The Michael Wood Column

9th of October, 2000

England, Keegan etc... I mean, who cares?

England lose, Keegan falls on a sword. Nobody cares.

Hands wring at the prospect of another extended period of German hoodoo, people choke at Keegan's mea culpa and cry foul at Long Ball Wilkinson. Nobody cares.

Arsene Wenger is allowed to talk to the FA about taking over England, Gareth Southgate appears on Breakfast with Frost, Wembley is bulldozed, Adam Crozier's Scottish heritage is revealed. Really? Who cares?

The simple answer at 3:00 on Saturday the 14th will be no one.

International football only exists in the awkwards gaps in the Premiership campaign. Players are taken, we tune in, get upset and then go back to our various teams and forget all about it until next time. We did it under Keegan, we did it under Hoddle and we did it under El Tel.

So when we get a new manager he will face the same problems as all England managers. That most of the time no one cares.

No one cares enough to release players for ten days, no one cares enough to reduce the Premiership to 16 teams, no one cares enough to try change the culture of our game from the good engine game to one based more on possession and skill. No one cares enough to do anything but moan when the results of no one caring at displayed.

Keegan is one of a long line of England managers to do the job with one hand tied behind his back. He does not consider he is good enough a manager to win things in the England job. I would agree, but I doubt that Sir Alf, Sir Fergs or Sir Clough could do well with the current set up.

If we really care about the England team, and I seriously doubt that any fan puts them in the same league as their club, then at three this Saturday will should reflect that both us and Man City would better serve football by being turkeys voting for Christmas and being part of a Premiership second division. Sound like an idea worth thinking about? Didn't think so.

So we might as well make Paul Jewell, Steve Bruce or Ian Ormondroyd England manager because until someone cares enough to get answers to the questions that need to be asked at the top level of the game, failure is inevitable.

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