One of the best things about England crashing and burning at the World Cup has been the uproar in the British media - they are ruthless when it comes to this stuff, especially the ‘tabloid’ papers, and they let the team have it this week!
From desperate-sounding articles like Henry Winter’s “10 ways to save English football” piece in The Telegraph to others trying to figure out just who to blame, it’s always a bit of fun to read these papers in the aftermath of shocking, embarrassing or disappointing incidents like England’s World Cup performance (which was all three).
Winter says the English Football Association needs to have a National Football Centre built, focus on five to 11-year-olds, bring in a winter break in the EPL and “trust in flair,” among other things, to save the game in his country. Does this kind of talk sound familiar? I’m sure if you hit up the Google archives and read what was printed in the wake of Canada’s last poor showing at an Olympic hockey tournament, you’d see the same type of stuff.
It’s comforting to be reminded that we’re not the only people who grossly overreact when our national team doesn’t win the top prize, isn’t it?
Onto the blame game – whenever the result isn’t perfect, a lot of people find the need to pin it on someone. Did the players let us down? Was it bad coaching? Was everyone else out to get us?
Some, like Manchester United legend Roy Keane, say it’s the English players who are to blame for the dismal showing at the tournament, and not coach Fabio Capello.
Keane tells The Telegraph the team wasn’t made up of world-class players, and not many of them had particularly good seasons in the EPL. “To keep criticizing and questioning the manager is crazy – he didn’t do anything wrong in the qualifying campaign,” says Keane, who manages Ipswich Town in the Championship.
When a team of alleged superstars is unable to do away with the likes of Slovenia and Algeria and only manages to score three times in the entire tournament (okay, four if you count the disallowed goal), it has to be the team’s fault, right?
You’d think so, but there are a lot of people who don’t share that view, judging by this headline from The Daily Mail: “Fabio Capello’s lost it! No support from the FA, the players or fans leave Italian facing the sack as England manager.”
The Mail’s Charles Sale and Matt Lawton say the English FA will give themselves two weeks to decide on Capello’s future, but that it will be “extremely difficult” for him to continue because of the “national backlash” against the coach (and, to be fair, the club).
Capello, who has apologized to the fans for the team’s lack of success, says he wants to stay on because he likes the job, but will (obviously) accept whatever decision is handed down.
There are others who go more in depth with their hatred of Capello, like the Daily Mail’s Jeff Powell – he refers to him as a “tin pot Mussolini” in his long, angry diatribe of the manager. It’s worth noting though that when he says “we need an Englishman,” he conveniently forgets the fact that England’s last homegrown manager (and in fact, their last couple of homegrown managers) didn’t fare so well either.
Should the FA decide that it’s just not working out (Fabio, it’s not you…it’s us. Well, and a little bit you…), England will head into Euro 2012 qualifying under the direction of a fourth manager since 2006. Surely that can’t be good!
Maybe Keane is right when he says it’s time to stop putting the blame on the gaffer!