Gareth Southgate’s intelligence and authority puts England boss in class of his own
Once again we saw the dark side of the human race this week with the cretinous behaviour of certain individuals in Bulgaria.
It would be remiss to ignore the seriousness of the deep rooted problems that still exist in society in 2019, with racism remaining a cancer in our lives that might never be cured.
But for the time being, let’s reflect on how something so negative helped confirm a huge positive – in the shape of the dynamic leadership of England boss Gareth Southgate.
With respect to most of those to have preceded him in the role in modern times, Southgate is now in a class of his own and stands alone as the greatest England manager of his generation. The results speak for themselves, of course and who knows, he might just win a major trophy to leave the above debate dead and buried.
But there is much more to being Three Lions manager than winning games and what has been the most impressive aspect of Southgate’s time in charge is the intelligence and authority he has shown while leading from the front.
The job used to be a poisoned chalice, but the truth is that this was only the case because the likes of Graham Taylor, Kevin Keegan, Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello, Sven Goran-Eriksson and Roy Hodgson turned it into one.
Most of these found themselves on the front pages at one time or another, but there is more chance of hell freezing over than of Southgate being turned into a turnip, quitting in the toilets at Wembley or being photographed sipping vintage champagne with a fake sheikh.
He likes the quiet life, which explains why he chooses to live in a remote mansion in the middle of nowhere on the edge of Fewston Reservoir near Harrogate.
Before settling here he viewed a house in a nearby hamlet called Hopperton, but decided against buying the property because it was too close to a pub. But Southgate also accepts there is no hiding from the intense scrutiny on him when holding one of the most powerful and demanding jobs in world football.
Now, through no fault of his own, Southgate has been left with no choice but to become a trailblazer, along with his players, in the fight against racism.
Tough situations build tough people and Southgate showed this week what a truly fantastic ambassador he is for the United Kingdom during these grim times for the country, due to the embarrassing failings of our political leaders.
Southgate is bright, modern, diverse and visionary in terms of how he deals with life, not just football. He has a measured way of dealing with whatever is thrown at him. He tends to do the right thing and both his players and the Football Association should feel grateful and fortunate to have him.
The feeling is Southgate might want to stand down following Euro 2020, whatever the outcome, because one of his burning ambitions is to manage a big Premier League club.
But FA chairman Greg Clarke must move heaven and earth to keep him, because if he finds himself in the unenviable position of having to replace Southgate, he will be on a hiding to nothing.
Lewis Hamilton must have inhaled too many of those fumes that help power him to F1 world championship titles. Hamilton has taken to social media to claim that having a vegan diet is the only was to save our planet.
The more successful Hamilton becomes, the more difficult it is to take him seriously. Not content with writing a poem in tribute to the late Princess Diana, Hamilton is also keen to extol the virtues of being a vegan as part of his bid to spare us all from extinction.
For the record, Hamilton is a racing car driver who burns through thousands of gallons of fuel each season. His emission levels must be up there with an oil rig. He also travels on private jets with his beloved dogs, owns a fleet of luxury cars and is sponsored by Petronas.
In other words, Hamilton has literally ridden roughshod over the planet for longer than we care to remember – or he chooses to forget.
He might want us to give up something, but firstly, perhaps he could lead by example and pack in with being a total hypocrite.
Seriously? Do me a favour. The only ‘leveller’ would be if Jurgen Klopp‘s men played blindfolded and without a goalkeeper.
The visitors are not only 15 points better off than United, they are in a different league to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men and no amount of passionate chest beating will come close to bridging the gap.
If United need a sobering reminder of how low they are in the process of sinking then they won’t have long to wait. Barring a miracle, it will duly come on Sunday.