Fabio Capello exploded the internet on Wednesday when he announced his resignation from the least gratifying job in the world. Now, just four months before the start of Euro 2012, England finds itself without a manager. The question on everyone’s lips is, “Who’s next?” But that’s a really stupid question. The real question is, “Why are we, even for a minute, pretending that anyone other than Harry Redknapp will be the next England manager?”
This is not to say that Harry is the best man for the job. He’s almost certainly not. But he is the Redknappiest man for the job and that seems to be the FA’s sole requirement. They have already made it more than clear that the next manager will be English (or at the very least, British). FA chairman David Bernstein hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a foreigner coming in, but admitted it would be best for all involved if those filthy Europeans just stayed on their own continent. Anyone suggesting that Guus Hiddink or Rafa Benitez or any other Johnny Foreigner has a chance of being appointed is deluding themselves. Or just trying to be cool and different, which is worse. Stop that.
England has gone through a cycle where each successive manager’s most important quality is not being the previous one. From Kevin Keegan, to Sven-Goran Eriksson, to Schteve McClaren, to Don Fabio, the FA’s thought process has been embarrassingly transparent. “English grit got us nowhere, we need tactics dammit! Nigel, find me some high profile genius, someone brilliantly cosmopolitan! Oh wait, that guy can’t win a penalty shootout either? Fuck. Call up that unassuming guy what managed Middlesbrough without ever really achieving anything. Wait, why’s he carrying an umbrella? Why aren’t we in the Euros? Why are you talking in a fake Dutch accent? Dammit, stop calling him “Stevie G”! Alright, whose dumbass idea was it to go English? Fuck English. Bring me the biggest and trophiest foreign guy you can imagine, double points if he’s got glasses! He quit? Dammit! Stupid glasses. Who wants glasses? Glasses are for nerds. Get me a guy who isn’t a nerd and definitely doesn’t wear glasses. Not even reading glasses. In fact, find me someone who can’t even read, just to be safe.”
Which brings us to Harry.
With his droopy-dog looks and his cocksure Cockney swagger, he’s the People’s Manager and the polar opposite of the nerd-bespectacled Fabio Capello. He’s the most English of English managers, incapable of finding a tactic even if one was deposited in his offshore bank account. He’s got a charming and honest way about him, even when you know he’s lying through his
car window teeth. He harkens back to a bygone era where men were men and footballers kicked the shit of each other in the mud and rain because that’s just how you play the game.
And he already has the public’s endorsement. Everyone expects him to be the next England manager and most people are even ok with that. When the Guardian polled its writers as to their preference, Harry Redknapp was almost unanimously chosen. Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand have already tweeted their support for him. How can anyone not named Harry Redknapp step into the job now? The already thankless task of whipping England into shape for an international tournament would become completely unbearable. Nobody wants to be the Guy Who Isn’t Redknapp leading England to their customary quarter-final elimination.
Finally, the FA don’t want to have Brian Clough 2.0 on their hands. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this. Basically, everyone knew Clough was The Guy, and the FA didn’t hire The Guy. They hired some other guy. And the next guy was fine, but he wasn’t The Guy. And he will forever be known as The Guy Who Wasn’t The Guy. And nobody wants that. What’s worse, England has forever wondered what would have happened if they had gotten The Guy instead. And the answer is probably they’d still be sorta meh and whatever, but WHAT IF THEY WERE AWESOME AS FUCK INSTEAD. And since the FA seems to care more about the public perception of the things they do than the actual consequences of the things they do, they will appoint Harry Redknapp. Because if they don’t, and the other guy fails this summer, which he probably will because let’s face it, this is England we’re talking about, but if they don’t, the world will always wonder “What if?”
Also, he might actually be decent at it. You might think of him as just a wheeler-dealer. But he’s not. He’s a fucking football manager.