It is quite ironical that a nation, which invented the game that has arguably become, in modern times, the most popular sport throughout world, would be consistently dismal at it. England, who are labelled by most, as the ‘Eternal Chokers’, have just one major trophy in their cabinet (FIFA World Cup 1966) to boast about since the inception of modern football in 1863. Though England have had quality players in their line-up for most of the major tournaments that they have participated in, they often had the wrong man at the national team’s helm. Yet another ignominious exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of the the lowest-ranked team, Iceland, which involved some absurd tactics employed by Hodgson, has brought heavy criticism on the 63-year-old manager. Some are even claiming that he is the worst manager to have ever managed England. However, English football has had worse. Hodgson has won 33 of the 55 games that he has managed England since taking over in 2012, which makes him look a lot better than some of his predecessors. Here’s a look at the managers who made the English Football Association deeply regret their decisions:
At 38.89% in one of the shortest tenures seen in football management, Kevin Keegan has the infamous tag of having the worst win percentage among all England managers till date. There was too much hype surrounding his appointment in 1999, mainly because of his exploits at Newcastle United during the 1992-97 period. He won just 4 competitive fixtures in 18 games that he managed the English team. Questions were raised regarding his tactical acumen as England were knocked out of the group stage of Euro 2000 following disgraceful performances against Romania and Portugal. After yet another humiliating 1-0 defeat against Germany at the start of the World Cup 2002 qualification phase, Keegan resigned from the England post in 2001, which also prompted the English FA’s to abandon its insistence on hiring English managers.
Graham Taylor is perhaps the perfect example to make someone realize that success in club football doesn’t guarantee success in football at the international level as well. Taylor’s rise as a manager was pretty remarkable as he guided a fourth-tier Watford to the top-flight of English football in a span of few years. He took them to the final of the FA Cup in 1984 and enjoyed similar success with Aston Villa later on. His strategy at club level was quite direct : the farther the ball stays from his own goal, more the chances of winning.
This strategy backfired heavily when he took charge of England. England struggled to qualify for Euro 1992, failed to win a single game after entering the competition and bowed out in emphatic fashion against hosts Sweden. Despite trying modifications to his tactics, he could not turn the results in his favour as he won a meagre 18 of his 38 games in-charge, drawing 13 times.
After having had a plethora of unsuccessful managers, English football fans were hoping to the see the likes of Jose Mourinho and Luis Felipe Scolari to take up the England job vacated by Sven Goran Eriksson. But, the English FA buried the hopes of English fans when they announced that Steve McClaren would be the man to guide England through Euro 2008. Following successful spells in the coaching staff under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and later as manager at Middlesborough, the English FA looked at him as a steady option to sail through a relatively easy Euro 2008 qualification group.
After an encouraging 5-0 win against Andorra, McClaren’s dull and defensive game-play, which was often criticised by fans and pundits alike, made England look shaky. England failed to even qualify for Euro 2008 following miserable defeats to Israel, Russia and Croatia. Subsequently he was sacked after just 12 games in-charge, which is the shortest tenure for any permanent England manager.
When the hugely-decorated Fabio Capello was appointed as the manager of England’s national team, massive expectations accompanied him, which included the end of England’s long wait of claiming a major trophy. Sadly he was unable to deliver.