The English FA’s Problem in Finding a Manager

The English Football Association is sitting in a difficult situation. They are looking desperately for a coach and manager for their National Team. Well, some would say, that can’t be so difficult. England promotes itself on a regular basis as the home of the “best league” in world football. For a candidate of such a pool of master players, there must be someone willing to do this job. Well, not so. The FA is limited in their actions, because the call from the “public” is for an “English” manager. No more foreigner, is the tenor. That brings a few problems to the table.

Here are a few facts and current events that might turn into a problem for the self-proclaimed super power in football. First of all, the Barclay’s English Premier League (if I would be Barclay, I would reconsider my engagement in English football) is clearly one of the strongest in the world. On whether it is or not can be debated. If it is, the major reason would be that the majority, except 2 or 3, of the top notch players are foreigners. 17 of the 20 managers in English first flight clubs are, you guessed it, foreigners. One other candidate, that is the current assistant manager, has a brother that is part of the British National Party, a very right wing political entity in the UK. The press has already dragged that one through the mud, paired with a racial comment of said guy against a former team mate. With the other current events in this department of the English FA (now ex- captain John Terry will face court in July for racial abuse against another player and Luis Suarez of Liverpool just sat out an 8 game ban for the same offense), the assistant manager chances of getting the job are slim, to say the least. 2 out of the 3 are considered not qualified for the job. Another interesting fact of English football is the sad fact that the English haven’t won anything in European or World football. In fact, for some of the major tournaments they weren’t even able to qualify. The last time that happened, guess who was the coach. You guessed it right again, the last English manager they had was the capital failure. Also, over the last 70 years England had 2(!) foreign managers, out of 16 all together.

So, with the facts on the table, there is no visible reason to ask for an English manager. Not at all. As a matter of fact, considering the contractual obligations of the only remaining serious English candidate, they better take a look over to continental Europe. Of course there could be other reasons luring, political reasons maybe. One is tempted to ask, so, it has to be an English manager, is there anything else in preferences? With all the nonsense around this and the more or less qualified comments of some players, I am starting to wonder if all the fuss around John Terry and Luis Suarez is just a lip services to anti racism campaigns the FA, and the British government, has going on. Rio Ferdinand, that is the brother of the guy that was racially abused by John Terry, stated “We don’t need anything else lost in translation”. What??? Looking at the roster of Manchester United, Ferdinand’s club, it reveals that far more than half of the team doesn’t call English their first language. By the way, this counts as well for all other top premier league clubs.

Football is clear international language, Mr. Ferdinand. You don’t need to be an English major to explain what is supposed to happen on the field. The press conference, yep, for that you need clear English, but as McLaren demonstrated, clear English doesn’t win you the games or qualifies you for major tournaments. The call that the next England manager “must be English” is an excuse for not performing well enough. Not only for a few years, but for almost 50 years. If you not perform for 50 years, there is no reason to blame foreign managers. There are other things that are going wrong. Keep searching, it isn’t this one.

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