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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Shape of Things to Come


'Two plus two equals HARRY FOR ENGLAND'

More bewildering news from the world of autobiographical serialisation as the greatest-manager-England-never-had-but-still-may-have-and-most-likely-still-will-end-up-with-at-some-point decided to follow such luminary commentators as Gary Lineker and, ahem us, in putting the boot into the FA for not being able to run the country properly, or something.

Among select whifflings by everyone’s favourite drivers-door window botherer were revelations that:

• he was convinced the England job would be his, because everyone but the FA told him so and that’s obviously how it works;
• he wasn’t distracted from managing Tottenham despite the fact that he’d verbally approached a number two (Brendan Rodgers) for Euro 2012 after a game against the side Rodgers was also presumably under contract to carry on managing for the foreseeable future; and
• it was most likely Daniel Levy’s ability to drive a hard bargain that stopped him from getting the job in the end, even though Kind Uncle Roy Hodgson’s reputation for overachieving with technically limited players ticked pretty much every box for avoiding utter embarrassment in a major tournament and was a polar opposite to the approach of signing as many players as possible and telling them to run around a bit. Which you can’t do in international football anyway.

Now, first things first. Don’t believe what you read, Harry! Despite what he might have you think, Rio ‘Rupert Murdoch’ Ferdinand and other imminent retirees in waiting do not have some kind of Batphone to the FA headquarters, on which they can influence the outcome of managerial appointments. And even if they did, after having players being all chummy with the manager worked SO well for Sven Goran Eriksson, it’s unlikely that it would’ve held water. Perhaps a middle line, someone with sufficient respect in the game in Europe as well as England, would be a more pragmatic option.

That said, of course, it’s a real shame that poor old Harry was in essence lied to by all of football. But that’s not the FA’s fault. It’s not Harry’s fault either, though he clearly chose to believe his own hype, an attitude that we here at Magic Spongers can testify leads only to embarrassment, regret and some very upset ladies. Perhaps a middle line, where you don’t let the press get on your back too much and respond to criticism by defending your players, would also be a more pragmatic option.

Also, tapping up Brendan Rodgers? It took him a season to get over that, you bastard. He only talks like he does because of the self-help course he had to go on to deal with the crushing disappointment.

But perhaps the furthest-reaching consequences of Redknapp’s little reveal will be from the damage it does to his presumably-already-stretched relationship with Daniel Levy. Not that Levy will care personally, but don’t be surprised if his generosity curls up like a hedgehog and some devious plan to scupper QPR comes into force, with cover from the likes of Tom Carroll and Benoit Assou-Ekotto suddenly required. You know, the usual – Gylfi Sigur├░sson breaks his wrist opening a yoghurt; Lewis Holtby gets a hernia while making an omelette; Danny Rose dislocates his knees picking up his cat. Very suspicious.

In a way though, you get the feeling Harry is still auditioning for the England job – stuck at a club full of very rich, can’t-really-be-arsed footballers plying their trade at a level below where they and their hierarchy believe they should be operating.

But, inevitably, QPR will be promoted back to the Premier League in a blaze of disinterestedness, whereupon Harry sets about building the England team he could have had once upon a time, signing Crouch, Defoe, Lennon, David Beckham on loan, Rio, JT, Lamps, Stevie, Ash et al who storm to eighth in the table by Christmas, only for him to start moaning about the lack of young talent coming through following a deliciously ironic 3-1 defeat away at Swansea.

Weirdly enough this gains him plaudits from all and sundry and his attempts to field an English team in the Premier League are viewed far and wide as an heroic effort to save the national team from its own underachievement.

Meanwhile, England barely qualify for the World Cup thanks to Daniel Sturridge’s shins, Danny Welbeck’s hair and Adnan Januzaj’s sheer potential, even though two of them never kick a ball for the national side between now and next summer. Upon reaching Brazil, they are total flops, losing to the USA and Belgium, and Hodgson leaves the job.

Harry’s reputation has been burnished still further despite the ‘squad of 2002’’s failure to go on until February, let alone forever, which further hampers QPR. They win an FA Cup against Leyton Orient but are relegated, bankrupt, following Robinho’s move to Loftus Road. Harry is finally given the England job in a swell of self-satisfied glory, but tries to call up Gareth Bale and Manuel Almunia.

He goes on Match of the Day, chins Gary Lineker and responds to criticism over his lack of control by appointing Joe Kinnear as his assistant. Finally, the whole sorry saga begins again following quotes released from his second autobiography, ‘England’s Saviour’, in which he this time complains that he should have been given the job sooner and that the FA wouldn't know a good manager if it went on telly and chinned Gary Lineker, which leads to his sacking.

God speed Harry. May the days of you telling Tom Cleverley to ‘just run about a bit’ be just around the corner.

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