Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beginning of a new Era

Would you trust this man to lead your nation into a major tournament? And would you trust the management behind the country's football association, who chose this man, to help lead their leader??

And with that, I reclaim my spot in cyber eternity, bringing you a fresh look at the debacle known as English Football...But wait, I can already hear it, here it comes via a blackberry message from Feyenoord, "don't the English have the best league in the world?" and wont this translate to the world stage.

Too many questions and delirious tidbits going through my head right now, and although I have been underground working with the South Africans, sending out communication after communication, reassuring, Sepp that they will be ready to host the world cup in 2010, I could not be quiet any more.

And while Feyernoord, might say, it is usually at the expense of the drama that befalls the French and English, that brings me out of hibernation to write, I will keep this simple and impart my knowledge to the FA and what they need to do.

But first, a quick lesson. Post 2006, when Beckham was too "exhausted," and the Swedish-Savant was fired, the FA had their pick of coaches. Here is a quick refresher and their current status:

Guus hiddink, Coach Russia, qualified for the Euros and on in a chateau somewhere, thinking boy those voodoo dolls that I had made up for the England-Croatia game really work. Especially that one of Carson.

Luis Scolari, Coach, Portugal, currently working on his jabbing, as he gets ready to kick some Greek ass for revenge next year. If only England had shown as much passion at this old man, they might be getting ready to plan their itineraries to Austria/Switzerland. Oh well.

Marco Van Basten, Coach, Holland, still alive in Holland, for reasons unbenownst to me, and still coaching well.

Steve McClaren, ex-coach of England. I am sure you get the point. After the World Cup, with an abundance of riches, both financially to pay out their new coach and in the quality of world renowned available coaches, the FA did what the FA have recently become giants at doing; over reacting and making a bad choice. In their nationalist ego trip and wanting to appoint an Englishman to the post of national caretaker, they forgot one critical thing- the English, on the World Stage have not accomplished anything, since, when...and I don't mean Beckham coming back from an injury or qualifying, seriously when did they last win something?

So here we are, the creators of a beautiful game, without a coach. And while I know the players and coaches are equally to blame for this, I would also put the blame on the FA. What the FA cannot recognize, and more deeply troubling, what they fail to comprehend, that besides the 7 minutes of folly in Istanbul in 2005, the English game, even domestically has not even come close to the level of play and dominance to that of the Italian and Spanish Leagues. France and Germany's domestic leagues, have been able to excel as well, incorporating foreign talent without affecting their national teams.

All European leagues are inundated with foreign players, in all their divisions, but what the English fail to recognize is that all the long balls in the world wont beat the top defenses in the world especially, when your ball control and mid field has absolutely no creativity. And on top of that, you bestow the Country's legacy to a guy, who I think, greatest sporting accomplishment in recent memory, was getting his club team to the final of the UEFA cup.

The FA are just as much to blame for this mess and crisis in the English Game. As I have often told Feyernoord (but I think he tunes me out a lot these days, I guess that is the problem with always being right,) is that this could be the best thing to happen to English football.

I know the pain must be excruciating for the die hard fans of the Three Lions, but here is my logic. The English team can only go up from here. You also have the same opportunity the Dutch had post their 2002 World Cup qualifier howler and Argentina and France did post 2002 world cup folly; to build, to go young, and bring in a completely different approach and start building towards, well you know the only true great football tournament in the world, the World Cup in 2010.

Here is my advice to the FA. Don't screw this up again, Don't rush and make the same mistake you made 18 months ago, don't think about even looking at the Stuart Pierce's of the world. Harry Redknapp, Sam Allardyce , great coaches, but seriously, sit on your decision for a while since you do not have a truly significant game until September 2008. Watch the Euros and make your approach for the multitude of world acclaimed coaches that will be available even before the tournament starts.

My second piece of advice, go with with a Foreigner, who can at least bring some creativity and mold a team...hmmm Hiddink, I mean if you could have had him for 10M Pounds in 2006, what do you think he will command in 2008 when his next turnaround job is complete as Russia advances far into the tournament. Thirdly, don't hire anyone under the age of 60 or so unless you run it by me first. I swear I am here to help you idiots. Bring in a gang of translators ala the United Nations and hope the Lippi's of the world would even consider this job. Your country and players, need experience, and someone willing to make difficult decisions and make it his team, mold his own identity and be willing to deal with the consequences and carry the litany of media scrutiny on his shoulders and let his players focus on one simple thing; playing football.

Start thinking outside the box, start thinking Jose Peckerman, Juergen Klinsmann, Fabio Capello, you know, winners, just to name a few. Think long and hard about it, because no matter how much we bagged on the Swedish-Savant, at least he got you into tournaments. And lastly, just so that the laughter and boredom that goes along with watching an England match passes, please please find some creativity in the midfield and get me four players, that play four different roles. I know this is a lot to ask of the FA, but you, know, for a nominal fee, I am always open to "consulting," and providing some suggestions. I am sure Feyernoord can man the Azzurri Dreams offices for a while.

Azzurri Dreams

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