Sport on TV: Hand of Hod fails to heal Taylor's weeping wound

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The Independent Online

While Senators McCain and Obama were battling it out to be leader of the free world on BBC2, Glenn Hoddle was on ITV, opining on the England manager's job: "In many ways it's worse than being the Prime Minister." Gordon Brown may disagree at the moment.

Hoddle, that voice of reason in this and, no doubt, many other lives, added: "... unless we go to war, obviously I wouldn't like to make that decision". No, Glenn, and we're obviously glad you don't have to either – although a faith healer could come in handy when the medical evacuation teams are a bit stretched.

Hod's stream of higher consciousness was not over yet. "Everyone's got a team in their mind. I don't see the Prime Minister having to deal with that on a daily basis. So the pressure's really there." He was contributing to 'England Expects' (ITV, Wednesday), a 10th anniversary follow-up to the infamous Cutting Edge documentary 'An Impossible Job', which told the story of Graham Taylor's bungled Euro 92 campaign and failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

Gamely Taylor fronted the programme. He will forever be haunted by phrases such as "Do I not like that" and "Tell your mate he's just lost me my job". He will always be known as the man who took off Gary Lineker in what was to be his last game for England as they slid to defeat against Sweden and went out of Euro 1992.

Taylor may never shake off the pariah status which led 'The Sun' to depict him with a head like a turnip. He discusses the substitution over a pint in a pub but there's no one else in there, as though he is cursed to sup alone. Everyone walks out whenever he walks into the Last Chance Saloon.

But he has retained his wit, even though he was hard done by, as many journalists now admit. Hoddle lays the blame for England managers' sad plights at the door of the press, accusing them of being obsessed with his private life, but then he was the one who brought the healer Eileen Drewery out of his own weird little world and inflicted her upon a bemused England squad. "Short back and sides," said Ray Parlour as she put her hands on his head. "The press and the media definitely have to do better," Hoddle said. "We have to change them." He accused the hacks of not understanding his tactics, either, but at least he's probably right about that.

Then there was Sven Goran Eriksson, who of course never gave the tabloids any reason to peer pruriently into his private life. It would be good if we could have a manager who did not effectively challenge the tabloids to do their worst. The fact that the former FA chief executive David Davies subtitled his book "Sex, drugs and penalties" says it all.

On Friday, Fabio Capello said: "It's not an impossible job. Being England manager is a fantastic experience." Thank you Fabio. But it's early doors – of the revolving kind.

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