It doesn’t have a name but it’s a common tactic. It’s hard to criticise anyone for trying, especially when they shoot for the stars and fall short. The trick is to do it subtly, something in which many accused long-time Aston Villa chairman of being proficient.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp is extremely likely to be offered the opportunity to replace Fabio Capello as England manager; to a certain extent he has to, lest the media propagandists who sang Happy Birthday to him at a press conference today sharpen the knives for David Bernstein and his besuited colleagues. There is virtue in public opinion, but when it is guided so blatantly by the press it’s difficult to take the view of the average football fan very seriously.
To step outside the main issue briefly, I think it says a lot about Redknapp’s elevated status that the assembled media felt the need to serenade him in what is supposed to be a professional setting. Think about why he’s the favourite for the England job and how he got there – and consider the specific role of the people who openly joined him in celebrating today – before jumping on the Redknapp bandwagon.
Regardless, he’s probably going to get the job. That’s why it raised a wry smile and not much more when I read Daniel Taylor’s Guardian article today. Taylor’s a well-connected journalist and there’s no reason to doubt him, so when he writes that Redknapp has competition I’m inclined to believe him. “While Redknapp is known to want the job,” he writes, “the FA is aware that Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid would be high-calibre alternatives.”
Call me a cynic, but I don’t think Guardiola is going to become the England manager. I could imagine Mourinho taking the job (at a stretch), but Guardiola? No chance. Instead of paying lip service to the possibility of bringing in a truly big name while clearly lining up a specific candidate, the FA should be properly examining the more imaginative, inventive and realistic options available.
Still, the FA know not to defecate where they masticate; according to Taylor they don’t want to be accused of derailing Tottenham’s season.
On that note, a later development today confirmed that even though UEFA Euro 2012 is fast approaching we will not know who England’s new manager will be until the end of the domestic season. This may be to appease Spurs or it may be to guarantee they get their man. It won’t be for the right reason, which would be that Euro 2012 is not a tournament England can win and as such it doesn’t really matter who takes charge in the short term. Stuart Pearce – or whoever – could take on the job for a few weeks and be replaced in August, but it strikes me as doubtful that the FA will take that approach.
And so we re-enter the great England paradox: the FA will not appoint a manager for the short term, but the man they bring in for the longer term will be appointed with Euro 2012 in mind.
The FA’s comments were reported by FourFourTwo. Here’s FA General Secretary Alex Horne on the shortlist, the current state of play and why the FA’s sitting on its big decision for the time being:
“We’ve got a list. It’s a back-end-of-the-season decision for us. We recognise that a lot of the managers on the list are employed and we don’t want to interrupt anyone’s season. We’re not rushing this and we are expecting something at the back end of the season.”
In the meantime it will be Pearce who stays on to oversee the operational preparations for the European Championships.
(Photo credit: Beacon Radio via Flickr)