The Mike Ireson Column
Here we are then. Another poxy international break and another opportunity for you to realise you really don’t care about the national team.
I won’t attempt watching an England friendly as the timescale to when I start scowling at the television, bemoaning that most of the team aren’t worthy of cleaning Kevin Keegan’s boots let alone pulling on the shirt has become frighteningly short.
Even the dog gives me the skunk eye, bewildered at such bluster being spouted from the other end of the sofa.
I’ll Dip in and out of qualifiers, but I can’t stay the Distance. I grew up across a couple of generations of England squads where it meant something to be selected. You looked up to these players as they were playing for England. The afore mentioned Keegan, Brooking, Shilton, Hoddle, Lineker, Gascoigne, Pearce, Adams, Butcher, Robson, Wilkins etc. I can go on much longer.
Now what are people looking up to? Jake Livermore? Michael Keane? Harry Maguire? Phil Jones?
Enough to bring a tear to the eye of a grumpy old man.
But I Digress, I Didn’t come here to moan about England, I came here to do what one should always do during a dull international break and that is play devil’s advocate and try to get a debate going.
Although now I’ve chucked the England thing in you’ve got 2 topics to Discuss – double bubble!
Now I want to make it clear, I thought Slaven Bilic was the right man for the West Ham managers job when he was appointed, and I still think he is the right man.
But every time we don’t win a game there is usually a media led hub bub that Super Slav is on his way out of the exit. Currently only Everton’s woeful form is keeping his name from being the bookies favourite for the chop next. But he’s a close second.
So what if the 2 Dave’s were to actually strap him to the ejector seat and hit the button?
Current favourite to replace him is the villain from Scooby Doo before he has the mask pulled off, Manuel Pellegrini.
All the other usual suspects are there Mancini, Ancelotti, Benitez.
But one name is absent and surely there must be some mistake. For there can only be one possible candidate for the London Stadium hot seat.
Step forward Paolo Di Canio.
Now, instantly you have just formed yourself in to one of just 2 camps.
Camp 1 – Spot on, he’s West Ham through and through, a legend, just the man we need.
Camp 2 – Are you mad? He is bordering on a lunatic with questionable political beliefs who will tear the squad apart and make us a laughing stock.
There is no camp 3, there is no in between.
Camp 1: When manager of Swindon, across 95 games he had a win % of 56.8. Apart from Sir Trevor’s 2 short spells, no West Ham Manager has ever got near that. The best being Billy Bonds with 43.6. We’d take that kind of win rate all day long wouldn’t we?
Camp 2: When manager of Sunderland he alienated the squad so much a group of senior players demanded the board get rid of him. They Did. Managing a group of players at Swindon who relied on their pay packets and were in awe of a superstar is completely different to managing a squad of rich Premier League stars who need carrot rather than whacking great stick.
Camp 1: Just his presence on the touchline would help ramp up the atmosphere at the London Stadium. Regardless of anything else it would be worth it to see him run the length of the touchline and knee slide after a goal. The roof would come off the place. Surely a Di Canio/Dicks management team would get the players playing?
Camp 2: This is a man who will argue with his own reflection. It would only be a matter of time before he fell out with everybody and he walked away/was escorted from the premises. A Di Canio/Dicks management team would be like the lunatics running the asylum.
A simple choice people – camp 1 or 2?