Between the end of the Second World War in 1945 and Euro ’96, England employed eight different managers.
In the 20 years since England hosted the European Championships, the FA have appointed seven different coaches, the most recent of which, Sam Allardyce, was sacked after one match after being caught up in a corruption sting by the Daily Telegraph this week.
Allardyce’s predecessor, Roy Hodgson, delivered in qualifying but was an unmitigated disaster at two of the three major tournaments he presided over following his appointment as Fabio Capello’s successor in 2012.
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England were embarrassed at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, exiting the competition in the group stages after defeats to Italy and Uruguay, and then suffered humiliation at Euro 2016 after being dumped out of the tournament in France by minnows Iceland.
But could it have been a different story for England had they accepted the call from a certain Pep Guardiola in 2012?
Guardiola contacted the FA in 2012
According to Rory Smith, writing in the New York Times, Guardiola contacted the FA four years ago, expressing an interest in the job after Capello resigned.
The Catalan coach had just entered into a 12-month sabbatical following four exhausting years as the head coach of Barcelona but was apparently interested in the prospect of becoming England manager - for some reason.
“In 2012, on his sabbatical from Barcelona, Pep Guardiola contacted the F.A. to express an interest in the position,” Smith writes. “Because of the organisation’s desire to remain native, his entreaties were rebuffed. If it is unthinkable, now, that the F.A. might turn him down, it is even more unimaginable that he would apply for the job.”
Guardiola snubbed because he isn't English
That’s right: according to Smith, Guardiola was snubbed by the FA because they wanted an Englishman.
Scarred by four years of rule under Capello, the FA decided the man England needed to get back to the pinnacle of world football wasn’t the immensely successful Guardiola, it was Hodgson.
Wonder what ever happened to that Pep…
Is this the biggest mistake the FA ever made? Have your say by leaving a comment below.