Southgate Is Exactly What The FA Need Right Now

After a turbulent week for English football I’m still none the wiser as to how seriously the Premier League, Football League or FA will take the whiff of scandal that has enveloped the game.

Let’s be honest, whatever your thoughts on the stings that happened, the names and whether a few beers was more than unfair to get them chirping with bravado about what they may or may not be involved in, one thing is for sure, it didn’t take much to catch a few fishes, did it? Which leads to my next question, if the promise of 5k and a couple of pints of snakebite was all it took, what is REALLY happening under the hood of the beautiful game?

I spoke to several lawyers acting for some of those involved and the Telegraph newspaper and the problem is simple. Some of the big fish that have been mentioned in lists or have been outed to date have exceptional lawyers and will be responding to the Telegraph in a high stakes game of brinkmanship, which goes something like this..

“Go on then, we dare you to print libellous accusations about our client”, which makes newspapers think more than twice about printing or not.

For what it’s worth I think the Telegraph have done a service to football as it shows how little money it actually takes to get someone to a table and potentially put their career on the line, and if the Premier League and authorities think that this is a storm in a tea cup then they are so wrong. Every newspaper this side of Wapping will be looking at the clicks, the hits on the Telegraph website and thinking “ we’ll have a bit of this”, so expect agents, former players and current players to come out of the woodwork to get their revenge, edge in on another agents turf and make sure one or two people never work again.

As for what this means for you, the fans who stump up money for tickets, shirts and TV subscriptions, hopefully it means you ask more questions about your club, your owner and of the leagues your club plays in, because if it looks dodgy, usually it is, and it’s time to stop.


I think Gareth Southgate is exactly the man the FA need right now

…to make sure the good ship England sails through the latest choppy waters. I’m in a decent position to know too – I started my career at Palace as we both made the transition from reserves to first team, then we met up again at Villa later on. Honest, a thinker, a good man that I think is massively misunderstood and pigeonholed as a “Yes” man. This is a guy let’s not forget who left the FA fairly quickly after his first spell due to the inertia of the organisation in getting changes done, so a yes man he definitely is not. All I’d like to see from him after a very promising U-21 spell is to play the media game better.

He’s too honest, too nice and too accommodating and that needs to change. Harry Redknapp and Terry Venables to name but two managers “work” the room very well when it comes to the press, buying themselves time and space and comfort to mould and shape teams, systems, knowing that keeping the press on side allows them to do this.

I want to see Gareth do the same, to forge relationships with the biggest and best media names, give off the record interviews and get involved in the dark arts if you like because one thing is for sure, nice guys in football last 5 minutes, the real c*** of the game seem to last a lifetime as the corrupt allegations proved. Be bold Gareth, be ruthless and the job may just end up yours, and after a very good U-21s spell, he’s so much more qualified than Gary Neville or Hoddle – who’s time came and went a decade ago – it’s frightening. Let’s think younger, newer, more relevant, and that for me is Southgate. Just be a c***, everyone else is!


In February this year I suggested Troy Deeney get a chance for England and was roundly laughed at.

“Too raw, not good enough” etc etc, so it’s nice to see Alan Shearer finally get on the bandwagon and join me to extol the virtues of a guy who’s done the hard yards lower down the league, scored his goals, lead the line like a centre forward (rather than generic forward), and most importantly for me, show the kind of leadership woefully lacking in the Three Lions over a number of years. Troy is humble, knows his qualities and limitations and it’s no surprise that after a quiet first couple of games that he’s again become instrumental in helping yet another new Watford manager settle in, getting his goals, leading the line and bringing good things out of those around him.

We need to be less snobbish about England and remember that it’s a team rather than a collection of “Top 4″ players that will move England forward in the future, and if you need convincing I’ll take you back to Euro 96 where for every Sheringham, Shearer and McManaman there was a little balding Forest wide man called Steve Stone who more than played his part in making the team a team rather than a mis-performing group of individuals. I’ll put this out there for you, who would you rather see roll their sleeves up, singing the anthem with pride over the coming qualification months, Troy Deeney or Jack Wilshere. I rest my case.