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Danny Kaye

Poor old Harry. On the very day after his name was cleared after years of besmirching, he is about to have his professional reputation trashed for all time. Unless he takes himself out of the frame, or the FA does it for him, he is about to be frogmarched into the England football manager’s job, a poisoned chalice that goes all the way back to Danny Kaye’s Court Jester. (Google it, if you have to.)

The man who has just left the job achieved a better win ratio in four years that even the great Sir Alf Ramsey, but that counts for nothing to the majority, as represented this morning on BBC by the fat buffoon who is Garth Crooks, a man whose label as ‘a former footballer’ might be described by a crueller man than I as a gross breach of the Trade Descriptions Act. Yes, it was easy to hate Capello because he was Italian and  lacked the basic ability to communicate with his players in their native language. However it is undeniable truth that all of his predecessors, other than those who were short-term ‘caretakers’, yes, even the great Sir Half, wound up slinking away from the post,some under gross media vilification, rather than being applauded all the way to a happy retirement.

Does Harry really want that?

Jesus, he’s as old as me, and my application will NOT be going in. You see the trouble is, the England job is getting more and more difficult with every passing year. It has one great and overriding limitation under current regulations. These do not allow the British nations to hand out passports after ten minutes to any Brazilian who owns his own boots, as is done in the likes of Israel and Portugal. Thus, the England team manager can only pick English players, at a time when their numbers and quality are in what seems to be an irreversible decline, thanks to a corrosive combination of European law and the nature of the Premier League. Ask an expert (or any punter in the street)  to list the best players in the current England squad, in alphabetical order, and he might say Cole, Ferdinand, Gerrard, Hart, Lampard, Parker, Rooney and Terry. Of those players, all but Hart and Rooney are over thirty, over the hill, and will not be around for the next World Cup. Are their replacements players of equal quality? No. Is the current England squad in the same class as Spain, Germany, Holland, Brazil, Argentina? In the majority of those cases, no. Are those nations improving? In the main, yes. Can England expect improvement in the future? On current evidence, no.

Don’t touch it, Harry. Stay at Spurs, remain a folk hero and leave the likes of Shearer, Southgate or Psycho (but not Becks; he’s much too smart) to choose the vessel with the pestle, or, more likely the flagon with the dragon.

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