There’s a deal of speculation about how long Fabio Capello is to stay in the job as England’s manager – a statement was even put out before the decisive group match suggesting that his job was in jeopardy.
It seems likely that he will go, and soon, despite a few bullish headlines suggesting that we should blame the players rather than the manager. Capello’s struggles with English and his authoritarian regime will not stand him in good stead. And he is not an accessible man, which is utterly essential in a job like this.
Look at Simon Cowell, a man who is subjected to equally rigorous scrutiny. Despite employing the services of Max Clifford and having a bank balance that could be easily used to buy off damaging stories, he remains entirely accessible. That this accessibility is carefully structured is certain, but it is more than just an impression and it certainly appeases the media.
Whoever takes over from Capello will have to be aware of this and be able to manage the media as surely and subtly as he manages the players. Whoever it is will really need to be an Englishman, or at least someone who speaks English as their first language – it is essential, from a footballing and a PR point of view, that the new manager is a clear communicator.
The manager of England’s football team, like the CEO of a big company (who can see the correlation between Tony Hayward and Capello, both inexpert at getting a useful point across?), needs to be savvy and manage expectations, be they supporters’, players’ or the media’s.
I think Redknapp could take the England football squad into a brave new world of carefully downscaled expectation. Ironically, this could lead to England doing rather better in future.