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TanyaT 11th February 2012 13:06

Why should Harry Redknapp risk more sleepless nights?
Why should Harry Redknapp risk more sleepless nights with England?

Since England's World Cup triumph in 1966 no manager has ever been so popular as he was on the day of his appointment

David Lacey, Friday 10 February 2012 13.31 GMT

On Wednesday there was a moment during the Fabio Capello business when one half-expected Monty Python's army officer to march in shouting: "Stop that! It's silly." For some time the Ministry of Silly Walks has, by comparison with the Football Association, acquired the gravitas of the Department of the Environment but now there may be something completely different. No harm in hoping anyway.

At least David Bernstein's chairmanship of the FA has shown welcome signs of the smack of firm government rather than the wagging fingers of endless sub-committees. Nevertheless the uncomfortable fact is that another England manager has left the job for reasons which have nothing to do with results, again posing the question of why on earth anyone would want to take it.

In club football managers almost always go because their teams keep losing matches. There have been notable exceptions Manchester United sacking Tommy Docherty because he had an affair with a colleague's wife and George Graham leaving Arsenal for taking a bung but generally they stand or fall by results.

England managers, on the other hand, can get their marching orders on the basis of unfavourable headlines bearing only the flimsiest of connections to the business of winning games. Capello resigned because not only had he committed that most cardinal of sins, embarrassing the FA, he had done so in Italian.

The John Terry affair, which had brought all this about, is the footballing equivalent of the cautionary tale of the horseshoe nail. Had the Chelsea captain's alleged bad-mouthing of Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand last October been confined to the two obscenities which flanked the emotive word "black" nothing more would have been heard about it.

As it is one alleged word out of place set off a chain of events which has left England without both a manager and a captain with a European Championship imminent.

Capello could have avoided all the bother had he not handed the armband back to Terry, having demoted him following allegations of a fling with the left-back Wayne Bridge's former girlfriend.

The fact that Capello quit a few hours after the Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was acquitted of tax evasion has appeared almost too convenient to be true. It seems that if Redknapp wants the England job he can have it but why, having seen what he described as a five-year nightmare ended by the jury's verdict at Southwark crown court, should he risk more sleepless nights by taking on a task which had a previous incumbent, Graham Taylor, waking up to find his pyjamas soaked in sweat?

Redknapp will be all too aware of the aggro which goes with running the national team. Since Alf Ramsey's side won the World Cup in 1966 no England manager has ever been so popular as he was on the day of his appointment. Bobby Robson and Terry Venables came close to reversing the trend when their sides reached the semi-finals in Italia 90 and Euro 96 respectively but both knew they would be leaving the job after England's last game.

Robson had already been told by the FA chairman, Bert Millichip, that unless England won the World Cup his contract would not be renewed, lurid newspaper reports about his private life having got up the FA's nose, and Venables announced early in 1996 that he would go after the tournament to concentrate on legal matters.

Glenn Hoddle, arguably England's most promising manager since Ramsey, went in 1999 after being reported as holding the bizarre view that disabled people were being punished for sins in a former life. Bringing in a faith healer, Eileen Drewery, to help the squad had not helped his credibility although Robson had employed someone similar, Olga Stringfellow, to get Bryan Robson fit in 1990, not to much avail.

Surely Redknapp will wait to see if Tottenham qualify for the Champions League before making any decision. That would be no bed of roses but it would be a more inviting challenge than England's bed of nails.

Meanwhile those who feel that any delay in finding Capello's successor will damage England's chances of winning the 2012 European Championship can comfort themselves by studying the country's wretched record in this tournament, which suggests that whoever is in charge the team has more hope of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Perhaps the root of England's problems lies in this continued lack of success on the field compared to which the off-field stuff makes much better headlines.

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