Coaching England: The Impossible Job


The job of the England national team would normally be a dream job for many football managers around the world. Some managers have held this office over the years but many of them have been the architects of their own downfall due to many controversies either about issues relating to football or issues away from the game itself. Falling out with the FA over captaincy issues, having romantic affairs with the FA secretary, insulting the disabled, missing a friendly match to attend to contract talks and most recently showing willingness to guide businessmen to circumvent FA rules. These are some of the troubles that had emerged hand-in-hand with occupying the managerial seat at Wembley. Anyone surprised at the ability of a Three Lions boss to shoot himself in the foot should check recent history to discover that its a disease of the national team. Contoversies, high expectations, influence of the media and many more has made the job to be regarded by many as “The Impossible Job”.


Roy Hodsgon resigned as boss of the team after a poor Euro 2016 performance in France that ended with a defeat to minnows Iceland. Sam Allardyce was appointed but he lasted only 67 days in charge managing a single match. ‘Big Sam’ was filmed by undercover Telegraph reporters that pretended to be investors from the Far East trying to have third party ownership of players. He explained to them how they could circumvent FA rules which prohibit the third party ownership of players. The footage also revealed Allardyce mocking Roy Hodgon’s voice and said his predecessor lacked the personality for public speaking. He criticised Gary Neville and described the FA’s decision to redevelop Wembley for a cost of £870million as ‘stupid’. Two meetings that lasted about 4 hours in total saw Sam agreeing to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong on a £400,000 speaking deal.

eriksonDuring the era of Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2004, Sven was caught in a romantic relationship with Bangladeshi-born FA secretary, Faria Alam. He revealed in his memoirs how he became in love with her. “She was sexy and smart! Just my type and very pleasant to be around”. The scandal erupted in the summer of 2004 but the Swede kept his job. Later in 2006, Mazher Mahmood who was a reporter from then News of The World and his colleagues treated Sven to a champagne-fuelled lunch while pretending to be wealthy Arab businessmen trying to buy Aston Villa. He agreed to resign from his England duties to take up a £5m per annum job at Aston Villa. Eriksson also promised to help ‘persuade’ David Beckham to join Villa from Real Madrid. He said Michael Owen was unhappy at Newcastle, Rio Ferdinand was very lazy and made some poor remarks about the England dressing room.

capelloFabio Capello was in charge from 2008 till 2012 but the Italian manager left the post after falling out with the FA over issues regarding John Terry. Terry who was the Three Lions captain was accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand in October 2011. The FA stripped him of the England captaincy without informing Capello . The manager felt John Terry should have kept his role under the presumption of innocent until proven guilty. He spoke out publicly against the FA’s decision and resigned as the team’s boss. Back in 1994, Terry Venables who was the manager in charge was cleared by the police of allegations of paying Brian Clough a £50,000 ‘bung’ for the transfer of Teddy Sheringham. Venables also had a public fall out with then Tottenham Hotspur chairman, Alan Sugar which led to him being banned from White Hart Lane for several years. The Englishman said there was a concerted and organized campaign to discredit him. He left the managerial office after Euro 96 and joined Portsmouth as director of football.

Glenn Hoddle lost his job as England national team manager in February 1999 over his belief in reincarnation. The then England boss granted an interview with BBC Live and said people who suffered from physical disability may have made ‘mistakes’ in a previous life. His statement angered many disability groups, football fans and the general public. He was sacked and Glenn Hoddle later said his words were ‘turned in their head, misconstructed and misinterpreted’. Hoddle’s time in charge also saw him bring in a faith healer named Eileen Drewery as a member of his backroom staff. This move drew severe criticism as players were pressured to see her though many of them were sceptical.

don revieIn 1977, Don Revie however became the first England manager to resign from office. He looked for a way to leave his job with the conviction that the FA were already searching for his replacement. Revie skipped a friendly match against Brazil in Rio to discuss terms in UAE, citing a scouting mission as the reason. He went on to tender his resignation to manage in the Middle East for a £340,000 per year deal after winning 48.3 percent of the 29 matches he managed as England manager. Don Revie was later banned from English football for 10 years; a decision that was later overturned by the High Court.

SouthgateIn conclusion, Gareth Southgate has been appointed on the interim as manager of the team following the dismissal of Sam Allardyce. The Three Lions have been lagging behind for a long time in comparison with other top football national teams. A disappointing Euro 2016 adds to the list of shambolic outings at major tournaments in the recent years. But what happens next from the FA’s Lancaster Gate office remains to be seen. Another manager will be appointed on a permanent basis and he’ll be saddled with the task of making the England team a strong force to be reckoned with among top national football sides in the world.

The word to describe the task isn’t impossible; it actually means I’m possible!


Ayoade Akinyode

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