The England football team have the tactical ability to reduce grown men, confident, respected and skilled at all aspects of football to nervous wrecks, figures of fun and shadows of their former selves. No, that is not what they do to any opposition team, it is how they destroy all England managers.
If only they could overcome the football teams of Brazil, Argentina or Germany in the same way! On the pitch though, in international games, they are the poster kids for low self esteem, timidity and lack of effort. Off the pitch, their inventiveness at making excuses is only surpassed by the venom and skill they demonstrate in destroying their current manager, and they saved their best destructive effort for the most professional, talented manager of them all.
Poor Fabio Capello! When he took over the England team, he was riding high, dignified and respected, a fabulous record of victories behind him, and a carefully crafted technique for honing a team that had a proven success rate. He had reckoned without the monster egos of England. Ashley Cole, John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand are engaged in a life long love affair – with themselves. These men are out for number one, and no doubt consider rugby’s Jonny Wilkinson, with his dedication, work ethic and care for other members of his team to be a blithering idiot. They have one other obsession. The massive salaries they are pulling in, inflate their swelled heads to gigantic proportions and blow up their monster selfishness like barrage balloons.
When Glen Hoddle and Graham Taylor took over as England Manager, the writing was on the wall from day one. Sven-Goran Eriksson lasted much longer (2001-2006), and he survived by letting the team do exactly what they wanted, tactics that now look a lot smarter than they did at the time. He was reported to have sought the assistance of an Italian mystic, and in the light of recent events, this wasn’t as daft as it seems.
But in Fabio Capello, it seemed that at last we had found a manager with the courage and will power to knock the England team into shape. Instead of dodging trouble, like Sven, he tackled the team head-on, by laying down stringent rules, no mobiles, no video games, no WAGS during internationals, and they played as they were told. He tried, oh how hard he tried. In the end, his defeat proved to be the biggest scalp of the England team. Capello was destroyed by the England players, and they got their revenge by fighting each other, undermining Capello and by producing the poorest England display in a World Cup ever. This effectively castrated the manager, making sure he would never be a force in World Cup football again.
There is only one answer and one answer alone to this terrible situation. Bring on the Martin Johnson solution. Any player who demonstrates lack of team spirit, and lack of commitment to England is kicked out. No exceptions.
UPDATE: 1st June 2011: FIFA is in the news and it all reeks of corruption. Seb Blatter to be given an open field to be Chairman for a fourth time? It stinks to high heaven.