This is just an experiment really as I, like a small but characteristically outspoken number of twitterers and survey-respondents, don’t really care about the England job. It’s basically part-time after all, plus England are no more interesting a team, from the neutral perspective, than, say, Russia.
But, Dick Advocaat’s views on Andrey Arshavin’s suitability are not going to stop the world. And that, ladies and gentlebums, is what makes this whole damn thing so interesting and explains why I’m taking this break from writing about Elizabeth Gaskell and the condition-of-England Novel.
WHILE I WAS PREAMBLING: It’s started. FA Chairman David Bernstein is preambling. All talk of ‘storming out’ is nonsense, apparently.
5 minutes in: Bernstein has confirmed that Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce will spend the next few weeks figuring out how to stop Arjen Robben, RVP and Affelay (does he start for Holland yet?) as he will be taking charge of the full-team for their friendly against the Netherlands. So far so expected. I would suggest he starts his tenure with a quick text to Micah Richards.
A couple more minutes have passed: we have spent them in the company of Club England Managing Director Adrian Bevington. He spouted the usual guff about long-term planning and the inevitable comparison with the Spanish model. ‘Root and Branch Investigation’ anyone?
Question Time: Bernstein, in response to the first mention today of Harry Redknapp’s name, has said ‘we don’t live in an ideal world’. Make of that neo-Platonic flourish what you will.
LIE!*: Asked if he was prepared to sack Capello, Bernstein claims that the discussion never arose. Hmm. Not sure about that. By way of follow up, Bernstein is asked if the right decision was made on John Terry. Bernstein waffles something that I kind of lost track of. I think he was saying that since Terry is in a kind of legal/moral purgatory that it is appropriate that he exists in a place of international limbo.
It is important to note that Bernstein thinks that ‘principals are very important’.
Confidentiality Clause: The inevitable, and convenient, get-out has been deployed by Bernstein in response to a question about severance pay. As I suggested yesterday, Capello MUST have been paid off. This leads to a misguided and ill-placed discussion about language, Capello’s lack of English is apparently ‘not ideal’. May I refer you, Mr Chairman, to your earlier comments about the world’s general condition.
Boring Questions: Fleet Street’s finest are giving the suits a pretty easy ride, to be fair. Bernstein was just asked a question so vague that he was able to answer it with a eulogy of Stuart Pearce. Asked if the search would be limited to the English race, Bernstein replied: Maybe.
Emperor’s Clothing Slips: With their being no match till May, there is, claims Bernstein, really little for the manager to do for a while. In fairness to the Chairman, this is entirely true. Maybe it’s not that important a job then. What are we all doing?
Good Question!: Bernstein has been asked about a ‘Code of Conduct’, essentially will there be one. Yes, is the short answer, while the Club England (what a load of total balls that name is) guy chips in with the eminently sensible clarification that this will be the product of consultation with both players and the new manager. Leaving room for speculation, John Terry’s role in these discussions was not clarified. He’ll make a televised national appeal for beers to be permitted at the meeting, I imagine.
Final Question: In a neat coincidence/piece of stage management, the final question ‘Do you agree with the decision to remove John Terry from the captaincy?’, is rebuffed. In a textbook response which could be titled ‘What Fabio Should have said’, Bevington describes the decision as ‘made by the board’. Rendering it, therefore, impossible for him to have an opinion.
That being that: That was about as honest as I think we could have reasonably expected. There was some platitudinous fluff about the nature of the board’s meeting with Capello, described as ‘exhaustive’, ‘full’, ‘frank’, ‘blah’ and ‘etc.’. Which leads one to expect that unless a quietness payment is covered under the confidentiality clause we may have to wait until we see the Don speaking from that weird mirror thing in the RAI studio to learn the truth. There was some interesting stuff about plans for a Code of Conduct, long overdue its true but sense is sense however belated.
Thanks for reading (whoever you are). BYE!