Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Bleeding Obvious

England coaches are either completely useless or footballing geniuses. Usually they are both, it depends on the result of any given game. To be coach of England's national team is a study in short attention span syndrome. Grand conclusions and expert analysis revolve around individual results. The current man has be hailed as a maestro after England thrashed Germany 1-5 (I'm sure this must be somewhere on Hurley's blog) and a befuddled dunce after they lost abjectly to Northern Ireland.

English footballing fans are guilty of myopic "here & now" vision, where nothing in the past or future has any impact or importance. This is not helped by the English footballing media who when they are not caracaturing the coach as a vegetable are lambasting him for either not being a Churchillian motivator or for being a little Englander. Or worse still, not being English at all which you have to admit is a bit unfair when you are born in Sweden.

Yet their is an organisation that towers above the media and the fans for their ability to come out with lunatic, moronic and just plain dumb comments - the F.A. (insert your own meaning) They are responsible for leaving the nation panic-stricken with their choice for "our man in the coach's seat". This collection of worthless fools (I excuse Trevor Brooking as long as he never ever resumes his co-commentary duties) seem intent on appointing a coach, who not only is not the overwhelming choice of the fans, players, other coaches and media, but who is actually not even the number 1 choice of any of the selection committee.

This sub-committee, or Committee to Elect the Next England Coach - CENEC for short, have compiled a short list of 4 names. They have drawn out the selection process in a way that can only be explained by their being on a paid by the day stipend. It really is very easy, all you have to do is find a coach to answer the following 3 questions:

1) Do you want the job?
2) Can you coach?
3) Are you any good?
Those that answer 'yes' to the first question usually mean that they should be automatically excluded from the next two, but occasionally a man squeezes through the mix and rises like sausages in a toad-in-the-hole. That man is Martin O'Neill.
It is a no-brainer. It is just that plain and simple. He wants the job. He can coach - look at his medals and trophies and here is the clincher, he is an excellent coach! He took Leicester City twice into Europe! Twice! He got a Scottish team to a European final. He is lauded as an intuitive and innovative coach who got Steve Guppy and Emile Heskey England caps!
Furthermore, this is an ex-professional footballer with a law degree! Remember this also, this is a man, a Catholic, who was captain of Northern Ireland in the early 1980's and led his country out at Windsor Park and refused to be curtailed by threats because he did so.
Martin O'Neill is the right man for the job, his record proves that, his coaching proves that, his basic intelligence proves that. But more importantly, he has shown this ability over a number of years, not just the last few weeks. Steve McClaren is a gifted coach, part of the Manchester Utd team than won the treble in 1999. Alan Curbishely has established Charlton Athletic as a Premiership team with little money. Sam Alladyce has shown tactical nous and a high-quality man-management style to soothe troublesome and childlike egos.
Those coaches all have merits, but non are in the same league as Martin O'Neill. A player who won League titles and European Cups, who captained his country in a 16 team world cup against the back-drop of civil war, who coached a non-league team into football league and established them there, who took Leicester into Europe, who took Celtic to a European final and who knows the true place that football has in the scheme of things. Really, it is bleeding obvious.

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