This phrase resonates with every England fan. It's not a new thing that the FA hasn't gone with the people's choice. They always seem to choose the safe option so that they're not at fault if the risk doesn't pay off. Throughout history England managers have failed to bring silverware back to England. Minus the success of Sir Alf Ramsey, England have failed to bring anything back. But perhaps this is the fault of the FA for not choosing the people's choice.
Take this summer's debacle. Roy Hodgson was appointed England manager ahead of everyone's favourite Harry "illiterate" Redknapp. The whole country was in shock as Roy Hodgson was paraded at the England press conference. "We had no contact with Harry and Roy was our number one choice" they said. How ignorant of the FA to dismiss the views of pundits, fans and bookies of England. They'd much rather see their jobs safe than England fail at a major tournament.
England crashed out of another major tournament on penalties but the FA managed to keep their jobs. By the end the majority of the public warmed to Roy but there's no forgetting that Harry Redknapp should have been manager of England. Obviously there were people that agreed with the FA but it was a very small majority and their views weren't accepted by the bulk of the public.
It is publically known that Sir Alex Ferguson has been approached by the FA on numerous occasions. However this time it wasn't the fault of the FA that England didn't get their dream manager. It was Ferguson's love affair with United that made him choose club over country. At the time Ferguson was still building his legacy at Old Trafford and if he felt that he had unfinished business in Manchester. Although England were quite successful in the 90s, the success still didn't win a trophy. It looked like the FA were trying to make up for not choosing the best manager in the country. They weren't going to make this mistake again.
When one thinks of the phrase "The Greatest Manager England Never Had", one can't help but conjure up images of Brian Clough. He is seen as one of the greatest managers of all time. Not just in England but around the World, because of his success in Europe. He was undoubtedly a fantastic manager but his attitude might have ruined his chances of becoming England manager. He was given an interview for the vacant managers' job after his success with Derby County. However the FA decided to choose Don Revie instead. Definitely the safe option as Clough's attitude and views were very ostentatious.
Even though Clough had this attitude, it made him a fantastic manager and England would have been far more successful if Clough was instated as manager. Instead Don Revie failed to produce the hard knock football style that he enforced at Leeds United. The international stage was too stylish for that type of football. Clough would have brought discipline to the national set-up but the FA's gain was England's loss. Not choosing Clough was the biggest mistake of the history of the FA.
Although many Liverpool fans will tell you that the FA should have appointed Bob Paisley or Bill Shankly, they held the same views as Ferguson. They wanted to maintain and build their managerial dynasties at Anfield. One could probably say the same about Wenger too. Jose Mourinho might have been a choice for England 6 years ago but it would be a step down for the FA now. He can only leave Madrid for United or to be Portugal manager now. Anything else would be a step down.