With John Terry’s demotion followed by Fabio Capello’s resignation bringing about a premature national team meltdown, it’s high time to both bemoan what has gone before as well as look to the future and subsequent world domination. I’ve drawn up some ideas which the FA and co. would be wise to follow if their objective is to conquer the world, just like back in glorious ’66. Oh, the golden days…
Sort Out The Gaffer
Contrary to popular belief, Harry isn’t the man for the job. He may well be a triffic manager. He would get Joe ‘Coley’ Cole back in the team. He would get along fantastically with the media (just don’t call him a ‘wheeler dealer’). No doubt he would even rustle up an English birth certificate for Gary Bale from Kingston Upon Thames with his dodgy contacts. But the potential sight of Jamie Redknapp sat in the Wembley dugout with a nice M&S cashmere sweater is a sight too abhorrent to bear. Literally.
So, who does that leave? Big Sam has ambitions of managing Real Madrid or Inter Milan but I’m sure he’d settle for the England post. His flowing football and natural good looks would put England on a shining pedestal for teams worldwide to follow. That Lionel Messi character could learn a lot from Kevin Davies. And hey, we’d be in for a treat on Twitter. I can see it already: ‘Just off the phone to FA, and you’ll never believe your third bollock, I’ve got the fucking job. Won’t have much time to peel my sweaty ballbag off the leather sofa this Summer.#offtotheeuros #vaselinepacked’.
No, I can see why he wouldn’t be the best choice. You can’t tweet over 140 characters anyway. But there isn’t really much of a choice when the next best candidate is the currently jobless Mike Bassett, ex-England manager. What a mess his last reign was. Calling players Vauxhall Astras or Aston Martin DB9s depending on their performances; an official World Cup song with Atomic Kitten; and flaming sambuccas. Perfect.
Do What England Do Best
That means blood, sweat, and tears. Some good old-fashioned proper English grit and determination. We don’t need no pretty football from those Brazilians: get the ball from A, to Z, to the back of the onion bag. Get in!
Make The Right Team Selection
There’ve been some selection shockers in the past . Think Walcott in ‘06, Steve Guppy in ’99, think Michael bloody Ricketts in ’02. Hopefully past mistakes won’t be repeated. If we’re real about this winning the World Cup lark, then Robert Green, Kevin Nolan, Freddie Sears, Frank Nouble…and any other West Ham player eligible for England ought to be on the plane to Poland & Ukraine. West Ham won us the World Cup almost half a century ago, and will bring success to the national team once again.
Bassett will have to deal with the issue of international retirement. There’s a few players in the wilderness at the moment that could play a pivotal role in football coming home. Amongst these include the Ginger Ninja, and somewhat bizarrely national footballing luminaries Scott Carson and Luke Young. But the man the new gaffer’s skills of persuasion will really be put to the test with is none other than Emile Heskey. It is true that Aston Villa fans were in despair last month when it emerged that dear Emile was not in fact African, and as such would still be able to feature in much of Villa’s games during the African Cup of Nations. Another cool Heskey fact is that he wears a t-shirt underneath his top every game, ready to unveil when he scores. It reads ‘Free Mandela’.
For years, he’s been lauded as the man who got the best out of Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen respectively. ‘No he doesn’t score goals, but what he brings to the team makes him worth his place. Rooney/Owen/Insert young English striking prodigy here wouldn’t score half the goals they do without him.’ Alas, with Rooney’s suspension in the group stages coupled with Owen’s decrepit state and no new faces on the scene, it’s now time for Heskey to get the best out of Jay Bothroyd.
Manage The Pressure
Too often we’ve seen the slogan ‘England Expects’ plastered all over the country, alongside captions like ‘Hopes Of A Nation’ or my personal favourite, which appeared in The Sun prior to the 2010 World Cup: ‘England. Algeria. Slovenia. Yanks.’
This time around for the Euros, the best (only) appropriate group-themed acronym is ‘France. Ukraine. Sweden. England.’ Hopefully this isn’t related to Wayne Rooney’s fast fuse, or a foreshadowing of the final standings. Alternatively, I could pretend that I work for The Sun and be really clever: France. Ukraine. Cockneys. Kingdom of Sweden.
Really clever. Heh.
The England squad undoubtedly feel the effects of the pressure that is often heaped upon them by both the supporters and the press, often reflected in score-lines and swearing rants at the camera. Who was it that mentioned Roo’s fuse earlier?
What we really need is to approach the major tournaments with about as much confidence as we do the Eurovision Song Contest. At the end of the day, the blokes representing the country on the football pitch are probably just as talented as memorable English Eurovision acts such as Scooch or Andy Abraham. Remember them? No, didn’t think so.
In fact, let’s go the full Eurovision-monty and get Andrew Lloyd Webber in on the act.
He’ll know how to solve a problem like Engerland.