The fervour with which the national press are trying to second guess The FA about the appointment of Sven Goran Erikssons successor is something to behold. If all of this energy could be harnessed then there is no doubt that this could be the most environmentally friendly fuel known to man. And yet there is something extremely pathetic about it all. It is not as if they have the inside track on the appointment process; rather they are forced to survive on the scraps that the Governing Body decide to feed them. Which makes this whole hullabaloo unseemly, unsightly and ultimately uninformative.
So far this week they have discovered the location of the “secret Oxfordshire mansion” where the second – or are they the first? – interviews have taken place. And yet we know not who has actually met with the Recruitment Panel. The only certainties are Allardyce and McLaren. O’Neill has to the best of my knowledge not commented on the job, publicly at least. Neither has Tony Soprano, other than to state that he would be lynched by the Portuguese public if he accepted the role before the World Cup. We do know that Alan Curbishley does not know if he will be interviewed (again) for the role. Here’s a hint Al. If they’ve carried out second interviews this week and you weren’t contacted, you were the first high profile casualty who didn’t get the chance to run the gauntlet of media scrutiny which is probably more severe than that suffered by the Prime Minister. But if you trawl back through the press coverage, didn’t The FA state that they would not be interviewing potential candidates this week if it impinged on their preparation for crucial games? Yes, I know McLaren was interviewed this week but it makes sense that he was one of the first as it meant he did not spend too much time away from his charges. It could be that the Panel felt that asking Curbishley to come on Monday afternoon was too close to their futile attempt at reaching the FA Cup Semi Final. Rather than sit and wait to see if he received a call either way, the Charlton manager decided to bleat in public about being kept in the dark. And in that instance he ensured that he will never become England manager. How could a potential employer trust him when he has run to the Press at the first sign of things not going his way.
And so the shortlist reduces by one, leaving Allardyce and McLaren to slug it out with O’Neill and just maybe Big Phil. In the cold light of day, there is only one candidate who has the proven ability to deliver the World Cup. And he’s not English, not even British. Which means he won’t get the job. Heaven forbid that England should be managed by a World Cup Winner. That would just be too much for the media. Ignore his track record if you will but surely the England team need to be challenged when they represent their country? Surely they need to be shown new ideas, new ways of thinking, open their blinkered horizons, be shown first hand that, hey, these foreign johnnies may actually know a thing or two about Football. Somehow I doubt the FA will choose this option. More likely, and possibly to the detriment of the English game, it is going to be a job for the boy or perhaps a job for the Bhoy.
Todays Tunes come from U2, a bootleg of their gig at Hammersmith Palais on 6th December 1982, a time when Bono was just starting to realise that the climb into his own backside wasn’t as far as he first thought.