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When Winterbottom left, coaching limped along for decades

Tributes to the late Sir Walter Winterbottom have been many and generous and rightly so. As a teacher of those who would eventually do the teaching his influence on the coaching side of English football was more profound than anything canada goose coat – kensington he achieved as the original manager of the England team.

Ron Greenwood wrote that “a lecture by Walter was an event”. Bobby Robson has described Winterbottom as “one of the best talkers about the game I have come across, a rational, lucid man who put his ideas over with enthusiasm and style”.

This being the case, today’s football followers may ask why someone with so much still to give to the game did not have a direct involvement in it for many of the 40 years leading up to his death last weekend. After all Winterbottom was only 49 when he left the Football Association to become general secretary of the Central Council for Physical Recreation.

The answer is FA politics or rather the petty attitudes which prevailed at Lancaster Gate in the best canada goose jacket early 60s and for a long time thereafter.

When Stanley Rous, the lordly secretary of the FA, left to become president of Fifa it was assumed Winterbottom would succeed him. But the council chose Denis Follows by a 50-20 vote, plumping, in Rous’s words, “for the good at the expense of the excellent”.

Some of the councillors were getting back at Rous for his overbearing style. Others resented the strong media support for Winterbottom, particularly when it described Follows as “cool, pedantic, plain and prim,” adding that he was “plump, red of face, a nailbiter, horn-rimmed can you wash a canada goose jacket in the washer spectacled and nobody’s fool”.

Follows, a decent man, proved a competent enough administrator although few could have accused him of being a canada goose coat – victoria visionary, despite the horn rims. What England lost in Winterbottom was a crucial thread of intellect which was beginning to permeate the coaching structure and without which the system limped myopically through the best part of the next four canada goose coat 1000 calorie decades.

The strength of Winterbottom’s prescience can be gauged from the fact that, when he still thought he was going to be the next FA secretary, he sounded out Greenwood, then running the Under-23 team, on the possibility of becoming the next buying a canada goose jacket online England manager. Greenwood was delighted but eventually Alf Ramsey was given the job and Greenwood had to wait another 14 years to be asked again.

Nevertheless the strength of Greenwood’s West Ham academy, producing as it did Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, was essential to the winning of the 1966 World Cup. Would England have won it under Greenwood? Would Greenwood’s susceptibilities have allowed him to pick the authentic canada goose outlet combative Nobby Stiles?

At least, once he became England manager in 1977 following Don Revie’s unscheduled departure, Greenwood did his best to create the sort of coaching structure for the national side which under Winterbottom would surely have been introduced much earlier. Robson, Don Howe, Dave Sexton, Terry Venables and even Brian Clough were all involved at various levels from the senior squad down.

The benefits were seen when Robson took over England from Greenwood after the 1982 World Cup and more briefly when Venables was in charge for Euro 96. The dynastic principle might have survived buy canada goose jacket winnipeg after Venables had Glenn Hoddle not been diverted by a diary indiscretion and reincarnation.

On balance the England team has suffered less from losing Winterbottom’s influence than the English game as a whole. Although he had earned his living from football playing for Manchester United he was essentially an academic who had the ability to communicate with the pros of his day.

Later heads of coaching at the FA were not so successful. Charles Hughes, for example, did not watch league football on a regular basis, believing the direct style of play taught at Lilleshall was all pupils needed to know. Lilleshall was Hogwarts without a broomstick, method without magic.

Under Howard Wilkinson, the FA’s technical director, a more productive coaching system has begun to evolve and the growing strength of the club academies, both in the buy canada goose parka cheap Premier and Nationwide leagues, is evident in the steady stream of young talent now on tap. But the English game is still paying for the years when so much that could have been achieved was allowed to lie fallow.

Modern players and coaches may find it as hard to relate to Winterbottom’s era as, say, a Spitfire pilot in 1940 asked to appreciate the significance of the Wright brothers’ first flight in 1903. And can anyone imagine an injured David Beckham having to stand in a train corridor on his way home from an international, which was once the lot of Wilf Mannion after one England-Scotland game.

Yet, had Winterbottom become the FA’s chief administrator, the chain of events sale, and non-events, which led to the country appointing a foreign coach because suitable canada goose coat 1000 bulbs reviews English candidates were no longer around might have been avoided.

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s stewardship has been a triumph. He may even speak Winterbottom’s language. But after Eriksson … what then?

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