Football Chat And Chips

Football Chat And Chips

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    A blog about English football.


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  • The FA – Flaccid and Abject

    Posted on 22 October, 2012

    General George S. Patton Jr once said ‘No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair’. I’ve never had the pleasure of stepping into the FA headquarters, but one could assume that had ‘Old Blood and Guts’ been alive today, he would have witnessed his fair share of swivelling.

    Within their Wembley office, there are three types of swivel chair. One where bad decisions are made, and one where no decisions are made. And then there’s that third chair. The one which fell out of Del Boy’s Reliant Regal and made it’s way through the back door. This is the chair where decisions are made on the future of the England national team.

    Most recently it has seen the appointment of one Roy Hodgson. Just when us excitable lot were expecting good old ‘Arry to spice up the England team, after 11 years of Erikkson, McClaren and Capello, the FA serve up another treat – Roy.

    Now please don’t get me wrong, Roy’s a lovely bloke and has an impressive CV. As well as speaking 5 languages, he guided Switzerland to the last 16 at the 1994 World Cup. In 2007, he guided Finland to 33rd place in the FIFA rankings, and in 36 years of management he has managed 21 teams. Before I continue, I must stress this is not mereley an attack on Roy. This is an attack of the FA’s complete and utter lack of ambition.

    The game against Poland last week was as bad as I have ever seen. It was McClaren bad. Worse. On the one hand you can feel sorry for Roy and wonder why someone of Rooney’s ability can be so dreadful in an England shirt. Without doubt, Rooney will top the scoring charts for England one day, but let’s hope he can be remembered in the same way we remember Charlton, Greaves and Lineker.

    Rooney aside, Hodgson is just continuing to pick the wrong players. Again, some might say it’s because he’s got nothing to choose from, but that cannot hide the fact that he is setting his teams up to simply not lose the game. A 4-4-2 / 4-4-1-1 formation was adopted against Poland. Unfortunately width and creativity were not. Milner on the right. Cleverley on the left. Carrick and Gerrard in the middle. Expletives followed.

    Thankfully the Polish had designed a roof which doesn’t like closing when wet, so the game was rescheduled to 4pm the following day. Perfect, I’ll be at work. For the next 90 minutes, I had to endure Adrian Chiles’ top lip getting sweatier by the second, but this was far more entertaining than watching Milner looking knackered after 2 minutes, Carrick and Gerrard exchanging sideways passes and Cleverley wondering what the big white line was to the left of him.

    There was no pace and no width. That was on the bench in the shape of Adam Johnson and Aaron Lennon. As for creativity, England let him retire at the age of 29. Hair still extremely ginger; we just didn’t know how to use him. Tragedy. Still, I can’t blame Roy for that one. He was currently manager of Viking FK, having left the United Arab Emirates post.

    Would Redknapp have picked that team last week? Or possibly a younger, hungrier and more ambitious manager? Absolutely not. We’re England, and although we’re not the fifth best team in the world, we’re certainly the best team in that group and should be going all out to beat these teams. We’ll qualify, don’t worry. We’ll be in Rio and we’ll be out the moment we meet a team as good as we are. The starting line up will be pretty obvious – old heads with the odd sprinkling of youth. Nothing too crazy. Roy will keep his job and we’ll repeat the process again for Euro 2016. Following inevitable disappointment there, (insert name of 60 year old foreigner) will be ready to ‘take up the huge challenge and great honour’.

    The FA needs a shake up. A big one. Proper football men need to be on this board. Men with voices and a personality. Shearer, Ince, Collymore and Dixon to name a few. As for the Chairman – Trevor Brooking. If the board does not change, the managerial appointments (and the football that ensues) will be dire and predictable. With Wilshere, Sterling, Caulker, Walker, Bertrand, Ince, Zaha and Chamberlain, there is plenty for England to be excited about. All that’s needed now is a young and energetic manager to look after these players. I won’t hold my breath.

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