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The UAE, Reincarnation, And John Terry: Our 7 Favourite England Manager Departures

The UAE, Reincarnation, And John Terry: Our 7 Favourite England Manager Departures

The England managerial circus is the most entertaining and long-running tragi-comedy of our times... All that guff about Mayo being cursed. You know who's really cursed.

We're now convinced that Bobby Moore and co failed to respect a funeral when parading the Jules Rimet through London half a century ago. Any London priests out there who can confirm this.

Don Revie

The obvious choice to fill Alf Ramsey's shoes, Revie's time with England ended in ignominious failure. Under Revie, England qualified for neither Euro '76 (a tough ask as they were pipped in qualifying by eventual winner Czechoslovakia) or the World Cup in 1978.

Revie failed to even see out that campaign. They were battling with Italy for the only qualification spot but a 2-0 defeat in Rome left them in perilous shape.

With two games remaining in the group, he abruptly decamped to the United Arab Emirates, telling the Daily Mail that the job wasn't worth the aggravation. He pocketed £20,000 for the story. He told Jeff Powell that he resigned because he knew his sacking by the FA was imminent.

Quitting the England job was unthinkable in those days and Revie was even charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

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Mirror journalist Richard Stott alleges that Revie quit the England job because he heard that ex- Leeds United goalkeeper Gary Sprake was about to accuse him of attempting to fix football matches.

Graham Taylor

He was well got within the Football Association, a factor which probably helped him hang onto the job as long as he did.

Unfortunately, results were hideously bad. And the opprobrium heaped upon Taylor reached almost terrifying levels in 1993 as England stumbled badly in World Cup qualifying.

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When England were finally put out of their misery and returned home from little San Marino in disgrace, Taylor was advised by the police to stay away from his home as the press were camped outside. He spent his last few days as England manager effectively hiding in his daughter's house.

The magnificent Barney Ronay has written a book about the evolution of the cult of the manager in English football. He wrote that Taylor has become the most famous of all England managers.

Taylor was not a showman, a big personality or a silk-hat impresario. Yet he remains one of the most famous of all England managers. Perhaps this is because his appearance coincided with the England manager becoming wider public property for the first time, in the same way the actor playing James Bond is, or the host of the Radio 1 breakfast show.

...He was also the first England football manager to feature regularly on Spitting Image, a weekly fixture of the slate-grey John Major years. His voice on the show was provided by Alistair McGowan, who would occasionally take the puppets out into the street to gauge public reaction. "We'd taken Jean Paul Gaultier out, and people had been very friendly," McGowan recalled. "But then we took Graham Taylor into the Coach and Horses in Soho. And this bloke said, 'Oi, Taylor, come here: you are a disgrace. I don't know how you got the job. You should go now' . . . It was amazing, the vitriol I got on Graham's behalf. If that's what the puppet gets, what does Taylor get in person?

In a Westminster by-election in the summer of 1993, an man called Peter Newman contested the vacant seat in the Christchurch constituency on a single-issue platform, namely, the removal of Graham Taylor as England football manager.

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He secured 80 votes, a full 20 more than Peter A Hollyman who campaigned on the issue of saving the National Health Service, but only 13 more than Ms. Tara Bardot-Jackson who ran on a platform of encouraging people to buy the Daily Sport.

(To be fair, Hollyman's numbers were probably capped by the fact that other candidates were also committed to protecting the NHS, while Newman and Jackson's policies were not openly endorsed by anyone else on the ballot paper).

Terry Venables

Terry Venables coached (the FA made a point of dubbing him coach rather than manager) England for two and a half years and only oversaw five competitive matches.

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England didn't even play a competitive game for two whole calendar years - 1994 and 1995. They missed the '94 World Cup and weren't required to qualify for Euro 96.

There followed two solid years of 'Green Flag' friendlies, the most famous of which was a 0-0 draw (a very large amount of these friendlies appeared to end scoreless) with Colombia, only because of Rene Huguita's ridiculous acrobatics.

Even before he coached England in a competitive match, it was known he was going. This was in order to contest a series of court cases which were coming down the tracks. These investigated his business dealings.

After five memorable matches and a respectable performance in Euro 96, Venables departed.

Glenn Hoddle

Following Hoddle's departure, the late Hot Press journalist George Byrne noted that, "Glenn Hoddle is the first England manager to be sacked for his views on the transmigration of souls."

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So, he was. To this day, he remains the only England manager to be sacked for suggesting that disabled people are paying for crimes committed in past lives.

England managers since Hoddle have been wise enough to keep whatever views they hold on reincarnation to themselves.

Kevin Keegan 

Initially only intended to be a temporary replacement and held onto the Fulham job while taking charge for the England-Finland game.

However, he had his head turned by the adoration of the Wembley crowd and couldn't resist taking on the role. He made heavy weather of Euro 2000 qualifying and needed the Swedes to bail him out in the final game, sending England into a playoff where Scotland awaited.

Euro 2000 was a hideous failure, although by the standards of France 2016 it was borderline respectable. It was the adoration of the crowd that convinced him to take on the job full-time, it was the contempt of the crowd that convinced him to walk away relatively quickly in late 2000.

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Fabio Capello

When Capello finally walked mere months before Euro 2012, Amy Lawrence noted that it didn't take much of a leap of the imagination to see he'd been behaving like a man desperate for the sack for some time.

He was remarkably quick out of the blocks in declaring his interest in the England job following the failure to qualify for Euro 2008.

Up to that point, Capello had never really slummed it during his managerial career. He'd managed AC Milan, Real Madrid, Roma and Juventus.

And yet, the England job fascinated him.

The penny dropped with Capello at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa that the England team he took over for a monstrous annual fee were not the world-beaters he had thought they were.

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England's characteristically serene progression through Euro 2012 qualifying evidently revive his passion for the role.

The FA's response to the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand racial abuse saga gave Capello the excuse he needed to big Blighty goodbye.

Terry was banned for four games, fined, and stripped of the England captaincy though Westminster Magistrates Court ultimately gave him the benefit of the doubt.

His memorable defence, namely, that he only shouted out the words "black cunt" because he thought Anton Ferdinand was erroneously accusing him of using the phrase, may or may not have swayed the jury. Either way, he was found not guilty by the court.

Capello was apparently so offended by the FA decision to strip Terry of the captaincy over his head that he decided to bugger off altogether.

Roy Hodgson

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In an interview with Balls.ie this summer, the Sunday Indpendent writer Declan Lynch said that Roy Hodgson's great genius was for "lowering expectations". That's essentially what he was. A lowerer of expectations.

This talent had enabled him to keep his job after England were bundled out in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup.

Alas, even his genius for subtly lowering the expectations of the public did not extend to making a loss to Iceland seem acceptable. It is his lot to have presided over one of the most humiliating England defeats of them all.

 

 

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney