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Recently in the Premier League there has been a number of ‘…out!’ campaigns among fans and in the media. No, nobody is coming out of the closet in Football (yet). So to explain a little further an example of such campaigns would be “Kean out!” at Blackburn, the blasphemous “Wenger out!” at Arsenal and the downright hilarious “Sir Alex out!” in Manchester. Possibly the most short lived and efficient manifestation of this trend was the “Capello out!” campaign.
In a recent interview with an Italian news station, England Manager Fabio Capello was critical of the FA’s decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy of what is essentially his team. I know from my experiences on Football Manager that standing up to the board is something you can only survive when you’ve actually won something for the club, or be a living legend of the club (Kenny Dalglish survived Suarezgate solely because he is a club legend). Capello resigned, but I imagine the FA gave Capello a choice between that and the sack. He was clever enough to choose the former. The campaign to remove Capello lasted little more than a few days.
Fabio Capello is far from a bad manager. Five Serie A titles with two different clubs, two La Liga titles with Real Madrid and a Champions League say he is a world class manager with a proven record. But English Football, especially the post of England Manager, is an entirely different game. PR is vitally important as an England Manager, the English media are notoriously quick to sensationalize the smallest of infringements but I don’t think that Capello’s speaking out against an FA decision can be overstated enough. A breach of his contract is the least of the concerns when it comes to the team. If Capello is seen to have less than 100% faith in his team captain for Euro 2012 then the team’s performance is bound to be more flaccid than at the 2010 World Cup, an unthinkable and terminally boring prospect. Capello’s relationship with the English press has always been unsettling, whether it is shouting at reporters at the World Cup hoping to get pictures of his players at the Hotel or the uneasy responses in broken English at press conferences. When the Football Association hired Fabio Capello on £6m a year back in 2008, they thought they were paying big money for a no-nonsense coach with top-class judgment. To openly criticise a decision of the FA behind their backs is the epitome of nonsense. BBC’s David Bond asks a simple but very important question; how would Capello the disciplinarian feel if one of his players went public with his views on a decision he had taken?
The very fact that the FA did not consult him on the matter shows how out of touch he is with English Football’s prime institution. The resignation of Capello came as a surprise to many; I’m frankly surprised they didn’t sack him outright. Perhaps it is ill timed for Capello to leave in the middle of the Premier League season, but this way we will likely avoid another unmitigated failure at a major a tournament and a series of tepid and passionless performances on the pitch.