The chaotic chain of events that led to England appointing a good manager


We’re three and a half days into International Week, and Football Daily has yet to properly mention international football. That’s pretty good going, you have to give us that, but we were always going to run out of this particular road and so here we are. England, then, and this week’s appointment of erstwhile Halmstad, Örebo and Neuchâtel Xamax method man Mr Roy by Crystal Palace has served as an instant reminder of just how far the Three Lions have come in a relatively short space of time. Less than seven years, to be precise, a clock that started ticking when Mr Roy and his assistant Ray Lewington, in lieu of scouting Euro 2016 opponents Iceland, booked themselves tickets for a leisure cruise along the Seine. Oh Mr Roy! Aiiee Mr Ray! How could you?!

But it’s all worked out pretty well in the long run, even if there were some initial moments of pain. Iceland famously served up England their glutes, pickled and plated, after which Mr Roy sulked all the way through a valedictory press conference with his best Boris Johnson thunderface on. Remarkably this wasn’t the nadir, with pints of wine yet to be quaffed. But this chaotic chain of events led to the FA accidentally appointing a good manager, after which the team came within a couple of kicks of Euro glory, and might even have run Argentina close for the World Cup had only Harry Kane remembered that tip about not leaning back. Bittersweet memories, perhaps, but all a damn sight more enjoyable than Nice ’16 and for that we can only thank Mr Roy, Mr Ray and the law of unintended consequences. Hats and yacht caps off!

And so here we are now, with England facing their Euro Not 2020 nemesis Italy in Naples for the first of the 2024 qualifiers. Three points would be the ideal start to the campaign, of course, though let’s be realistic, with 123 places (subs please check) up for grabs at next year’s finals, the outcome doesn’t have that much riding on it. What does matter is a chance of a little payback for the final heartbreak of 2021, and with England fourth in the world rankings (well, officially fifth, but Football Daily has run out of patience with Belgium so we’ve crossed them off the list) they’ve a great chance to right that particular wrong. Mind you, victory would only heighten the sense of what could have been, and there’s only so much bittersweet emotion we can stomach. Perhaps it’s time for another crushingly embarrassing defeat? It didn’t do England any harm last time, after all. Time for Gareth Southgate to channel Mr Roy and take Steve Holland on a sightseeing trip to the Amalfi Coast.


Join Scott Murray from 7.45pm GMT for hot Euro 2024 qualifying MBM coverage of Italy 5-1 England.


“I don’t know him. I don’t know what had happened for him to speak. People passed it on, saying he had spoken badly about me. But he won’t be the first who then had to shut his mouth” – Tottenham’s Pedro Porro gets his chat on with Sid Lowe about Antonio Conte, Spain and … oh yes, Tactics Tim Sherwood.


One memory of Mesut Özil (yesterday’s Football Daily). Before a Germany match, he was presented with a bouquet of flowers (for being German player of the tournament in winning the 2014 World Cup, if I remember correctly) and was cheered to the rafters. In the second half, he was hoiked off during an insipid team performance and booed to whatever the booing equivalent of the rafters is. Some players divide opinion, but seldom so dramatically among the same bunch of people within one hour” – Bernard Clark.

Sad to read that Mesut Özil is retiring, though not entirely surprised. His performances in Turkey have followed a long, slow decline, with each appearance less impressive than the two before it. I think it’s known as his Fenerbahce sequence” – Simon Mazier.

With Sky decommissioning Soccer AM, what’s to happen with The Bull, Jimmy Bullard, and You Know The Drill? Presumably I’m not the only one of Football Daily’s 1,056 readers who will miss his antics? My only gripe is he visited Bristol City when Lee Johnson was at the helm. Big Nige and Alex Scott would give him a bath. They say football is always the winner, but maybe not this time” – Chris Komorek.

I‘ve only just caught up on Monday’s Fiver (sorry, I’m old fashioned) and I was surprised to find that you hadn’t been overwhelmed with 1,057 emails pointing out that Jim Ratcliffe is not the richest man in Britain. He may though be the richest man in low-tax Monaco” – Giordy Salvi.

Send your letters to Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Bernard Clark.