Word is filtering down from highly-prominent FA sources this morning that Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is a leading contender to replace incumbent Fabio Capello as England manager when the Italian’s contract expires in 2012 – news which is, at best, another one in the eye for the gods of karmic retribution and, at worst, a harbinger for the impending apocalypse.
According to the FA’s secretary general Alex Horne, Redknapp’s name is almost certain to be on the association’s ‘long list’ of potential successors to Capello as and when it is finally drawn up.
Horne is quoted by all and sundry today as saying:
“Harry Redknapp is a great manager. Tottenham are playing great football and to qualify well for the Champions League (knockout stage) from a position of being fourth favourites in the group is huge testimony to that.
I would expect Harry to make a long list (for the England job). It may not be a very long long list.”
Horne also went on to insist that the FA haven’t yet decided on a policy or any specific criteria with which to identify Capello’s replacement, and remained decidedly non-committal on the issue of whether or not his organisation were prepared to appoint another foreign coach.
“[Capello’s] there till 2012 which gives me 18, 19 months to prepare for that process. It is not a policy decision that [potential candidates] would have to be English. It is an absolute preference for certain individuals. It is not yet a board decision.
We thought about this long and hard when we got Fabio Capello. We got the right man for the job and that is what we will do again. It is not a policy decision that they will definitely be English.
I will be finalising the selection process criteria during the first few months of next year for internal discussion.”
For the record, there are known to be a good number of dissenting voices within the FA’s upper echelons, who are adamant that an Englishman should be sworn into the role in Capello’s wake. What that means for Redknapp’s chances of landing the job is entirely up to you to fathom.
Redknapp himself has systematically ‘flirted with’ and ‘laughed off’ speculation linking him with the England job for the past several years, speculation that has only been increased by his ongoing rejuvenation of Tottenham into a side capable of retina-searing majesty as well as tear-inducing ineptitude.
Tactically, Redknapp is a non-entity, instead relying on his considerable man-management and motivational skills to galvanise a squad – usually at the expense of any semblance of footballing discipline, a gung-ho approach that pays indubitable dividends just as efficiently as it exposes his lack of malleable nous.
That said, it is perfectly arguable that such convoluted tactical intricacies are a prominent factor in the England national side’s devolution – with players, already rendered cross-eyed by the overwrought marking-systems etc… forced upon them at club level, feeling further shackled by the dour positional doctrines being foisted on them by the current international set-up.
Maybe the emancipation afforded by a more instinctive, creative gestalt would serve to provide the fabled up-turn in footballing fortunes that the nation has now all-but collectively given up on witnessing during our respective lifetimes.
As is his want, I imagine the lure of capping a 27-year managerial career (which is currently somewhat unembellished by tangible success i.e. silverware) with a bout of high-profile international coaching would prove irresistible to Redknapp, as finally being entrusted with the England job would be a kind of ‘ultimate affirmation’ for a man who has consistent been put on the back-foot over his cavalier attitude to tactics/transfers/agents/scruples for the best part of three decades.