IT was one of those little teasers that people throw out around this desk now and again.
“Which England manager has the best record in terms of winning matches?”
This was on Wednesday morning and no-one actually guessed it first time. Fabio Capello with a 67 per cent win ratio to games played is the right answer.
It’s probably a well-known fact now in view of the bombshell that landed later that day.
So, if he’s been the most successful England manager if you follow that stat, how come I’m not all that disappointed he’s gone?
How come, despite qualifying us for major tournaments and having a magnificent away record, did I never really warm to him as the manager of my, your, our, team?
Well, I don’t know about you but, for a start, I struggled to tell what he was saying when he was interviewed.
I actually heard one leading radio commentator admit there were times he came out of an interview somewhat bemused.
This may be well off the mark but I wondered at times if players always followed clearly what he was on about. Football may be a universal language when communicating but it made me wonder.
I did think that at £6 million a year of the FA’s money (and think what they could have done with just half that in the past 12 months to further enhance the grassroots game they also provide for?) Capello might have somehow learned to speak the language a bit better.
He was speaking to me, you, all of us, before games and after games, and half the time he told me nothing - and when he did, I could hardly fathom it.
He’d a marvellous CV as a club manager and I’d no idea how good he was at his job but I found I couldn’t warm to him or be convinced by what I could understand.
It seems Harry Redknapp is being railroaded by all and sundry into the vacancy.
Is he going to ditch Spurs in the next few weeks as the season builds towards its climax?
For sure (as he’s fond of saying), if Harry does get it there’ll be a few “fantastic this” and “fantastic thats” knocking about.
For sure, I’ll be able to follow what my manager says if he does get it. He just needs a good win ratio after that!
The colour of Gary Megson’s hair, with its tangerine tinge, was the closest Wednesday got to Blackpool the other night.
One of those largely responsible was, by a distance, the oldest player on the pitch.
Nearer his 39th birthday than his 38th, the remarkable Kevin Phillips played with the exuberance of an 18-year-old. No inkling of going into coasting mode either even though his side were in the comfort zone early on.
His clear zest and enjoyment for the game was a lesson for any player of whatever age. This, allied to his class in terms of movement, touch and awareness, made it a joy and a privilege to watch him.
It was 14 years ago that I saw him score four for Sunderland in an FA Cup tie at Millmoor.
As you can imagine from a player who has scored more wonderfully-struck goals than most, there were a couple of corkers in there.
Pity he didn’t peel off one of those delicious volleys on Tuesday.
At his age, one imagines he will be hanging up those boots in the not-too distant future. But, I must say, he didn’t look even close to it the other night.