James Lawton: Blame for this awful mess lies squarely with Capello

After an hour cooling off, neither Bernstein nor Capello found a reason to step back

Unusually for Fabio Capello, a man who owns some highly valued pieces of art but is not given to too many flights of poetic fancy, he once said that he had a dream. It was right at the start of his England reign and it was that he would lead his team into the final of the World Cup in Johannesburg.

That dream was officially registered as a nightmare when England folded their tents on the high veld after eviscerating defeat by a young German team in Bloemfontein. But even then some of us gave him a chance of slugging his way back to a kind of redemption.

We blamed mostly the culture of English football and the absolute inability of its best players to focus properly on the challenge of competing seriously in the great tournament.

Capello, albeit in halting English, said he had learnt some hard lessons and they would be remembered and acted upon in the last two years of his contract. He deflected questions about his £6m salary and whether he had provided value for money. He said we shouldn't think of the scale of his rewards rather than the quality of the man and he would fight to put certain things right.

Things, you imagined, like new levels of commitment, an acceptance that there had to be much strengthening at the broken places, even something as basic as communication. Yes, he would help to put in place such improvements.

There was a chill wind blowing across the veld when he made that resolve but you just couldn't have guessed how cold it would become.

We knew well enough yesterday when David Bernstein, the chairman of the Football Association, consigned the Capello years to all those others wasted since the time of Sir Alf Ramsey's success in the 1966 World Cup. He didn't really answer the questions about whether Capello had walked or been pushed, but the lack of clarity on this specific point hardly concealed a broader truth. Capello had had enough of the English football life, its relentless ability to track down and embrace points of moral or tactical confusion, and when he offered his resignation to Bernstein after an hour of "cooling off" neither of them found a pressing enough reason to step back from the brink.

It left just one unsettled issue on the order of business, one pervading question in the wake of the FA board's decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy, without consulting Capello, and the manager's angrily defiant interview with Italian television. The question is where we place most surely the blame for such a catastrophe a few months before the major tournament from which Capello said he would wrestle some kind of legacy from what he once described as the "beautiful dream".

It is impossible, even from the perspective of someone who enthusiastically applauded his appointment, seeing it as an authentic step into genuine competitive standards with a coach of impeccable credentials, not to place the burden of responsibility on Capello.

He had a job to finish, however bedevilled by some problems unique to English football, and if he was angered by the FA's failure to consult him before they moved on the Terry captaincy, he could hardly claim a history of being slighted.

Nor was it true that the details of his contract had been violated. He told Italians that he was offended by his employer's refusal to recognise the principle of innocent until proved guilty, which was fine as far as it went. What he might have added is that the FA had a right to decide on an issue which wasn't, essentially, about the rights of selection but the appropriateness of having a captain awaiting trial on a racism charge that had already deeply divided key players certain to be selected for the European Championship.

By making a stand on his right to retain a captain he had once dismissed summarily because of what he deemed ill-advised behaviour, and at the same time declared the supreme value of an undivided team operating free of distraction, Capello at the very least left his own consistency deeply in question.

Runners and non-runners

Harry Redknapp remains favourite to succeed Fabio Capello as a number of contenders ruled themselves out of the running yesterday.

Leading odds (bet365)

1-4 Harry Redknapp

6-1 Stuart Pearce

10-1 Guus Hiddink

14-1 Jose Mourinho

20-1 Roy Hodgson

33-1 Rafael Benitez, Gareth Southgate, Arsène Wenger

50-1 Carlo Ancelotti, David Moyes

Ruled themselves out of the running

Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes, Martin O'Neill, Alan Pardew

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment