Yesterday was a dramatic day for football. By midday Harry Redknapp had been cleared of tax evasion charges and as the evening drew in news filtered through of Fabio Capello’s resignation as England manager.
The turn of events will be called many things. A ‘coincidence’ and a ploy are two words I have heard but if we are to move on with the national side we must accept what has come to pass and look forward to brighter times. It is ironic, not a coincidence, that on the day Redknapp has been proved innocent of football corruption, the FA are again in the firing line for the wrong reasons.
Fabio Capello has inevitably been criticised since leaving less than 24 hours ago yet his approach to the John Terry situation has to be called into question as much as the FA’s handling of it. He could have been sacked after the 2010 World Cup and his failure to understand the English style of play and at times the language have meant he was always close to ridicule. Harry Redknapp would solve these problems.
Redknapp is the clear forerunner for the vacant manager’s job and the decision on Capello’s successor must be made promptly. However, the current Tottenham manager is enjoying the best spell of his career in club management and to step away from the dugout now would be a lot more time spent in an office, scouting games and away from the training ground.
The court proceedings against Redknapp brought with them some extraordinary revelations that included the 64-year-old admitting he couldn’t send an email or a text message and was unable to draw up a team sheet. There is little doubt that he would rather be on a training pitch orchestrating players five days a week than for friendlies five times a year but this job is every manager’s dream. And nightmare.
Redknapp is a patriot and has always said the position is “a job that any Englishman would find hard to turn down” whilst also admitting he did not fancy “the massive pressure” that came with it. Something has to give.
His understanding of English values and pride will boast a strong incentive for players in the Premier League to show their worth. Players like Phil Jones and Bobby Zamora have always boasted a battling spirit in their manners on the pitch and never will that be more appreciated than under Redknapp’s leadership. The fear factor that seems to strike players down whenever a tournament comes around would be eradicated. A well documented method the Spurs boss uses is telling each one of his player’s how they can stop their opponent and more importantly how their opponent can’t stop them. His man management is second to none and he would welcome in an exciting new era for England.
His Tottenham side are a joy to watch. The attacking full backs, darting wingers and evasive strikers could mean this is the most exciting England side seen in recent times. Kyle Walker, Micah Richards and Glen Johnson’s tussle for the right-back spot would be a joy to behold and with wingers such as Lennon, Walcott and potentially Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (a player Redknapp would surely admire) the service to Wayne Rooney and co. would be extremely effective. Young players such as Chris Smalling and Jack Wilshere would still be in the fold and Frank Lampard and Joe Cole may yet be handed an international lifeline.
The only danger here is prolonging the decision. Could Redknapp manage Spurs and England until the middle of May? With the right management team he probably could, although his club are pushing harder than ever for a coveted position amongst the big boys. With a friendly against the Netherlands three weeks away, the FA must act or face the unthinkable prospect of sinking any lower.