Man, it’s hard work being right all the time. Or at least in this case. The English FA did the right thing and hired Fabio Capello. He is the right hire. The man is a winner and that’s all there is to it. He’s won everything everywhere and England is lucky to have him.
Over the course of the hiring process, through the McClown sacking and the Mourinho flirtation, I maintained that Capello was the right man. Near the end, that is, in the last two weeks or so, I began reading a lot about the “proper age” for international managers. Basically, the theory states that anyone under the age of, say, 52, is bound to be tempted by club managing jobs. I suppose there is some truth to that. Insomuch as the theory applies here, Capello is 61 and says that this will be his last job. For what it’s worth, he signed a 4.5 year contract, with an out clause after the 2010 World Cup.
The issue now, in some quarters, is that Capello isn’t English. Objectors say that England should be run by an Englishman. Yeah, that worked out real well last time. The idea that national teams should automatically hire someone of that nationality to manage them, in any sport, is stupid. The idea is to win, right? Then hire the best man available. In this case, England did that. Capello is the best man available. If an Englishman was the best man available, he would’ve been hired. I suppose the argument smacks of xenophobia and that makes me kind of angry. If you’ll notice, all the objectors are people who would never be offered a job with the prestige associated with the England national team.
The FA got this one right. The players – notably John Terry, Frank Lampard, and Stevie Gerrard – need to buy into his system. And I think they will. Because Capello will drop them if they don’t. Now, as for the captain, that’s another post…