Thursday, 22 November 2007

McClaren the let down?

So 13 years after we failed to get to the World cup finals Scott Carson and McClaren fail to get us to the European Championships. OK its a bit harsh to blame Charlton’s latest player of the season, after all qualification is over a series of games and Scott only played in one, the last. I feel Scott is a modern day Peter Bonetti, plunged into the heat of a major tournament (in Bonetti’s case literally) with inadequate preparation and as a result disaster struck. Bonetti paid with his international career, hopefully Scott will live to fight another day.

So if it was not Scott’s fault was it all McClaren. He is reputably a great coach, but an average manager and the England job just is not the role from which a manger can develop, you have to be good when you get there. McClaren was not ready and number two’s do not always, if ever make good number ones, just ask Les Reed.

So I ask again was it McClarens fault, not really, there are many factors.

McClaren was the backroom boy of Sven and as Sven left the job of England manager under a cloud, it was always going to be the case that McClaren would be tainted by the same brush. His credibility was not enhanced by the late intervention of David Dein, rushing to Portugal for the signature of Scholari or by Brian Barwicks ridiculous claims that he was first choice. But McClaren cannot be blamed for having ambitions of being number one, but the FA can be blamed for not curbing his ambition.

The FA made the mistake, often made in business by managers, wanting to fill a place to the timetable, even when the candidate was not there. They did not want the press on their back, well they have them there now. They wanted the best, but their candidate list did not include the best (after Scholari ducked out) so instead of going back to the market to find the best, they accepted a choice from what they had – McClaren, Allardyce or Curbishley. And of those three on paper McClaren had the best rep. That though does not make him good enough. Today’s sacking of McClaren was decisive and it is years since that word and the FA have gone together – decisive clear cut and focussed, exactly what they failed to be when appointing McClaren.

SkySports are contributors to the dearth of English qualifying players in the Prem. You don’t have this problem in other leagues, of foreign players dominating. You cannot blame Sky for paying top dollar (Rouble, Yen, Euro) for the TV rights, now topped up by international TV rights and Satanta, but it is that money that is drawing in foreign players. They don’t want to play here in drizzly Britain, in Middlesborough – well not unless you are going to pay them a lot of money and the low end of the salary scale is £20 – 30,000 per week. If there was less money in the game there would, arguably, be fewer foreign players edging English youth out. Of course, the counter argument is that there would be as many foreign players, but all of a lower quality, but if they were of a lower quality then our players would be able to match them and there would be more English player able to develop to a higher level of competence than they do currently, since they spend most of their time in the stiffs.

The EU who will not allow the league to introduce a quota on the number of non English qualifying players and reject any representations from the Premier League.

The Clubs who buy the foreign players and with few exceptions nurture foreign talent even in their academies, Arsenal, Liverpool and Man U are definitely culpable. Why should our leading managers care about England, after all they are a Scot, an Israeli, a Frenchman and a Spaniard. Add to that a Swede, a Welshman, an Irish man and another Scot and the problem grows. If England are out of tournaments, then the few players that are in the first team have the summer to rest.

The Players who could not rouse themselves, who have the skill and the ability, but with so many avenues to glory do not have the heart to fight for the national cause, when they know they can go back to their clubs and fight for European glory, against teams that would match most leading national teams let alone the minnows of Israel, Serbia et al. They have heard the hype, they believed it because they must be good to be paid so much, they just forgot to make it real.

So that’s it, lets lynch McClaren, there is nothing like a good lynching, but the guy was never in with a hope, promoted beyond his capabilities into a system that is built for failure and whoever we get next, well his chances of success are slim, if he pulls it off then he will deserve his knighthood, but if he does not, if he only comes 8th in the world, instead of wining it then, lets hope he is asbestos coated, because he’ll need to be as the lynching party ties him to the stake.

No comments: