Friday, January 27, 2006

Bye Bye Sven

Hot on the heels from my last piece, 'Eriksson in hot water again,' we have a further installment to the Eriksson saga. Or should I say, final instalment. For the FA have officially announced that he will leave the England job after the 2006 World Cup.

Firstly, credit must go to the FA for resolving this. Had they not done so, then the media speculation surrounding his future would have inevitably dogged England's World Cup preparations. But what of Sven?

Well one can only say this will be his last chance to achieve glory with England, and should he do so permanently silence his critics for the rest of history. So indeed, this is not an opportunity he should miss.

Far too often under his management it has been a story of almost, but not quite. England have shown glimpses, but not quite hit the giddy heights. With a team of very capable players and a good enough draw, Eriksson knows that England will be expected to reach at least the last eight of the tournament.

But, to win it he will need to get the absolute best out of his players. Something he wasn't quite able to do at the last European Championship or World Cup. For that is the job of every coach, to get the best from the players they have at their disposal. And winning the World Cup is the best England can do.

Prove your worth Mr Erikkson, the time has come to deliver. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Eriksson in Hot Water Again

You have to hand it to him, Eriksson has a habit of undermining his England management career with events off the pitch. And true to form, 5 months ahead of the World Cup he has now leaked sensative opinions to an undercover reporter. But for those who follow the England team on a regular basis, this sort of uneasy build up to big tournaments is not something which is new.

After all, in 1990 Bobby Robson had a similar sort of uneasy media relationship in the build up to Italia 90. And this did not seem to have too much of a negative effect on the team's performances with England reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup only to be defeated on penalties by Germany.

In the build up to Euro 96 there was the Hong Kong business. Again however, this did not appear to have an adverse effect on the team's performances with England reaching the semi-finals once more.

And once again, in 1998 there was disruption to the preparations with Glenn Hoddle publishing material on the team's preparations. How much of an effect this had on his relationship with the players is open to debate with the team being knocked out in the 2nd round on penalties to Argentina.

Incidentally, Robson and Venables had already announced before the tournaments that they would be standing down once they were over. Glenn Hoddle continued in the job but it became increasingly difficult as the team's performances began to deteriorate and further public relation problems persisted. He lasted 3 more competative games before he resigned.

So, it cannot be said we've not been here before. Eriksson can take heart from the fact that an uneasy relationship with the media is something that many if not all England managers before him have had.

One has to wonder about the position of the media. Surely they cannot wish to see England perform badly in these tournaments; yet they seem to have an unerring habit of stering things up in the build up to the major tournaments.