January 1, 2000
And to be in it now that spring is (nearly) here; or should I say to be in another major international tournament for which we have so easily qualified and in such a dominant way.
This time around it is the European and the manager who orchestrated the qualification was, of course, Fabio Capello. With a massive 67% win ratio it is a job to argue with the Italians’s record as England boss; better than any Englishman, and that includes Sir Alf Ramsey.
The difference between the two is, of course, that Sir Alf won the World Cup. Most in football would say that’s where it counts. Fabio’s build up and preparation for the World Cup in South Africa two years ago was made doubly difficult because of an alleged incident involving a certain player, a fellow player both at club and international level and the players partner, or was it ex partner. This time it looked as though it was going to be more difficult because of an alleged incident between a certain player and a fellow player who is black; more difficult because this time a certain player is being taken to court.
As it happens the certain player is one and the same; a certain John Terry. Think of it that way and the Football Association had no choice and did the right thing.
Aside from the ethics, the press and social networking community were never going to let it go; just as they didn’t two years ago. On the side of ethics the FA had my sympathy anyway.
Articles for The Pirate have to be written many days in advance because of the necessary deadlines. On this occasion we had the home game last Saturday, a Board meeting and the Football Club’s AGM to prepare for and fit in. So, I am writing this piece just the day following the resignation of Mr Capello. Searching the websites, it’s fair to say the story has taken over.
A quick look at Tom Fordyce’s Blog puts it in a football context:
“Capello came to the England job with a CV like few others – nine major league titles and a European Cup in 16 years as club manager, a successful enough itinerant to have won championships in four different big cities. For a while he appeared to be bringing the same success to international football. Under his stern gaze, England made their best ever start to a World Cup qualifying campaign, winning their first nine matches, including demolishing Croatia 4-1 in Zagreb in exhilarating fashion.”
“Much like the 5-1 win in Germany pulled off by one of his predecessors, Sven Goran Eriksson, it proved both a false dawn and an inaccurate reflection of his present day managerial abilities. At least Sven made World Cup quarter finals. Capello’s sole World Cup in charge was as chastening a campaign as qualification had been assured, a joyless trudge from disappointment to humiliation, and it left him fatally compromised for the remainder of his stewardship.”
Just as I was thinking; ultimately the judgement is based on success in the finals of the World or at the very least the European international competitions. All before, and indeed all after, is erased at the hands of a young and dynamic German outfit who wiped the floor with Capello’s much more experienced England side. Incidentally, the blog was a lengthy, journalistic, response inviting, rude in part and didn’t mention John Terry or the distractions to the pre tournament build up once.
Some would argue that it is professional sport and the focus should be without penetration. I agree in part but I am also mindful that professional footballers are young; they are not robots but human beings like the rest of us.
Phil McNulty’s Blog was much more to the point. He said:
“Terry has privately indicated a willingness to continue his England career and can still be a formidable figure, although it remains to be seen whether Capello’s departure changes that stance. Will his very presence at Euro 2012 provide an unwanted distraction in the light of this disruptive saga that led to England losing their coach?”
And he gets closer to the point:
“He must also weigh up what part, if any, Rio Ferdinand will play as his form and fitness falters. Ferdinand is another who has insisted he wants to extend his international career but the new man must judge whether he can afford to take the Manchester United defender and Terry to the tournament. Many sub plots exist between the pair as two former captains, plus the involvement of Ferdinand’s brother Anton in the charges of racial abuse brought against Terry, which he denies.”
Exactly, so who will the new man be? Stuart Pearce was the trainee, the apprentice. The Englishman who rose from the non League ranks to become a much respected, hard working, determined, disciplined player who likes to win.
Some would say that it is too early for Stuart that and an older, more experienced manager should get the call. The Press are calling for Harry Redknapp; big time.
Be careful Harry, all is good at Spurs and the very people who are backing you now will be on your back in six months or less.