Editor’s blog: A World Cup post mortem

Capello’s biggest managerial failing, and the paralysing fear of failure.

OK. We’re all feeling as bad as you are here. It almost ruined my weekend. But look at it this way: if we’d won, how agonising would it have been to see our helpless boys being toyed with by Messi, Tevez and co? So, by way of a mini-MT post-mortem, a few thoughts:

1. I’m sure Capello’s art collection reveals he is a man of taste and culture. And I know he’s managed teams to success in the Champions League, plus the Italian and Spanish leagues. But when you manage a team of people, it is essential you can communicate clearly with them. Capello’s English remains poor. It may not take words that contain more than two syllables to get through to Wayne Rooney (one tap for yes, two taps for no, administered to the skull, has been known to work a treat). But Wayne doesn’t speak any Italian, even if his wife is really accomplished at reading the names on Prada and Armani bags. If he is to stay, Capello needs a GCSE in English within the next six months.

2. On the subject of Rooney: how does a player of his ability, who was onto anything for his club last season, turn in four performances like that? What is going on inside his head? And what has Alex Ferguson got that Capello hasn’t? (And don’t say ‘a hairdryer’)

3. The England team is also fearful of our dreadful tabloid press. A press that came out with some predictably moronic dross about the Germans before the game. The Star wittily went for: ‘Bring it Hun!…we will fight jeering Jerries on the pitches’. Never mind that the German team contained a Turk, a Serbian, a couple of Poles and a Brazilian on the bench. The tired old lags at The Star are still fighting a war that ended 65 years ago, and means nothing to anything under the age of 40.

But the players read this nonsense, take heed of it and, in some instances, use the tabloids to score points over their manager. As soon as anything starts to go wrong, the unity is destroyed. As a result, England play with dread at the possibility of failure in their hearts. That isn’t the way to do it in sport, business or in families. There is no exuberance, no flair, no pleasure in performing well. Just terrible fear. And that’s a poor motivator. But never mind – they always have their eighty grand a week to fall back on.

  • In 2014 when a relatively inexperienced manager guides England to World Cup glory, the business community will inevitably seek to learn what it can from the managerial and leadership style and structure of the victorious team.

    The successful manager will be able to anticipate a lucrative book deal and a never-ending speaking schedule following in the footsteps of Sir Clive Woodward addressing managers eager to apply his (or, dare one even suggest, her…) management strategy to the employees on the jam tart production line.

    But in the absence of any such victory, perhaps it’s time for Fabio Capello (as the Chief Executive of England Football Limited) to answer the criticisms of his shareholders (the English public) in just the way he would have to do were he at the helm of a FTSE 100 organisation.

    Anyone know of an outplacement organisation that specialises in ousted football managers previously on £6m per year? Or should he just sign on at the Job Centre like most “normal” people?