The five names in the frame are Marcello Lippi, Fabio Capello, Martin O'Neill, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klinsmann. Feelers are understood to have already gone out. [...] It is clear that Barwick, who also talked to Steven Gerrard in the last 24 hours, is moving fast.
Come now, Mr Barwick, I understand he doesn't do much for England these days, but surely he has a couple of seasons left in him before he takes up his place on the bench?
One of the things I find hard to adjust to in football is how fine the line between idle gossip and institutional wisdom is. In cricket it is generally observed that the opinion of the punter on the street stands at a respectful[-lish] distance from the prohibitively arcane, complex systems of knowledge that govern the game and the machinations of those who manage it [and, I'm always happy to note, several of those who write about it]. One does not simply walk around saying, "Oh, let's get that top bloke Dav Whatmore in to manage this team," and then have the BCCI turn around and actually offer the job to Mr Whatmore; one walks around saying "Oh, let's get Dav Whatmore in to manage this team" knowing full well that, when the time is right, the sahibs at the BCCI will pull out of their hat a name with which one's limited cognitive abilities have dreamed up no prior associations. There's always someone up there who knows better than you, the average cricket fan [which is what I am] is reassured in feeling.
This sense of comfort is entirely absent when our attention turns to English football. When the post of manager fell vacant and the names began to ring in, one of the earliest we heard of was Fabio Capello. "Wow," the murmur arose. "Capello?" "Yeah?" "Yeah." "Well, too bad they couldn't get Lippi." "Oh, honestly, Lippi is way better suited to managing a national team than Capello." "Also, wouldn't it be fun if Mourinho came back to England?" "Mourinho! Would he -- but. Nah." "He just might." "It's probably going to be Martin O'Neill." "There's always Klinsmann." "Oh, Klinsmann." "Yeah, Klinsi." "Klinsi." "Klinsi."
Late night musings over Google Talk? FA meeting? One simply can't tell. Of course, football being the democratic, populist, WYSIWIG sport it is, it's no surprise that it operates differently [and in England, at that] from the way cricket does in India. People like to be in on these things. We all like to feel like our wishes are being taken into consideration, even if we are only modestly-paid midfield lynchpins of humble stature called Steven Gerrard. Perhaps it's only right that the views of the tabloid-reading taxpayer are represented in full and without qualification in the views of the FA.
With democracy comes meritocracy, after all. Certainly the FA's pursuit of names like Lippi [who constantly leads us to believe that he is completely uninterested in coaching in England, or anywhere that isn't his big sexy yacht off Sardinia] shows a committment to bring in the
O Demetrio, had you but called Francesco Totti before making your decision, Italian football might not have come to th--what? Oh.
+ item: Since the last post on this blog, a UEFA record has been broken by Pippo Inzaghi, a footballer so avant-garde that reasons to like him are still being invented. Ave, Pipterino.
-- * of course, the only word we have on this is Luciano Moggi's.