The ultimate job

Harry Redknapp says he is “flattered” to be put forward for the England manager’s role and admits it is the “ultimate job for an Englishman”.

The continuing appeal of the ‘ultimate job’ continues to be a source of some bemusement to many observers. Many an Englishman has tried his hand at the job, but who among them, in all honesty, would admit that the honour bestowed upon the post was worth the grief that came with it.

Nevertheless, and notwithstanding his current attachment to Tottenham, Redknapp is obviously keen on breaking the cycle of failure.

Speaking from his preferred interview location: his car, window rolled down, foot hovering over the accelerator in case someone asks him to sign an autograph, Redknapp, perhaps chastened by his recent brush with the law, was modesty personified when asked about the vacancy.

“It is nice that people put me in a position where they think I’ve got a chance of the job”, he said.

“Yes, it’s flattering. Other managers have come out and said nice things and I appreciate everybody’s support in everything that has happened in my life in the last little spell.

“I’ve had great support from everybody and that is important when you go through a situation I’ve been through you find out who your friends are for sure.”

Pearce in our time

England’s interim coach Stuart Pearce has come under scrutiny after it emerged that he once had to apologise to fellow international Paul Ince for alleged racist abuse, and that his brother Dennis is an activist for extreme-right group, the BNP.

At the time he insulted Ince, the PFA’s Gordon Taylor said: “Stuart regrets what he said. It was said in the heat of the moment. He wants to make sure everybody knows he is sorry and hopefully that will be the end of the matter. I am sure Paul will accept the apology in the manner in which it is intended.”

In the current climate in England, the latest revelations about Pearce’s brother have caused some embarrassment to the FA, whose chief Adrian Bevington stated: “There have been a few occasions where Stuart has been asked this specific question and, as an individual, he has made it clear that he is not involved in his brother’s political beliefs, in the same way as I’m sure that everybody who has siblings does not always share their political stance.”

His brother’s a racist, he made a racist remark to a black player, yet he’s not a racist. It’s reminiscent of the scene from Blackadder when Captain Darling insists he is as English as Queen Victoria, to which Blackadder replies “So your father’s German, you’re half German and you married a German.”

Taxing times

Guus Hiddink is unlikely to be a candidate for the vacant England post because of his relationship with former skipper John Terry, claims his agent, Cees van Nieuwenhuizen.

“I don’t, based on previous conversations with England FA board members, imagine that it would work,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “Guus also has a very strong personal relationship with John Terry and would be on his side in all this.”

The fact that Hiddink, unlike Harry Redknapp, is a convicted tax evader, won’t have helped his cause either.

Inter deny Capello stories

Inter president Massimo Moratti has issued a statement on the club’s official website denying Fabio Capello could replace Claudio Ranieri.

Ranieri is the fourth person to have managed Inter since the departure of Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2010, but doubts were raised over his long-term future following the recent 4-0 defeat to Roma. Successful manager Mourinho may be, but you wouldn’t want to be the person that cleans up after him.

Former Italy striker Gianluca Vialli said this week that he would “expect Massimo Moratti to call him [Capello] for the bench after Claudio Ranieri”, and there have been reports in the press suggesting the move could happen sooner rather than later, but the president insists he has no plans to make managerial changes.

“The rumours circulating in the media regarding a possible change of coach at Inter, now or at the end of the season, are totally groundless,” Moratti said. “Therefore, the latest rumour about Fabio Capello supposedly taking over at Inter is also groundless.”

The other rumour circulating around Capello is that he is being lined up to become the next manager of Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

His next job will tell us a lot about the scale of his ambition.

Goal of the day

Sivasspor’s Erman Kilic made light of the poor conditions to score a stunning equalisier against Besiktas.

Nice while it lasted

Thierry Henry will head back to New York Red Bulls on February 17 as scheduled.

There had been speculation that the veteran striker might extend his stay at the London club for a further two weeks, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that now won’t happen.

Wenger admits he will be sorry to see the striker go.

He said: “I have seen moments in training from him that tell me it’s really a shame that he does not play for the French national team any more.”

Incidentally, Henry retired from international football in 2010 to concentrate on his club career at New York. That hasn’t really worked out as planned and there were murmurings of discontent about Henry’s contribution among Red Bulls fans last season. Rather than risk further wrath, a punctual return to his employers appears a sensible decision by both parties.

The striker has scored twice in five substitute appearances during his second spell with Arsenal to extend his club-record haul to 228.

Giggs extends contract

Ryan Giggs continues to defy Old Father Time by signing a new one-year contract with Manchester United. The only player to have scored in every Premier League season now has a chance to extend his career at United into a 22nd league season.

In that time he has made a club record 898 appearances, scoring 162 goals, and won 12 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, two Champions Leagues, one Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and a Fifa Club World Cup.

The United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, paid tribute to a player who will go down in history as one of the club’s all-time greats.

“Ryan is a marvellous player,” he said. “In many ways, he epitomises all my teams here at United; he has constantly reinvented himself, adapted to the changing nature of the game and retained that desire and hunger for success.

“In every training session and match, he is the example for others to follow. The young players in the dressing room have a great chance to learn from a player who will continue to break records that anyone in the game will find hard to beat.”

Plan may backfire

A group of Feyenoord fans have created an online petition in an attempt to keep Manchester City loanee John Guidetti at De Kuip for an additional season.

The Sweden Under-21 international joined the Dutch side on a one-year loan deal at the start of the 2011-12 campaign and has since scored 14 goals in 14 league appearances for Feyenoord.

The Feyenoord fans have not given up hope of holding on to the striker for another year, and already over 24,000 fans have already signed the online petition.

Alerting Manchester City to how well Guidetti has been doing does not seem to be the most sensible way of ensuring he stays.

Here’s footage of Guidetti in action this season.

Babbel appointed

Hoffenheim have appointed Markus Babbel as its new coach on Friday, one day after firing Holger Stanislawski.

Babbel was fired by Hertha Berlin in December after a dispute with club officials, but he hasn’t had to wait long before returning to work.

Hoffenheim has won only one of its last 10 Bundesliga games and lost to second-division Greuther Fuerth in the German Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.


Turkish Süper Lig outfit Samsunspor came perilously close to a disaster on Tuesday night after their team bus suffered a side-on collision with a train.

The crash occurred during Samsunspor’s journey home following a 2-1 loss at Kardemir Karabukspor.

The images captured the moment the Samsunspor team coach traversed a train crossroad seconds before an oncoming train slammed into the back of the bus.

The driver of the coach said he didn’t see the train because its lights weren’t on, although the footage appears to contradict that claim.