So England’s problems are solved. Fabio Capello, the clueless dud that he is, has left the building and Harry Redknapp, the latest Messiah, is ready to step in and making everything okay again. Just like it used to be in 1966. When will the penny drop?
Capello, of course, is not a clueless dud, he’s one of the greatest managers on the planet, certainly at club level. He made mistakes with England, particularly at the 2010 World Cup, but he wasn’t helped by the endless nonsense surrounding the captaincy which ultimately did for him.
Capello was brought to manage a football team, not to direct a soap opera. There was evidence that he had learnt lessons and, driven by a desire to make up for South Africa, he was arguably as good a bet as any to lead England to some degree of success at Euro 2012. Yet now they’re celebrating the demise of the man they think cost them any chance in South Africa, ignoring the fact that, whatever background issues there may have been, the England squad simply wasn’t good enough.
They have some good players and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they could scrape their way to the semi-finals this summer. But until the English realise their squad is not loaded with world-class talent, they will continue to be left angry and disappointed whenever they fail to make it beyond the quarters.
Rather than face up to the fact England have done little in the last 45 years to be considered among the world’s elite, it seems easier to let the manager carry the can for any perceived failures. Harry, you’ve been well warned.
• When Hearts face St Johnstone in tonight’s Scottish Cup replay, they can increase the chances of another mouthwatering Hampden meeting between the two Edinburgh clubs.
The last time both Hearts and Hibs reached the Scottish Cup quarter-finals, they went on to meet in the semi-finals in 2006. It was an occasion which captured the imagination of the city and highlighted the fact that both clubs were in a good place six years ago.
Of course, this time round things are not so rosy for either team, but all the more reason to root for another Edinburgh derby at Hampden. A semi-final was exciting enough but a Hearts-Hibs final at the national stadium would be an incredible way to illuminate what has hitherto been a testing campaign for fans of the two Edinburgh clubs.
Go on, make it happen.
• There seems to be exciting times ahead for Livingston. The Almondvale club have taken plenty flak for their ruthless dismissal of Gary Bollan last week, but if you carry out a controversial managerial sacking, it’s vital to capture the imagination with your next act. With John Hughes and John Collins poised to be appointed as their new management team, Livingston have certainly done that.
Some Hibs fans will disagree, but for a First Division side, if they get men of their calibre on board, it is a major coup. Hughes and Collins are bona fide football purists and although they struggled to find Utopia during their respective tenures in charge of Hibs, the Livingston gig looks perfect for them.
Good friends and golfing buddies, the duo would be on the same wavelength as they return to the game refreshed and determined to prove their doubters wrong. As long as they are fully aware of the financial restraints they’ll be working under, it’s almost impossible to envisage this move backfiring.
I’d expect to see a swashbuckling young Livingston side surging up the First Division table in the not-too-distant future with Hughes and Collins on board, and their stock rising accordingly.