Safe-hands Hodgson has edge over Harry’s charm

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IT feels like Brian Clough and Ron Greenwood all over again.

The people’s choice passed over for the safe pair of hands by an FA without flair, ambition or popular judgment.

Rarely in sport or in any other walk of life has a choice been so ringingly endorsed by the public as Harry Redknapp was to take the England manager’s job.

X-Factor stars and Prime Ministers would die for that level of the vote, leaders of one-party states had more opposition than the Tottenham manager.

Talented, gregarious and one of the lads, Harry has turned Tottenham into the team everyone wants to watch and no-one wants to play against.

Roy Hodgson is an honourable man who has managed in seven countries at club and international levels.

He has more experience, had more success and is reckoned to be one of Europe’s top coaches. He failed at Liverpool because that club was probably unmanageable at the time, is the common perception.

But if he thinks trying to please the Anfield kop was tough wait until he starts trying to convince the whole nation.

Harry’s popularity would have been given a honeymoon period but even his early goodwill would soon turn to spite on a Wembley defeat or the wrong choice of captain.

Perhaps Harry’s enthusiasm and personality would have lifted us for the European Championships. Perhaps, but what about after that?

Would Redknapp have the patience, authority and doggedness of will to see that the new England academy at Burton is created with every nuance of performance, preparation and development taken into account?

That seems far more a Roy-Hodgson-style of job than a Harry Redknapp one.

In reality the chances are that Euro 2012 will end in failure - glorious or otherwise - for England.

Appoint Redknapp and we are left, post-tournament, with a man whose proven front-of-house abilities will have been trashed and trampled in the disarray of another tournament disappointment.

Then what are we left with?

A good talker with nothing much to talk about?

To their credit, it looks as though the FA are going for depth and substance in Hodgson rather than popularity.

There is some merit in that, some courage in going for the long-term re-build rather than the quick fix.

It’s not popular and at first does seem contrary and perverse to deny a man with such massive public backing.

But as a football nation we are looking toward Euro 2016 in France and the World Cup in Qatar in 2018 and beyond for real improvements.

That’s a dangerous game in a results-NOW-driven business and England fans desperate for success have never displayed that level of patience before.

It will be interesting to see how long Roy Hodgson gets before they’re mocking up turnip heads on the back pages all over again.

So we’re down to just one game.

Wednesday need a win to seal their Championship place and it’s out of United’s hands.

To hear their fans, full of even more bravado than usual, nothing can go wrong. Blades are being their usual dour, doubting selves.

It might all turn around yet though.

Stranger things happen - like Roy Hodgson getting the England job?