Capello quits as England manager over Terrygate: is Redknapp next?
Fabio Capello has sensationally quit as England manager, stating he was “gravely offended” by the FA over their unilateral stripping of John Terry of the England captaincy.
Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp, himself only cleared of tax evasion charges yesterday, has emerged as the strong favourite to replace the Italian, with Stuart Pearce being instilled as caretaker boss.
Capello’s resignation comes after a summit meeting with FA officials, organised in the wake of the Italian criticism of their decision to take the captain’s armband from Terry while the defender awaits trial on a charge of using racist language.
The former Champions League winner took issue with the FA making their decision before Terry is proved guilty. His stance put him at loggerheads with the FA, resulting in yesterday’s meeting. Upon his resignation Capello took a swipe at his now-former bosses saying:
“What really hit me and forced me to take this decision was the fact the much-vaunted Anglo-Saxon sense of justice, as they are the first to claim that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
“In Terry’s case, they gravely offended me and damaged my authority at the head of the England side, effectively creating a problem for the squad. I have never tolerated certain crossing of lines, so it was easy for me to spot it and take my decision to leave.”
The FA did not take the decision to strip Terry of the England captaincy when allegations of racial abuse towards QPR’s Anton Ferdinand were first made last October, nor when Police charges were brought against the Chelsea captain, but waited till last week when a trial date had been set.
Terry had previously been alleviated of the captain’s armband following the scandal involving himself and Wayne Bridge’s former girlfriend, a decision which at the time both Capello and the FA insisted was made by the Italian. On this occasion however, the FA’s unilateral action appears to have been a step too far for Capello, who leaves the England hot-seat just months ahead of the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, due to have been his swan song with the Three Lions.
For their part, FA chairman David Bernstein said in a press conference today the manner in which Capello had aired his qualms had not been helpful, adding that the former boss’ language skills were also an issue and that, “telephone conversations, for example, were not the easiest”.
The timing of Capello’s departure, which is so soon to Euro 2012, FA general secretary Alex Horne was quick to state this should not be a problem for thew Italian’s successor, with planning for the tourmament well under way, adding: “Any manager coming into the role will be able to hit the ground running very quickly.”
Capello’s resignation came only hours after Harry Redknapp was found not guilty of tax evasion charges. With the odds of the Tottenham manager becoming the next England boss being slashed within moments of his aquittal, the timing of Capello’s departure led some to speculate that the two events were related, with former England striker Garry Lineker stating on twitter: “’Fabio out on the very day HR gets cleared. Coincidence?”
Yet Redknapp has moved to distance himself from the speculation saying that he has never though of the England job, adding: “It wouldn’t be right to focus on anything else other than Tottenham.”
His appointment however would meet with approval from fans and some senior England players, with Wayne Rooney backing the potential appointment and Rio Ferdinand stating on twitter: “Harry Redknapp would be my choice by a distance.”
While Redknapp is favourite with the bookies and has long been considered a shoe-in for the England job, his is not the only name in the hat, with former Chelsea bosses Carlo Ancelotti and Jose Mourinho, installed as third and fourth favourites respectively, behind caretaker boss Stuart Pearce.