Excessive burden of expectation - Sport - The Independent

Excessive burden of expectation

Ken Jones argues that the national coach has an almost impossible job

Doubtless Glenn Hoddle will bear in mind that managing England is not a job, it is a responsibility. It means less of a private life, ringing telephones, arrogant assumptions and coming under the pontifical scrutiny of amateur strategists.

It means attempting to restore a reputation that exists only in the minds of blinkered patriots; 30 years since England won the World Cup, nothing either side of that achievement. And never mind the technical flaws, the British cultural divisions evident in great club teams, who has been held to blame? The managers.

Constrained by autocratic selectors who were not above applying quite ludicrous regional bias, England's first manager, Walter Winterbottom resigned in 1962, unable to get beyond the quarter-final stage in four World Cups. Alf Ramsey, the feted hero of 1966, was fired six months after failing to qualify for the 1974 finals in West Germany.

Less than a year into his term of office, Don Revie, who had built Leeds into one of Europe's most feared teams, was conceding privately that he had taken on an impossible task. "I got carried away, simply didn't pay enough attention to the fact of how many important players in the First Division wouldn't be available to me as manager of the England team," Revie admitted. "I'm scraping the barrel and it will be a miracle if we qualify [for the 1978 finals]."

Soon after it became obvious that England would not get through, suspecting that it was only a matter of time before he was sacked, Revie took off scandalously for the Middle East without bothering to inform his employers.

Ron Greenwood restored respectability to a role he should have been considered for earlier, and got England to the last eight in the 1982 finals before handing over to Bobby Robson.

It was during Robson's tenure that the task of managing England became one nobody should consider without first demanding a heat shield. Forced to withstand probes into his personal life and a mounting flood of criticism, Robson had aged perceptibly by the time Argentina put England out of the 1986 finals in Mexico. He hung on, and despite tactical blunders in the early rounds, he came within a penalty shoot-out of the final in Italy four years later.

Of all the appointments in sport, few carry such an overwhelming sense of national responsibility as being manager of England and it proved too much for Robson's successor, Graham Taylor. In attempting to refine the direct method he favoured as a club manager, Taylor got lost, his teams neither one thing or another, the subsequent vilification brutal.

Particularly as he was a member of Robson's squad, Hoddle is acquainted with the weight of expectation borne by managers of the national team. To my mind anybody who even considers the job is a suitable case for treatment but in fact this may be the right time in Hoddle's career to succeed Terry Venables.

History emphasises that football clubs are notoriously fickle. There are no guarantees. A hero one season, a victim the next. Plenty of praise has come Hoddle's way for the Ruud Gullit-inspired football Chelsea have played this season but it only got them as far as the FA Cup semi-finals and a mid-table place in the Premiership. There is the matter of dissent in the boardroom, too. How deeply does Ken Bates resent the fact that Hoddle appeared to side with his rival, Matthew Harding?

Thinking practically, it would be unlikely to affect Hoddle's career a great deal if things did not work out for him with England, less I think than if they went wrong for him at Chelsea.

If, as seems probable, Hoddle takes over the national team, one of the things for him to guard against will be the usual glut of mindless presumptions. "Tel wants England to play like Brazil," bellowed one of our popular prints when Venables, who remains unquestionably the best man for the job, was appointed.

Another is the suggestion that it would be an advantage to have Gullit at his side. A great player, an intelligent man, a wise head, but too big a personality.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week