The FA should look to Morrissey, not Mourinho

The next England manager must be the very distillation of Englishness and, in all seriousness, there is only one candidate: Stephen Patrick Morrissey

Steven Wells
December 10, 2007 11:53 AM

We invented football. Then made the mistake of teaching it to the rest of the world, who - not being English - missed the point entirely.

Football in its purest, English, form is a joyous game of kick and rush with shouting and smoking. The rot started with the Scots who invented passing. And since then every non-English nation on the planet has felt free to produce its own ethereal, acrobatic and even artistic version of a game that was never designed to be beautiful.

Our mistake was to try to play the foreigners at their version of our sport - culminating in the disastrous decision in 1950 to enter the World Cup, a competition clearly biased in favour of those teams that are best, rather than most English.

We need to get back to basics. English basics. England must shun the come-hither-eyed embrace of cosmopolitan internationalism. And the next England manager must be hewn from English oak.

It's not just me saying that. It's Arsène Wenger, Uefa chief Michel Platini, David Ginola, Peter Reid, reader Carl Sturman, Bobby Charlton and soccer pundit Brian A. Hunt.

But just any Englishman? I think not. Rather 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.

Morrissey is not only the most English Englishman alive, he's also the most northern (as revealed by an online poll carried out by Salford art gallery, The Lowry). And northerness is to Englishness what unicorns are to horses, what with being further away from France.

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.

In football, cricket and rugby an ungrateful world regularly hands us our arses on a plate, but nobody has ever beaten England at Englishness. Nobody could ever beat England at Englishness. For we are England. England football fandom under Morrissey will weed out the arriveste, the flaneur, the noveau and, indeed anybody who can be described in French as anything other than a "les f*** off".

"Being England" will take on a new, deeper, Englisher meaning. All of Wembley - the buildings, the grass and the staff - will be spray-painted various shades of grey. Comically too small demob suits will be compulsory. As will round NHS spectacles held together in the middle with a sticky plaster.

There will be complimentary Brilliantine dispensers in the gents toilets (there will be no ladies toilets). Non-smoking will be discouraged. All policing will be done by a single laughing bobby on a white horse. And catering vans will dole out spotted dick with custard for one shilling and sixpence to crowds kept entertained at half-time by the massed ranks of a brilliantly choreographed ukulele-strumming and morris-dancing marching band.

Foreign teams will come to England and they will win. But they will also lose - in ways too subtle for them to ever understand.

But Morrissey - sat in the dug-out with his sovereign-ringed fists thrust deep into the pockets of his sheepskin coat - he'll understand. And he'll suck on his briar pipe and smile. And King Arthur will rest easy in his mossy, English grave.
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What's the matter with you, Hugh?

Steven Patrick Morrissey, not Stephen. :p

Steven Wells' idea is silly.
Morrissey's Englishness is nothing to do with football.
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Steven Well's obsession with Morrissey is tiresome. He obviously didn't get enough attention with his blog on the Guardian that said more or less the same thing last week. I think his only got 40 comments as opposed to Morrissey's 540!
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