The job of Manager to the England football team has been a ‘Poison Chalice’ to almost all of those who have taken on the role. Perhaps the problem stems from the title, England Manager, for isn’t it a Coach we should be seeking? The job requires so much more than a personality, presently having a successful period in Management at club level. The role should include the control of English Football from junior to senior level with the appointee providing a self-designated playing method along with a re-design of the coaching and development infrastructure here.
Yes, a big job and an important appointment for the future of our game. The time for over-departmentalizing of football playing and football learning must end. How one plays should reflect in the way one practices. The route towards the England Coach’s playing vision must be clearly set out and determinedly followed. Like the Dutch and the Spanish as well as so many of our foreign opponents, we must embrace the need for planned, long-term progression and dispense with the ‘off the cuff’/ blind alleys’, approach we have tinkered with over the years.
From day one, our young players, 5/6 years old, must enter a development system that transports them carefully and intelligently through the ‘golden years of skill learning’ and, on exiting it, be prepared to play the game with effective style and understanding at senior levels. Our pretence that mediocrity is great must end and be replaced with an honest appreciation of class and skill. The route set from bottom to top of the game for our players must be the responsibility of the next England Coach. This appointment will show the true qualities or obvious weakness of those making the decision to select the right person for the job. I have serious doubts that the person who is finally to take over from Capello, will be selected to look at the bigger picture, his role will be dominated by the forthcoming European Championship and followed by qualification for the 2014 World Cup: this will be a massive mistake!
I believe the sad loss of talent, time and money will continue unabated. As in the past, short-term success, if achieved, will propel the incumbent forward from game to game and long-term development will be left in the hands of those who have shown no ability in the past to improve the standards needed for the game here. Should the ‘hired gun’ begin to lose, the ‘built on sand edifice’ that represents our international football will collapse and then another ‘saviour’ will be appointed with the short-term objective of re-building the ‘crumbling castle’.
Our ‘amateurish’ approach and lack of foresight to produce a long-term plan for the game here is a national disgrace. Those at the head of football throughout the past 60 years have a lot to answer for; after all those years we have needed foreign coaches for our senior national teams and a large importation of foreign players to support our domestic game. Now, with everyone demanding an English appointment, it seems we only have one acceptable candidate for the job. Unfortunately, the appointment will be made to appease the Press and Public and it will make little significance to the future quality of our game.