April 30, 2012

The English FA have made the right England manager decision for football as Roy Hodgson beats Harry Redknapp for the vacant England manager job.

When most expected a headline of Hip, Hip Harry! the English Football Association finally took a brave, decisive move to offer the vacant England Manager’s post to Roy Hodgson over Harry Redknapp.

In what will be a disappointment to West Bromwich Albion fans, a possible relief to Tottenham Hotspur fans, an eye-raiser for Liverpool fans and an initial shock for all England fans… this time the FA may well have made the right choice.

In the political minefield of English football, Roy Hodgson has a CV and temperament for the job that dear Old ‘Arry may have been lacking. There’s no doubt that, from a pure football perspective, Harry Redknapp was the most suitable character in the true British Bulldog motivational spirit but the role of England Manager is unfortunately about far more than just winning tournaments… strange but true.

As a political ambassador for the English game, Harry may well have put Sandbanks in Dorset high on the tourist map (this may have severely impacted peace in his home life though) but what else would he bring to the FA?

Harry unfortunately has courted more than his fair share of controversy over recent years and during his recent court appearances, his admission about poor standards of writing and maths probably did little to help his prospects. Overspending at Portsmouth and high expenditure at Spurs have enabled him to buy a degree of success but the England Manager’s job is about getting the best out of what you’ve got. Harry is an old-fashioned gentleman, a media favourite for his down-to-earth approach and a free-speaking manager.

The FA needed more. Perhaps their fingers were burnt by Terry Venables who brought as much uncertainty as he did success. Venables was a man of the people who motivated and restored some faith for English supporters but also brought the FA concerns about business deals and history. While Harry is innocent, there has still been enough controversy to fill column inches in a negative way.

Roy Hodgson, by contrast, carries a hefty CV of European football experience (if not overwhelming success), a more refrained manner and an altogether more acceptable face for the FA to trust in. In simple terms, Roy could be expected to accept the job on the FA’s terms rather than on his own.

As an Englishman, the country has what they most sought in an England manager. As someone with international experience the FA have what they believe they most needed.

The one question mark that may rest heavily on Roy’s shoulders would be his ability to deal with the modern ‘prima-donna’ footballer. At Liverpool he was unable to get the best from a team of world-class footballers. No-one will ever know what happened behind closed doors but the Kenny Dalglish effect didn’t last too long after Roy’s departure so maybe it was the Liverpool team rather than any reflection on Roy’s managerial prowess?

This looks like an attempt by the FA to build and prepare English football for the future. Stuart Pearce looks like a future candidate for manager and Roy Hodgson should have no difficulty working with him or nurturing his potential and also supporting development of the Burton Academy.

So, with Euro 2012 a few short weeks away could Roy Hodgson be the bravest man in English football? With nothing to lose, at such short notice, could he select a hungry, youthful squad to carry the expectations of a demanding English nation? Stuart Pearce has blooded a good crop of under-21 players for Roy to pick and choose from; in preference to the Lampards, Coles, Ferdinands, Gerrards who have time and again had their chances and failed. The England manager carries a burden of responsibility but so do the players!

And, what for Spurs? A boost for the last few matches of the season to gain that much cherished Champions League position for next season? And, another roller-coaster ride of excitement and bravado by the cockerels of North London… with Harry at the forefront.

A win, win situation. Yes, this time the FA may well have made the right decision.

Last updated: May 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm