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 England Managers 1st Games in Charge

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PostSubject: England Managers 1st Games in Charge    2012-01-16, 18:59

It's the poisoned chalice that everyone's after (providing the money's right). Yes, it's the England manager's
job. To celebrate the latest incumbent (insert Ab/Fab/Cap/Crap type pun here) we're providing a cut out and
keep guide to those happy opening games, where even Steve McClaren looked as though he knew what he was doing.
The day when an England manager could emerge from the Wembley tunnel with a smile on his face,
safe in the knowledge that he wasn't going to be humiliated the next day by the tabloids or
Spitting Image or some bird on the make at the FA.



The 1960's and 70's

To begin with we start with 1960s and 1970s. A period of Beatlemania, Space Hoppers, men on the moon,
3 day weeks and other lazy, tenuous journalistic cliches we could choose to employ. Flared trousers,
there's another one.


1963 Sir Alf Ramsey, France 5:2 England - Paris (European Championship Qualifier)
Sir Alf was England's first manager with full responsibility for team selection. His predecessor, Walter
Winterbottom was an able coach whose team was selected by an FA committee consisting of a Wing Commander, a
disgraced headmaster and a senile Earl from Devon. Probably. Ramsey, fresh from winning the league with rank
outsiders Ipswich, would suffer no such indignity. Yet his first match was hardly auspicious. A trip to Paris
for a European Nations cup qualifier ended in a 5-2 victory for the hosts. Ramsey played a very attacking
formation and his team were three down by half time. Goals from Tambling and Smith pegged it back to 3-2
before late strikes saw the French home. The gin soaked dodderers at Lancaster Gate must've been grumbling
darkly into their drinks at the result. Thankfully, in time Alf became Sir Alf for good reason. Curiously
our most successful boss is the only one to have lost his first game in charge.




1974 Joe Mercer, Wales 0:2 England - Cardiff (Home International Championship)
England's ejection from 1974 World Cup before it had even started was enough for the FA to sack their first
manager. It wasn't to be their last despatched P45. One of the few who wasn't sacked was Joe Mercer who had
an extended caretaker spell in charge before the appointment of The Don. His opener was a
potentially awkward trip to Ninian Park for a Home International fixture with Wales. Stan Bowles, in a rare
start for England, and Kevin Keegan got the goals either side of a half time heralding a brief, but
enjoyable period in charge for Mercer. After the huge disappointment on missing out on their first
ever World Cup (that England had entered) the Mercer months provided some light relief before the
arrival of Revie.




1974 Don Revie, England 3:0 Czechoslovakia - Wembley (EC Qualifier)
With a newly appointed boss in place who'd had great success in club football, hopes were again rising
that after the nightmare of Poland, England were ready to rise again. Revie's opening game did nothing to
dispel this optimism. A convincing 3-0 Wembley victory over a talented yet brutal Czech side was secured
with a terrific header from Mick Channon and a brace from the superb, buccaneering Colin Bell.
This saw England off to a flier in their campaign to qualify for the 1976 European Championships.
A campaign that was to flounder the following autumn after an excellent first year for The Don.
Defeat by the Czechs in Bratislava was to prove pivotal. They went on, not only to qualify but also to
win the tournament itself. For England the initial promise disappeared into the middle of nowhere and
the Don disappeared into the Middle East.


Video Clip:

The relevant highlights come after 4mins.



1977 Ron Greenwood, England 0:0 Switzerland - Wembley (International Friendly)

After the shockwaves of Revie's departure had faded the FA decided they needed a steady hand at the tiller
and in 1977 that man wasn't Brian Clough. The FA appointed Greenwood who'd been out of football management
since 1974 in a caretaker capacity for the three autumn fixtures. The first of which was a dismal home
friendly against an anaemic Swiss side that ended 0-0. Greenwood's strategy was to initially build his team
around the European Champions Liverpool, and six of their players were selected. Greenwood couldn't salvage
the 1978 World Cup qualification attempt, yet did enough in his two remaining fixtures to get the job ahead
of Clough. In particular there was an outstanding, yet essentially irrelevant victory over Italy at Wembley.
Ron was a widely respected figure who finally got England to some tournaments and nearly managed a
1982 World Cup semi-final spot. However, he wasn't Brian Clough and one of English football's great 'if only'
questions was thus created.




The 1980's and 90's

Coming next, Sir Bobby, El Tel, KK, Hoddle and a man they called 'Turniphead'....



1982 Bobby Robson, Denmark 2:2 England - Copenhagen (European Championship Qualifier)

After a creditable World Cup it fell to Robson to take up the impossible job after Ron Greenwood's retirement.
Robson's first duty was to take his side to Copenhagen for what looked like the straightforward task of beating
Denmark. However, the Danes were on the brink of their own 'Golden Generation'. For Robson, his main
pre-match duty was to fend off the furore surrounding his controversial but bold decision to discard
Kevin Keegan from a future in international football. Amidst the tumult perhaps Denmark were underestimated.
England were completely outplayed for much of the match but with ten minutes to go Trevor Francis scored
his second of the match to put England 2-1 up. Then in the last minute the outstanding Jesper Olsen
equalised with a wonderful solo effort and Denmark had a draw which scarcely reflected the balance of the game.
Robson himself called the result "a travesty". A year later the Danes had the reward their inventive
players deserved as they won at Wembley to secure a place in the 1984 European Championships in France.
Yet Robson, unlike McClaren years later, survived a further seven years and went on to become England's
second longest serving full-time manager.


Video Clip:

This clip isn't Olsen's goal against England, but one that was
even better for Ajax against their old rivals Feyenoord.




1990 Graham Taylor, England 1:0 Hungary - Wembley (International Friendly)

After the shock of England actually having a successful World Cup behind them, the FA hired Graham Taylor
to replace Robson, who had been told that his contract would not be renewed before the tournament.
Taylor's first game in charge was a home friendly against an undistinguished Hungarian side. Comparisons
with 1953 were unnecessary. With Gazzamania sweeping the nation, expectations were high to unreasonable.
Taylor made a number of changes from the side which so nearly reached the World Cup final.
Shilton and Butcher had retired from international football and Beardsley was unavailable.
Lee Dixon came in at right back. England won a largely forgettable game 1-0 thanks to the obligatory
Gary Lineker strike. Taylor persisted with the sweeper system which had been unexpectedly introduced by
Robson in Italy. However, it lasted only three games before he reverted to the 4-4-2 practiced to a sublime
level of mediocrity by generations of England footballers. Success didn't follow for Taylor, but in 1993
a Channel 4 documentary team did follow him and the result wasn't flattering. Failure to qualify for the
1994 World Cup ended his tenure and turned a decent, honourable, and respected football manager into
a standing joke.



1994 Terry Venables, England 1:0 Denmark - Wembley (International Friendly)

Venables took over after a desperate period for the England team. His first game in charge was a friendly
against Denmark at Wembley. Venables was a near unanimous choice by the football media though there were
reservations about his colourful business background. 'Colourful' being of course a euphemism for 'dodgy'.
But the FA bit the bullet and with no competitive fixtures for over 2 years, allowed him to get on with
coaching the side. In his opening game he gave first caps to Graeme Le Saux and Darren Anderton and played
a more sophisticated system than Taylor with just Shearer up front. 11 members of the previous squad were
dropped and Peter Beardsley was recalled to play alongside captain David Platt behind Shearer in what was
dubbed 'the Christmas tree' formation (4-3-2-1). No presents were handed out to a weakened and unambitious
Danish side and England won the game with a goal from captain Platt in front of 72,000. Given an
unprecedented opportunity to experiment without the pressure for results demanded by a qualifying campaign,
Venables slowly developed a team for the 1996 European Championships on home soil. England fell short,
and there is a tendency to overstate about his contribution, but he did bring a greater degree of
sophistication to England's play. It would however, have been interesting to see how he'd have coped
with a gruelling route to a major tournament.


Video Clip:

El Tel's second game in charge - against Greece.



1996 Glenn Hoddle, Moldova 0:3 England - Chisinau (World Cup Qualifier)

Glenn Hoddle was an interesting choice for England in the wake of the FA and Venables' failure to establish
a working relationship beyond Euro 96. Hoddle was one of the brightest coaches in the English game in keeping
with his intelligent play on the field. His first game in charge, a tricky trip to a post-Soviet bloc state,
Moldova, was a thorough success. Moldova were pretty poor but the problems presented by a difficult trip
and poor facilities could have undone less organised sides. Hoddle re-introduced the 3-5-2 sweeper system
and was England's first coach who truly believed in it. Hoddle famously gave a debut to a man who was to
become an icon. But enough about Andy Hinchcliffe, someone called David Beckham got his first cap as well.
Mark Draper filled the `Chris Powell role' in the squad but he never made it onto the pitch. Goals in the
first half from Barmby and Gascoigne allowed England a degree of comfort at half time. After an hour Shearer
scored and the game as a contest was over. Hoddle brilliantly manoeuvred England to the French World Cup of
1998, getting past Italy on the way. However, his mind-boggling decision to write a candid account of that
tournament, coupled with a batty interview about spiritualism ended his coaching spell in acrimony.
Read that last sentence again and see if it befits a footballing culture that can win a major tournament.




1999 Kevin Keegan, England 3:0 Poland - Wembley (European Championship Qualifier)

With Hoddle gone the country was desperate for a saviour who would bring charisma and passion to the role.
Sadly, Howard Wilkinson lasted just one match as caretaker (0-2 versus France at Wembley), so the country
had to make do with Keegan. With hindsight, it was never going to work. Yet at the time the complete
opposite was the case. Amid an extraordinary public clamour, Keegan was released from his contract at
Fulham by Mohammed Al-Fayed, his 'gift to the nation'. In addition to Hoddle's off field antics England were
struggling to qualify for Euro 2000 and desperately needed three points against old rivals Poland at Wembley.
On a beautiful spring day Paul Scholes inspired England to an impressive 3-1 victory. Tim Sherwood made an
impressive debut, but it was Tottenham's Chris Armstrong who did his Chris Powell impression on the bench.
A cracking opening performance wasn't maintained by England, though they did make it to the Low Countries
via a playoff against the auld enemy Scotland. A first round exit was followed by a home defeat to Germany
in the opening 2002 World Cup qualifier and an emotional Kev was left to resign in the changing rooms at
Wembley.


Video Clip:

KK's impressive first game in charge against the Poles.



The 2000's

Up next... a new century, and a new hope, in the form of a lady-loving Swede...


2001 Sven Goran Eriksson, England 3:0 Spain - Villa Park (International Friendly)

After Keegan's resignation, Howard Wilkinson briefly lifted spirits again with his unique brand of champagne
caretakership (a nil-nil draw in Finland). At this the FA made the most dramatic recruitment of their 138 year
history. A foreigner by Jove! The sky didn't fall in but there was a hostile reaction from much of the English
tabloid press. The most xenophobic of which was this from the Daily Mail's Chief Sportswriter, Jeff Powell;


"So, the mother country of football, birthplace of the greatest game, has finally gone from the cradle to
the shame. We've sold our birthright down the fjord to a nation of seven million skiers and hammer throwers
who spend half their lives in darkness."


However, large sections of the media had detected a more sanguine response from fans. With no game for many
weeks after his appointment Eriksson undertook a whistle-stop tour of the Premier League grounds which was met
with a very positive reaction. His first game in charge was a friendly against Spain at Villa Park.
Wembley had been closed in 2000 as it awaited a complete rebuild (at the time due in 2003!). Eriksson used his
status as an outsider to make some unusual choices in his squad - Gavin McCann, Ugo Ehiogu, Chris Powell and
Michael Ball were awarded their first caps during the match.


The match itself was something of a triumph for the Swede. A 3-0 win was comfortably acquired against an
aimless Spanish XI. Barmby set the ball rolling in the 38th minute, coolly despatching a clever pass from Owen
past Casillas. Heskey grabbed a second after 53 minutes and Ehiogu finished the scoring with 20 left on the clock.
A more than satisfactory first evening for the Swede, whose next task would be to restore competence to England's
ailing World Cup campaign.


After 5 years in charge Eriksson's tenure ended with his third successive quarter final defeat at a major
tournament. After providing us with some great moments and possibly three years of improvement, the country had
grown tired of the avaricious Scandinavian. His replacement would be English and Jeff Powell, at least,
would be happy. Though it must be remembered that Powell, unlike the Swedish, spends all his existence in the dark.



2006 Steve McClaren, England 4:0 Greece - Old Trafford (International Friendly)

Eriksson's number two, Steve McClaren, was given the job of getting England to the 2008 European Championships
in Austria and Switzerland after a bungled, overlong selection process. His first game in charge was not
dissimilar to his former boss' opener. McClaren did not undertake the level of experimentation that Eriksson
had done in 2001. However, one notable name was missing from his squad and the consequences were to dog him
for the rest of his time in charge. Captain Beckham had become Private Beckham shortly after the penalty
shootout defeat against Portugal. McClaren then made the brave move to dispense with him altogether for the
Greece match, and by extension the qualification campaign as well. The match itself was a procession. The
Greeks, despite their status as European Champions, were woeful and first half goals from Terry, Lampard and
Crouch (2) reduced the match to exhibition status. This was really about as good as it got for McClaren.
Though his team opened the qualification process with two victories we don't need to repeat what eventually
happened. So we won't. One moderately interesting thing to note was the crowd. Less than 46,000 turned up
for the game, 25,000 less than for the friendly against the equally gormless Jamaicans prior to the World Cup.
The intelligence of crowds is an increasingly influential facet of psychology development...



Video Clip:

This clip is Crouch's vaguely comical second goal.



2008 Fabio Capello, England 2:1 Switzerland - Wembley (International Friendly)

Seven years on and here we are again. Another calamitous English manager has resigned. Another urbane foreigner
has taken his place. This time we got one who doesn't just sound Italian, he is Italian. Don Fabio had accepted
the FA's persuasion and their millions. To be fair to Capello he had publically expressed his desire to take the
post on the night of England's crushing debacle against Croatia. A defeat that ensured a summer off for the
tinpot generation. This time the appointment caused less protestation. Remarkably, sadly, the stature of
English managers had slipped even further in the years since the appointment of Eriksson. Against the reputation
of Redknapp, Allardyce and Curbishley was that of a man with an unparalleled record of achievement in collecting
Italian and Spanish league titles. It was no contest. Unlike his opening game against Euro 2008 co-hosts,
Switzerland. After an impoverished opening 35 minutes Jermaine Jenas scored the first goal of the new era
before half time. Switzerland equalised early in the 2nd half but Shaun Wright-Phillips bundled over a low
Gerrard cross to emboss victory on a performance that improved gradually as the match wore on. A nation now
hopes that a man with such a formidable CV will lead England onto significantly more important victories than
this one. But it does only hope. It's had a bellyful of expectation.





Video Clip:

Match highlights.

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writinguy
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PostSubject: Re: England Managers 1st Games in Charge    2012-01-16, 21:56

It is sort of funny that the man who had the worst first game ended up being the one who won the big prize.
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England Managers 1st Games in Charge

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