James Corrigan: Writing is on the wall for 'Arry's England ambitions
His refusal to live in the 21st century will come back to bite 'Arry on the 'arris
The Football Association should have heard enough. No need for 12 of their good councillors and true to retire to a room. Harry Redknapp should never be England manager.
The decision should have nothing to do with any verdict in any courtroom, but instead on his admission of incompetence in all things technical and literal. You simply cannot have a national manager who has told police he "can't spell", that he "writes like a two-year-old", that he "has never written a letter", "can't work a computer", "doesn't know what an email is", "has never sent a fax or text message", who says "I don't write", who "can't even fill in a teamsheet", and who, finally, is "completely and utterly disorganised".
"Why not?" goes the cry. Redknapp knows how to manage a football team and that should be all that matters on the CV. The evidence of his career certainly suggests a man who has overcome his inadequacies to reign supreme over organisations which employ hundreds of people. Yeah, 'Arry can't understand why it's pronounced "Modrich" and not "Modrick", but more than anyone he understands why the Croatian is central to Tottenham's title ambitions. And that's all that counts, at the end of the day.
Indeed, these "at the end of the dayers", these "six-pointers", these "must-win gamers", will likely label Redknapp's ignorance as an asset, not a failing. He does his work with a few cones and a whistle, not a BlackBerry and a laptop.
It's the old way, the right way, a way alien to Fabio Capello and Sven Goran Eriksson, those supposed footballing intellects. In short, it's the England way. Good old 'Arry. He's never sent an email. LOL. ;), PMSL... What a geezer!
Of course, there is the sane approach to this startling admission. There is the approach which involves one peering past the honeymoon period and into the troubled times which hit each and every England manager, regardless how qualified or successful. There will be days when his refusal to live in the 21st century will come back to bite 'Arry on the 'arris. Remember when they stuck a turnip on Graham Taylor's head? Well, dust off that dunce's cap, spruce up Dumbo's ears, there's a new laughingstock in town.
The ridicule would be as brutal as it would be cruel to all those with learning difficulties. Managing England is not like managing Tottenham. Redknapp would have a backroom staff at Wembley, but nothing on the scale of his army of faxers, emailers, texters, teamsheet fillers-in and organisers at White Hart Lane. It is a job where the devices of a man are all important, where scouting reports come in from all over the world, where duties include representing the FA at big occasions. In many respects it is, and has to be, ambassadorial.
One hesitates to evoke the name Mike Bassett, because tactically Redknapp is as far from that mythical numbskull as is possible. But there would something similar in the two scenarios, that "back of the fag packet"mentality. Redknapp would be crucified if and when it all started to turn the shape of a pear, and all those "can'ts" would be read out like a charge sheet. Redknapp doesn't need it, England doesn't need it.
But it does need someone, and someone very soon. This recruitment process has turned into a nightmare for the FA. Damned if they don't appoint Redknapp, damned stupid if they do. Yet where else do they turn? To Roy Hodgson? That is so ridiculous it is barely worth debating. Hodgson has returned to his level at West Bromwich Albion and good luck to them both. He would be even more of a backward step than Redknapp. Alan Pardew is an ego waiting to explode, Sam Allardyce likewise, while Chris Hughton is at the head of a particularly unimpressive young guard. So England will have to go overseas, but not too far overseas.
There is a young man at Swansea City, who is none of those things that Redknapp says he is. He can write in English, Spanish and Italian, the computer is a vital part of his profession, he is completely and utterly organised. Brendan Rodgers is the new breed of manager, a football man whose intellect would not be out of place in any executive. There should be advances, if not for him then for someone of his ilk. This is the time for the FA to look forwards, not backwards.
But they won't. Redknapp is the favourite and we all know the only reason why he would drop out of the race. Yet his words to that policeman will haunt him forever. In football, his defence is in danger of turning into his prosecution.
Don't hurry to write off Murray
The pity is as insulting as the put-downs. Andy Murray should be as offended at all those "poor you" messages as Tim Henman once was at all that pillory.
The Scot has neither asked for nor wants Britain's sympathy. It goes along the lines of "poor dab, it's not his fault he was born in an era of three tennis legends". This lament reached quite extraordinary levels after his epic defeat by Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open on Friday. It was as if his entire career was defined in that agonising five-setter. Remember Murray? He was like the fifth Beatle.
Fortunately, the man himself won't see it such fatalistic terms. It is a progression for Murray and at the age of 24, it is progressing quite nicely. Those premature obituarists point to the fact he is the same age as the Serb and has fallen behind. Well, show me two humans who develop at exactly the same pace and I will show you a couple of androids.
Murray's career is in front of him and absolutely nothing has been decided. One thing we have learned with Murray is that he has the application. His defeat wasn't heroic, it wasn't a best-of-a-lifetime display. He merely performed like the world No 4 should – he was found wanting against the world No 1.
So stop all the wailing, all the pathetic jingoism and feel the reality. It really is quite promising.
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