Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Capello's greatest failing

With Fabio Capello’s recent statements to the Italian media concerning John Terry’s fatal reign as England captain, he has once again displayed his most obvious characteristic as England manager.  Although no-one has tipped England to succeed later this year, Euro 2012 betting markets have become less murky in recent days – why would you bet on a team that can’t win? 

As a squad devoid of leadership, England can’t win anything.

The Italian General has said he has little regard for who wears the England armband.  His most public statements to that effect were two years ago after he removed Terry from the captaincy in the aftermath of the Wayne Bridge affair.  Capello has since backtracked on that decision, reinstating Terry only thirteen months later – a period in which the player attempted a poorly-marshalled coup d’etat during the 2010 World Cup.

As soon as this occurred, Capello lost much of his credibility as England’s leader.  What little repute remained has since evaporated.  To openly disagree with the FA’s decision smacks of a double-standard: he removed Terry because he thought him “divisive” – seemingly failing to understand the gravitas of the current allegations thrown Terry’s way.   

Now it appears he sacked Terry from a leadership position two years ago because he had transgressed Fabio’s moral code.  Terry now faces a charge arguably far worse than the allegations of early 2010, meaning Capello has flip-flopped like a revolving door.  An appropriate term, because it also describes his selection policy

Capello has been uniformly inconsistent almost since arriving on English shores.  It has been his greatest failing and has undermined his leadership to the point where now there is an enormous void at the top of the English coaching tree. 

In his great book “The Coach: Managing for Success”, master-manager Ric Charlesworth lists the five traits that a coach simply must display.  He says that a manager must be knowledgeable; diligent; open and flexible; honest and consistent.  While scoring highly for many of these characteristics, Capello fails miserably on the last.  In so doing, his entire role has been negated.  Players look to a manager for dependability - the England mob has failed to receive.

This has never been more apparent than in the curious case of the captaincy.  One moment he cares about who is captain and the next he does not.  At any point John Terry could be integral to the team or irrelevant.  His team selections have vacillated between the uber-experienced and the untested.  There has been little discernible method to Capello’s war-room, but simply reactionary moves that don’t behove his status as a coaching great.

In simplest terms, inconsistency from above indicates an absence of leadership.  Because of this, England will splutter and drown at Euro 2012.


  1. Yes, they will sputter and become permanently stalled with Terry and other players of his generation. Of what use can the EURO 2012 tournament be for the development of the England team for the 2014 WC? A rhetorical question with my biased response of "no use at all" if Capello goes with the 'tried and true' (or should that be 'tired and through'?).
    I think a brave manager (not Capello nor many English managers) should select a team of all the bright young players now featuring in the EPL and use EURO matches to prepare them for 2014WC. The present tired and through England team will have a torrid time with the major players of Europe so be brave and start 2014 WC preparations now without Capello. To do this the FA has to 'suck it in' and pay out Capello. With whom do you replace him? That's a question worth more than Capello's pay-out. Is thee anyone worthy? That's another article for you to write.

    1. Actually Peter, I completely agree. I think Capello's position is compromised now and while I don't see him actively wanting to get sacked, he's now entered that phase of his employment where he can say what he would like knowing the English FA aren't likely to fire him and leave themselves 4/5 months to find a replacement.

      In short, he's more valuable now to the FA than the FA is to him.

      I think actually, while his comments don't deserve him the sack, his curious team selections, failure to develop the "Next Generation" and the lack of team harmony (which he has contributed to) mean success at Euro 2012 is unobtainable - thus, he's failed in his job and another person should be appointed, one who gives the team their best chance for success.

  2. As you go through life your values and beliefs change, often experience and feedback regulates.
    Any person including. Capello can change.. Maybe he has changed because he has seen the effects of Terry's captaincy compaired with others.
    But the issue is that the FA has shot it's self in the foot. I don't see many other countries doing this disruptive thing prior to a major tournament. They would have all closed rank for the better of the team and waited the outcome of the proceedings in court. What happens if he is found not guilty? Interesting, will the FA say sorry to the player, team, coach, country and resign for gross incompetence?

    1. With you on values/beliefs changing, and it's eminently possible John Terry both earned Capello's faith and then lost that trust again. He is, in all probability, the best person to captain England from a leadership/unity standpoint but has hardly earned his teammates respect with his actions.

      When it comes down to it, the FA's hands were bound because they couldn't be seen to affiliate with a person under investigation for racism; it was an entirely political decision.

      Capello (perhaps quite rightly) felt that "innocent until proven guilty" was perhaps the best method of dealing with it. Secondly; having a squad "united" behind Terry (which may or may not have been possible) was his best chance of success at Euro 2012, and hence another job in International management. Like most stories, the subplots are often as interesting as the original story!