Tag Archives: Roy Hodgson

#oneaday 64 – Do they FA know FA?

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.

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#oneaday 1: The decline of auotcracy, in the national interest…?

 Given the generally depressed outlook all the way back in dark old days of 2010, I would like to think that 2011 would be a year where things started to get a little bit  better? On a personal front 2010 was as good as any year, but as a West Ham and England supporter it was absolutely dire. Mind you, if you are a Chelsea or a Liverpool supporter, it has also been pretty dire and in Chelsea’s case this is a major change in fortunes twelve months on.  A bright start to the year for the England national team soon faded and hopes of glory ended in a seedy and bloated fashion in South Africa.  Money it seems, can’t buy you love, or indeed sustained success and certainly not the right to host a World Cup.   However, behind the easy headlines though perhaps we are getting a glimpse of a different and possibly a better way of getting collective success. 

2011 saw the slow but significant decline of the’ autocracy’. Gordon Brown, a famed autocrat, led the way in politics by losing an election, all be it narrowly, to a couple of jolly decent chaps who days before were at each other’s throats but seemingly had no choice but to bury their hatchets and work together ‘in the national interest’. We hailed the ‘New Politics’ and even the most cynical of commentators have had to admit that coalition politics is a reality which will be with us for some time, who knows may be for the next 4 1/2 years. We have already seen the compromises and ‘breaking of promises’, but that surely is a sign that change is upon us and one party ideology over another is surely too 20th century. In any case, good or bad it is a change and change can be as a good as a rest.

Moving sideways into sport and specifically football, we have seen the cracks appearing at the top, namely at Liverpool, Chelsea and to some extent at Manchester United. The debacle at Anfield has been a long time coming, but it has torn a once invicible and hugely proud club apart at the seams. A couple of ‘no nothing (about football) ‘ Americans – Gillette and Hicks –  basically borrowed unfeasible amounts of cash to buy a ‘business opportunity’ which they could not resist. The rest is history, except that history is still being written – Americans still own the club, all be it different ones, and Roy Hodgson, the critics’ chocie to replace Capello post South Africa, is on the thinest of thin ice, after only 5 months. The fans are calling for control.

Over at Old Trafford, the fans have been vocal ever since Mr Glazer and his sons and/or brothers took over, again leveraging the cash  debt against the assets of the club. Only Alec Ferguson could steady the ship, bringing an errant Rooney to heel and deliver continued success, seemingly. What will happen when Sir Alex eventually decides to press his stopwatch for the last time?  Again the fans are calling for control, via various business consortia.

However, the biggest  surprise has been in the softie South, in West London, the home of millionaires, billionaires and those who govern us. Chelsea. The absolute reign of Roman Abramovic rolls on,  but the cracks are starting to appear and the water is flooding into the ship. The Mighty Roman is almost like a latter day Captain Smith on the bridge of the Titanic. Chelsea, the unsinkable machine, have hit an iceberg and now need to change course, and make repairs fast. Ray Wilkins was sacked and no one knew why. Ancelotti is living by a thread and their players, used to winning, are getting older and their ambition is blunted. The murmurs from the fans have started and if the bad run continues, those whispers become taunts, which become boos, which become protest and leads to a boycott. The Roman is under pressure and you have to wonder how he will deal with it, given his meteoric rise to fortune and lack of experience in the ‘old’ country. I personally think that he will simply fire and forget, but time will be my judge, and those Chelsea fans may well be demanding control before 2011 is too much older.

So these autocratic club owners may be facing up to the reality of managing people, highly paid ones, who just don’t follow the script. Who knows if there will be more fan democracy at play in 2011, I personally hope so, but what other country allows their prize business assets to be sold to anyone who raises the money? After all, this was the year that Cadbury’s was sold to Kraft and promises made pre-sale, were soon broken once the paperwork had gone through. We operate in a free market, and it allegedly produces the best ‘product’, the dear old Premier League is the best in the world, we are told,  but in the national interest? From the England football team’s perspective, that will never happen.

Meanwhile over in Geneva, one autocratic organisation that is totally self interested and is not showing any signs of changing  soon has announced that they are setting up an anti corruption committee.  FIFA and corruption are words that seem to travel all over the world together on expenses. Let’s see how this one develops in 2011.

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