Touting a candidacy only slightly less likely than Bruce Arena for the Scotland job, the Guardian’s Steve Wells takes the occasion of Jose Mourniho bailing on the England F.A.’s manager hunt to sing the virtues of an aging resident of Southern California. Not Jurgen Klinsmann, either.
England’s new manager must be to England what Captain America is to America. He must be the very distillation of Englishness. And in all seriousness, there can be only one candidate. Cometh the crisis, cometh the man. Step forward Stephen Patrick Morrissey.
There will be those who object to this choice, claiming that the Lord Voldemort of pop knows nothing of this most English of sports. But it is they who are ignorant. Morrissey is steeped in English football lore. He reeks of Woodbines, meat pies, wintergreen, Watneys Red Barrel and Brut. He is mates with ex-Everton and Scotland star Pat Nevin, Brazil’ s Djalminha and MK Dons’ Kevin Gallen – who sent the singer a personalized ‘Mozalini 10’ strip.
And this is no Tony Blair-come-lately style fakery. Legend has it that during the 1995 Boxers tour, the godfather of indie had “Cantona” written on his tambourine. And that his song Roy’s Keen might be a pun on the name of former Manchester United midfield hard-man Roy Keane.
In fact Morrissey has been a fan since back when Manchester United hats cost 12 shillings. “I once bought a Manchester United hat, which I think was 12 shillings,” he told NME in 1988, “and somebody ran up behind me and pulled it off and just ran ahead. I thought – it’s a very cruel world; I’m not prepared for this. And I decided to get my revenge on society.”
Morrissey should be the new England manager because, despite being Irish, he is the most English person alive apart from Mrs Thatcher, who is a woman. And like Mrs Thatcher he is of the opinion that real Englishness is under threat.
But Morrissey’s best qualification for becoming England manager is that he lives in a fusty fantasy world concocted out of Ealing comedies, Keith Waterhouse columns, Alan Bennett monologues, black and white kitchen sink dramas and the films of George Formby.
He is thus at the exact same stage of emotional and cultural development as the hardcore of “real” England fans, who complain bitterly about how it were all real working-class English blokes around here once – before they ruined it by letting in women and other non real working-class English bloke types.
What could we expect from a Morrissey England regime? Of course we can only speculate, but it’s almost certain that he’d get Terry Venables back on board – as a player. Alongside Harry Redknapp, Norman Hunter and Trevor Brooking. And Kenneth More. Morrissey’s England will not be about vile functionality. It will not be about loathsome style. Nor will it concern itself with winning. Morrissey’s England will be about being English.