Friday, November 16, 2007

As media firing squad clammer to pull trigger - who should replace McClaren?

With no game for United this weekend, our collective attentions will focus on the international scene once more.

England need Israel to draw or win against Russia on Saturday night and then McClaren's team have to beat Croatia next week if the Three Lions are to avoid missing out on a place at the Euro 2008 finals next summer.

In the build-up to these crucial games there has been a lot of discussions about overseas stars plying their trade in the Premier League and the likes of Steven Gerrard has joined Fergie in support of Sepp Blatter's quota proposal.

The FIFA big cheese wants to see more home-grown stars from the country of origin playing in domestic competitions like the Premier League. The idea hasn't gone down well with most of the media, so why exactly is that? How can it be that the manager who has won more domestic honours than any other in the British game can see the sense in Blatter's proposals, yet the media cannot?

One of the great ironies is that here we have a Scotsman agreeing in principle with Blatter for the long term good of the English game. Yet at the same time Arsene Wenger a Frenchman - who clearly has no interest in the England national team - does not agree with Blatter and yet the press who continually bang the international drum agree with Wenger on this issue....

In response to the England captain Steven Gerrard supporting under-fire McClaren and the quota system Matt Dickinson of the Times (surely an Arsenal fan?) devoted a couple of pages yesterday to attacking Blatter's proposal while at the same time plunging the knife in between McClaren's shoulder blades (again). Gerrard, we were told was looking for excuses. Hang on a minute Matt, could it actually be that the Liverpool star agrees with what many including myself see as a common sense proposal?

As if that wasn't enough, Dickinson added his own personal comment piece attacking the lack of skill and wit of the English, both on the pitch and on the touchline, he used matches between English journalists and their European counterparts to make his point. Which was a silly argument, but he made his point about the lack of skill.

The thing is critics like Dickinson will happily point out that England haven't won anything since 1966 and they say that prior to Wenger arriving together with the mass influx of overseas stars things weren't any better. That maybe so, but should England fail to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals - wont that say quite a lot about the current state of affairs?

The point being, we still haven't got it right, and despite the fact that the media darling that is Terry Venables says that he cannot see any reason to sack Steve McClaren, the press firing squad are clammering to pull the trigger.

Sacking the manager is the media's answer to everything, it always has been and it is why papers like the Times fills page after page in a bid to dictate the agenda to Brian Barwick and the FA.

Having loaded the gun, Dickinson realised that even if the FA sacks McClaren, there's no obvious replacement, he made reference to this in his comment piece. That's the thing, it's very easy to say get rid of the coach, less easy to come up with solutions which run far deeper than ousting the manager.

Perhaps the penny has dropped that even if the media get their way, there's no obivous replacement. Mourinho doesn't want the job, nor does Wenger or Fergie. Hiddink looks to be tied to the Oligarchs and Russia. Barwick, aided by the press, made a complete balls-up of trying to entice Scolari.

All in all, it's a mess but no doubting McClaren will get sacked and Blatter will be ignored but then what happens when England do not qualify for the next big tournament, will everything still be ok? No doubting the media will have all the usual anwsers in the form of a loaded rifle.


  1. As long as Barwick and Richards remain in place, it won't matter who gets picked as coach. If Gordon Brown and company feel the dire need to stick their big noses in then someone needs to come up with a master-plan that co-opts the best ideas utilized by the French and Brazilian academies. There has to be a long-term plan and a realization that the old-school methodology still being pushed by the likes of Howard Wilkinson and Trevor Brooking is redundant. Hiring foreign, say someone like José Pekerman, will only be worthwhile if he's allowed carte blanche to work from the bottom up. The only British football brain capable of executing such a plan is Alex Ferguson, although there's no way I could see him doing the job for England simply because he's a proud Scot. Hiring a coach like Jose Mourinho or Big Phil Scolari is not going to work, again, unless the board leave him alone. Left alone, someone like Brian Kidd could do a good job, but keeping the meddlers hands-off seemsto be impossible. Arse-licking flunkies like McClaren and Erikkson/Grip would rather pick players who sell shirts like dear pretty Becks (again!) and Lampard than hard grafters like Barry and Nolan. Whoever gets picked from the Premier League, whether Curbs, Psycho, O'Neill, Shearer, Coppell or Fred Karno, will find exactly the same immovable problems.

  2. I agree that recent coaches have been a soft-touch with the players. It's also true what you say about Barwick, he's another who does what he's told, only it's the media's tune that he dances too.

    Not to worry, the press will sort it all out. Not.

    It's a case of the blind leading the blind who in turn are been driven by the one-eyed agenda setting media.

    No wonder many fans cannot wait for the Premier League to return.

  3. I used to think that there were too many foreigners in the English game but I have since come round to Wenger's view. Foreign players have greatly improved the standard of the Premier league. The problem is that there are too few players coming through, and the ones that do make it are overpriced by unscrupulous agents, meaning clubs are still more likely to buy in from abroad. That said, results suggest McLaren is not up to the job. When push comes to shove, he reverts to the same players who failed at the last world cup. He has to go. The national obsession with having an English coach is a joke, especially when there are so many top draw candidates out there. Capello, Mourinho, Lippi, and for my money, the guy who had the biggest impact on a national side in recent memory...Klinsmann. if the FA had any bottle, they would bin McLaren regardless of whether England scrape through, and get a top coach in. The shelf-life for a national coach should be 4-6 years max, and 2 if you fail to qualify for a major tournament. Time for McLaren to go. But long term, English clubs need more coaches like Wenger, not less, to bring though quality English players who can hold a place on merit in the top teams.

  4. I don't actually agree that McClaren has to go, because as I have posted many times before, it will make very little difference. England's single biggest problem is the lack of a proper number nine who play alongside Rooney.

    You say that he sticks with the same old players who have failed. Who would that be? Beckham and Lampard? Here again, I dont agree because barring the keeper and the lack of a striker the rest of the team is good. The defence is excellent. Midfield is good, but I concede they should be doing better, but McClaren has been denied Hargreaves and Joe Cole through injuries and those two are among his better players.

    Klinsmann is a great shout, but it's problematic to say the least. Rumour has it that he's been tapped-up several times but he's refused to leave California.

    Not only that, even if the FA had the balls/sense to appoint a German - how long would it be before our stupid jingoistic press hounded him out? Further to which Klinsmann wont be able to do much about the lack of strikers.

  5. You wu.d sure be angry and i would love to see you drop comments for what i have written for Steve Mclaren.Sure it was bad stuff from Coach.The match showed his immaturity and less persence to current on going situtation does need lot of changes .make sure that you comment on this i want a huge debate working around this LOL :)


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