England manager Fabio Capello looks on before the EURO 2012 Qualifier between Switzerland and England at St Jakob Park. Fabio Capello has resigned as the manager of the England football team. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Following the resignation of Fabio Capello from the England national team job on Wednesday, David Bernstein and The FA held a press conference on Thursday to discuss his departure and the future of the England national team. Somewhat surprisingly, the press asked mostly reasonable questions and Bernstein gave mostly reasonable answers. Some people were a bit out there when they mentioned Harry Redknapp by name, but we've seen dumber from reporters. See: When Joe Paterno got canned. Embarrassing s-show, that was.
In these quotes, I've left in the names and outlets of the reporters asking the questions. DB stands for David Bernstein. I've bolded what I think are key points in the statements. These quotes are taken from the transcription of the press conference by The FA.
Nick Collins (Sky Sports): In an ideal world, when would you like to appoint a permanent successor to Fabio Capello and if someone like Harry Redknapp, for example is targeted, could you manage to do that before the end of the season?
DB: Clearly, we can't speak on individuals. We will do this as quickly and as sensibly as we can. We don't want to rush, we want to do it professionally. So we'll see who comes to us and will also put a shortlist together of key people. So we will do it as quickly as we can, but as I said earlier, we can't name names.
Think we're getting off the hook and Harry's not getting a phone call until May? Think again. He might not get a call until after the Netherlands friendly, but Redknapp and other prospective managers will be called during this season.
Nick Collins (Sky Sports): Can I ask, will the next England Manager definitely be English?
DB: He will not definitely be English, but we do have a preference for an Englishman. I've been asked this question consistently and the answer hasn't changed. There is a preference for an Englishman or a British person, but at the end, we want the best person so we don't want to rule out anyone but at this stage, any English or British person would have a good start.
Obviously, The FA doesn't want to rule out the likes of Guus Hiddink and Louis van Gaal just in case Redknapp tells them to f-off. The fans probably wouldn't accept a Scotsman (David Moyes), but he's probably willing to get out of his bad situation and certainly has a great knowledge of English football and English players. Redknapp's got to be top of their list, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. It is very interesting that Bernstein said "or British person". No one seems to consider any non-English Brits as serious candidates. Could Moyes be one?
Carrie Brown (Al Jazeera): I know you won't mention individuals such as Harry Redknapp, but would The FA consider taking on a Manager in a part-time role, as they continue to manage a club until the end of the season?
DB: I think we're open minded. This has all happened in a very short time so we haven't had time to discuss it. It's only eight days ago that the Court decided to push the Terry case forward past the Euros, so there's been a lot happening in eight days and we won't rush anything. We'll give it proper consideration, with a high priority, and it will be dealt with by the four of us.
Translation: Yes, we'll probably offer that to Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy.
Alex Thomas (CNN): Several England players have come out via social networking websites and backed Harry Redknapp. He seems to be a hugely popular choice and is the bookmaker's favourite. Will popular opinion amongst fans and players matter in your decision?
DB: Of course it will. We want to make an appointment that the public are positive about and that excites the fans. But we can't be driven by that. If you only have one candidate, then it makes a very difficult situation indeed when negotiating and so on. So we have to do it professionally, with an open mind and put a shortlist together, but also include the desires and wishes of our fans, which are crucial to us.
Translation: We want Harry, but know that him and Daniel Levy might tell us to kick rocks. We don't want him or anyone else -- specifically Guus Hiddink -- to ever think that they are the backup or the only candidate.
David Bond (BBC): Chairman, sorry to keep coming back to this and people will applaud your very principled stand over John Terry but with no captain and no manager just four months before a tournament, how do you make the England team a real competitior?
DB: Quite clearly, it's hardly ideal but we are where we are. These things can be ended very quickly. After the Holland match, we have none (matches) until the end of May so whilst that could be used for looking at and scouting players (for a prospective Manager), I imagine that any Manager would have detailed knowledge of English players. I would expect an experienced, top man would be able to pick up the reigns very quickly. So whilst it won't be today, we will be in a good place in quick-time and the new Manager of course will make his own call on the captain.
The good news for people who don't like Harry Redknapp and for Tottenham fans that do is that Guus Hiddink definitely falls under this category. He would probably be able to step right in and pick a team based on prior knowledge. Obviously, the likes of Redknapp and Moyes fall into this category.