The Euros are fast approaching, and as the tension and anticipation builds, the English nation will jump from realistic expectations of failing once again, to believing they can actually win it this time, Baddiel and Skinner on repeat as they puff out their chests in pride and sing the names of players they usually can’t stand.
I think one of the blessings of this year’s tournament is that no matter what, Capello has already stated he will step down, and finally we can get back to finding an English man for the job, whilst hoping that this one will do better than the last, and will have a ‘no umbrella’ policy written in to his contract.
So could that man be Newcastle United’s very own Alan Pardew? The nation as one seem to favour Harry Redknapp as the man of choice, his free-flowing attacking football has seen Spurs challenging the elite this year, and find their way to the Champions League quarter finals the year before. However his recent off the field problems may lead to the FA believing he is too big a risk, and much like Brian Clough many years ago, seem too controversial an appointment for it to happen.
There’s no doubting Pardew has done a great job at Newcastle United, his teams are well organised, have an excellent spirit and have defied the odds to climb the table and sit just outside the fabled Champions League spots. When you look at what he’s had to work with since his appointment – several top names leaving, money not being re-invested and a crowd that initially were somewhat cool towards his appointment – then it could be argued his performance rivals that of Redknapp. So is he the right man to take the top position as manager of the national team? Sadly I fear not. Pardew is still very much in his infancy as the manager of a top team, he may have been in charge at clubs such as West Ham, Charlton and Southampton, but the step up to managing a big club such as the Toon has been a massive one, and whilst he’s coped admirably, to then make the massive jump to national manager is a step too far. If in four years time Newcastle United are still riding high, challenging for silverware and Pardew is still in charge, then his name would rightly be in the hat, but as it stands his pre-Toon record is patchy and the foundations for taking such a big job are not yet in place.
Too much too soon
Let’s not forget Steve McClaren was appointed England manager without a huge amount of experience and a track record of success – yes he delivered a trophy for Middlesbrough, but had he done enough over a long period of time to justify the job? It’s the same with Pardew. Let’s give him a chance to really prove his worth before throwing him into the three lions den, only to be ripped apart and his reputation left in tatters like many before him. He has an amazing job at Newcastle United, and he’s doing great things, so for once in this country let’s hope someone isn’t hyped up too soon, and that we let them earn their chance to be considered for the top job on merit and long-term achievement alone, and not just because their name is fashionable at that moment in time.
Many thanks to David Light who supplied a great photo for this article