Back in February I thought I called it. I really did. When Harry Redknapp walked free, I thought he would be the next England football manager. Don Fabio Capello did not fancy taking a beleagured England football team to the European Championships being held in Ukraine and Poland this summer and resigned and I thought Harry would be a shoe in. Dead cert. Banker. Ok, not a banker.
And I still thought he would be a odds on favourite on Saturday night when discussing the exact same issue with one of my Spurs mates. Then late last night (Sunday 29th April) the news broke on Twitter (as usual), that the FA were talking to Roy Hodgson and West Bromwich Albion had given their blessing. It turned out that Mr Hodgson’s contract with WBA runs out at the end of June and he is thus a free agent and therefore to a cash strapped Football Association, an affordable man.
I have to say I am very disappointed with this decision. I have never been that impressed with M Hodgson, but then as a West Ham supporter, I loved Redknapp, although many of my lot don’t. But the FA have decided to take the affordable option and the safe one. Harry is simply just too toxic for the FA. He has led a debateable career with many accusations of ‘bungs’ and they probably fear that some members of the press, may just want to dig up some more dirt on him.
Given Mr Hodgson has been all but confirmed by the FA and appears to be the only candidate interviewed, which is another mystifying decision, I will change my view, and give the man the support he deserves. He always seems to be a nice chap, polite and professional and seemingly well liked by his players at everywhere bar Liverpoool. He is also respected by the press and pundits alike. And that can be an advantage.
The FA have a very mixed record in this department, so we really should not be surprised. The job only went full time in 1946 with Walter Winterbottom who lasted until 1962. Then the great Sir Alf Ramsey who won the World Cup, but was not everyone’s cup of tea was the man with the best record. I can remember all the managers including Sir Alf. Sad but true.
After him we stumbled along – Joe Mercer came from Man City and lasted a year, Don Revie from Leeds who lasted a miserable 3 years.We didn’t even qualify for the World Cups in ’74 and ’78! Brian Clough, the people’s choice was ignored. Then came Ron Greenwood (who had been a success at West Ham) and he lasted 5 years with a relatively successful World Cup in 1982, we never lost a game, but went out on goal difference! Brian Clough was ignored again. Then came Bobby Robson who got us to the quarter final in Mexico ’86 ( the Hand of God one ) and the World Cup semi final in 1990 in Italy who wasn’t too bad. The FA then sent us all into the wilderness years by appointing Graham Taylor who was shockingly bad. Terry Venables did a couple of years culminating in Euro ’96 and another semi final penalty loss to Germany, and he was followed by Glenn Hoddle who started well, took us to a World Cup quarter final in France where we lost on penalties to Argentina this time. As England started to find some form, Glenn found God and lost the plot. Howard Wilkinson filled in for a while, whilst we all yawned and winced when we could be bothered, and then we got lumbered with Kevin Keegan who was always going to be disastrous. Peter Taylor took temporary control, made Beckham captain and prepared the way for Sven Goran Eriksson who started well and got us to 3 quarter finals at 3 championships – losing to Brazil, Portugal and Germany on penalties before handng over to his assistant Steve McClaren, he of the umbrella. Another disaster. When he got sacked Stuart Pearce stepped in whilst the FA found a replacement in Fabio Capello. And now we have Roy Hodgson.
As England managers go, this one is neither remarkable or inspiring. But I for one will wish him well and hope he can inspire some respect into our underperforming so called world class ‘superstars’. Let’s just hope he does not pick John Terry as captain though, that really would be the end.