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No one else is really up to the job except me


Have you noticed how smart Stuart Pearce has become? The minute he became acting England manager, he started parting his hair neatly at the side, giving it a good brush, yet with a hint of floppy, instead of letting it stick up, punk-like, as it used to in his “Psycho” days.
His suits suddenly look well smart, clearly made to measure, not bought from a barrow. His style as a player was “bugger all that posh or trendy stuff, I’m Desperate Dan, me, hand me that blowlamp, I’ll have a shave, then I’ll chop off a few legs”.
His skin has also gone upmarket. Now, that is interesting. How did he manage it? There is middle-class skin, as we well know, because Dave Cameron is covered in it. It comes smoother, richer, lovelier, plumper than poor old working-class skin, which always looks pasty, pale, undernourished. You’ll be thinking of Wayne Rooney, but Damien Duff is the best example. You want to give him a hug or direct him to the nearest soup kitchen.
Stu has gone to all that bother and looks great – you could take him anywhere – but he is clearly not going to get the job. Which is why I have applied to be England manager.
OK, so I was born in Scotland but then so was Fergie and half the half-decent managers in the Prem. And the right age. All I need now is a decent haircut and a suit.
Blood of an Englishman
As manager, I would immediately bring back Paul Scholes and make him captain. It’s probably the only way I will get to find out if he is married. Have you ever seen a picture of Mrs Paul Scholes? Well then. In this age of Wags, whose every curve, every bowel movement we follow, I have never seen a snap of his missus. Scott Parker, he would be in as well, for the same reason.
Then I would check out Cristiano Ronaldo. Surely all those years at Man United means he must qualify for citizenship? With a bit of help and creative accounting. And Messi has clearly got English blood, why on earth did they call him Lionel and start his career at Newell’s Old Boys? It’d take just a few minutes with scissors and paste to prove English ancestry.
The FA will have to buy me out of my contract, of course, and the New Statesman is very tight. They’ll demand a fortune and negotiations will go on for months. Not that I’m bothered. Nor is the FA. In fact, they are so not bothered, there must be something funny going on.
If the Prime Minister, the one I just mentioned, with the lovely skin, happened to fall under a bus, would there not be a new one appointed? Say a general election was coming up – they’d sort themselves out in days. Or if the boss of Morrisons or Apple or the local corner caff got the push, would they carry on for months and months leaderless, the way the FA has done? Of course not.
Sweet FA
So we have to think of the reasons. Could it be that wee Sir Dave Richards, the FA official who fell into a hotel fountain in Qatar, is still there, waiting for someone to bring water wings?
Or perhaps because they know English football is rubbish at present – the top clubs in the Prem now the poorest they have been for some time, always likely to get beaten by so-called lower clubs, at home or abroad – they fear England will be humiliated in the Euros. Best, therefore, to have the excuse ready in advance: “We didn’t have no manager, not our fault, guv.” The FA doesn’t actually exist any more? Possibly. There is no one there. Go to Wembley, shout down all corridors “Where’s Wally, I mean Dave” and I bet you’ll find the place totally deserted.
It must be one of those three reasons, otherwise why have they done absolutely nothing since 8 February, when Capello resigned? Nine whole weeks. With a vital competition coming up. They did, of course, give him a push, knowing what would happen, so they have had even longer to think about it. 
The most likely explanation is that they have indeed all done a runner. Looks as if I’ll need two suits, if I am going to be managing England – and running the FA.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 09 April 2012 issue of the New Statesman, Spring Double Issue