EuropeAdam BateComment

Wife-swapping the football way

EuropeAdam BateComment

Adam Bate examines three managers who could benefit from a little, er, adventure.

For some reason I’ve always been strangely drawn to the idea of wife-swapping. Probably, it has to be said, because I’ve never had a wife. I think I was influenced by the seductive story of Ronnie Wood and George Harrison’s evening spent jamming on their guitars. When the legendary axe-men decided to head off to bed, knowing glances were exchanged and they each slinked into the room of the other’s partner. By all accounts a lovely time was had by all.

The link to Messrs Benitez, Hodgson and Capello may be tenuous to you, but to my warped eyes it is overt. These three characters are ripe for a session of footballing wife-swap. One glimpse of their glum faces, stood mournfully on the sidelines longing for happier times tells me that much.

Rafa Benitez’s Inter experience appears to be unravelling as I write. ‘Donkey daring’ Moratti is a curious strategy with a very short list of outcomes and the suspicion pervades that the former Liverpool boss is willing to cut his losses in the knowledge that the FIFA Club World Cup has been added to his curriculum vitae.

Meanwhile, Roy Hodgson is following the script as written by many a sage judge in the summer – good coach, bad fit for Liverpool. His meticulous but uninspired training ground work has led to insipid performances and Woy in grave danger of rubbing his own face off. Above all, Hodgson is failing to deal with an instantly sceptical audience and the sense that hitting the ground running was a necessity if his tenure was to work out. While Liverpool supporters would never admit it, perhaps first and foremost he is guilty of not being Benitez.

Capello, for his part, carries on regardless. What once passed for insouciance now carries the faint whiff of exasperation. Of course, this is a man who could be forgiven for pining for days gone by. Days when his time could be spent ordering a defender to keep a striker in their pocket rather than a dick in their pants. Capello has made his mistakes as England coach, although opinion differs from person to person as to what exactly those mistakes were. One thing most agree on is that he was rather nifty at the old club management lark – especially in the land of his native tongue.

And so the solution presents itself. Capello could be spared the interminable soap opera that is the England job and jet off back to Italy where Cambiasso and co know a thing or two about holding a midfield together. Hodgson could then return to international management where he wouldn’t be with the players long enough to bore them to death. All leaving Rafa free to ride to the rescue and embrace Anfield life post-Hicks and Gillett.

I won’t be holding my breath waiting for it to happen. You know what wives can be like – Liverpool will be making noises about looking forward rather than back, Inter don’t like the idea of a past relationship with a near neighbour and England may well have been seduced on the sly by a cockney wide-boy with big promises.

Even so, there’s nothing sadder than an unhappy marriage. Maybe the time has come for them to toss the car keys in the hat and spice things up a bit.

You can follow Adam Bate on Twitter @GhostGoal

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