This hasnâ€™t anything to do with Ely but after last nightâ€™s game I was determined to give Steve McClaren the thoughts of an Ely City supporter:
Although not personally bothered whether the England manager is from Yorkshire, Sweden or Neverland I do think that the amount of cash thrown at the position is disproportionate to the rewards. Apparently, it cost about Â£15,000,000 over five years for Sven GE to transform a Top 8 national side into aâ€¦erâ€¦Top 8 side. Up and down the country millions of would be managers ground their teeth as Sven made unpopular decisions. To a man they all thought they could do a better job. Well, I humbly suggest, their time has come.
Hereâ€™s my revolutionary proposal:
All squads for the qualifiers are to be picked by phone voting. For Â£1, armchair supremos can phone in and, via a variety of option keys, pick their team and formation. Example: Key 1 for 4-4-2, Key 2 for 3-5-2, Key 3 for Diamond Formation with hard bastard with blood-soaked bandage round his head in the holding role. Key 4 to continue with selection. Then â€“ Key 1 for Goalkeeper etc etc. You get the idea?
I anticipate that around 20 million calls would be made for each match. With the expansion of qualifying groups due to the splitting up of Eastern Europe we have 8 games before the 2008 tournament so this would raise a whacking Â£160,000,000! Some of this money would be put aside to pay necessary FA employees such as the Kit Man, Team Doctor, Mystic Guru etc but the remainder would be given to charity. The players, already rich beyond their wildest dreams, would have to make their own way to games by way of a Team-Building exercise. No more treating them like children. Before the away match in Estonia, new captain John Terry, would have to get onto the Easy Jet web-site and work out how to get there independently â€“ like the supporters do. Not only would this help the squad gel it would give Terry something to do in the afternoon.
What, you may ask, would Steve McClaren have to do if someone else picked the team? Well, heâ€™d put the cones out, make sure that all the bibs got handed back in and handle substitutions. McClarenâ€™s main task would be during the Tournament itself. It has been acknowledged in the past that itâ€™s how you react to changes during a tournament that brings out your true management skills. The six weeks away from home, holed up in a hotel somewhere with the squad is where the Boss earns his corn. Ruddy-faced Steve would be there at the hotel with the Kitman, Doctor, Guru and others awaiting the arrival of the squad. Maybe Aarron Lennon and Ledley King would turn up in a Volkswagon camper van after nights sitting round a campfire on the drive down?
John Terry and the back-four could fly/drive whilst bonding over coffees at motorway services and develop a trench-like bond which would serve us well during extra-time against Portugal (cos we all know itâ€™ll happen again). I see Peter Crouch deciding to hitch his way to the tournament â€“ who could possibly leave The Crouchster at the side of the road, thumb stuck out?
Of course, there are one or two loop-holes in my idea. The first is that unscrupulous Scots could phone in and vote for David James and hit the re-dial key so many times that the flapping-prone keeper could get into the squad.
Some people might get confused and we could end up with Jade Goody at centre-half. Luckily for the FA, Iâ€™ve written a software programme, which will iron out these bugs, which I will offer to them for a small percentage of the Â£160,000,000.
See you at the Final!