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The Downfall of the England Team, the Managers and the FA

By Fez
Saturday 8th October 2011
What are your first memories of football and, in particular, the England Football Team?

My first real memory is Euro 96, where penalty shootouts and crowd trouble were probably the main talking point. England fans seem to have cut out the trouble, or in the past couple of tournaments it has not been widely covered in the media. However, penalty shootouts still remain a problem. Despite having some of the best players in the world (individually) we are still struggling to score from 12 yards with only a goalkeeper to stop us. England have lost the confident striker that could smash a penalty in without thinking about it. Alan Shearer, always wanted to score but now the penalty responisibility for England is seen as putting yourself in the firing line rather than a chance to score and be the hero.

It would be wrong to blame England's recent failures on not being able to win a penalty shootout. I believe this lies with the managers and the Football Association. It has progressively got worse with decisions and scandals snowballing and as a result the fans suffer, lose interest and consequently boo the National Team.

Let's start at the beginning Terry 'El Tel' Venables was leaving after the Euro's where England were knowcked out by a penalty shootout. I honestly don't think there is much problem here, England lost in the Semi-finals on a penalty shootout to Germany.

Glenn Hoddle was the appointed and the qualifying campaign was good and England pipped Italy to automatic World Cup Qualification and the image of Paul Ince with the bloody head bandage is a memory of this sucess. However, Glenn made a BIG call, he left Paul Gascoigne at home. Now Gazza could have gone to France, had a few too many, spoke out of turn, who knows? What we do know is that the quality of Paul Gascoigne is undeniable. He was a massive talent and is a man that could have come off the bench and got a goal. England were knocked out, again on penalties, to Argentina. However, if England had drawn or beaten the 'weaker' opponents of Romania, England would have played Croatia and their destiny just may have been different. England kept faith with Hoddle but about 6 months after the tournement the England Manager gave an interview with some unusual opinions and shortly afterwards was dismissed from the job.

The new man in, King Kev Keegan. The Geordie Hero. Ex England International.  A man that jumps that before he gets pushed. Kevin Keegan is a good manager, I honestly think that. However, there is a reason that King Kev has never been dismissed from his post. Keegan is a clever man and he leaves teams once he has taken them as far as he thinks he can. He does not have the perseverence that other managers show. He left Newcastle the first time because he knew he messed up. He was unable to cope with his misjudgement when selling Andy Cole to Manchester United and as a result eventually resigned. Keegan failed England in Euro 2000. Yes, England did have a very tough group but after beating Germany, England were naive and nervous and when Phil Neville gave away a late penalty England were knocked out in the group stages. Keegan stayed on as boss following the tournament but in the first qualifier for the World Cup 2002 England lost 1-0 to Gemany and as they were saying farewell to Wembley and farewell to King Kev. Keegan left because he knew this result made every game so important if England were to qualify and he didn't think England could do it.

A massive decision by the FA to appoint England's first ever foreign manager in Sven-Gören Eriksson and with him a big money contract. Sven took England to the World Cup with David Beckham's absolutely stunning display, capped off with a late free kick, scoring against Greece. The World Cup in 2002 I honestly think was England's best tournament. England were knocked out to the eventual winners of the tournament. Additionally, this is the only tournament I can remember where, England have been knocked out in the latter stages without controvesy. No penalty shootouts, no dissallowed goals and no red cards for an Englishman. England were simply beaten by a better team, The World Champions. The only debate regarding this tournament concerned a small bone in David Beckham's foot. I am glad Sven took him, his performance against Greece showed why we needed our Captain there. Sven also showed Glenn Hoddle that taking a chance can sometimes pay off.

England limped over the line to qualify for Euro 2004 and their inability to see out the game with France was costly and resulted in a knockout game with Portugal. Again controversy with dissallowed goals, an injury to Wayne Rooney and a penalty shootout. England were on the way home and still they stuck with Sven.

In the build up to the 2006 World Cup Sven made some bad decisions, affairs and conversations with undercover reporters. However, the fans liked Sven and this saved him from the immediate axe and instead he was allowed to bow out gracefully following the Germany 2006 World Cup. Sven took Theo Walcott to the World Cup instead of proven goal scorers in Jemaine Defoe or Darren Bent. Sven took a child who was finishing his GCSE's. Sven took a player that Arsene Wenger had not played in a Premier League game. Sven took a mistake.

At this point I would like to ask every future England manager to consider the following statement,

At the end of the season before the World Cup, the leading English Premier League goalscorer deserves a place on the plane to that World Cup. This applies to the leading stiker and midfielder.

Since 2006 the F.A. have taken over in making catestrophic decisions. Employing Steve McClaren and announcing it before the World Cup. Steve McClaren got the job on the back of a successful UEFA cup campaign with Middlesborough where he managed to defy the odds with several stunning second-leg comebacks. As England boss there are no second legs andthere are no second chances. McClaren managed to win the second legs when his tactics were compulsary. He had to attack. The games he tried to set his tactics, the frst legs, he lost. Steve McClaren should not have got this job. Sam Alladyce or Martin O'Neill should have been appointed. O'Neill has won trophies, and Big Sam turned Bolton into a consistent and stable Premier League team over several years. McClaren had one good run as Boro boss. Consequently, England failed to Qualify for the European Championship 2008 and the 'pally pally' atmosphere with 'Stevie G' was over. Steve McClaren failed in his first month when he shut the door on David Beckham, one of England's most passionate and consistent performers. That is the reason why he has over 100 caps. However, Steve McClaren's mistakes also include employing 'El Tel' as assistant, how can you assist at a team that you once managed? But the biggest mistake of all was taking Rihanna's advice and getting under the Umbrella! Ella! Ella!

England's again looked overseas for McClaren's successor and found it in Mr Fabio Capello. A born winner. A natural champion. A man with medals. At the time I agreed with his appointment, Big Sam had slipped off the radar and Martin O'Neill was comfortable at Villa Park. Capello was the best man for the job. His credentials speak for themselves. However, speaking English with his players is a massive criticism of Fabio. His inability to communicate effectively has been blamed for England's failure at the 2010 World Cup. I don't think so Fabio! Fabio Capello walked into the England job and outlined that he would not pick players who were unfit, injured or out of form. Despite this statement Fabio Capello included injury prone Ledley King and injured Gareth Barry. He also called up Jamie Carragher, a man who turned his back on England and attempted to recall Paul Scholes. Fabio showed signs of desperation and you can only imagine what this must have felt like to those players in the squad for Michael Carrick, Michael Dawson and what about those left behind such as Phil Jagielka. Capello also picked Warnock as back up for Ashley Cole. I don't think many people would argue when I say Leighton Baines is 110% the second choice left back for England. He has been more consistent for Everton than Cole has been for Chelsea in recent years however, Cole's international experience and Champions League experience must be taken into consideration.

England's failure began with Rob Green, the man who Capello's Index showed made more mistakes that resulted in goals than Joe Hart or David James. Joe Hart was England's best goal keeper but Capello was loyal to his number one throughout the qualifiers. A loyalty he did not show to Theo Walcott, the man who scored a hat-trick in Capello's most difficult qualifying fixture, away to Croatia. Despite the England teams poor performance, an unbelievely unforgiveable decision to not award England their equaliser after Frank Lampard's shot blatenly had crossed the line, ultimately cost England the tournament. England began the second half gung-ho and were punished when an unfit Gareth Barry was  beaten to the ball making it impossible for England to come back when Germany scored their third. England should never have played Germany. It was their inability to score against Algeria and the draw against USA causing them to finish second in their group.

The worst thing about this World Cup was that when the final whistle went and England had crashed out again the FA knew that the couldn't get rid of Capello. They removed a clause from his contract and as a result England were stuck with a man they could not afford to sack. Since them Capello has raised his game, changing tactics and picking in form players, not household names. But 2-2 draws with Switzerland, at Wembley, are simply not good enough. The FA should have had the balls to sack Capello and appoint a manager and allow him 4 years to build a team for the World Cup in Brazil, using the Euro's in 2012 as an opportunity to gain experience, obviously with the intention to go far in the competition.

I have just listened to TalkSport following the Montenegro game and people say we are not good enough! The players are good enough though, we have champions league winners and finalists in the team. The problem is the manager doesn't get them playing as a team. Capello changes teams all the time he has not built a squad over the past 2 years!

The FA say that they will not rush into appointing a manager following Capello's departure after the Euro's but there will be a large section of angry fans if they don't do all in their power to appoint Harry Redknapp.

Harry Redknapp knows his tactics, he has experience and most of all he is English.

I am appealing to the FA, please don't f*** the next one up!

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