It looks as though you've got it in the bag, Tel: this time next week, you will be the new England football manager. We here are all delighted; never has a man been better prepared for the job. Everything you have ever done, every nice little earner, every job on the side, was just part of your apprenticeship.

What joy, for instance, it will be to have you, the amateur crooner who fronted the Joe Loss Band in your youth, putting some tune into the traditionally tone-deaf England World Cup song; what a pleasure it will be for the press corps to enjoy a glass of champagne at Scribes, the London drinking club you own, while they listen to you making the England squad announcements; what fun it will be to see you arguing on television with your double-act partner, Jimmy Hill, after an England match, and to guess how many marks out of 10 you will award your own team's performance.

What a good idea, too, for a serving England manager to have a column in the sports pages of the Sun; if anyone is going to call you a vegetable after yet another international defeat against some bunch of bus-driving, tax-inspecting, fire-fighting part-timers, it may as well be you yourself.

Then there are your behind-the-tills activities at Tottenham, the club you rescued from the brink of bankruptcy. Some voices have suggested that a bunch of unproven allegations of financial irregularity somehow disqualifies you from the England job - they may be ideal credentials for a Tory MP; however, they say, a position as dignified as manager of the England football team is no role for a wide boy.

But all those contacts you made at Spurs, all that experience you gleaned in oiling the wheels of the transfer market - what could be more handy? After all, England need some new players. Couldn't you have a word with that mate of yours who runs that Italian restaurant, and see if he could persuade Roberto Baggio to turn out in England's colours? Or what about Dennis Bergkamp, Eric Cantona or Andreas Moller?

Surely a man of your experience could find out what would persuade them to discover English antecedents, and hop across the Channel. Perhaps you may be able to tempt them with a walk-on part in a new series of Hazell, the dreary detective series you co-wrote that is bound to be revived now you've landed the job.

When they get here, they will discover that you are a man who knows how to plan a football match, who knows how to motivate a football team; they will find that, unlike your predecessor, you know what it is like to win important trophies, such as the FA Cup and the Spanish League Championship. People like to play for you, Tel. And that is something money can't buy.

Yours in sport

Jim White

(Photograph omitted)

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