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Fabio Capello Throws in the Towel

Fabio_Capello (pic Paulblank)

The England cricket team have gone from world-beating heroes to big fat zeroes. The winner of the 2010 Tour de France turns out not to be the guy who actually won the race. Fabio Capello has resigned as England football coach, bringing to an end another sorry chapter in the history of the (not so) beautiful game. What a week this is turning out to be and there’s still time for something really sensational to happen — like John Terry admitting he’s a racist. I’m not holding my breath.

In case you’d forgotten, it was the scandal-hit Chelsea captain who precipitated this latest crisis in Capello’s stormy tenure as England boss. The man who was once lauded as a disciplinarian has proved to be even more gaffe-prone than some of his predecessors. Fabio took umbrage at the FA’s decision last week to remove JT as England captain. Instead of a Joey Bartonesque Twitter rant, Capello chose to vent his fury on Italian TV. Or did he? I’ve only seen a brief clip of this supposedly explosive interview, but this “gross breach of protocol” seems like pretty mild stuff to me.

Poor Fabio. I’d be weeping over my Ingerlund scarf right now, if he wasn’t even more grossly overpaid (£6 million a year) than those fat cat bankers and greedy tube drivers. Wisely he’s called it a day now, leaving the field wide open for someone else to lead the nation to ignominy and failure in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

Just minutes before the news broke about Capello’s resignation I was listening to the boo boys on Radio 5 Live talking up the possibility of his premature exit. With adenoidal presenter Mark Chapman often at the helm, this revolving cast of intellectual pygmies gathers nightly to speculate on impending sackings and resignations. If your job’s even mildly under threat or you show the faintest sign of weakness, these pundit piranhas will be waiting to devour you from the gonads upwards.

They were really in overdrive tonight, because at lunchtime today Harry Redknapp was acquitted on charges of tax evasion. With the Spurs boss looking all squeaky clean again, the path was clear for England to appoint a coach who speaks the same language as his players. (Fabio was always the strong, silent type.) This was BIG NEWS.

I don’t know why I keep listening to 5 Live. Despite being a Chelsea fan since 1970 I’m pretty sure that I don’t even like football, or those who pollute the airwaves talking about it ad nauseam. Occasionally the focus switches to tennis or (more accurately) the latest round of “Will Andy Murray Win a Grand Slam”. Then there’s the ageless Geoffrey Boycott, with his trenchant observations about England batsmen and their lack of “technique”.

Come to think of it, Radio 5 Live is like a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with “Broken Britain”. Middle-aged men sitting around talking rubbish all night under the direction of “Chappers”, a chap with lousy dress sense and a really annoying voice. Launching bad boy Robbie Savage into a broadcasting career purely on the basis that he has great hair. Don’t even get me started on motormouth commentator Alan Green, the most self-righteous man ever to stick a microphone up his nostrils.

Of course, 5 Live’s own website quotes the BBC Trust’s recent service review as saying “nine out of ten listeners rate our sports coverage as high quality”. Forgive me if I don’t find that statistic particularly convincing.

Redknapp is favourite to replace Fabio Capello — if not in time for Euro 2012, then soon afterwards. He’s deemed to have brought style and success to Spurs, since taking over at White Hart Lane in 2008. He’s not Italian and he’s definitely not Swedish.

Right now the country is just wild about Harry. You can be sure of one thing, though, it won’t last.


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