By Tony Attwood
I am not sure what the aaa would make of it; I get the impression that some of them support England so they might not want their nemesis to become the nation’s manager. But that is what Telegraph readers think in a poll conducted in the paper. Mr Wenger is the man to salvage England.
No worries that he has always said that he has no interest in being a manager of a national team, and at least one of the pundits on the Telegraph’s payroll said, “It almost certainly will not happen”. But then adds, “I would not be adverse to putting Gareth Southgate in caretaker charge for 12 months if it meant getting Wenger.”
So here’s the Telegraph readers’ ranking of the man to be the next England manager when I did the poll at lunchtime today.
- Arsène Wenger 24%
- Sam Allerdyce 18%
- Alan Parew 12%
- Eddie Howe 10%
- Rafa Benitez 9%
- Jurgen Klinsmann (actually misspelled on the web site as Kilnsmann) 7%
- Gareth Southgate 7%
- David Moyes 6%
- Gary Neville 4%
- Sean Dyche 3%
And here were the Sky Bet odds on next England manager
- Gareth Southgate – 6/4
- Alan Pardew – 8/1
- Eddie Howe – 10/1
- Gary Neville – 14/1
- Brendan Rodgers – 14/1
- Jurgen Klinsmann – 16/1
- Harry Rednapp – 16/1
- Roberto Mancini – 25/1
No press on Mr W then.
The Daily Express also goes for Arsène Wenger , and being as it is the newspaper of the very elderly it tells us that his
“Current job: Arsenal”
before providing us with this helpful summary.
- Pros: One-time football visionary. Track record of developing young players. Premier League manager for 20 years.
- Cons: One-year left on his Arsenal deal. Why would he take it?
But of course this is a footballing matter so as always the Redknapp Opinion on a Rope machine is there ready to oblige. And this time it is the Daily Mail that gets him to speak…
The Mail in fact is quite damning.
Between them, Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson did not manage a single victory in a knockout match during their England tenures. None of the trio progressed the national side, despite being blessed with an abundance of talented players. None inspired a generation.
The FA has systematically appointed the wrong man, granting the bumper seven-figure salary to individuals whose hearts are undoubtedly in the right place but whose minds are simply not up to it.
That’s all ordinary everyday Mail-isms but they then come up with a more radical idea, and one that finally gives me a bit of hope.
By quitting international tournaments we wouldn’t even need a boss and the £3million-plus paycheck that goes with him. Instead, we’ll manage the team by referenda. What could possibly go wrong?
Indeed they get quite involved in this approach, adding.
Since 2006, England have failed to beat the USA, Algeria, Costa Rica, Slovakia and Russia at major championships. We’ve also lost to Germany, Italy (twice), Uruguay and Iceland.
And for the Mail it is not just the results that are wrong…
It’s become tedious now. The glum expressions, the monotonous answers, the absolute adherence to brand England – whatever that is. The job of the Three Lions manager has become a character vacuum, while the players are either too scared to speak their minds or contractually bound not to.
Where’s the colour? Where’s the enthusiasm? Where’s the joie de vivre?
The best we could come up with was a poster asking Jamie Vardy if he’d swap his shirt for a pint and a Red Bull. We’re broken. Let’s take time out and re-evaluate.
Their summary of the English conception of their own football is “Miserable Arrogance.” I think that fits. Joie de vivre is defined as gaiety, cheerfulness, cheeriness, merriment, light-heartedness, happiness, joy,joyfulness, joyousness, delight, pleasure, high spirits, spiritedness, jollity, jolliness,joviality, exuberance, ebullience, liveliness, vivacity, enthusiasm, enjoyment, verve, gusto,relish, animation, effervescence, sparkle, buoyancy, sprightliness, jauntiness, zest, zestfulness – just in case you hand’t got there.
But there is another way although I do like selecting the team by referenda. That England should stop playing football at least for the next 30 years.
But inevitably the newspapers just won’t take that little extra step. They seem congenitally unable to think the unthinkable. They cannot come up with the final, absolute, complete release from it all. That one great step that would liberate us from more of the same.
Until now it has always been my view that the FA should be wound up and dropped into that trench off the coast of Japan that is deeper than Mount Everest is tall. They take tax payers money, throw it at expensive managers and in buying gifts for corrupt Fifa executives, while making promises they never fulfil about building new pitches for grass roots football.
And it has never occurred to me to add that an extra benefit of all this is that there would be no England team if there was no FA. Just think of the liberation. Just think of the freedom from worry and anxiety. Just think of the relief from all those strange people who stick flags on their cars.
But we need to be more inventive, if there does have to be an England team. For each game we could select both the manager and the team by referenda.
And we could play little countries with populations the size of Norfolk. Oh no scrap that, we’ve just tried that one.
Or we could have Alan Shearer and that Lineker fellow as manager, because he comes from a town the size of Iceland, and so he could just choose all the local players and show us exactly how much he knows.
But this is what we really, really should do. We should make it a rule that says we always have at least five Tottenham players in the team, just so that we always know what we are going to get when it comes to the crunch.
I know we have just done that but it was funny so we could do it again.
And then having selected the England squad, there should be one more rule: they have to go around the country ensuring that grassroots football pitches are being built at a faster rate than in any other country in Europe. And when we win that league, I would absolutely and totally join in the celebrations. In fact they could hold them in my house if they wanted.
After all I live in a village that has a population smaller than Iceland. And not many people can say that.
- Is football really the game that ‘we’ invented?
- What do you get when you ignore Untold and pack a squad with Tottenham players?
- Why having an opinion should absolutely not be the life blood of football.
Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page