That sounds like a Harry Potter book. Fully intentionally. I thank-ah-you.
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t have an opinion on this? Is my opinion even mildly important? Is this going to end in anything other than tears?
The answer to each and every one of these questions is “no”. People who haven’t cared about football for as long as I’ve known them have suddenly turned into experts-in-waiting. My opinion doesn’t matter at all. However, on the complete off-chance that it does, I’d like to remind the FA that I’m willing to discuss the role. Get in touch with my people and we’ll see what we can thrash out.
Most importantly, amidst an ocean of unrelated rambling, this is going to end in tears. ‘Arry has a chance to build a legacy at Spurs. Every club has an elite group of managers that has practically written their history books and ‘Arry’s chance to do that at Spurs is looking stronger every day. First man to lead them into the Champions League, first man to mount a proper Premier League challenge with Spurs and — whispered with increasing sobriety — first man to give Spurs the chance of winning some proper silverware in a long time. The last time Spurs won a trophy that rivals couldn’t mock was the year of my birth, 1991. The Carling Cup victory in 2008, while impressive, sits alongside the other domestic “major trophies” with a hint of shame. If all the major trophies sat as a board of directors, the Carling Cup is the son of the CEO.
The allure of the England job may prove to be too much for ‘Arry and I can understand why; he’s a proud Englishman. Unfortunately, if you look at it realistically and without bias, Spurs will provide him the greater joy long-term. It’s no coincidence that England managers tend to leave the job with their stock significantly lower than when they joined, it’s a thankless task. The expectation surrounding the job means that you can only succeed by winning tournaments. The stark, biting reality is that England aren’t good enough right now. To put the notion into even deeper waters, England could have a team of 11 World-Class talents and still find themselves beaten by Spain. Looking into the near future the forecast is just as bleak: We’ll see a minor reprieve as the rainclouds of Spain head south before Germany’s thunderstorm is unleashed — rainclouds are rumoured to be forming in Africa, too.
‘Arry himself, usually so reassured when speaking via the media, has made uncharacteristic moves with this newfound pressure. I’m not an expert by any definition of the word (surprising, I know) and yet I can see his public pleas for the England job to be decided after the end of the season as what they are; thinking space. This isn’t a decision that he wants to make right now and who could blame him? Leave the club that has, for the majority of this season, played the best football in England for a post vacated over a racism row? A racism row that’s nowhere near conclusion? If I were to apply for a cleaning job I wouldn’t apply for the vacancy at the dirtiest hotel in London, regardless of how many stars it has.
There are two reasons he could take this job. His pride at holding a post he’s seen as the pinnacle of anyone’s career for so long and/or the potential for great things with the greatest players England has to offer.
The former would be a classic case of letting the heart lead the head; a fool’s choice. The latter, while technically true, seems unlikely. The potential of his Spurs side far outweighs the potential of England’s international potency.
In fact, the only thing potent about the England job is the poison in the chalice. Assuming football is a thinking man’s game, this is a no-brainer.