Sack The Manager, Sack The Government!

Richard Kelly finds compelling links between England soccer managers and post-war political leaders

The Touchy-Feelies

During the first 18 months of Tony Blair’s government, a number of people noted similarities between the new Prime Minister and the then England soccer coach, Glen Hoddle. Both were thought to represent a younger and more ‘modern’ approach to their respective positions; both were active Christians; both attached importance to spiritual guidance (be it from Christian socialists like John MacMurray or faith healers like Eileen Drewery); and both were said to signify a break from the ‘sleazy’ regimes of their predecessors – allegedly marked by backbench bungs and dodgy tax returns

Furthermore, both Blair and Hoddle had severe problems with Europe (EU tax harmonisation or qualification for the European Championships); both felt ‘let down’ by exotic behaviour from mercurial individuals they initially indulged (viz Welsh Secretary Ron Davies and midfielder Paul Gascoigne); both favoured a ‘touchy-feely’ style of leadership, based upon a strong awareness of sentimentality and how it can be manipulated. Above all, both were thought to be supreme symbols of our feminised, post-Diana society.

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