It was inevitable as soon as Roy Hodgson resigned as England manager that speculation would start about his potential replacement. “The bookmakers have XXXX at odds on” and so on. It was even more inevitable that one of the first people the media would ask would be ‘Arry Redknapp. And that’s just who Adrian Chiles spoke to on BBC Radio Five Live.
‘Arry sounded incredulous that Gareth Southgate was even in the frame and I had to agree with him on that one. The gist was that Southgate was a nice lad but represented the failure of the past. In writing off Soouthgate, ‘Arry’s suggestions weren’t any better. “What abaht Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce, or Tim Sherwood? Tim knows the game inside aht.” Except when he was at Spurs and Villa, that is. There’s got to be someone better than that lot, hasn’t there? I’m not so sure.
Alan Pardew? Perish the thought. Eddie Howe? Please. Then what? Eventually, ‘Arry plumped for Glenn ‘oddle, who just happened to be the great man’s assistant at QPR before his gammy knee caused him to resign. Crap results had nothing to do with it, apparently. If you’re hoping to go English with the new manager, it’s not exactly a stellar list, is it?
The FA have now appointed a panel of three men who will now head hunt the next England manager. They are, from what I can tell, “suits”, not football men, although they will be asking people “in the game” what they think. People like ‘Arry Redknapp, Roy Hodgson and all those other miserable names? Let’s be honest, the FA does not exactly have a great record with appointing managers, certainly not if results are anything to go by. Managers do well in qualifying, beating the international equivalent of League Two clubs, but it all goes to pot when we reach tournaments.
In the unlikely event that I am invited to join the FA’s selection process, I’d better get my thinking cap on. For one thing, I’m in the “none of the above” category. Allardyce and Bruce are relatively successful managers and doubtless they will have their supporters, but either as the England manager? I don’t think so. I appreciate the fact that Hodgson has only just quit and there is, on the face of it, no rush to sign up his successor, but sod it. Let’s get on with it.
I see the choice as being quite simple: it’s between the best foreign manager we can attract or an ex England great. I’m not sure all that many of the top foreign managers are available. Some of them have only just signed contracts at their clubs. The only name that leaps out at me is Guus Hiddink, currently doing some consultancy at Chelsea. He’s 69, too, but for two years only to the world cup in Russia, a country he knows well, he could be just the man for a short term fix. I am not sure I could stand yet another rebuilding period.
Of the ex players, candidates are, shall we say, somewhat thin on the ground. So thin, I can only think of one: Alan Shearer. Shearer’s managerial record comprises one short relegation campaign with Newcastle United and that’s it. For all I know, the national team manager does not require the same qualities as a club manager. I was going to say that at least Shearer would be able to motivate the players, but then if you need to be motivated to play for your country you probably shouldn’t be picked in the first place.
So, that’s it for me. Hiddinck on a two year contract or it will be someone hopelessly ill-qualified to do the job. The latter is the one we usually choose so don’t expect any change now.