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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Fabio Capello - The Unlucky Man

When it comes to England managers, Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson will always be viewed as our best. Ramsey for winning our only major tournament, the big one, the World Cup in 1966 and Robson for coming so close to achieving Ramsey's glory in 1990. When it comes to England Management failures, Kevin Keegan, Graham Taylor and Steve McClaren will probably go down as some as our worst. Fabio Capello however, shall not.

People easily forget the position England were actually in before Fabio Capello took charge, after Luiz Felipe Scolari rejected England and the FA were forced to bring in the inexperienced Steve McClaren who did not much but win Middlesborough their first trophy in 2004 and almost win them the UEFA Cup in 2006 but really was still very inexperienced compared to many available, England went into dire straights. Failing to qualify for 2008 European Championships was the end for McClaren, who was known as one our worst managers and for there Fabio arrived.

A very successful club manager in continental Europe, winning the Champions League with AC Milan and several Serie A's as well. He won two La Liga's with Real Madrid in his two terms, Capello has a very, very good CV in club football, far superior to England's best Manager Harry Redknapp, whose CV includes ONE FA Cup and ONE Quarter Final in the UEFA Champions League (Capello also in his four years holds the best win percentage of 66.7, better than Ramsey's).

Capello even had a near faultless qualifying campaign, thrashing our once unbeatable foe Croatia twice, 3-0 and 5-1. Capello only lost one game after we had comfortably qualified to Ukraine who finished second in our game. However, it was the Summer of 2010 which ruined his England career.

John Terry. One name which will forever be linked with Capello. Leading into the World Cup in South Africa, Terry's name was once again soiled by media allegations of him having an affair with former team-mate Wayne Bridge's girlfriend. Terry was rightfully sacked as England captaincy but due to Terry's own selfishness he would not accept his dismissal and as England's players failed to step-up, Terry took his own agenda against Fabio and a mutiny was near. The media had a field day.

England crashed out in the last sixteen embarrassingly to rivals Germany 4-1 and although some decisions of Capello's were questionable, I still felt he deserved to keep his job and due to signing a new contract before the tournament Capello was able to keep his job for one more term, admitting he'd leave after the end of the 2012 European Championships.

He guided England through to the European Championships unbeaten and with real ease, everything looked set for Fabio's last term in charge until John Terry got himself into hot water. Again.

John Terry's alleged racial abuse of fellow England player Anton Ferdinand has been a massive subject this season, the FA made the right call to strip Terry as captain, he shouldn't be in the team with his current form being so poor and I don't believe due to his past with incidents like taunting stranded Americans in London the day after 9/11 he should ever have been made captain in the first place, let alone a second time. The FA didn't however do the right thing, they forgot to ask the manager his opinion, or at least try and persuade the manager to see things their way. A stupid mistake.

I don't think Fabio Capello would have been so offended if the FA stripped Terry of captaincy if they actually had the courage to tell Capello of their decision. The fact Capello heard through a body not the FA about the changes made to the team he still managed was a joke and has cost the FA actually a very good manager. I don't believe however, that Capello showed any great courage to stand up to the FA and tell them of his disagreements. He did so with the protection of Italian Media and also he was leaving anyway, he could tell the FA he hated the guts of all of them and they would have to pay him off to get rid of him early. Capello was offended on the notion the team he still managed was altered by a body who didn't care what he had to say. It wasn't right and I have no issue with Capello that he's left. One tournament failure was burdened on him and despite beating the World Champions, nothing re-paid that failure, a failure you could argue was not even his fault. The responsibility should lie with the whole squad and management, not one man because he's not English. The Media never wanted Capello after 2010 and he was in a job the FA were stupid enough to keep him in before the results even manifested in the important games.

Before you look at Capello and consider him an England failure like Keegan and McClaren, consider this: He's got a better track record than everyone's favourite Harry Redknapp, he's England's best manager in terms of winning percentage and he's manager at a time, almost like Andy Murray is with Tennis, where we may be within the Top Four in Europe, but there are three better teams than us (Germany, Spain and Holland). Capello is not a failure, he's a man who just never had the luck to be a success, arguably because he held the wrong passport to be ever considered one.

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