Following John Terry being stripped of his captaincy, Fabio Capello (above) resigned as England manager yesterday, a move the Guardian’s Scott Murray suggests will receive a somewhat xenophobic spin, despite Capello’s genuinely impressive track record.
Capello recently went on holiday over the Christmas period! He speaks Italian! He doesn’t do chest-thumping passion! He hasn’t wasted one nano-joule of energy in buttering up the English press pack! And not once in his so-called career has he won the FA Cup, or pulled off an audacious relegation escape by signing Paul Kitson and John Hartson, even though he was the man who led his team into deep relegation trouble in the first place, or got a club relegated from the top flight after a 27-year residency, or proved himself to be a more successful boss than Jacques Santini and Christian Gross and Ossie Ardiles and Doug Livermore and Ray Clemence! So, no loss, then. Chancer. Foreign chancer. Bye!
Capello also had the bare-faced cheek to take umbrage at England’s finest puffed-up bureaucrats telling him how to go about his business. “The manager is the most important figure, but there are moments when the board and chairman have to step up to the plate, and when strong leadership is required,” explained FA chairman David Bernstein today, opening a press conference held amid the smouldering rubble of Wembley, during which he and FA Director of Something Adrian Bevington repeatedly paused awkwardly and stammered “you answer this one” to each other. Bernstein was, of course, referring to the issue of The Armband, ripped by said board from the biceps of Eejitry’s Brave John Terry, much to Capello’s annoyance.
Now, the Fiver accepts that going out to bat for EBJT might not have been the cleverest call in Capello’s career, unless he was deliberately trying to engineer an out. But as things stand, EBJT has yet to be proved guilty of That Charge, so Capello’s stance was, if not necessarily wise, then at least a legitimate one to take. Either way, it was undoubtedly a decision he was better equipped to make than the 14 men of the FA board, notwithstanding the fact that, according to Bernstein, these lads have “a high level of football expertise and a huge knowledge of the game”. (For the record, the 14 include Bernstein, who once gave the Manchester City manager’s job and a big pot of cash to Kevin Keegan; Dave Richards, who set Sheffield Wednesday trundling on their way from the Premier League to the third tier, and David Sheepshanks, who oversaw Ipswich Town’s brave march into Europe and then administration.)