Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Arrivederci England!

I guess it's been a long time coming, but Fabio Capello has finally left his position as England manager permanently. I say "finally," not because I have been calling for it as some have, but because it just seems a long time coming. It seems that there is a lot to process, but what follows is how I make sense of the situation, and what this means for England.

John Terry

The issue that finally broke the camel's back was the stripping of the captain's armband from John Terry. In what has become an incredibly messy affair, John Terry has been accused of racism and subsequently charged by the Police, only for the trial to be set for after Euro 2012. This caused a sticky situation for the Football Association, as they faced the prospect of having a "racist" captain England in this summer's major football tournament. Their response was to take Terry's captaincy away - without consulting Capello and with immediate effect. Here is where I have to stick my neck out a bit and say: I believe that this was the wrong decision.

First let me say that racism is never acceptable and action should always be taken against racial hatred and those who incite it. However, in any situation, do we not believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty? Moreover, it seems somewhat ridiculous that the FA made this rash decision based on a YouTube video and a lot of "he said, she said." I am certain that all of these things are explanations for Capello's lack of action. The FA however, are far more concerned with politics than common sense, and the furor online and in the press was clearly too much for them. They went over Capello's head, and he did what most managers would in such a situation and resigned.

Bad for England?

So where do we go from here? England must now face Euro 2012 in a matter of months with a brand new manager. What's more, Opta puts Fabio Capello as the most successful manager ever in terms of win percentage [click thumbnail to see table].

1 - Fabio Capello had the best win percentage (67%) of any pe... on Twitpic

So is this the end of the world? I think not. Even though I do not agree with the way the FA dealt with the situation that led to his exit, I don't think that Fabio Capello was ever really the right man for the job. Yes, he had an amazing record at club level, but he had absolutely no international experience. His win percentage reflects his abilities as a manager in a domestic-like format, but his record in tournaments is telling in regards to his international capabilities. And let's not even begin to talk about his inability to speak English!

What this situation has presented is an opportunity for someone new to step in without the usual pressure of a big tournament. Obviously they will have to face the usual unrealistic expectations that accompany England to big tournaments, but this time England are coming off of a disappointing World Cup and a manager with little time to create a new team of his own. But who will that be? Twitter has exploded with people putting forth their suggestions - ranging from the clear favourite Harry Redknapp, to long shots such as Gary Lineker or even David Beckham himself! My personal choice would be Redknapp, but if the world does go bonkers and put Beckham in as manager, at least the ladies would have something to look at!