First of all, congratulations to the FA for acting quickly and decisively to strip John Terry of the England captaincy – a measure that chimes with last week’s article on how coaches and managers should handle bad player behaviour.
But just in case you thought this meant that all was rosy in English football’s ivory tower and it is now safe enough to come out from behind the grandstand seating, don’t be fooled.
The England set up has managed to turn a potential PR win – and a shrewd bit of example-setting for club football to boot – into a classic FA fudge. England manager Fabio Capello has quickly condemned the decision to strip Terry of the armband, leading to questions as to exactly who at Wembley is wearing the gym shorts.
Capello’s argument – resting upon his belief that players’ rights need to be heeded in line with “civil justice, not sports justice” – is admirable enough. But ultimately, it serves only to undermine the FA’s authority.
Clearly, the FA needs to get its house in order. Either it decides who the captain is and maintains that it can hire and fire at will, or that power is ceded to the coach.
The misguided power play of the past few days needs to be resolved – but whatever the outcome, it leaves the powers that be in a lose-lose situation: If Capello is fired, England will be robbed of their manager prior to a major tournament. If he stays, the FA will be rendered supine to his management – and potentially that of any, future coach. Meanwhile, another attempt at player discipline is bungled, lost in a fog of management squabbling.
MANAGEMENT UPS AND DOWNS
The annual media juggernaut that is the Super Bowl managed to yet again become the highest-watched TV event of all-time despite it being a replay of the 2008 game and being a relatively boring affair. Having a no-relegation league may take some of the romance and excitement out of a sport, but it clearly helps make a lot of money.
The usually pragmatic England cricket coach fell foul of a number of poor coaching decisions during his teams 3-0 series defeat to Pakistan. Captain Andrew Strauss has since admitted that the team was “slightly off” in its preparation for the first test.