of Wes Brown at right back the most noticeable fledgling caught in the headlights. None of these guys wanted to step out-of-line early on and be the one to make the mistake that conceded the goal. But once Capellos second surprise pick (from the smug press that is) scored the first England goal the crowd stopped booing and shouting for Beckham and England started to click, an excellent passing style offering a new England for 2008. But the Swiss ended the immediate celebration with a stylish and well-worked equalizer from Derdiyok before Gerrard rolled one across for Wright-Phillips to slot. It wasn't a great performance but their are signs of confidence in that team and some good players being allowed to play. Bentley was excellent and as good as Beckham has been in the last five years and Joe Cole again impressive on the left, drawing players, skinning wing- backs. Upson, too, impressed and Woodagte has work to do if he wants the number 6 shirt. Rooney was running out of position as usual screwing Capellos plans and Jenas took his chance well. The Man-of-the-Match, rather oddly I thought, was given to Gerrard, as an anonymous as ever, presumably because he was the only one wearing the boots of the kit sponsor. Bentley and Rooney were miles ahead of him.
Good start and once the nerves were lifted they did the job. It looks like Capello is going to try and get them to play passing football, Champions League style, and the jury's out how far that can take players who are used to playing at one thousand miles an hour in the Premiership in a major tournament. But what ever happens it's going to be interesting. Role on France and friendly number two... But is it time for the Swiss watch Beck's!
The ultimate job in English football or so we are lead to believe but given recent history the job has more often than not become a poison chalice to all that have embraced it. How many successful England managers have there been, well Sir Alf Ramsey comes to mind for winning that trophy however after that there have been very few who have come through with their reputation intact. Records shows that there have only been 3 managers who have come close to Sir Alf Ramsey in terms of their record, Greenwood, Hoddle and yes Sven Goran Eriksson. Also Terry Venables tenure which consisted of a semi-final appearance in his single tournament and no qualifying campaigns was relavtily successful. The rest all seem to have fallen short, though some have been greater failures than others and some have inherited better or worse teams than their predecessors.
What stands out though with an England manager job is expectation and the fact that real success can really only take one form, a trophy and given that there are only two available to any England manager (The World Cup and European Cup) occurring bi annually, the chances of success at regular intervals is perhaps more wishful thinking than reality. What seems more acrimonious with England managers recently is expectation management and the all important media relationship. Indeed nearly all managers towards the end of their reigns as manager come under heavy criticism which usually involves some scandal, controversial statement or shocking decisions. Very few managers have escaped this curse. Do they all deserve it? Well the answer is no, Sven Eriksson comes to mind, after relative success during his first few years which included the memorable 5-1 victory over Germany, he like the other managers endured a barrage of criticisms and the calls for his head came with every under par performance. Yet it can be seen that he progressed the England football team enormously. Keegans England team was pretty shambolic and had difficulty competing with even decent European nations (Romania, Portugal etc..). The actual hope of winning a tournament was still a distant memory at this particular time. Sven changed this and qualification for major tournaments became the norm. Yet he was unable to progress the team further, in fact from Euro 2004 the team probably had transgressed despite having more experienced players.
Football mangers across the globe now know the full ramifications of becoming England manager. Media intrusion into the managers private life is now expected to be part of the job, former managers and players used to be more discrete in their criticisms of the manager. However even this has begun to change, during Sven reign we had many ex-pros publicly criticizing the manager in the strongest terms (Ian Wright in particular comes to mind). Another thing managers know is that expectation can rarely be fulfilled. England have reached the semi final of two competitions since the 1966 win, even this has been seen as failed attempts amongst some critics. Therefore it is not particularly surprising the problems the England manager will find themselves and likewise for any future manager.
======================= Played...Won...Drawn...Lost...Win Percentage===
Alf Ramsey (1963-1974)...................113......69.......27......17......61.06%
Don Revie (1974-1977).....................29........14.......8.......7........48.27%
Ron Greenwood (1977-1982).............55.......33.......12......10.......59.99%
Bobby Robson (1982-1990)...............95.......47.......30......18.......49.47%
Graham Taylor (1990-1993)..............38.......18.......13.......7........47.36%
Terry Venables (1994-1996)..............23.......11.......11.......1........47.82%
Glenn Hoddle (1996-1999).................28......17........6........5........60.71%
Kevin Keegan (1999-2000)................18........7........7........4........38.88%
Sven-Göran Eriksson (2001-2006)......67......40.......17......10........59.70%
The worst job I ever had...ah, what a thread! Where does one even begin to describe what a nightmare working in an industrial dry cleaner is, and how long a day can be...even with one of the nicest bosses I've ever had! The cold, the dirt, and the endless repetition.
There is a great thread on jobs like that at a culture site I frequent:
Check it out -- it's a heck of a lot of fun!
After just driving home from going out for dinner with friends I was forced to listen to a football phone in by my other half who was still showing signs of petulance over my arranging a night out on the same evening as an England game and I was amazed that the majority of English fans calling in were suggesting that the new manager be sacked.
It certainly did bring home to me that it must be a near impossible job to do given that in less than three months in the job and having just lost your first meaningful game already there are calls for your head by some of the small minded people who support our national team.
Maybe Mclaren was not the right man for the job; in that case surely it is the idiots who appointed him who should face the axe rather than the man himself. How you can judge a manager is not fit for the job in such a short space of time is beyond me and seems to ignore the fact that perhaps it is the overpaid players who are actually to blame, the same players who failed to progress beyond the quarter finals again at the World Cup and who seem to freeze when stood only eleven yards away with the whole goal to aim at.
The two main problems that seem to combine to make the job nearly impossible is the level of expectation in the country and a media who are only happy while destroying someone reputation.
We seem to have an inflated opinion of our players ability boosted by the fact that they seem to perform well in the league however we seem to forget that in their league teams they are surrounded by a host of great foreign players, Im pretty sure that even I would look good in a midfield alongside Makalele, Ballack and Essien, it is only when these players are not present that the real Frank Lampard gets to stand up and show that he is a pretty average attacking midfield player who is currently not playing that well.
The media is also a problem as they just love to build someone up whilst at the same time sharpening the knives ready for when they fall over or stumble. They hounded out Eriksson, Venables, Robson, Hoddle and Taylor (credit to other half for providing this information) and Im sure there were others before them.
For me this is certainly one very tough job with a pretty much caste iron guarantee of getting the sack from.
You can hardly rate the England coach's job as the worst in England. Perhaps the reason that so many of the coaches have had problems with it is simply because the FA have done such a poor job in selecting the right man for the job. With the exceptions of Robson and possibly Venables, the FA have consistently hired individuals who tended to get sidetracked by the less-important aspects of the job (media relations, player marketing, personal agendas) to the detriment of the only important aspect of the job (results on the pitch). Sven-Goran Eriksson was not a bad coach because he was quiet on the sidelines, or because he was not English, or because he cheated on his girlfriend with a secretary, or because he disliked dealing with the media. He was a bad coach because he made highly questionable squad selections (Darius Vassal, Emile Heskey, Trevor Sinclair, Theo Walcott and Peter Crouch over Andy Johnson or Jermain Dafoe), showed an inability to change his tactical approach to suit game conditions or effectively utilize the strengths of his players (the Gerrard/Lampard pairing, the five-year love affair with the long-pass), exercised very odd, and in my opinion poor, judgment in his substitution patterns (Rooney off against France in Euro 2004, Walcott never playing in the World Cup), and seemed to always be unable to outthink any of the players or coaches he faced. In short, Eriksson was a bad England coach because he was a bad football coach. Glenn Hoddle was a bad England coach because he was a bad football coach. Kevin Keegan was a bad England coach because he was, at best, a mediocre football coach who couldn't keep his focus on the pitch. The only coaches who find the England job to be the worst one in the country are people who simply weren't very good coaches to begin with.
There have been all kinds of difficult jobs down the ages. Once upon a time it was some poor wretchs job to wipe the Royal bottom after the King or Queen had successfully visited the alternative throne. Then there are the really difficult jobs that exist today like carers, policemen and women or even estate agents. Well....OK....maybe not estate agents then but you know what I mean. So to describe managing a team of hairy-legged, overpaid millionaires to kick a ball around a field seems an anathema (or is that a breathing ailment?).
Not withstanding all of this then the job clearly has its pressures. Who can forget Don Revie controversially leaving the role to go and take up a much more lucrative position managing that ambitious football nation, The United Arab Emirates in the 70's? Then there was the sad demise of the be-spectacled Graham Taylor who, one minute was managing my beloved Aston Villa (and doing a darned fine job too), the next hed been pinched by the FA to take over as England boss. Sadly for Taylor, he participated in an ill-fated documentary about being England manager in which he repeatedly said, Do I not like that? whilst picking Carlton Palmer to play for the national team. Not only did he mangle the English language but he also succeeded in selecting very average players at the highest level. Of course, this hardly excuses the rough justice he experienced in the tabloid press, often appearing in some quasi-vegetable format on the back pages, usually involving a turnip. Also sadly for Taylor, he substituted our national hero in Gary Lineker and replaced him with old big nose, Alan Smith. Some decisions are destined to haunt one forever and that was it for Mr T.
Of course, its not all bad for England managers. For years, Bobby Robson was ridiculed by the press up until the moment he stumbled on a winning formula in the 1990 World Cup. Replete with a blubbing Gazza and a rampant Lineker, Sir Bobby took us all the way into the semi-finals only to be knocked out by the omnipresent Germans in yet another shoot out. To lose in such a Heroic way left Robson forever in our memories as a gallant loser and a thoroughly decent chap.
And then theres Kevin Keegan. Poor old Kev had already shown his mental frailty by ranting at Sir Alex Fergusons Manchester United on Sky TV. Finishing with the immortal I'd love it if we beat them, love it! Keegan showed perhaps that he hadnt got the mental strength to do it at the very top level and so, naturally, we made him national team coach. King Kev was at the helm for some of the more hideous England disasters including the Phil Neville induced 3-2 defeat to Romania having been two up and the abject performance at Wembley during the last ever international at the old version of the stadium as England slumped 0-1 to Germany. Kev did the honourable thing by resigning but the damage was done and we should have seen it coming.
Then there was Glenn Hoddle. One of THE best players Ive ever seen turned into some kind of spiritualist mentor for the England set up. By installing faith healer Eileen Drewery as part of the England coaching staff, "The Hod Squad" took the England job into a new realm of alternative medicine and massaging the players scalps to develop their auras (or something like that). Hoddle did come within striking distance of glory when he lost out to Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. With Michael Owen making a breathtaking debut, the England team was unlucky to lose after having the iconic David Beckham sent off. However, Hoddle came under fire after a disappointing start to the Euro 2000 qualifying campaign, and was sacked in February 1999 after he appeared in an interview with The Times newspaper where he suggested that disabled people were being punished for sins in a previous life. There was even an intervention by Prime Minister Tony Blair and, eventually, the FA had little option but to terminate Hoddle's contract.
And now a gritty Yorkshireman in Steve Mclaren has taken up the reigns. Not given a huge amount of credit for the job hes done at Middlesborough, Mclarens appointment comes hot on the heels of the high profile rejection of the post by big Phil Scolari. Having already won the World Cup with Brazil, maybe Scolari is the sanest man on the planet in rejecting the job having seen the legacy and what its done to people over the years. After all, Sven Goran-Eriksson went from hero (Germany 1 England 5) to zero during his reign and all that free-market enterprise in looking at other business ventures whilst in the England role was all too much for our stuffy, holier-than-thou image of how the job should be done. Doing a great impression of any number of politicians over the years, Sven has insulted our sensibilities with his high profile affairs and dampened our ardour by not getting carried away enough on the touchline. We can but hope that he carries enough presence still to get through to the existing players in a few weeks time.
When you sit down and analyse the facts, the national team coach does appear to do strange things to people. From transforming into turnips to past life regression, from defecting to the Middle East to Do I not like that, it cant be pure coincidence that so many England managers have appeared to go insane. Whether this makes it the hardest/worst job in England is still open to debate. Whether its worth all the money to be turned into a loon is another question. Whatever the truth, heres hoping that England can finally make it all the way in the latest World Cup although with only a half-fit Rooney at best it looks like an uphill struggle. Still....by taking an unproven 17-year-old kid whom doesnt even make the Arsenal first team then maybe we can surprise everyone else. Then again, maybe its one final sign of madness as one more England manager closes out his reign.
Thanks for reading
Ok, so its a little later than this category suggests, but Sven has apparently agreed that he is leaving England in the summer, leaving the nation to search for a new Football manager again.
As expected, hype is in overdrive, the rumour mill has been churning and the players are trying to pretend it doesnt affect them. But will it be a foreigner, or will the FA turn back to their own country to find their new massiah? I would personally like to see an English manager in the hot seat again (does this make me racist?), I feel the job is about national pride, and someone of that nation should have it. The fact is, it seems certain someone new will be named as the England manager, whether we win the World Cup or not. So who are the candidates?
The manager of Middlesbrough has shown great talent in his job at Middlesbrough. He began working life under Sir Alex Ferguson as his right hand man during Manchester Uniteds best years of recent times. Indeed, some say United started to falter when he left...
However, I have seen Steve Mclaren for a few years now, and he has certainly shown he has talent. My worry is that although he is good, he has never really improved. Why does this concern me? To take on an international team you have to step up a level compared to club teams. Games cannot afford to be lost, the pressure is higher and the opposition are far more adept at taking you down when you're not prepared.
To balance this, Steve Mclaren has done a lot of work with the England squad under Sven Goran Erikson, so he knows the players and the tactics they like. But this just isnt the right choice for me, I want someone new to come in and shake things up a bit, not carry on Svens saga.
The Charlton manager is believed by many to already have the job. He's confirmed that he had talks with the Football Association about the position, and he is well respected as a manager in footballing circles.
He's been manager of Charlton for what seems like the whole of living memory. During that time he's taken them up the leagues and into a European placing. His team are underperforming this year, but he remains one of Englands better manages and does seem to be turning things back around. I wouldn't mind him as England Manager, but think there are better candidates.
This is a foreign manager who has been linked with the job with mounting speculation. He has proven pedigree with the likes of PSV and has indeed been successful over his mangerial career. My question comes back to should the new manager be foreign? Gus Hiddink has pedigree, but he isnt someone I could picture leading the players to a final. He doesnt have the same attitude the English have and the raw aggression and pride that England play with would possibly not suit his managerial techniqes. Still an outside hope... but not one I would like to see in the hot seat.
I think that somewhere inside every England fan we have a slight pining for El Tel to return. I somewhat doubt it will ever happen, but one can just hope. Any self respecting England Fan will remember Alan Shearer hitting the 4th in against Holland... and that oh so close game against the Germans in Euro 96.
Indeed, this tournament may have left El Tel more famous than he perhaps deserved, but he had been a consistently good coach prior to that with Tottenham. He has a proven pedigree at international level, and he's English. In my book that counts for a lot. Should he become manager, he would also have the full backing of the fans, who already know and respect his managerial skills. He may have just been in the right place at the right time... but to win a World or European trophy, you have to do just that.
My own personal favourite, and one fans will enjoy seeing at the helm, regardless of his results. Pearce, known by many as 'psycho', is a dedicated professional. His determination and aggression was England through and through. As a player he depicted Englands attitude, fought for everything and knew nothing was a lost cause. Famous images include crunching tackles and who can forget the expression after scoring a penalty in Euro 96.
Stuart Pearce has raw passion for the game, raw passion for his country, and does everything with pride.
Currently in his first managerial role at Manchester City, we have already seen the bite he showed as a player coming into the side. His team are staying afloat and show glimpses of being special.
Inexperience is the biggest drawback in Pearces resume, but there is no doubt that the fans would support any England team with Stuart Pearce at the helm, backing the team 100% at all times. While this is something you can expect from England fans anyway, put the bit into their teeth and there are no better supporters in the world.
Pearce would maybe not be the most sensible choice, but would certainly be a firm favourite with the fans. Indeed, Manchester City's 'floating' fans increased dramatically when he took over... reputation is everything sometimes.
The job is a hard one. The expectation of the fans means you can never be sure of your position. You won't be given long to settle. England have world class players, and a world class team. The fans demand results, and should you fail, they will hound you until you leave.
We've seen many great club managers fall when asked to step up to the international level, but there is one whom I know hasn't fallen. On the pitch, the England Terry Venables created was something special. They ground out results when needed and performed to lift the nation. For this reason, I think he would be the sensible person to appoint.
Stuart Pearce is new, raw and passionate. While I think he is maybe taking this too early, I would also listen keenly to those who argue he should be the England manager now. He's got that real English passion, and provides bite to any team. He's respected and loved and you know he will always do his best. Maybe assistant manager would be a good role for him at the moment, but definititely one for the future.
Alan Curbishley has not really shown me that he has what it takes to step-up. Although his success with Charlton has been good, he's never really shown that extra flair, and this season has really been a downside for him results wise. I think he is a good manager, but not one to manage a World Cup winning side.
I immediately wish to discount any foreigners from the job. I know this is harsh, but no other country is about to appoint a young Engish manager to head up their team. The players have to be English, and by the same right, I feel the manager should be too. International football is about national pride and allegiance to your country... Sven has done well, but I dont really want a foreigner taking my national team to a major tournament, not when so many promising English managers are available.
And finally, I need to pass comment on Steve Mclaren, manager of Middlesbrough. Having worked with Sir Alex Ferguson, he has learnt from one of the best. But as with Alan Curbishley, I struggle to see him making that step up to international level. I think he should stay with his club.
The bookies seem to think Curbishley has it, I would like to see El Tel back and the fans would like to see Stuart Pearce... its a three horse race to fill the top spot in my book @:-)
With all the media hoo-hah this week youd think England had turned up in Copehagen and went on a 24-hour bender which including drinking games on the pitch. In fact many people will argue that England didnt turn up full stop. Well this is the nature of the England team when it comes to football. For whoever is in charge it is a curse and equally a blessing.
In the old days the media would write about the team in a refined manner. But now you have the likes of Sky Sports News being the lapdog of sports coverage. They need to overanalyse every little thing in the build up to what is a friendly game. Yes, a game that has no bearing on anything, nothing is at stake. So the papers follow and proceed to make fill four to five pages with loads of articles on where it all went wrong.
I have come to realize that the England team is nothing to write home about. This all boils down to one man the manager. Sven is paid a lot of money every year to essentially get corporate hospitality at the big grounds, watch a game and every once in a while pick a squad of Englands best talent. Some may argue its the toughest job in English football but really its a complete jolly for Sven. You only have to look at his record, yes on the whole its good and there are more wins than defeats. But when you put it into context it doesnt mean a great deal. Most of the time England have come up against inferior teams that we should be beating anyway. Whenever its come to the crunch Sven hasnt been able to cut the mustard. Im sick and tired of seeing a team of incredibly talented players proceed to play very defensive and dull football. Every time a major tournament comes round we seem quite happy to plod through games and play it safe. With a little bit of class and a bit of flair we could be champions. The capability is there but the inspiration from the man in charge is not.
Sven must take a lot of the flack for Wednesday purely because he treats friendlies as if theyre just there to give his favourites another cap. Case in point is the constant championing of David James. Throughout his career James has garnered a reputation of being a great shot stopper but as an all round goalkeeper he is prone to making costly gaffs. This has been proven on many an occasion at both club and international level. Yet Sven still picks him even though hes had countless chances to try something new. I dont dispute that Paul Robinson is the best English keeper around at the moment. But you also have Robert Green, a young keeper with a growing reputation. Obviously as a Norwich fan Im slightly biased but I find it frustrating when Sven takes Green on the US tour and then only gives him 45-minutes throughout the whole tournament. Wednesday was a time to at least give him another go, it wouldnt have hurt. But instead the same old James was paraded and the press have had a field day.
But Sven is not one for springing surprises. He even sees fit to pick players not deemed good enough for their own first teams. Glen Johnson is a prime example of this and why pick Darren Bent just because hes scored two goals. Let him develop more at under-21 level.
Of course come the World Cup all the media will be geared up and on Englands side. Thats the nature of the beast and as England manager youre there to be knocked down at any given opportunity. But in the current situation Im not surprised as the ammunition for the press is in full supply. The money the FA pay just isnt justified. Im shocked that England are tipped as a winner of the World Cup. It wont happen with Sven in charge as there are far better teams out there who can play better and dont have players picked on reputation rather than form.
I look forward to the day when once again the nation is gripped by football fever and we get behind the team. The last time that happened was in 96 with Venables in charge, a manager who proved a good international coach and got the results on the pitch that captured the English spirit.
So is the England managers job the worst job in England. Far from it, a nurse working all hours god send on a pittance is far worse than sitting on a leather seat in an executive box come 3pm Saturday. For £4.5M a year and little effort its probably one of the easiest jobs you can ever find.
Expect the vacancy to come up again after summer 2006.
England have, for the first time ever, defeated the mighty Liechtenstein. It was admittedly the first meeting of these two nations. Without a doubt, England did not impress against a nation with a population smaller than Burnley. So, who were the players on display? In Goal ======= David James. As a child of the seventies, I recall the days when keepers like Phil Parkes and Joe Corrigan were simply not good enough for a team that could choose from the best two goalkeepers in the world, Ray Clemence and Peter Shilton. James is at best a liability. He is poor at dealing with crosses and has been throughout his career. Some of his displays in his days at Liverpool were erratic, and while his shot stopping reflexes are among the best, an international goalkeeper he is not. Unfortunately, Seaman is still probably our number one, despite his ponytail and the goals conceded against Brazil and Macedonia. Paul Robinson and Chris Kirkland are promising, Nigel Martyn needs first team football. We do not have the goalkeeping riches we used to enjoy. The Back Four: ============== Gary Neville. While the cause of the occasional mistake (positioning against Australia for example), Neville is an essential attacking flair to complement Beckham on the right. Totally committed to the cause, capable of delivering crosses of the highest quality, he is rightly ahead of Danny Mills in the pecking order. Wayne Bridge. Drawn from the unfashionable Southampton, Bridge is beginning to show a talent and a half in the left back position. While I have not seen enough of him to give a genuine comment, it is possible that his attacking flare and defensive stubbornness will put him ahead of Ashley Cole over the coming games. He was mysteriously substituted against Macedonia, when he was about the only threat on the pitch as we drew 2-2. Rio Ferdinand. One of our World Cup success stories, Rio has had an
unspectacular first season at Manchester United and his England performances since have been highlighted by an error against Australia. I do, however, believe by this time next year he will be the best central defender in the world. Gareth Southgate. Excluding penalty shootouts, he has never let England down. But, undoubtedly, Sol Campbell is a better player. Perhaps Jonathan Woodgate is too! We have a fine looking defence on paper. The goalkeeping position is the one that has to be sorted out. Midfield David Beckham. Usually totally committed, he is the inspiration for the team. His broken foot injury cost us the World Cup. He bottled a tackle in the Brazilian half that led to Rivaldo scoring an equaliser. And unable to play with his full gusto in the second half, nobody else was able to drive the team on to the equaliser they were so capable of. He did enough in the foothills of Liechtenstein to secure a less than adequate win for his team. Rightly selected. Rightly captain. But he needs help on the pitch if this team is going to win one of the two trophies worth winning in international football. Paul Scholes. I think Scholes is a fantastic player, but he tends to score his goals against weaker oppostion (eg Poland, Tunisia, Scotland) and is currently on a barren international run. An uncompromising and uncultured tackler, he should now either be left out of the team, or, preferably, be encouraged to make more runs from deep than he has done in recent fixtures. Paul Gerrard. The hero of Munich, is was his 25 yard rocket that nestled beautifully in the bottom corner of a German net to put England 2-1 up seconds before half time. It was his goal that saved our blushes against Macedonia. Talented, but injury prone, he is yet to prove himself at the top level and his World Cup replacement, Nicky Butt, is unlucky not to be picked ahead of him. But he does have the potential to deliver that d
efence splitting pass that has given Michael Owen so many Liverpool goals. Kieren Dyer. Another injury prone player, Dyer is a right footed player who prefers to play in the centre of midfield. To get a regular England slot, he must play convincingly down the left wing. He is fast. He is exciting. He worked well with Bridge down the left. But never quite did enough against what was a pub team, despite the opportunities available to him. With Danny Murphy, Joe Cole, Ray Parlour, Owen Hargreaves and numerous others, England has strong midfield options. I am at a total loss to explain how none of them, Beckham included, appears to have genuinely delivered on a consistent basis in the last 18 months of England matches. Strikers: Michael Owen. Despite a mixed season at Liverpool, Owen is the one we rely on, a little too much, to score the goals. He did it again on Saturday night, did it against Brazil, won the penalty against Argentina and scored the hat trick in Munich. But it is 19 months since our 5-1 victory over our German friends. Is he just a bit too short? Emile Heskey. While in defence of Heskey he has played some of his internationals on the left of midfield, he has scored only 4 goals in 31 internationals. This is simply not good enough. A goal every three games is a requirement for an international striker. While his size is a menace to the opposition, it also draws England players in to a hoof and hope style that is so unnecessary. If only Shearer had come out of retirement. He would, now, be the perfect foil for Owen. Vassell, Smith, Beattie, Rooney. Not quite ready for it at international level in my view. Fowler not quite right to play alongside Owen who is rightfully, as one of our two genuine world class players, first choice up front. Summary: We have a fine defence and midfield. A world class striker in Owen. But it is a defence that gives away silly
goals. And a midfield that seems incapable of putting notable performances together in consecutive games. Two players, Heskey and James, should simply not be selected in the squad. Let alone playing! It is time to free up the midfield a little. Scholes needs to be able to make those late runs that have brought him so much success in his earlier England days. Dyer needs to be allowed to attack. Gerrard needs to make that holding role his. As it is, we are remarkably boring to watch. With the exception of the display against Argentina, which was a marvellous display of grit rather than thrilling and flowing football, we have not performed since we won in Munich. Even our win over a mediocre Denmark team was not a memorable game. We have the basis of a side that could win Euro 2004. We should have won World Cup 2002. If only because the sides that progressed further than ourselves were so poor. As ever, I suspect we will not quite fulfil our potential. And we will realise Sven is not the Messiah of English football after all. Keegan's motivational skills, Sven's coollness and Wenger's tactical nouse rolled in to one are needed.
Sven has a kind of mesmeric aurora about him like some wise Kung Fu master. The press are probably right for the first time about an England manager when they call him a svengali. Its weird how we often find foreign people more intelligent and interesting as we are attracted and enticed by their dialect. You get the feeling that the players know that if they don’t impress the boss and his faith in them then they wont gets a second chance. Ericssons trust in a player seems to have much more kudos than a Keegan or Venables selection. Let alone Hoddle asking the big boss in the sky for team formations and how to deal with a corner. As for Graham Taylor, he likes orange like David Icke likes purple these days. Sven is definitely a thinker on the training pitch and bench. Mclaren is his sergeant major on fitness and discipline with Tord Grip doing the translation and smoothing over. It’s a very effective trio with enough working class brute to motivate the errant ones in the English game. The rare occasion when the Swede opens his mouth to give advice, motivation and tactics everyone will listen. I think because he’s not English that he can always walk away from us without pain almost scot free which helps him to deal with stress. He’s clam and unafraid of Britain’s moronic tabloid press and shrewd enough to hide his true English skills from the baying pack. Well he can speak seven languages you know. Going home to his sexy wife helps to ease away the tensions of the working day to. Tactically he’s superb as we saw against Germany and wasn’t afraid to pick a side for the ground. The ploy to apply our best assets to the right flank was particularly pleasing. Bombing the Germany right and center midfield/back two really hurt them. It produced most of the goals as Owen raced on to rapier balls from Becks and Gerald. Sven must be grinning like a Cheshire cat in private to have those
three at the heart of his team. The left side for him is still a problem, although Barmby and Cole did enough to appease their managers faith in them. Defensively Campbell looks weaker then Ferdinand and an understanding will grow as they continue together. On the whole though we all looked at the team sheet on Saturday and thought it had they had a serious chance of winning. I believe he always wanted to go for the win, knowing the Germans were arrogant with the draw nailed on in their heads ensuring qualification. I have to admit that the referee Colina seemed to be on our side throughout and may have fallen under Svens charms to.Hes a notorious gay man and icon in Italy and i reckon he had the hots for Beckham and his young offender look. I know we all are secretly thinking we will have to pay a penance for our astounding win in Munich by drawing with Albania. It’s definitely a big match for the minnows and fans. The Kosovan backpackers didn’t have time to board the Eurostar in their keenness to be at St James Park!. I’m sure we will come through the game up north (still tickets available!) with a cosy 2-0 and beat the Greeks to qualify. I was impressed how Ericsson coped with the invidious friendly match against Holland.Im sure the Premier managers were on his back three days before the season. Any critical injuries could throw a league team out of kilter early so he was only ever going to play a man for 45 minutes. It’s very difficult to win an international match against a great side like Holland under these constraints. He even lost his unbeaten run but thought nothing of it. That is a man on a mission in my book who knows what friendly games are really for. After that two nil loss no one was talking about England at 8-1 for the world cup. What happened to us after we beat Holland four one the time before. The Germany win has no real meaning until we close out the new enemy o
I read through all the old opinions on who should or shouldn't do the England manager's job and all the moans about not having a Brit selected for the job. Where are all the moaners now? Sven Goran Eriksson has done a superb job in selecting and bringing together the very best players, building team spirit and ensuring they get everything they need in terms of training and fitness. The result was last night's brilliant performance. It wasn't just about Owen or Gerrard or Heskey's goals. They wouldn't have happened without the skills of the rest of the team. I watched the game with a group of friends and we hope to be together again to watch England lift the World cup. There is a lot of hard work between then and now, but we have the manager to do the job. He is a quiet and private person, but he has a presence that the players and now the press obviously respect. Well done Sven. You have my sincere respect too.
Nobody in their wildest dreams would have believed that England would beat Germany in their own soil, after that goal which led to Kevin Keegan’s departure, everybody believed that the play off would be England’s way to the World Cup Finals. Yesterday’s game was eagerly anticipated, it has been in the mind of everybody, would England win?, or would Germany do what they always do and win. Svern Goran Erickson predicted an English victory but neither he predicted the sheer scale of victory. Yesterday night was an amazing night, England beat Germany 5-1 and that is after they were losing. As the evening went on, England took control and the class of Owen, Beckham, Gerrard showed. It was a night to remember for Michael Owen who a year ago was being slated by the press, it was against Germany at Wembley that everyone was saying that Owen is finished that he has ran out of steam. How he showed all his doubters, he was magnificent, true class. The form he showed at the end of last season has been continued into this season. He is better than before, and just a great player, who will go onto great things. However like Owen said the team were magnificent apart from the defence in the opening twenty minutes, but they re grouped and led by Seaman who saved magnificently to deny the Germans taking a lead. I must admit even Gary Neville played well showing some good touches, he set the equaliser up. The best moment of the game was when Steven Gerrard went pass club team mate Hamman three times showing brilliant touches and adding to the German misery even further. It’s difficult not to get excited after a great win, especially over Germany, but it’s only three points, and if the team fail to do the business against Albania and Finland the German victory won’t matter. I hope they continue the form they showed last night onto Wednesday and in doing so not repeat Euro 2000 where they beat Germany but lost to Ro
mania. I didn’t know that much about the manager before he took charge but now I can see improvements, step forwards, this victory doesn’t mean we’ll win the world cup it’s hopefully a good step to better things. Things needed improving and they look like they are. At the end of the game Erickson emphasised the fact it’s only a game that was played and some things are more important, he was commented on the fact that Voller’s Dad had a heart attack during the game, he’s right but it’s a very good game. What a night, I don’t think it will be ever forgotten.