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Sven Goran Eriksson is a hugely popular and successful manager in World Football, he will be best known to English fans as the previous manager of England but he has had successful spells in Swedish, Portuguese and Italian football before coming to England. Eriksson was ruined by the British press with their portrayal of him as a money grabbing ladies man, on paper his record as England Manager was excellent he managed to help the country qualify for every tournament he was involved in. His qualifying record was amazing and whilst our performance in big tournaments did leave much to be desired this was down to a mixture of injuries, poor decisions and the players themselves failing to live up to their full potential. Erikkson has been a success at every club he managed using his superb man management skills to develop good players into great ones, one of the biggest criticisms of his performance as England manager was that he was too close to his players, but this worked as he got the best out of many of them. Erikkson's tactical acumen was occasionally questioned due to some strange substitutions and his inability to take big name players like Beckham out of the firing line when they were palpably unfit, this led to accusations of favouritism. Erikkson was paid a ridiculous wage by the FA and this was another reason the press had to destroy him, add this to his ability to keep cheating on his girlfriend and he was constantly in the press for the wrong reasons, eventually the pressure got too much for him and he decided to call it a day and try his luck elsewhere, he has since managed Manchester City and was doing really well, but for some reason left just before the Arabian backers came in, which would have given him the finances to mount a serious title challenge, he proved adept at beating Manchester United and playing well against big teams and brought in some quality players like Elano. But eventually it was decided he was not the man for the job. He has subsequently managed Mexico without success and is likely to return to Europe in the near future and make another attempt at managing a top European league. Overall he has had mixed success in World Management but was a success for England and has always been a very good club manager.
I really do like Sven as a manager, although many of my fellow countrymen will tell you he is not passionate enought to be an england manager - my answer to this is look how passionate kevin keegan was and his success is not as good as sven who has no led us to his third quater-finals. Sven is a manager in the mould of arsen Wenger, a man i'd love to see manage england (oh if only he wasnt french). who relies more on his half time talks than jumping up and down like a monkey in the technical area. Sven has had the chance to introduce some of english footballs most promising talent to the world stage at the world cup - Aaron lennon, Downing, Walcott and previously the one and only Wayne rooney. in the last world cup we were knocked out by the eventual winners, that result was a bit unlucky as was the penalty result against portugal in 2004. Svens use of substitutions have been questioned however, most obviously his use of owen hargreaves when we went a goal up against brazil and his continual switichin of formation and players in this world cup. Sadly the media fiasco labled the 'fake sheike' has forced sven to announce his resignation for after the world cup before it which i think was typical of the british media - if we lose it they'll say told u so and lambust sven, if we win it they'll be we knew it all along.
Sven has done rather a good job as England manager and he simply doesn't deserve all the stick that he gets from the English media and commentators. Just because he's a foreigner, wears glasses and has a large forehead... he does't deserve all the abuse. And so what if he did have it away with his secretary... who wouldn't if they were offered it on a plate at his age? I think a lot of it is also to do with a certain jealousy of Sweden as a nation. It's simply a better country and people there a more sensible. They don't get mixed up in World wars for example nor suck up to the USA. And if you take into account the size of their population compared to England they are much more successful at sport than the English. With Eriksson England have reached the quarter finals in two major tournaments which is about right if you consider the quality of the team during this time. And it's not his fault if he has a team full of over paid pampered spoilt brats who are more occupied with their hair dressing appointments and doing soft drinks adverts when they should be rehearsing their penalty taking. In the last World cup England were only eliminated by Brazil because of a flukey Ronaldiho goal and Seamen slipping on his pony tail. And then there was the disallowed goal because Shearer did a karate chop on a defenders neck if I remember correctly. Otherwise we would have gone on to thrash Germany in the final. And in the European Championships we lost to Portugal on penalties and a perfectly good goal that was disallowed because the referee had obviously had big bet on. We would have gone on to defeat Greece in the final by simply playing more boring football than they did. So leave the poor Swede alone... he only gets about £4 million a year. (please note there is a Dooyoo Bug and although I checked Yes to recommended, it was displaying "no")
When Kevin Keegan walked out on England following an ignominious defeat to Germany at Wembley in Englands last ever fixture at the old stadium, I for one was happy when a foreign coach was appointed. In that one job placement, years of xenophobia were finally eradicated as the FA realised that English managers were, in general, inept when it came to tactics at international level. And so with the sophisticated Swede in charge maybe, just maybe, England could finally exorcise that ghost of 1966 and win something at last. Sven-Göran Eriksson joined England as National Team Coach in January 2001. Born in Torsby on 5 February 1948, his pedigree was impressive having won the Italian League and Cup double in 2000 with Lazio. Eriksson's first game in charge was the 3-0 victory against Spain at Villa Park in a friendly international on 28 February 2001. It was Nicky Barmby who scored that fateful first goal to supplement a relatively dour international career. With a further four wins to follow, most of the doubters were won over, many of who were Anglo-file, English media. In fact, Eriksson had managed the most successful start of any England coach. Under Eriksson, England eventually qualified for the 2002 World Cup. With a momentous last second equaliser from David Beckham, England managed to top the group by the skin of their teeth and consign Germany to a play off to qualify themselves. Perhaps one of the iconic moments in recent England international memory was David Beckham's dramatic, curled free-kick into the top corner of the net to bring the score to 2-2 and send me on a drinking frenzy for several hours afterwards. Along the way, England had finally overcome the old enemy Germany in Munich with an incredible 5-1 win. Erikkson became a national saviour and we all kneeled at the cool Swedes metaphorical alter. Perhaps an indication of what was to come, England qualified for the quarter-finals only to blow it against Brazil with a lifeless, second half display to flop out of the tournament. Owens first half goal had taken England fans into a temporary rapture in which we actually believed we could beat Brazil only for Ronaldinho to bring it all crashing down by chipping David Seaman from what seemed a mile away. When it really mattered, England failed again. Euro 2004 qualification went without a hitch and, for a while, England looked a good bet in Portugal. However, just when we thought we were on the brink of something big, the outstanding player of the tournament Wayne Rooney broke his foot in an innocuous tackle and Englands perennial lack of a plan B returned to haunt them. In a game England could have won, they showed defensive naivety in dropping deeper and deeper after going 1-0 up eventually shipping an equaliser. In a dramatic penalty shoot out, England consolidated their reputation as woeful competitors when it comes to spot kicks with yet another defeat and elimination from another competition. The 2006 World Cup Final campaign that followed had gone swimmingly until a 1-0 defeat in Belfast against an ordinary Northern Ireland side, with the majority of its players from the lower English leagues, humbling the mighty England. This may well have been the Swede's lowest point in his England career although qualification was eventually assured by victory over Austria at Old Trafford. England rounded off 2005 with an amazing 3-2 friendly win over Argentina. Micheal Owen was back on song; Sven was smiling again. On Monday 23 January 2006 it was announced that Sven would be leaving his role as England Head Coach after the World Cup in Germany. So with Sven approaching his final competition as Head Coach/Manager of England, whats to be made of his reign? Well, for such a quietly spoken man who is often accused of lacking passion, he has certainly been controversial off the pitch. Linked with several, high-profile women, Svens libido has been impressive. With his long-time girlfriend, Nancy Del'Olio, remaining loyal, the inauspicious Swede has had plenty of affairs detailed in the press including links to sexy ex-weather girl, Ulrika-ka-ka Jonsson and Faria Alam. With the latter proving the more tricky with Alams close involvement with FA matters, if ever there was proof positive that looks really arent that important then Sven has managed to underline that maxim! Bizarrely, its Erikssons business dealings that have caused an even bigger stir in the media. Linked with Chelsea at one point, the Swede has defended his right to determine his own future by suggesting that he can and should talk to other prospective employers even whilst still employed as England Manager. That together with the recent newspaper sting suggesting that Eriksson may be planning to buy a Premiership club at some point in the future, its a fascinating argument based around employment law and the rights associated with personal contracts. Personally, I cant see why Eriksson cant look after his personal interests and, as far as I know, most individuals have this right to negotiate for work but eminent luminaries like Jimmy Greaves were vitriolic in their indignation that anyone could consider such a heinous thing whilst doing the most noble of jobs in sport. In that, perhaps we have the crux of the problem with being England manager. Everyone expects as does England (a la Nelson) but the manager is also expected to be whiter than white in every sense of the analogy and maybe we should remove this pedestal and label it unrealistic once and for all. My own biggest criticism of Eriksson is his tactical failings. Clearly, he has been overly influenced by the bigger characters in the squad. Beckham has been kept in the team when, at times, he has clearly been off-form and needing to be dropped. When facing a difficult task, England have folded at the key moments like the Brazil game and, again, against Portugal. Sven has been remarkably poor at making tactical substitutions that have actually worked and the policy of playing virtually two different teams in friendlies has been plainly ludicrous. I hope for all of our sakes that the current England team rise to the usual unrealistic expectations at the next world cup. Yes, we have a good squad and, yes, we have a world class, midfield line up. However, only one team can win and the tournament includes a strong Brazil, Argentina, not to mention a pumped-up host nation in Germany. Whatever happens, Im sure Sven will walk out of it and into a new, high profile challenge in which he will get paid a lot of money. In the meantime, all I ask is a good show against Uruguay tonight! Thanks for reading Mara
So Svens been at it again. His meeting with a fake sheik couldnt have come at a worse time with the world cup a matter of months away. Of course there are always two sides to every story and it seems everyone has an opinion. Personally Im in two minds. On one hand the news of the World acted a bit underhand considering the job Sven has to do in the summer. Ive no doubt that come the World Cup, the paper will be slobbering at the mouth with back pages full of England propaganda. I can see it now, Becks and Rooney draped in the St George. Frank Lampard mocked up to look like a lion you get the picture. But this is the newspapers job, they need sensation to sell copy and with this story theyve certainly achieved that. But you cant really feel sorry for Sven, even he cant deny the video footage and the things he has said. Perhaps if he was negotiating a job after the world cup when his contract ended then Id say fair enough. But the fact of the matter is he wasnt, he still has another two years after that. A deal his agent had negotiated at a pretty price for the FA. So where are Svens priorities, well Im not really sure anymore. I have never been a huge fan of Svens stint in charge of the national side. I dont understand the FAs faith in the man for the long term and the large amount of money theyve paid him. Yes weve reached the major tournaments but given the talent at his disposal, this should be a formality. People have pointed at his overall record and wins always look good on the sheet. But you have to consider where the majority of those wins came from. Most of the games under Svens guidance have come against teams with little stature on the world stage. When it comes to the crunch he has always bottled it and the style of football played by the England team is pretty dire. Heres a prediction for the world cup. England will huff and puff their way through the group stage. They will play at a pedestrian pace and be fairly negative. Meanwhile you will see other games where teams will play football on the floor at pace and with attacking flair. This is what I want to see from England but Im always left wanting. Past the group stage, England will come up against a major opponent and will struggle. If lucky, they will scrape through on a penalty. If it goes the usual way, well get beat but show a bit of heart that appeases the nation. Either way I cannot see England winning the world cup. Sure theyve got the players in the squad but Ive yet to see a team in recent years that plays as a complete unit. I really think the FA were put in a tough position this week. They couldnt really sack Sven because that would just leave them very little time to get a new man in. But on the other hand his comments and actions certainly cant have lifted the spirit. It has now thrown a dark shroud over the England team and one that will follow on into the tournament. But if were me who had the final decision then I would have said thanks Sven but goodbye. The England team have been under achieving and the salary that Sven takes hasnt been justified. For the future I really hope the FA have learned from this affair. We need to see an Englishman in charge of the team. One who can bring back the passion but also has the balls to make the decisions. I think Sven has stuck with some players because of their status rather than their ability to fit into a team of eleven. Lets hope that the next few years see England and the nation get back to the excitement and passion of 96 when El Tel was in charge.
The England manager. Have there been any jobs that come under more intense scrutiny than this one? Although the job is well paid (millions of pounds), it has become something of a poisoned chalice, with the incumbent under pressure for constant victories (whoever the opponents) and their lives subject to exhaustive examination by the press. Any word or action that is viewed negatively can result in a baffling amount of mass media coverage. Sven Goran Eriksson seems to have endured more column inches in the newspapers than any other England manager. Now Sven has announced his departure from the job after World Cup 2006, and it will probably come as a relief to him that he doesn't have to endure such circumstances anymore. Unfortunately it might not be good for England when he leaves as his fantastic record in England games will be hard to beat. Under Sven, England win far more games than they lose (see below). I believe the England team is truly revelling in a golden age now, but far from praising the manager, all the newspapers seem to be interested in is making money out of him. Some people have said that the newspapers are trying to force Eriksson out. This isn't true. What they are in fact trying to do is make lots and lots of money and they are succeeding. All the stories that are published about him usually get a lot of attention from the rest of the media rather than fade away, and the newspapers recognise that. Sven = ££££££. Hence you have The News of the World and their little tricks. It's not about truth, but money. So lots of papers are sold as the story grows and grows (note how The News of the World held back more 'revelations' until the following week. Hey presto, more sales!). And while that is great for the company who owns the paper, it isn't so great for Sven and the England team. I really couldn't care less what Sven has been doing outside managing the England team. What matters is COMPETITIVE FOOTBALL. And his record in that is the best it has been since the time of Alf Ramsey, 30 years ago. Bobby Robson and Terry Venables did well in their respective eras but their England results cannot compare with Sven's. So let's forget the words 'Ulrika' 'Faria' 'Chelsea' and 'Sheikh' because they have no bearing whatsoever on his work with the England team. At a time when the entire country should be firmly behind their team and manager, we have newspapers trying to trap Eriksson into errors willy nilly, to get more sales. But all that is irrelevant - or should be! If we want to judge Sven properly, as a manager, we should be looking at his England stats. Here is Sven's record in the last two qualifying campaigns, with England listed first to make for easier reading: Euro 2004 Qualifying WIN England 2-1 Slovakia DRAW England 2-2 Macedonia WIN England 2-0 Liectenstein WIN England 2-0 Turkey WIN England 2-1 Slovakia WIN England 2-1 Macedonia WIN England 2-0 Liectenstein DRAW England 0-0 Turkey World Cup 2006 Qualifying DRAW England 2-2 Austria WIN England 2-1 Poland WIN England 1-0 Azerbaijan WIN England 2-0 Wales WIN England 4-0 Northern Ireland WIN England 1-0 Wales WIN England 2-0 Azerbaijan LOSS England 0-1 Northern Ireland WIN England 1-0 Austria WIN England 2-1 Poland A perfectly reasonable run don't you think? Only one loss in 18 games. England are unbeaten in competitive games at home since October 2000, for goodness sake! I should also mention the England 5-1 Germany qualifier game in 2001 which was a fantastic game for England. These two lists tell you one thing - when the chips are down, England always delivers in qualifying under Sven. Qualifying always forms the main part of a manager's international career - they run for two years while tournaments only run for three weeks - and Sven's record in qualifying is impeccable. *Everyone* is this country needs to start looking at the bigger picture - that is, Sven has provided us with two comfortable qualifying campaigns and only one loss. When was the last time an England manager achieved that? Now let's look at England's performances in the tournaments themselves: World Cup 2002 DRAW England 1-1 Sweden WIN England 1-0 Argentina DRAW England 0-0 Nigeria WIN England 3-0 Denmark LOSS England 1-2 Brazil (quarter final knockout) Euro 2004 LOSS England 1-2 France WIN England 3-0 Switzerland WIN England 4-2 Croatia LOSS England 2-2 Portugal (quarter final knock out, England lost on penaties) Although there have been some great performances at these tournaments, this is really the only meaningful aspect of Sven's time that stumbles. In both final games at these tournaments, Sven has been criticised for not taking the game by the scruff of the neck. Against 10 man Brazil, England offered little threat, and after scoring early on against Portugal, were penned in their own half for most of the game and showed little attacking intent. He seems to let the players get on with it themselves in these games and when he should have been screaming and urging the players forward against Portugal, he did little, except make odd substitutions (e.g. when Rooney was injured, he should have put on Heskey, a better partner for Owen, instead of Vassell). I think that come June, Sven will have learnt from this and show a little more nous in getting the team to do what he wants them to. I suspect that rather than play the eleven best players in every starting line up, he will also keep an ace up his sleeve, which he can play towards the end of games if things aren't going well. For example, the recent game against Argentina, where England were losing 2-1 and Joe Cole/Peter Crouch came on near the end and changed the pattern of the game. In June expect Sven to have a holding player to assist Gerrard and Lampard, with Cole waiting on the bench if he's needed. OK, now lets get on to the friendlies record. There've been about thirty of those since Sven's career began and I won't bore you by listing every single result, but the Win Lose Draw sequence runs thus: WWLDDLWDDDLWWWLDLDWWLDWWLW That's twenty-six friendlies in all, and admittedly, compared to his competitive games, the record is poor: 11 wins, eight draws and seven losses. But think about what these games are for a moment. Every football season for club and country has a packed schedule, and so many games can puts a tremendous strain on the players (even if they are paid millions of pounds, they're only human). It's not surprising if they drop the intensity levels for a game against, say, Sweden if the players have big club games three days later. So for all the backlash there might be about losses against the likes of Australia, it doesn't matter one jot in terms of competitive games (yes, it does affect the country rankings, but how seriously can you take a system that has the USA and Mexico in the top 10 countries). These games shouldn't even be factored into the manager's CV (although it's always good to see England win, especially morale boosting ones like the Argentina game in 2005). As someone said in an earlier review, we don't know what we've got until it's gone, and by the time the next manager has been in the job a while, I suspect people will start wishing Sven had never left. It's going to be interesting to see what happens if England win the World Cup in June, isn't it?
Due to the fact that my current product suggestions are moving about as fast as the M25 on a Friday night I have been reduced to trawling through Speakers Corner looking for something that allows a bit of creativity when the announcer on Radio 5 starts an item of the announcement that Sven and England will be parting after a final holiday in Germany this summer, this coincided with the fact that on list 7 of the 168 lists in Speakers Corner there was this discussion point on England super Swede. The forecast for this holiday has been reasonably bright up until now however some recent storms that have swept in from the Gulf in the past two weeks have sheiken up the normally calm Sven who is not only off to have his day in court but has also decided to head off into the sunset. Cant believe I have managed to get so many weather references without the need to mention Ulrika. There has always been a huge debate ever since Sven was appointed to the England job over whether it should have gone to someone from foreign shores. The flag waving and patriotism is not shared at club level where the top five clubs in the English Premiership are managed (and in a couple of cases owned) by people from outside of England yet you do not hear the fans of those clubs chanting for an English manager. Rather what you have is a desire from those fans to have the best person for the job and one that will bring then success. If Arsenal win the Champions League Arsene Wenger can poo in my garden for all I care and if we were to be Chelski in the final I would be their offering to wipe his bum. Nice mental image for you on this fresh January morning. Despite the media rhetoric and the scandals I have always been a fan of Sven because to a large degree he has been successful in the role. He may not have won a major title yet but his record in qualification has been perfect something that cannot be said for his English predecessors as I can recall a few World Cups and European Championships spent supporting any team to beat Scotland following England failure to overcome Poland and other football giants. There has always been this demand for an English manager however Sven took over from a former England great Kevin Keegan, after a dismal one nil defeat to the Germans in the last football international to be played at Wembley. A few months later we were all wearing t-shirts with the 5-1 score line on it following a great night in Germany. I believe that Sven has many of the qualities needed to be England manager and it is a shame that he is effectively being hounded out of the job. On the other hand no one should really be surprised that he will be leaving after this world cup. It is the norm for a manager to leave after a major championship and this regularly happens in Italy and France with the announcement made ahead of the tournament. This is just another case of the English game catching up with the rest of the world of football. The big blot on Svens record is the number of public scandals in his persona life and in the way that he is perceived to lack loyalty to the job. Following his romance with former weathergirl and owner of the hanging boobs of Stockholm Ulrika he then went on to have a fling with Big Brother nonentity Faria who was also schumpting his boss at the same time. All of this was going on while he was in a relationship with an Italian Pete Burns; needless to say the press was in headline heaven. There also followed speculation that he was lining up a job to land some of Romans rubles before his final run in with a News of the World undercover journalist where he told some home truths about some of the English players which look tame compared with the views expressed at the ground on mach day by those players own fans. Despite this onslaught of negative press coupled with the standard attacks of the media when results and tactics have not worked Sven has stood fast in the job and displayed a certain level of dignity that I do not believe any home based manager would have been able to do. The last manager England had with the same level of tactical expertise and media savvy was Terry Venables (it pains me to praise a former Tottenham manager) yet even he could not continue under the intrusive eye of the media in the end. If you have the criteria that the next manager must be English Successful Tactically aware No skeletons in the closet Able to handle the media For me you have a list that cannot be achieved. For a start there has never been a successful English manager in the premiership as to the best of my memory no club has won it with an English manager in fat I reckon you have to go back to Howard Wilkinson when Leeds won the old first division but Im sure I will be corrected if Im wrong. Like very England fan I want us to win the World Cup and now I want it even more just so I can read the Please Stay Sven headline in the News of the World.
2008. A very long time. In football management terms a lifetime. Does anyone remember when Manchester City had half a dozen managers in the first few months of the season? Football management is very fickle and very unstable. A drug with high and lows that will far surpass any of the emotions many of us will experience in our lifetimes. The fact that Sven Goran Eriksson has extended his contract will mean a total of seven years in that position, a feat rarely reached in modern football management with the exception of the very best. Perhaps the £3.5 million helped to twist his arm? The tabloids are to blame again. Numerous achievements swept aside in a barrage of loud headlines. ?Get Out Sven? cried one popular muckraker. Does any of this sound familiar? Keegan got off comparatively lightly compared to Bobby ?For God?s sake just go? Robson and Graham ?Turnip head? Taylor. The fact of the matter is that the job of England manager isn?t one of the most difficult jobs in the world. The most difficult job is appeasing a nation who are scared of failure. The best chance we had of winning silverware in recent times has gone of course. The 2002 World Cup was full of upsets on such a massive scale it wouldn?t have been surprising if the final had been between Tonga and the Outer Hebrides. The quarterfinal match between England and Brazil was the purists final and England?s fear of failure resulted in that fear becoming reality. The absence of Gary Neville and Steven Gerrard (still undefeated as an England player), coupled with an unfit David Beckham worked against them, but the team battled through and ahead of being 2-1 down against a 10 man Brazil laid the chance of making history. England had no more shots on target, the South Americans cantered t o a 4th World Cup and The Three Lions shuffled out with a whimper, tails between their legs. Optimistic armchair fans will urge me to look forward, but this has ALWAYS been the problem. England have failed to live up to expectations on a regular basis because they have never addressed the failures of the past. But NOW we have a man who has buried the ghosts and has the ability to push things forward. Sven Goran Eriksson is the greatest manager England have ever had: Fact. 35 years of having German defeats shoved down our throats like overcooked Bratwurst were dispelled by a 5-1 hammering that is tattooed on a Millwall fan?s backside. 16 years of Argentinean anguish consigned to history with one kick of Beckham?s famed right boot. More importantly, a lifetime of conservative tactics and team selection decimated by a man who chose to dare and dream. Sven has never shied away from picking and discarding those who deserved it and it is here that he justifies his status as the greatest. I?ve lost count of the times I would scream at the television as yet another Keegan or Venables side slipped into second gear with a team of usual suspects against Tunisia. Keegan had a habit of bringing on new blood for the last ten minutes of a meaningless friendly while Adams, Shearer, Pearce, Sheringham, Mcmanaman and Andy Cole sauntered about the place. How many exuberant young gladiators missed the chance to flourish whilst that springy seventies perm bounced about with the knowledge that ?I?d love it if we got to the Second Round of the World Cup, but won?t be too disheartened if we don?t because there?s no way I could drop Stuart Pearce without facing a hammering in the press? was floating through it? After his first 90 minutes in charge it was certain that Sven would give players the chances they deserved. Out went the old guard and as that bigoted old fool Bobby Charlton laid bare his true colours with a call for English only managers, fresh-faced exuberance flooded through in a fashion never before seen. Ashley Cole, Kieran Dyer and Emile Heskey not only took their chance they became staples of the first team and oh, how we LAUGHED. How everyone SCOFFED, how the Burberry clad lads at the New Den dropped their SMIRNOFF ICEs when he awarded that sarong-wearing puff with the girl?s voice the captaincy. What was this slap-headed Swede thinking of? Perhaps that the player with the greatest potential and ability to lead by example was going to be the greatest footballer of our generation? Please, what was wrong with Tony Adams getting it? After all, he had played for nearly ten years, surely that?s the way to award the captaincy? That?s how they would do it in a bank, wouldn?t they? Ok, amongst the chest of gems was the odd lump of volcanic sludge like Chris Powell and even Gerrard Houlier could have seen that Kevin Phillips would never cut it an International level, but the fact Sven has dared to tinker holds him head and shoulders above the rest. What?s that at the back? How can he justify playing 22 players in a friendly against Australia? Read that back to me again and be content with your season ticket in ROW ZZZZ at Old Trafford. A national team is exactly that: a chance for the best players in the nation to prove their worth in the colours of their country. A friendly match is a kick around the park and gives you a chance to take your girlfriend along to see just how nice Michael Owen really is up close. Players who refuse to play in friendlies should be banned from pulling on the shirt and forced to play in the Scottish Premier (Premier League: you?re having a laugh) for ten years. True, we want to see the best players turn out for England, but there is only a meaningful tournament once every two years. Qualifying matches? Surely Liechtenstein wasn?t THAT long ago was it? Most of us know the 16 we would pick for our country, let us give the chance for those without a regular place to flourish. ?He?s a good lad, but far too young. Put him in the Under 21s for two years then see how he gets on?. That would have been Kevin Keegan?s response to hearing a young player like Wayne Rooney was coming through. Sven has taken away that one thing which makes this country efficient but dull and lifeless: conservatism. He has dragged it kicking and screaming onto the training ground and has let Rooney, Robinson and Wright-Phillips kick the s**t out of it. Finally Alan Thompson has been given his chance. Euro 2004 approaches and Sven knows that the momentum started from that 4-0 thrashing of Spain three years ago is reaching boiling point. No doubt we will build on this and gain a final four place in Portugal. After that it?s over to Germany for what could ultimately be Sven and Beckham?s swansong. The sky is the limit and Sven is the Svengali. Let?s not let anything stand in his way.
The appointment of Swede Sven Goran Eriksson to the job of England’s Football National team manager raised a few eyebrows when he was appointed in January 2001. This was mostly due to the fact that (shock horror) he was not actually English. What is the world coming to when our national team is manager by a foreigner? Since then he has won over a nation qualifying for the World Cup with a Beckham free kick against Greece, affairs with Miss Ulrika Johnson and most memorably a 5-1 victory over the Germans in Munich. Many people criticised the FA when Sven was unveiled as England manager. He took over in the England hot seat after the resignation of Kevin Keegan after England lost 1-0 to Germany in Wembely’s last ever game. People went against him because he was simply not English. The idea that some one other than an Englishman would not have the passion to lead the team properly, or be inadequate in some way. These people were forgetting Sven is a damn fine manager with a proven track record. I too was unsure about Sven when he was appointed. I thought there were better men such as Terry Venables or Peter Taylor around. I would not discriminate Sven because he is not English as some people did. Well England are now in the World Cup thanks to him and of course the players. Many of those people that called out against his appointment have been made to eat their words and many have totally changed their opinion. Sven did not arrive instantly in the England job. He was still tied up in contract with Italian club Lazio when he accepted. Peter Taylor came in for one game against Italy before a run of poor results in Rome led to Sven’s early departure. This was a blessing for England who at the time were struggling in the World Cup qualifiers losing to Germany and drawing with Finland. Since Sven taking over England managed to get out as group winners with wins in Greece and Germany and at home to Albania and drawing with Greece. This w as also due in no small part to Germany’s habit of collapsing and under performing. There is mo doubt that Sven did more than his own bit for England. He has discovered some great players and has shown no fear in picking less fancied players in his England team. Chris Powell has fitted in from Charlton to not looking out of place internationally, and Ashley Cole has been a revelation at left back. He has also taken a young squad with Joe Cole, Owen Hargreaves and Wes Brown all going to Japan and Korea. Sven Goran Eriksson is not the sort of manager to yell at the players from the touchline a la Martin O’Neil, but like Arsene Wenger in a ‘professor’ role with his suit and glasses. He does a lot more tactically and with players, and so far it has worked well. A potential gamble from the FA has given England a great manager and a good chance in this years World Cup. Sven made a small playing career in his native Sweden, but is much more famous as a manager. He came to fame as a young manager winning the UEFA Cup with IFK Gothenburg in 1982. He also has won the Italian Scudetto with Lazio in 1999/00 breaking a northern dominated reign in Italy. He also won the European Cup winners cup in its last ever year. Sven’s achievements both his history and England have led to a series of clubs allegedly chancing him. Manchester United were reportedly interested in him when Sven hinted he was a bit tired with international management. He also hit the headlines recently aside from his football with an affair with fellow countrywoman Ulrika Johnson. He seems to have stuck now with long term girlfriend Nancy Del Orrilo. Maybe not the idea preparation to the World Cup, but I will say no more. Overall Sven will have put himself into a nations hearts within one night. The win over Germany sums up how good it can get. He is a top manager with a great history behind him and he is starting to write his own England legacy. It can only help their World Cup chances to have Sven there, even if he does come from Sweden.
Well the patient redtop hacks have finally got their man courtesy of Blairs MR Fix it Alister Campbell.The New Labor spin doctor decided to get this countries most famous Swedes together for reasons unknown. Although it may have had something to do with Mr. Brown taking his bosses job, but thats hypothetical speculation of course. The hacks just cant help themselves when it comes to the national coach and just have to destroy them. The nicest guy you could meet in Bobby Robson was slaughtered for no real reason. Ok Turnip deserved it, but why do they enjoy it!. Just as England looked really good to go close the gap on the big teams in Europe and the rest in World Cup 2002, Beckham and Ulrika put their foot in it. Our scummy press have bought down every England boss so far and they wont rest until they have this on. It may be the non-sports writers driving this one at the moment, but come the first defeat in Japan and they will be primed with a whiskey and fresh ink to destroy. The headlines are writing themselves. If we beat Sweden in match one it will be Ereka!. If we lose it could be Ulrika!.Either way this is going to nag at our manager and he really wouldn?t mind being reincarnated!. Everyone needs to get behind our team and management and lets get this story out of the news. This guy will walk away if he loses the press and nations confidence. Eurika is no surprise as shes just as much as a leech on men in the news to boost her profile as the tabloids are with England managers. The guy is clearly sexy in that fatherly way and very gullible when it comes to career women celebs. You can bet this one ends as fast as the last football one did in that Paris bar with Collymoores right hand after Japan. It also offers Sven away out if we don?t qualify from what is a tough group. All this is a big shame as the guy was clearly focused on the job in hand. He should be thinking about the shooting stars on the pitch not off. His present girlfriend with her Gucci handbags and on site stylist looks of similar ilk in the freeloading stakes. Women around this guy are like those mosquitoes that suck the blood of another mosquito. If only the silly Swede had got over her midlife wrinkle cellulite crisis with someone less high profile, no chance! lol. I recall it all going wrong in Roma when he walked away for England. They lost seven straight games and fail to get in the champions league. If the press really start digging we could see a similar collapse in confidence and loyalty. It such a shame as the guy is clearly a bloody good guy and leader whos susceptible to labor so spin docs and dumb blondes. I think he has the right vital statistics in his head at the moment with the squad settled. He has to take Joe Cole as the kid just sint afraid of the ball or the opposition. I would love to see him running at certain reputations as a second half pair of fresh legs. A player like this can so get a defender in trouble and on a yellow card, putting pressure on him for the remainder of the match and tournament. That free spirit will be infectious and may be the spark like Gazza of Italy 90. Darius Vassel would be a natural pace option to replace a flagging Owen with Heskey there to hold the line against the Northern European sides. Dyer is to injury probed and should stay home. That Gerald Owen partnership is very sexy and will worry all the teams. When Gareth Crooks commented to Steven at full time after the Paraguay win that he should complement Michael for his cross that lead to the goal. He replied ?I thanked him at half time in deeer shower like?. What ever 23 that Svengerland send out, we know that our boys have a great chance of emulating Italy and that memorable semi final.
As I hope you can see by the title you may have guessed that I am extremely patriotic. I rejoiced for a long time when England beat Germany, and I still love seeing replays of the 1966 world cup final. But this review is not about my patriotism; it is about what I think of Sven Goran Eriksson. First of all I would like to commend Sven Goran Eriksson on his 5-1 victory of Germany. But I fear that things are not as good as they appear. Although I would love to put his victory all down to England's amzingness, I feel that there was quite a bit of luck involved. Our results against the Dutch have not been great (although well done to Darius Vassel) and our draw with Sweden did not include one of the greatest performances of all time. Before I go any further I would like to name what I think should be our starting eleven for the world cup 2002 (note: I am a Norwich supporter so I feel that I am unlikely to be biased) : GK: David Seaman DF: Ashley Cole, Sol Cambell, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville. MD: Nick Barmby, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham. AT: Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Emile Heskey. If I had to pick some problems with the team then I would pick Neville and Barmby Although some people say that by winning the world cup we had to experiment I feel that Eriksson is going over the top and he should leave the decision of the youngsters to David Platt. I think England may dissapoint a bit in the world cup because everyone has very high expectations of them because of 5-1. I hope that Martyn never has a full role as England keeper because I do not feel he is reliable and his performance against Greece left much to be desired. However, Eriksson's management skills appear to be excellent but I am not sure what he see's in some of the players in the lower teams he watches in the Premiership. My prediction for the world cup is that England will come second in the group but after the ne xt stage they will get no further.
Sven-Goran Eriksson, the lovable Swede, has gained almost God like status as a result of England reaching the World Cup Finals in Japan and South Korea that has culminated in a song dedicated to him, albeit a rather nasty but catchy one. However, after a high of hammering the Germans is it about to go all wrong when England play Sweden. I believe that England’s current best friend has been put into a difficult position that will test his resolve in one of two ways. Having been to a few England games in the past it is always sad to see and hear fans shouting down other nations national anthems but here they face a dilemma. If they choose to do the same at the Sweden friendly how will Sven react? Will he just give that knowing smile and deep inside be hurt or will he come out and launch into an attack on these so called supporters? With a bit of luck the England fans will show a bit of restraint and keep their mouths shut. Additionally, what will the journalist’s reaction be to the game if England should lose? Will they start to question his loyalty to England when faced with playing against his home nation? Equally, imagine the uproar that would arise should England and Sweden be drawn to play against each other in the World Cup. Would we drag up the past and further undermine his loyalty? I hope that journalists see the match for what it is, a friendly, whatever the outcome. Sven should not be scared to experiment as he did against the Dutch even if it does amount to England losing. Friendlies should always be seen as an opportunity to try out new ideas, tactics and players. With the number of withdrawals from the squad increasing for this friendly I believe it is an ideal opportunity to try out some of the fringe players like Kevin Phillips and Danny Murphy to see whether they have sufficient class to be able to represent England should one of our first team regulars be ruled out through either injur y or suspension. So, if you’re an England fan out there this Saturday, let’s hear the other national anthem for a change and give the man the respect he so obviously deserves and hope that the referee makes numerous dubious decisions so that we can all have a go at him rather than the team or manager. Go on England, do us proud.
Well, a new era in English Football. A new manager - a Swedish Manager. How hs he done? The best start by a new england noss in a long long time. Gone are the days of turnip and co. The side has a new enrergy to itself. With victory over Germany Sven sent the nation wild. Tru he didnt score himself, but you have to admit, there was something special about the tram that night. Now our performance against Greece was darn right poor, complaincincy? Who knows, anyway, all I know is Sweden make lots of good things: Furntiture Films Football managers. The 3 F's, now dont forget them. However this is all good and well. But wouldnt it have been better if we were riding on this high, via and Neglish manager. YES! But tell me, which England boss could have pulled off a turn around that was as remarkable as this. As for the title, well I think the little chap needs a little free advertising, and his Mum is a top lady. So what the hell. Come on the lads, come on England. Winning the world cup? I dounbt it, but we are certianly back in the top 20 of the world. As for "Do you recommend it to a friend", its a difficult one, but yeh he seems a genuine bloke. That haircut is a bit suspect though!
You know you've made it when a song's been written about you, don't you? Thankfully, Eriksson's career as England manager so far has been somewhat better than the dreadful single about him, with the 5-1 win against Germany being quite possibly the greatest moment in English football for 35 years or so. In addition to his undoubted technical knowledge, his protectiveness of players such as Steven Gerrard, which tempers his stern discipline, mean that he already seems much more likely to bring major success to the nation than some of his predecessors, such as Graham Taylor, Kevin Keegan, and Glenn Hoddle, ever did. Victory against Greece today will surely reinforce his hero status – at the very least until next June.
Forget ABBA, IKEA and saunas. Sweden has a new attraction. Sven Goran Eriksson is just about the best thing to happen to English football since Chris Waddle finally got that awful mullet chopped off back in the 1990’s. But remember the headlines when Mr Eriksson was appointed? Forget the predictable xenophobic claptrap that English tabloids feed on whenever the words ‘foreigner’ and ‘football’ have to be included in the same sentence. Let’s face it, if Terry Venables was unmasked as a member of Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, whole armies of Fleet Street football writers would be signing up for the Taliban army without question. So it was no surprise that when Terry was being overlooked – and let’s remember Venables’ teams never played a single qualification match due to England’s automatic qualification as the home nation at Euro 1996 – the knives were out for Sven. On his appointment, many of the tabloids focused on his Lazio team’s recent loss of form. Not surprising given the drawn-out uncertainty concerning his imminent appointment as England boss. But there seemed to be very little mention that the great man had won the Swedish league and UEFA Cup with Gothenburg, three Portuguese titles, one European Cup Winners Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Italian Super Cup and the league and two Italian Cups with Lazio. They say you’re only judged on you last few results, but this was taking to concept to its unreasonable extreme. Renowned for his tactical acumen, his calm and studied approach seems to have baffled most Fleet Street writers, who just can’t find a bad word to say about him? What are they supposed to fill their back pages with now? The friendly defeat in Holland showed that he can make mistakes, but what better time to lose than in a friendly? The next month, Holland failed to qualify for the World Cup an d we subsequently hammered the Germans 5-1. These are the kind of mistakes I can live with. Having won every qualification game to date, he will not be counting his chickens against Greece this afternoon. The only barrier between England and the World Cup Finals is the pressure of expectation, both from fans and the media. Assuming the whole team didn’t indulge in an all-night drinking session last night, we should negotiate that final hurdle. Sven, as always, has his feet firmly on the ground, and I am confident he can achieve what seemed such an impossible dream only a year ago. Let's face it, the man's a genius. If we lose, does anyone know Mike Bassett’s phone number? UPDATE Yes, it's time to get that '101 Ways to Cook a Dog' recipe book out - we're going to Korea! (Well, it beats a kebab any day.)
England's controversial appointee to the post of England manager. The first non-national to get the job, will Eriksson have what it takes?