David Gold, West Ham’s co-owner and an Football Association Council member, believes the national team manager should always be an Englishman, even though he claims that the last one, Steve McClaren, “set us back 10 years”.
Gold would not only like to see one of his countrymen as the successor to Fabio Capello after Euro 2012, but he says every one of the top 64 world football nations should choose from among their own citizens.
“It should be a Fifa regulation, but in the meantime I’d urge the FA to introduce it now,” he said. “I came out 10 years ago and said we should have an Englishman and I was virtually accused of racism.” Of Capello, criticised recently for lack of communication partly because of poor language skills, he added: “It’s not working. The public don’t like it, you [media] guys don’t like it. McClaren set us back 10 years but that wasn’t his fault. It was bad luck with a number of things but then he was labelled ‘wally with a brolly’ and now it’s hard to get the momentum going again.”
Having initially suggested two months ago that Gold would get his wish, the FA have backtracked to the extent of substituting “British” for “English” and conceding the obvious point that the appointment will depend on who is available.
Sir Trevor Brooking, who will be heavily involved in the process, has already admitted that it could be impossible to buy out a manager from a long contract with his club. Harry Redknapp of Tottenham, a popular favourite, signed a new deal last summer that runs until 2013.
Redknapp is one of the contenders favoured by Gold, who was a guest speaker at last week’s Leaders in Football Conference. “I’d be happy to see Harry, but I could name two or three other qualified people,” he said. “We’ve got to address the issue.”