Beware Fabio Capello, Liverpool. Managing England makes you rubbish
Fabio Capello has emerged as a contender to replace Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool, and on the surface it seems like a good fit.
The Italian’s record at club level is unrivaled, at least certainly by the other leading contenders for the Anfield hot-seat, Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Martinez.
With AC Milan he won Serie A four times, he also won it with Roma, and then twice with Juventus (although those last two were revoked). He has won the Champions League, a multitude of Italian cups, two La Liga titles with Real Madrid, and perhaps the most coveted of all, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award in 2009.
Then Capello managed England.
At first he was revered as the disciplinarian that would cut the egos in the England dressing room down to size and drill them into a team capable of actual doing something. England looked to be turning the corner during qualification for the 2010 World Cup, but then in South Africa, it fell apart. England were useless, Capello was mocked up by a certain tabloid as a donkey, and his reputation was tarnished. Wins over Spain and Sweden post World Cup gave an indication that Capello may have identified a way to win with England, but we’ll never find out due to his resignation earlier this year.
With such a fine record before his appointment, it would be unfair to judge Capello on his spell at England alone. But Liverpool would be wise to look at the record of previous England managers after they were released back into society at club level.
Before taking over as manager of the national team, Graham Taylor had taken Watford from the fourth tier to runners up in the top tier. He also guided Aston Villa back to the top division after their surprise relegation, and narrowly missed out on winning the Division One title. England then turned him into a turnip and he never recovered. He was sacked by Wolves after just one full season in charge, and after another spell at Watford, failed to match his previous efforts.
Terry Venables had won La Liga with Barcelona and won the FA Cup with Tottenham before he was made manager of the national team. He did brilliantly there too, taking England to the semi-finals of Euro 96, but that would prove the peak. Venables then had complicated spells with Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough and was sacked by Leeds as the club spiraled out of control. He even returned to England as Steve McClaren’s assistant in a move that did neither manager any favors.
Glenn Hoddle impressed with Chelsea before being made England manager, but on his return to management he had a short spell at Southampton, was sacked by Tottenham after failing to revive their fortunes and then left Wolves after an uninspiring spell. He then set up an academy in Spain.
Kevin Keegan had taken Newcastle to the verge of the Premier League title and guided Fulham to promotion from Division Two when he was made England boss. With the Three Lions it went disastrously wrong and he walked away on a rainy day at Wembley. He returned to club football with Manchester City, and while he got them promoted back to the Premier League, once there they consolidated in the Premier League. He also made a shock return to Newcastle, coming out of retirement to lead the Magpies. But that was disastrous and he quit, again.
Sven-Göran Eriksson had a fine record in Italy before he became England manager. But afterwards, labeling his career path bizarre would be an understatement. The Swede had spells as manager of Ivory Coast and Mexico and with Leicester and Notts County – and left all of them with his reputation tarnished just a little bit more.
Steve McClaren, perhaps the most under-qualified manager to be awarded the top job, bucked the trend by going on to win the Dutch title with FC Twente. Bobby Robson also enjoyed winning spells with PSV Eindhoven, Porto and Barcelona, as well as a relatively successful spell with Newcastle after the England job. These two show there can be a future after England, but on the whole those futures have been bleak.
It’s often said that the England job has a habit of chewing managers up and spitting them out. But like a piece of gum, it would seem to spit them out without much flavour. It will be intriguing to see if Capello has the ability to freshen up Liverpool if he’s given the opportunity.
Twitter: @simonriceTagged in: AVB, england, football, Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool, Premier League, Roberto MArtinez
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