Capello Out – Enter The Barwick-O-Tron (Again)

4 By Ian  |   The Ball  |   February 8, 2012  |     9

So, Fabio Capello quits as the England national coach. This is, perhaps, unsurprising considering the dog’s abuse that he has taken while leading the national team through an almost flawless qualification campaign, before finding that the decision over who would take the England captain’s arm-band was taken away from him without consultation. It may be some time before we find out exactly what was said at this afternoon’s meeting between Capello and the FA chairman David Bernstein from the FA itself, but Capello might not be so tight-lipped – it has  it already been reported that Capello has this evening told the press that, “The England FA really insulted me and damaged my authority.” The FA’s statement on the subject is, perhaps predictably, giving little away on the subject in its official statement on the matter, other than that his resignation was tendered and accepted. The whys and wherefores, however, are probably for another day. The effect remains the same. Yet again, the England manager’s seat is empty and the FA look s little foolish, even if they were acting with the best of intentions over the John Terry matter.

With this, the fevered speculation begins again. Harry Redknapp, who was acquitted of tax evasion charges earlier today, will doubtlessly be the bookmakers’ favourite for the job, but nothing is decided yet and the FA may choose to put a caretaker in place until after this summer’s European Championships. None of this will stop the speculation of course, though some of the names put forward so far have been less than serious – in the last half an hour on Twitter, Gunnersaurus, Bryan Robson and the cat that got onto the pitch during the match between Liverpool and Spurs on Monday night have all been suggested for the role – but the question of where the FA goes from here is an intriguing one. The likes of Guus Hiddink might be a more sensible suggestion, but this wouldn’t placate those who believe that the England manager should, for whatever reason, be English.

Ultimately, though, it may be worth considering that the England manager’s job may now well be football’s ultimate poisoned chalice. Since the managership of the England job became a matter of more than merely turning up to meetings with the FA’s antiquated Selection Committee, doffing one’s cap and taking the sheet of paper upon which was written the names of the next team, England managers have come and gone, with the notable exception of Alf Ramsey, with the reputations largely diminished. There have been some good managers in there – Don Revie, Ron Greenwood and Sven Goran Eriksson are amongst the capable that have left with their reputations tarnished and only one – Bobby Robson – departed the job with a reputation intact – and there is an element of revisionism in that, on the part of the press at least. It may be worth reflecting upon the fact that the England job has taken yet another manager who has been a success throughout his career, and turned him into a failure.

Managing England remains, however, a hopelessly thankless task. It’s difficult to imagine that there could be a club equivalent, although perhaps asking a newly-appointed manager of Aston Villa to win the Champions League within two years and ridiculing him when he fails to do so comes close. And, no matter what one’s opinion of Capello might be, it’s not difficult to build a case for saying that the question of who the manager may or may not be could even be, broadly speaking, irrelevant. Until structural issues relating to the coaching and upbringing of young players, the paucity of coaches, the wilder excesses of elements of the press and the negative image of the national team – especially in the eyes of the supporters of the biggest clubs – who exactly the coach is will remain a relative irrelevance. In the meantime, we can bring you an opportunity to have a look at some outside contenders for the job now. The man himself might have gone, but Brian Barwick’s spirit lives on in the form of the Barwick-O-Tron, a computer which calculates some of the most important attributes for this particular job and selects a new coach and assistant coach. You never know. It might just come up trumps.

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Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

  • February 9, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Tim Vickerman

    Can I be the first to suggest we just appoint the captain’s armband as the new manager and get on with it? Failing that, Steve Kean.

    As usual, I pretty much agree with much of what you write. I’m surprised that it was Capello who resigned but I’m sure he’s just fed up of the whole circus and knows England will disappoint and go out to the first decent team they face (if they get through the first round at all).

    I am completely fed up of everything that goes with the England national football team and far prefer tournaments without them. Euro 2008 was wonderful in that it was possible to just enjoy and talk about, you know, the football. Most of the ‘world class’ (the most over-used adjective in football after ‘stonewall’?) players often seem not to give a toss and so neither do I.

    I will be fascinated to see how the press respond at the point they realise Harry Redknapp is nothing more than a semi-decent football manager with a track record of winning f*ck all in 30 years of management and that England have actually never been a very good football team.

    It’s too easy to criticise the nonsense Steve Claridge (a man whose mastery of English grammar is proably a notch below Capello) guffs out but apparently, the whole the Capello era has been a ‘nightmare’ – he’s the most successful England manager ever. It does seem to stick in the craw of many pundits that two of England’s most successful managers are from outside Albion.

  • February 9, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Tim Vickerman

    And there’s the inevitable typo in a sentence where I criticise someone else’s grammar. Grrrr.

    Can I request that twohundredpercent alter the comment box as the text is such a light grey that it’s almost impossible to read? At least on Firefox. That’s my excuse.

  • February 9, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Chris ,Bedford

    Its little known how much Capello’s appointment back in late November 2007 was influenced by Brendan Guilfoyle. At that time football’s arch administration expert was dealing with Luton Town, and had an appointment with the FA to discuss charges relating to illegal payments to agents which ultimately led to Luton’s massive points deduction. The man on the reception desk told me what happened ….

    Mr. Barwick, Reception here Ive got Mr. Guilfoyle here to see you..

    Yes. Mr Barwick Mr. Guilfoyle. He’s the administrator now looking after affairs at Luton Town.

    Yes. Luton Town Mr. Barwick,. The League 1 club that’s just gone into administration for the third time in ten years…….

    That’s right League 1 Mr Barwick….. ….

    Used to be Division 2, Mr. Barwick ……..

    The old Football League Division 3.? Remember Mr. Barwick ? ..

    The Football League, Mr. Barwick ……

    No not the Premier League – It’s a different league. It was around before the Premier League Mr. Barwick.

    How long ? Oh over 100 years Mr. Barwick – well before the Premier League started…

    Oh that only started in 1993 Mr. Barwick…..

    What’s that ? ….. Oh there’s lots of clubs outside the Premier League Mr, Barwick – about 72 in the Football League alone , and others in the Conference.

    Yes the Conference , Mr Barwick……Conference…

    Have you been invited ???? No no – its not that sort of conference, Mr. Barwick. It’s just a another name for a league Mr. Barwick…..

    No…. I don’t know why its called a conference Mr. Barwick – it’s just a funny name they use in American Football. ….

    American Football Mr Barwick You know, there was a game at Wembley recently

    No David Beckham wasn’t playing, Mr Barwick.

    It’s a different type of football Mr Barwick – a bit like rugby. They made a mess of the pitch, remember.

    No we can’t deduct any points for messing up the pitch, Mr. Barwick. The FA doesn’t control American Football. We can only deduct points if its an English football club. Mr. Barwick.

    Such as who Mr. Barwick ? West Ham ? Ah no West Ham’s different Mr. Barwick. They’re a Premier League club – they’re exempt Mr. Barwick. They’d sue the arse off us Mr. Barwick

    Which clubs can we deduct points from Mr. Barwick ? Oh let’ s see ..a League 1 club perhaps Mr. Barwick like.. Luton Town for example.

    No that’s right – they’re not in the Premier League, Mr Barwick …They’ve been charged making illegal payments to agents. Remember .. Mr. Barwick ? That’s what Mr Guilfoyle’s here to see you about…

    Yes, he does have an appointment. Yes I know Ive told Mr. Guilfoyle you’re very busy. Yes he says he can come back another time but he says that this has to be resolved by June next year so that he can complete his legal reporting obligations to the Department of Trade and Industry.

    Yes Mr. Barwick. June next year.

    Yes Mr. Barwick. June 2008.

    Yes I am sure Mr. Barwick .

    Yes – the whole of June’s completely free of commitments, Mr Barwick.

    You thought there was something else important on at that time, did you Mr Barwick ?

    No Mr. Barwick – I’m quite sure – there’s absolutely nothing in the diary for June next year. We completely cleared it last Thursday – after the Croatia game… remember ? .

    Tell him what, Mr. Barwick ?

    Very well Mr. Barwick.

    I’m very sorry Mr. Guilfoyle. …Mr. Barwick is unable to see you right now. He is extremely busy dealing with a unforeseen personnel matter at the moment, but he will be in touch in the near future.

    However he would like to make it clear that the FA considers these charges to be of the utmost gravity, and is determined to eradicate such shambolic incompetent mismanagement from our great game.

    Oh there was just one other thing.

    The FA have just had vacancy become available which might prove difficult to fill.

    Mr. Barwick wonders whether you ve got any ideas about a new England team manager ?

  • February 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm


    lol@Chris, very funny.

    ps – all teh comment area is a very, very light grey and barely visible in Internet Explorer too. Please change as it is really difficult to see as you type.

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