Capello – A Verdict
As Fabio Capello left his post as England manager last night, there was a great deal of people immediately criticising his performance over the last 4 years. Appointed in 2007, he leaves with a very high win percentage of 67% – the highest ever. So, are these damning statements on Capello’s tenure justified, or unfair?
Let’s firstly look at the facts. Fabio Capello was, according to percentage, the most successful England manager on a game by game basis. Since his first game in charge, a February 2008 friendly against Switzerland, he went on to guide England to 27 more victories in a further 41 games. While the 2010 World Cup obviously didn’t go to plan, with a poor showing, England did get through the groups into the last 16. Under Alf Ramsey (much acclaimed) our national side didn’t qualify in 1974, and this also happened in 1978 and 1994. Couple this with failure to reach the knockout stage in 1950, 1958 and 1982, Capello’s performance was by no means a shock or a disgrace. Following on from this, he led us to the up-coming European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, where previously in 2008 McClaren did not. We also didn’t make it through in 1984, but did Bobby Robson earn a damning verdict after that performance? This all leads to a simple conclusion – Fabio Capello’s time as England manager must be considered a success, comparatively. Perhaps the biggest error is the constant over-hyping of the side, not the manager who can leave with his head held high. Most recently, England won against World Champions Spain and then Sweden (previously not beaten since 1958) in back to back friendly towards the end of 2011. A set of superb results, un-deniably.
So where does this negative press come from? Leading writers in high positons have notably come out and said England ‘stagnated’ under Capello, that they weren’t comfortable with a foreign manager in charge. All of this, as shown above, is not true and unfair on the Italian. Mostly, it comes from people so biased towards our own country and it’s exports (Redknapp mostly) that they will do anything to deliver a parting shot to the man on the way out. It won’t help the search for a new manager, and the sensible members among the public will do well to hope the FA think more carefully about appointing a successor than just quickly going to the favourite Redknapp. With no previous International experience, it would be extremely naive to throw him in a month before a tournament.
The stats, and anybody taking a more in-detail look at Capello’s reign, and see it’s a bitterly unreasonable criticism of the previous manager from some sections of the media. England went over a year under Capello before tasting defeat, claimed big wins over Croatia, Bulgaria and Switzerland all away, and finally capped it by completing 2011 unbeaten. Surely nobody can claim that the national side had ‘ceased to function coherently’ and that a change was needed? Such turmoil just before a big competition is the complete opposite of what is needed.