In Praise Of: Sneaky Swedes and Scottish Managers

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Slakr‘s taken his positive side about as far as it can go. Since every respectable journalist seems to be blaming a media circus for Sven’s departure, he’s taken it upon himself to put the blame where the blame should lie.

And make no mistakes about it, the idiot who is responsible for Sven’s current troubles is one sneaky Swede named Sven Goran Eriksson. I’ve just about had enough about the tripe about how his personal life shouldn’t matter, and what he says in “private” should remain private. Lets get one thing straight here: the national football team during a World Cup are amongst the most visible respresentatives England has. Asking that their manager retain some degree of public integrity is not a big ask.

I personally thought that Sven should have been let go during the whole Faria “FA Bicycle” Alam scandal. Do I care that the England manager had an affair? Not really. Do I care that he got caught with his pants down? You bet your arse I do. I want my England manager to make headlines, but I want them to be on the back page. At least until the front page headline reads “England Win!”. The manager should not be the story, and though some may choose to blame scumbag journalists for making him out to be, there are a few very simple things Sven could have done to not give them the satisfaction. Here’s the advice I would give the new England manager:

1. Keep it in your pants. If you cannot do this, choose someone who is not a complete bimbo, and who exhibits the personal integrity that you’re sure she will not sell your story to News of The World. Note: the number of women who exhibit these qualities who are willing to sleep with elderly married men is probably not high.

2. Do not break the confidences of your players, and not make under any circumstances make disparaging comments to anyone who is not a member of your coaching staff. I think Rio Ferdinand is a lazy twat too. But I’m not responsible for making Rio play like a World Champion in 5 months time. You are. So either drop him from your squad, inspire him to improve, or shut the hell up.

3. Do not openly solicit other jobs — you will get caught. If you’re on the market, act like a classy call-girl. Make them contact you. Use a phone. And only meet in a way that you can get seen when you’re actually sealing the deal. The England manager job is not one for your average streetwalker.

Three Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Of managing my cranky football superstars.

Another new fad that really annoys me is this myth that Sven has done a fabulous job. He really hasn’t. Ok, so he’s qualified for all the major tournaments since he’s been in charge. Great. But one would expect nothing less with the talent he has on his books. Sven has benefitted greatly from the fact that during his reign the Premiership has become arguably the premier league in the world. As a result, his players have had to mature against the best in the world, and its made them even better. The top-to-bottom quality of talent in the England team and reserves is unsurpassed in 50 years, if not more. I’m sure there are many former National Team managers who would take a team of England’s current subs and be happy to try qualifying for any trophy with just them.

Sven, for all his achievements has never managed to over-achieve in a major tournament, mainly because he doesn’t seem capable of getting players like David Beckham and Steven Gerrard to display the sort of super-human efforts that other managers have. With Rooney, he has partially succeeded, but could not protect or calm him enough to make it count. I don’t want to go out as losing semi-finalists in Germany. I want to win the World Cup. Sven doesn’t seem to instill the same sense of belief in his players that Rafa, Jose or Sir Alex do.

We’re also getting lots of snide comments in the media about the lack of choices for a new manager. Do I think the new manager should be English? I don’t really care. If the best man for the job is English, great. I do think British managers have a leg up from a language and familiarity perspective, but that should just then be another criteria. All other things being equal I would take an Englishman over a foreigner for those reasons (if those reasons held true for the foreign coach). But I don’t believe that there is the dearth of quality coaches that people claim: Alan Curbishley has made Charlton into a perennial Premiership side. Steve McClaren has taken Boro to Europe. And Big Sam Allardyce has taken a shockingly untalented team to within games-in-hand of a Champions League spot. Brian Robson is considered a joke because of his early managerial mishaps, but he kept West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League for a second season. Lets just say that again. West Brom are in their second consecutive season in the top league in the world. I don’t personally rate Steve Bruce, but he’s the only one I think deserves the knives that have been taken out in recent weeks. If we are willing to look a little further north, there are two managers from Scotland that deserve a mention. David Moyes took Everton to the Champions League qualifiers. His team finished above the Champions of Europe. Not a bad years work. I think inconsistency is a problem, but that may be a maturity thing. With such a talented crop of youngsters, it may be no bad thing to have a young maturing manager.

And finally there’s a certain Scot who has done it all in his current job. Who is now in an uncomfortable position with tightened purse strings, a vastly more wealthy opponent, and a combination of poorer talent and/or poorer heart than he’s ever had before. This is the same manager that raised the finest crop of British players from their infancy to European Champions. Even if you believe that he’s lost his way in the transfer market, its a skill that doesn’t matter in a National team slot. So here’s my outside bet for new England manager. And my choice as well. Ladies, Gentlemen please raise your glasses for Sir Alex Ferguson.