only one man, in my view, with the right credentials, Terry Venables,
and he was over-looked for not meeting the FA's so-called "criteria".
The whole sorry situation was underlined by the fact that of the two
people approached to be caretaker, the first was Bobby Robson, a
67-year-old who first managed his country in 1982, and Peter Taylor, who
was sacked as Under-21 coach by the FA 18 months ago.
If Venables was not going to be considered, the FA really had no
alternative but to go abroad and they should, at least, be applauded for
acting swiftly and decisively.
What puzzles me more is that apart from Tord Grip, who will be
Eriksson's scout, the FA has already installed his coaching staff.
Normally when a manager takes over he brings in his own back-up team.
But Eriksson, it seems, is going to have to work with Taylor, Steve
McClaren and Brian Kidd.
The plan to groom them as possible future England managers throws up
many questions. Like what exactly are they all going to do when the
England squad meets up? Presumably, Eriksson is going to do the bulk of
the coaching and tactical work because that's why he has been brought
You can only have one voice giving out the orders otherwise the players
become confused. Eriksson sounds a strong-minded man and will come in
with his own ideas and thoughts. He will want things done his way. What
if the others disagree?
The FA also talks about a five-year plan. But a month can be along time
in football, let alone a year. As for Eriksson his record at club level
looks good, but not overwhelmingly so. He worked in the Italian League
for many years before securing his first title last season. Even then it
was more a case of Juventus blowing it than Lazio winning.
There will be no honeymoon period for him. England haven't a great team
at the moment, they are in the doldrums, and expectations are not that
He can only take them in one direction and he has got to do it fast.
It's no use people suggesting we write-off the 2002 World Cup campaign
because that's what he will be judged on - not over the full five years
on his contract.
If England cannot take six points from their next two qualifiers,
Finland at home and Albania away, then we should all forget it. Even
with all the problems, I fully expect England to finish second in their
group and earn a play-off place.
That Eriksson is a foreigner will not bother the players. It is vital he
is in charge for the friendly against Spain in February to give them the
chance to get to know his methods and thinking.
All supporters want is a winning team. If Eriksson can do that for
England, no-one will care where he comes from.