With the news emerging in the last couple of days that West Bromwich Albion boss Roy Hodgson is in talks to become the next England manager, one cannot help but think that the FA have handled the whole situation rather poorly.
Fabio Capello resigned nearly three months ago, and the team has seemed almost adrift in the wake of the announcement on Feb. 8. It is unusual for an association to take this long to appoint a successor, although it could be argued that given the safety of England's position at Euro 2012, urgency was rightfully dispensed with in favour of making the right choice after appropriate consideration.
However, England were without a manager at a time when it needed leadership the most in the wake of the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand racism debacle (it is important to distinguish from the many other cases where Terry has proven himself to be a disgrace to football). In fact, given his recent ill-fated attempt to take Alexis Sanchez out of the Champions League semi-final with a well-placed knee to the posterior, Capello must feel a bit silly leaping to his erstwhile captain's defense so quickly.
But the whole selection process has not just cast a gloom over the national team. Tottenham Hotspur will have every right to feel aggrieved with proceedings. Harry Redknapp insisted that speculation about his future would not have an adverse effect on the club's challenge for a Champions League spot, but the statistics don't lie.
In the 15 matches in all competitions since Capello resigned on Feb. 8, Spurs have a record of five wins, four draws, and six losses. In that span, Tottenham have drawn against League Two Stevenage, lost to the likes of Norwich and Queens Park Rangers, and conceded five goals in a game on two occasions. This form has seen them slip from third in the Premier League, where they sat a comfortable seven points ahead of London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Tottenham are currently fourth, while the season's surprise package, Newcastle United, join them on 62 points. Spurs have been leapfrogged by Arsenal, and Chelsea lurk only a single point behind, and with a better goal difference to boot.
If you compare this with the form they enjoyed in the 15 games in all competitions prior to Capello's resignation, the difference is remarkable. In that time they held a record of nine wins, four draws and two defeats, one of which came at the hands of Manchester City, who were the form team at the time.
It seems that despite the will of 'Arry, things took a turn for the worse for Tottenham when he hit the spotlight as the supposed England manager elect.
Spurs currently sit - just - in the driving seat to claim that fourth, and final, Champions League spot. Their run in against Bolton, Aston Villa, and Fulham seems to be the easiest of the three teams (with Newcaslte and Chelsea actually having to play each other before the end of the season), but you have to think that if they do miss out on what seemed like a sure thing only three months ago, that Messrs Redknapp and Co. might be well within their right to feel a little hard done by.
Perhaps now that the speculation has been all but cleared up, it will free them to focus on the final hurdles.
One things for sure, if Tottenham are to cling onto fourth, they're going to have to 'urry up, 'Arry. Sorry.