Why oh why would the FA think the washed-up 64 year old capable of beating France’s Laurent Blanc, Germany’s Joachim Low or Spain’s Vicente del Bosque at Euro 2012?
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo is the thought on every football fan’s mind as the FA offer Roy Hodgson the England job.
Why oh why would they think the washed-up 64 year old capable of beating France’s Laurent Blanc, Germany’s Joachim Low or Spain’s Vicente del Bosque at Euro 2012?
Reason no. 1: he manages West Brom. While previous holders of this role (like Roberto di Matteo at Chelsea) are shining, it’s fair to say that Hodgson is not. He’s guided the Midlands club to 10th this season, a mere 12 points off the relegation zone.
The problem isn’t even specific to them. When at Liverpool in 2010, Hodgson left after only 31 games in charge – the shortest reign in the club’s history – as by January he’d recorded the Merseysiders’ lowest points total since 1953.
And it’s not like he’s a big-occasion manager. He’s managed the awful Inter side of the mid-1990s, second rate international teams like Finland, and perennial Premiership underdogs Fulham, so his experience of the best players in the game – like Wayne Rooney – is nonexistent.
So for what possible reason could four-man FA panel – David Bernstein, Alex Horne, Trevor Brooking and Adrian Bevington – think he’d be a good choice?
It has to be victory by default. He’s English. And of the other managers on offer, he’s the best of a rotten bunch: Redknapp has been abysmal at Spurs for the second half of the season, Allardyce has failed to get West Ham promoted with the best team in the Championship, and Pardew – as insiders know – is the ultimate destroyer of team spirit.
The selection is absurdly poor for the nation that invented the modern game.
What’s most aggravating, however, is that the FA consistently fails to recognise the traits required in a successful international manager. It’s not the rough-tough Premiership style of all-out attack. Rather the Euros will be more technical as, with fewer shots, it’ll be about possession and suffocating the opposition.
To triumph, England needs a man motivator capable of getting the best of the players as well as a tactician who can prod the opposition’s weak spots.
The FA should’ve cottoned on after watching a generation of world beaters like Gerrard, Lampard and Owen pass through the ranks without winning anything.
But they haven’t. It’s a lamentable situation, and all I can say is that it’s a tragedy that Martin O’Neill was born in Northern Ireland.