Right, before we start, a little housekeeping. I don’t know how much thought anyone gives to how this stuff works but, obviously, this column cannot be compiled in a matter of minutes. It might be published on Thursday morning, but it isn’t written then. There isn’t time. It is written on Wednesday, maybe read through first thing the next day to make sure events haven’t overtaken it. So this week, there is a problem. A small matter of a World Cup semi-final on Wednesday night. I appreciate nobody wants to talk anything but England, but also that there is no opportunity to write after the result of the match with Croatia is known. So here’s the compromise. We’ll debate England, but not England versus Croatia. The manager, but not through the prism of victory or defeat last night. I feel the job he has done is bigger than that anyway. Southgate doesn’t become a failure or a genius on the back of one match. This is about a body of work over a far longer period of time. Speaking of which…
Thanks to Gareth Southgate, I think this should put an end to the debate over whether we should ever appoint a foreign manager again. There are Englishmen out there capable of doing the job, in fact the Football Association should already be thinking about the future, getting the right people involved and in the right positions. I hope the current manager stays for a few years yet but we should never again find ourselves in a position where we are so short of credible candidates. Lee14, Bristol.
I agree, Lee, although it isn’t quite as simple as that. Yes, the England manager should be English, but it won’t always be possible to have him in waiting as Southgate was, unless you want his successor to be Aidy Boothroyd. Take a guy like Eddie Howe. If it was proposed he left Bournemouth to work for the FA as Southgate’s long-term successor, he would probably say no. What if the next campaign did not go well? Would there be the same appetite for another Southgate-style in-house candidate as there is now? Howe might worry that he would leave a Premier League job with prospects and end up overlooked. Better to stay at Bournemouth, maybe get a bigger club, and come to the national job from outside. So while I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments, I’m not sure what has happened here can be easily replicated – or, frankly, that Southgate was considered a ‘credible candidate’ as you put it when he was first given the job. The reaction was quite negative at the time.
Being England manager has, for many years, been a poisoned chalice. Berny, Dover.
But has it, Berny? I’ve never bought into this idea that it’s the impossible job. I think that’s a handy excuse when people make a mess of it.
A journalist has to have the shortest memory of all professions; forever contradicting themselves. Herehere, Cotswold.
Or sometimes they use a database of previous articles to go back and double check what they’ve previously written… KJM, Geneva.
Indeed, so that idiot posters from the Cotswolds cannot catch them out. It is possible to change one’s mind on a topic or an individual – as I have on the wearing of poppies on England shirts and Jordan Henderson’s value to the national team – and it would be foolish to be stubborn. However, the reason I am so meticulous about my database – everything I’ve written since 2002 – is because I also wish to be consistent. I can type in a name, or a key word, and bring up everything I’ve said on that subject. So if my view has changed – and on most things, it hasn’t, but there are exceptions – I can at least contextualise it. That’s how I know I have been supportive of most of Southgate’s judgement calls – playing the second team against Belgium was the exception – in his last year building up to this tournament.
He should leave at the top because after this the only way is down. His best bet is to enjoy the adulation for a month or so and then pack it in before the likes of Martin Samuel stick the knife in over his next squad selections, and the tabloids camp on his doorstep looking for any sign of trouble at home. Jimbo, Lincolnshire.
Gareth Southgate’s appointment as England boss was met with a negative response by some
Why would I criticise Southgate’s squad selections? We’ve agreed on just about everything so far. And even if I did, what would he care? He’s taken England the deepest they’ve ever gone in a foreign World Cup. He probably backs his own judgment by now.
I would like to apologise to Gareth. When he got the job I, like thousands of other fans, were not happy with the appointment. I think it was down mainly to his poor record as a club manager and also the poor track record of the FA in choosing England managers. I was completely wrong and Gareth has shown the world that he is the perfect manager for England who, it is to be hoped, will continue to flourish under him. But please no more of this sex symbol stuff: we don’t need Gareth appearing on Love Island or winning rear of the year. Yabadabadooo, United Kingdom.
Hold on, mate, are you actually taking responsibility for your own thoughts, rather than blaming it all on the influence of the media? Look everyone, a grown-up. How quaint.
OK, I’m happy for you English but it’s nonsense like this that turns the rest of the British against you. I’m sure a quick Google search will come up with a Daily Mail headline in the past 18-24 months on how or why no-one would want the England job. Swiss Tony, Switzerland.
Maybe so. But it wouldn’t be written by me. I’ve always noted how, despite it being called the impossible job, the incumbent invariably has to be dragged out of office by his ankles or only quits once the position is utterly untenable and we’ve lost to Iceland or failed to make it to the tournament at all.
I remember when Southgate got the job not a single comment wished him well and most said the FA were a joke. The only reason people are acting all nice and giving him credit now is because of how far England have got in this World Cup. Going forward he can’t achieve much more so when England go out earlier in the next tournaments, they’ll be shouting, ‘Southgate out’. Tyson4000, Manchester.
Not sure about that Tyson. I think people accept this is a young team, that certain circumstances came together for England in Russia and that getting this far is never easy. England went out in the quarter-finals in 1970, having won in 1966, and did not even qualify in 1994 having reached the semi-finals in 1990. I think as long as England keep having a go as they have here, people will be realistic. The sensible ones, anyway.
To be considered as a genuine champion and not a default champion, England must beat at least one of Holland, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, France or Germany in the World Cup – the traditional power houses of football. Tayop, London.
How were they meant to beat Holland or Italy, when they didn’t even qualify? How were they meant to be beat Germany when they didn’t get out of their group. And how were they meant to beat Spain, Argentina or Brazil when they ended up in a different part of the draw, and those teams were eliminated by Russia, France and Belgium. You beat what is in front of you. You make it sound as if England got to pick their opponents. What I am finding laughable is the way every team is talked up – Tunisia are the best African team, Colombia the dark horses, Sweden the vanquishers of Holland, Italy and Germany – until England beat them, when they are declared to be rubbish.
The problem is that, because we’ve exceeded all expectations, this World Cup will now be used by the media as a yardstick for Southgate at future tournaments. And we know how fickle football journalists can be the minute things start to go wrong. DAW20N, West Lancashire.
Kind of mirrors the fickle nature of fans doesn’t it? Jon, Lancaster.
Granted, fans can be fickle, but the majority love their clubs and stick with them through thick and thin. Can the same be said of the media when it comes to the England manager? History tells us not. DAW20N, West Lancashire.
Common sense also tell us that the job of football journalists is not to stick with any manager or team through thick and thin, but to be objective. We’re not employed as fans, but as observers and writers. So if England lose 4-0 to Spain, no, we’re not going to deliver the journalistic equivalent of football’s coming home. But nor are we going to demand the manager is sacked. We can see the job Southgate has done, but also that he won’t win every game. Joachim Low won the World Cup in 2014, and went out in the group stage in 2018. It is possible Germany needs a new voice, or a new direction – but the analysis will be measured, not hysterical, because that is what the man deserves. I think Southgate will be treated the same. We can’t polish a sequence of bad results, but we can apply context to any disappointments. Only a fool thinks that this World Cup becomes the yardstick for all future tournaments. The mood, the clarity of vision, the team identity, yes; the results, no. That would be unreasonable.
Imagine having to listen to the England band all the time; I’d be looking for a new job after one game. A Drunken Horse, United Kingdom.
Indeed. Anyway, this is how it should sound.
Martin Samuel will be the one calling for his head in two years. SeanUK, United Kingdom.
Doubt that. I’m not big on the ‘For God’s sake go!’ stuff. On occasions, I think the job has become untenable – Steve McClaren after failing to get to the 2008 European Championship, for instance – but I didn’t say Fabio Capello should be sacked in 2010, and supported him against the FA over John Terry. I like Southgate and agree with him on most things. I’m in no hurry to see change because I think he will keep developing this squad in the right way.
Football changed years ago, national management is no longer a part-time role. To be successful the edge must be found and this takes hard work and commitment from the whole team. BadPlanningAgain, London.
The way Southgate works I’d say it isn’t part time, because he has got such a lot to do developing national identity and bringing the next generation through, given that they are not getting a whole lot of opportunity at their clubs. But qualification is getting easier with a 24-team European Championship and, what will soon be a 48-team World Cup. Ironically, the more Southgate gets it right, the less there will be to do.
If Southgate stays as England manager, who’s going to take over from Theresa May? Gareth, your country needs you. David, Manchester.
I know you are joking, David, but there is a serious point to be made here. We’ve all heard the observations that Southgate is so smart he should sort out Brexit, and we understand this is facetious exaggeration. What I think people are getting at deep down, however, is that we wish a person like Southgate could sort out Brexit – instead of this cabal of self-serving incompetents and clowns that were given the job. Can you imagine a man like Southgate calling in the photographers to capture him looking serious as he wrote his resignation letter, while the country went down the tubes? Could you imagine him having two years to come up with a plan like thick as mince David Davis and conjuring nothing?
People recognise the basic decency of Southgate, the antithesis of some of our politicians
Southgate leaves when people – the press – start getting the knives out and using them. Byway Blues, Surrey.
I love the way you lot give yourselves a free pass all the time. When the England players barricaded themselves in the dressing-room for fear of attack in 2007, it wasn’t the press they were worried about. And it wasn’t the press who booed many members of this England squad in Malta last September. It isn’t the press who made Raheem Sterling the worst player on the pitch, from either side, against Tunisia in the opening game either. So let’s not pretend England’s detractors are solely in the press box. One look at the comments on here will show there is plenty of negativity out there. Now, I realise the overwhelming majority feel positively about this campaign, but that is true in the media, too. It is you who presume the knives will come out. Most people who cover England feel very optimistic about the future.
In other words, the manager did virtually everything Martin Samuel would have done and as long as Southgate continues doing that he and his scavenger mates won’t destroy him and the team as they have every team in the past. Richmac, Plymouth.
No, thicko, the manager did everything I would have done so it is hard to be critical of him, having been staunchly in agreement. That was my point. But it doesn’t mean I have to agree with every decision – I certainly didn’t agree with Capello picking Kevin Davies, but continued to support him – and to have a different opinion is not the same as calling for a manager to be dismissed. Funnily enough, the one person who understands this is Southgate. He knows he will never carry every journalist, or every fan. But it isn’t a case of ‘pick my team or I’ll write that you should be sacked’ because that is the most infantile nonsense.
Fleet Street calling for loyalty and pledging support when they will turn on him in a second if the form drops? Do things for the right reasons Gareth, if you want to do them. Don’t listen to this lot. Normal Guy, Midlands.
Ever thought I feel very much the same when I write this column?
Why would Southgate leave? Well, let’s wait for one bad result and see the press rip him apart. The press are largely responsible for the England team playing with such inhibition and fear in the past 20 years. Grimupnorth111, Liverpool.
He’s had bad results and bad performances. No-one ripped anything. And the reason England teams play with inhibition and fear is as much to do with public reaction as press reaction – but mainly because managers like Sven Goran Eriksson lack imagination.
Aime Jacquet retired after winning the World Cup with France mostly because of his dislike of France’s media. The media apologised for harassing him before the tournament started, but he’d had enough. If Southgate succeeds I wont be surprised if he does the same thing. Roymchunter, Jakarta.
It wasn’t Jacquet versus the French media. It was one title, L’Equipe, that had been particularly critical of him. But they were not alone. Like the Russian team here, few expected the France of 1998 to have a good tournament. They didn’t have a world-class striker, they were considered too negative. Southgate, by contrast, had a brilliant, positive press going into this tournament. He certainly does not feel that the newspapers are against him.
Easy job when you draw Tunisia and Panama in the group and Sweden to make it to the semi-finals. Silvio, Roma.
It wasn’t easy for Italy, was it? Sweden knocked you out.
Just a thought: two years ago Chris Coleman got Wales to the semi final of the European Championships, a massive achievement. He is now out of a job. Don’t believe the hype, Gareth – those parasite media will build you up, then stone you to death. Deanedwards10, Torquay.
So Coleman is out of work because of the media? You see, I thought what happened was he failed to reach the World Cup with Wales, realised he had gone as far as he could in international management and then made a poor choice of club, in Sunderland. They went down anyway, and were then taken over and the new owner did not want Coleman. Where does the ‘parasite’ media come in, Dean? And when was Coleman stoned to death – or are you just regurgitating second-hand clichés, you heard on some phone in, and are now parroting because you haven’t actually got an original thought in your head? And, by the way, Coleman is now the coach of Hebei China Fortune. He’s not unemployed. Keep up.
The press will slaughter any England manager if results don’t go their way. Graham ‘Turnip’ Taylor; Steve ‘the Wally with the Brolly’ McClaren; Glenn Hoddle with his faith healer – the list goes on. Alan Wolves, Wolverhampton.
So, just to clarify, Alan – you were happy with those events? Untroubled that England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup or 2008 European Championships. Unperturbed that Hoddle was sending the players to a lady who claimed to have placed an invisible force field over both goals during the 0-0 draw with Italy in 1997? Or did the press reflect the feelings of the country at the time?
Elite European clubs will not be queuing to sign Southgate up as their manger, that’s for sure. Daifey, London.
Well, for a start it’s too early for nativity scenes. Although with that beard he could make a good Joseph; or a wise man…
I’d suggest he’ll leave because of the gutter press. They’ll hound him like Bobby Robson or Graham Taylor, two thoroughly decent men who tried their best. The press as always think they know better. Enough of Liz Jones, United Kingdom.
I think ‘hounded’ is ridiculous. And don’t for one minute try to make out Taylor was liked by the public. He was a laughing stock. BaggsyB, Luxembourg.
There is a lot of revisionism about Taylor, particularly since his death. He was a very decent man, but a poor England manager and the idea that the public loved him while the nasty old press took against him is, as Baggsy says more eloquently, utter cobblers. If the public are so tolerant and indulgent of failure by England managers how come most are unemployable in this country in the years after they leave? McClaren had to flee the country to get a job and, even now, his appointment is seen as controversial. Roy Hodgson took more than a year to get back in and it needed Crystal Palace to be in a state of desperation. Sure, they love him at Selhurst Park now but at the time…
‘Please not Hodgson… Please! Laura Sallis… Can’t believe it – never a dull moment – oh hang on it’s Roy Hodgson. Tracey Murphy… Roy Hodgson – come off it- he couldn’t beat Iceland let alone prem teams. Luke Constable… June: board strategy was passing, possession football with a long term manager. September: looks like we will appoint Roy Hodgson. Aaron Porter… Roy Hodgson: the 70 year old failed England manager who picked Martin Kelly over Rio Ferdinand at Euro 2012. Clueless. Sam Green… You’ve turned us into an embarrassment, sacking De Boer for Hodgson is a joke. Lee Isted… Hodgson will offer us nothing and is such a step backwards. Shambles. R… Absolute disgrace of a club we have turned into. Don’t back the guy and sack him after four games. And get Hodgson. Season ticket binned. DeanR.’
But you’re right, enough – it’s only the gutter press that hound decent men trying their best. Anyway, it’s nearing kick-off here. I’ll be home by the time of the next debate, so let’s bid farewell to Russia and its mighty rockabilly scene with this. Until next time, comrades.
Source: MailOnline | Copyright © MailOnline, All Rights Reserved