Friday, February 10, 2006

For Those of Us Who Root against England in International Football...

...this is some encouraging news:

"It's time for a British Manager."

I was all worried that England might get a manager like Guus Hiddink or "Big Phil" Scolari to manage their surfeit of talent after Sven rides off into the sunset, but thankfully, the English are going to stick with their jingoistic tendency to appoint from within and will instead apparently look to the managers laboring in mid-table obscurity (one of my favorite soccer teams that needs to be incorporated in the U.S.) in the Premiership, a league where the best teams all have foreign managers. English football suffers from two major problems: an inability to produce really good coaches (at least since Bobby Robson) and an inability to produce really good goalkeepers (at least since Gordon Banks.) The goalkeeping issue will remain with them; the coaching issue doesn't have to.

(For the uninitiated, the image above is of Dennis Bergkamp knocking the English out of qualifying for the '94 World Cup, thus sparing at least two American cities from being burned to the ground.)

Update: a commenter helpfully pointed out that Martin O'Neill is a fine manager, but he's Northern Irish and in terms of international football, is as foreign as Hiddink or Scolari. The Guardian elaborates. Also, it can't be encouraging for English fans to see the headline "Destroying the Beautiful Game" applied for the favorite to be the next manager of England. And here I was thinking that the Irish are the only national side from the British Isles who play boring, unattractive football; the English might be about to imitate them.


Anonymous said...

Martin O'Neil is not too shabby

Michael said...

True, but there's a distinction between succeeding as a giant-killer and managing one of the giants. Plus, he hasn't been a star in a top league, so it's questionable as to whether he'll respond to the pressure adequately. All that said, he is better than the Premiership candidates being bandied about. I still can't fathom why the FA limit themselves to English managers, since Sven has done well for them.

Michael said...

And as the Guardian reminds us, O'Neill isn't English and is technically as foreign as Hiddink or Scolari, both of whom are superior options:,,1707825,00.html