Thursday, February 09, 2012


I am not surprised the Fabio Capello resigned as Manager of England’s national football team. In fact, I expected he would.

There’s no way that a passionate, autocratic, successful Italian manager would do otherwise. Machismo wouldn’t allow it.

What unforgiveable affront was perpetrated by Capello’s bureaucratic bosses, the Football Association (FA)? Without consulting him they stripped John Terry of his position as Team Captain. Terry is charged in a civil court action of racially abusing an opposing player. The trial will be in July.

Choosing who will captain a team is the manager’s prerogative. Theoretically, an owner (or in this case the FA) has the power to overrule the manager. But as a practical matter no self-respecting manager would allow his authority to be undermined in this manner. He would, and should, resign.

When told of the FA’s decision on Terry, Capello said he thought in England a person was innocent until proven guilty. And since the trial hadn’t yet been held, he was standing behind his captain. That is his public position. The real issue, though, is that he wasn’t consulted before the FA made its move. A humiliating act and an affront to a proud man with a world-class record of managerial achievement.

Clearly, Capello should have been part of the decision-making process. No executive in any business would do what the FA did and fail to see what the consequences would be. If they had gotten Capello on board he could have accepted their decision while disagreeing with it.

An even better alternative would have been for the FA to have given Capello a chance to have a quiet talk with John Terry, explain that it would be better for Terry and for the team if he would voluntarily step aside until his legal issues were resolved, and move ahead into the European championships this summer with the team and the huge egos involved left intact. (Capello had already announced that’s he’d be leaving his position when the summer games were complete.)

But the FA, in its smug arrogance, isn’t known for making wise decisions. And so, the never-ending saga of waiting for England to convert great players into a great team, continues. Good luck, laddies!


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