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English Media Sharpen Their Knives In Preparation for Fabio Capello


As England get set to play Bulgaria at Wembley on Friday a large section of the UK media will be sharpening its knives ready to plunge them into Fabio Capello. There is a sizeable majority of the media who would be only too pleased to see England lose to Bulgaria as it would ensure his immediate dismissal and the installation of a more media-friendly English manager called Harry.

These journos write to an agenda so no matter what happens in the game  it can be portrayed as yet another example of Capello being hapless.

If England plays well and wins it will reported as all being down to the players. Last month’s win against Hungary was said to Gerrard digging Capello of out a hole. The Capello haters won’t accept that he can do anything right now. Whatever he does it will be seen as wrong. The wrong players, the wrong tactics. Wrong everything.

This is easy to do because under no manager has England ever played well all the time nor have they been successful and this likely to continue, so there is plenty of opportunity to bash Capello regardless of his own culpability for the football played.

This always happens to England managers sooner or later and once the tide turns it rarely stops until it has washed the manager away into the history books. The only exception was Bobby Robson who suffered a four year-long campaign of abuse from the British press but stuck it out to emerge a hero and for all his critics to later sing his praises in some of the worst examples of stinking hypocrisy ever seen.

The unreasonable nature of this criticism makes the more sane, less hysterical amongst us want to defend Capello. After all, we know he can mastermind a qualification campaign. He was damn good at that. So it seems a safe bet that he’s got as good a chance to get the team qualified for Euro 2012.

We also know that it is possible to learn from mistakes so he could well be a better manager at 2012 than in 2010. But learning from mistakes doesn’t seem to be a concept that the British press and its more slavish acolytes are familiar with. It’s either all wrong or all right for them. You’re either on the bus or you’re off the bus.

He has no capital to draw on now. One bad performance, one bad result and the pressure for his dismissal will be deafening, regardless as to whether it is the right thing to do or not. Scores are waiting to be settled. Many in the press have never liked him and the way he – as they see it – disrespects them. That’s why we see him in The Sun mocked up with donkey ears.

The players know this too and it’s likely that the idea that a bad performance might remove him sooner rather than later has crossed their minds.

This is all such an unhealthy situation and it’s hard to see it ending well for Capello or for England. A couple of good wins and good performances are essential to restore belief and to knock down the anti-Capello press. But those same critics will lie in wait and will be back to get him on another occasion. Failure to deliver two wins could be the end for him by Wednesday morning.

The Jackals are circling and one day, probably in the not too distant future, they will have their day.

Editor’s note: John has a new book out We Ate All The Pies: How Football Swallowed Britain Whole. You can read all about it here And you can buy it from here

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  1. gunjack`12123124312

    September 3, 2010 at 3:42 am

    scholes!!! 😀

  2. Edward Sasam

    September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I think Fabio Capello still has some juice left in him. They should not rush in firing him.

  3. Smokey Bacon

    September 1, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    I think the press are merely reflecting the mood of England supporters who were badly let down by the team in the summer. Sure there are some that will want him out purely because he is not English. But by and large, this crisis is of Capello’s own making. Lets face it, he could be another great club manager who simply could not cut it at international level – he would not be the first. His latest squad selection was a real letdown. No Terry or Lampard because of injuries so what does he do? Call up Upson, Carrick and (for f*cks sake) SWP! Back to the same tired old re-treads. Where is Wilshire and some of the other U-21s? Why are they not being promoted? Simple. Capello has his favourites and this stubborness with respect to selection and tactics is beginning to grate. I don’t care if we fail to qualify for Euro 2012. Instead I would like to see a coherent plan to build for 2014 around a nucleus of our best young players who are likely to be at or near their peak four years from now. What I see with Capello is a man with his head up his arse focused only on winning the next game, and with no clue how to move us forward long-term. To break the constant cycle of under-performance, England needs a revolution of tactics and personel similar to what Klinnsman and Lowe brought to the German team. Capello is not the man to make that happen based on recent evidence.

  4. Yespage

    September 1, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Sounds like Cleveland or Philly stateside. Coaches should be given a good amount of time to work with the squad. Though I’ll saying being a Qualifications master is hardly of any importance.

    What is of importance is that when England drew Germany in the elimination round of the World Cup, no one really expected England to win. That has to change. England has too much domestic talent to be so small against the Heavyweights.

  5. dlink09

    September 1, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    there is no real press in UK, tabloids like sun and news of the world sell more than regular newspapers..

  6. Sir Guy

    September 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    “The players know this too and it’s likely that the idea that a bad performance might remove him sooner rather than later has crossed their minds.”

    This statement could be taken a number of ways. Your point would be…….?

  7. Premierleaguered

    September 1, 2010 at 10:57 am

    What Team England lacks is a good ball retainer ,to whom the team can believe in passing the ball in chaos situation.He must also be able to dictate the game ,I don’t see Lampard or Stevie doing that ,Barry for me is good holding midfielder but he can’t retain the ball in chaos situations like Scholes or Carrick or pass the ball like latter ones.If Capello sorts this one out ,then team England can play as a Unit and win some trophies.

    • goke

      September 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      England need John Obi Mikel

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