Not to be sniffed at: England boss Fabio Capello WILL quit after Euro 2012
MIDNIGHT in England and Sky News have just rung. They're sending a camera crew to the wilderness of Buckinghamshire to gauge my response to the breaking news: Fabio Capello has just announced he will DEFINITELY step down after the 2012 European Championship in Poland and the Ukraine.
It's no surprise. He was always scheduled to leave after four years. But there were those, before the World Cup, who thought he may stay on longer. Having been roundly blamed for England's failure in South Africa, he's made up his mind.
Would you stick with a nation which, as he said last week before the opening Euro 2012 qualifiers, "has turned me from a god into a monster?"
The Generalissimo, a vastly successful club manager in Italy and Spain, revived England on his arrival after the departure of the shockingly poor Steve McClaren.
Though he has yet to pick up the niceties of the language, he has revived England once more after the World Cup debacle with those rousing Group H wins over Bulgaria and Switzerland.
And he managed the Friday night 4-0 thrashing of the Bulgars at Wembley plus Tuesday's 3-1 triumph in Basel without skipper Rio Ferdinand, and the once-popular Chelsea duo of John Terry and Frank Lampard.
Victory over tiny Montenegro at Wembley next month would just about seal qualification with two years to go before the finals, given the minnows' shock wins over Wales and Bulgaria.
Strange that. If you'd gone with the popular opinion, Capello would have been forced out after the 4-1 defeat against Germany in Bloemfontein barely two months ago.
But, as I've said all along, Capello is the best in the business. Our World Cup qualifying was little short of miraculous. It's not his fault half the England team were suffering domestic turmoil during the finals.
John Terry was stripped of the captaincy before the tournament even began for his affair with the partner of former teammate Wayne Bridge. Frank Lampard and Elen Rives split acrimoniously and he was starting out in a relationship with television host Christine Bleakley.
And amid rumours and rifts in Rustenburg, Peter Crouch and Wayne Rooney have been exposed for seeing prostitutes over the past three weeks. Both scandals happened before the World Cup and were hanging over the squad.
Two further injunctions remain. Two more juicy scandals for the tabloids. I know who they involve but cannot print them here, though I have hinted at it in the past. The Bafokeng Royal Sports Campus was not a happy camp in June and July. They even had their underwear stolen when they went off to bore us to death against Algeria in Cape Town.
But, knowing the players were in turmoil on tour and incapable of performing, the experts decided to blame Capello. Heavily. As they do.
So it's little wonder that the 64-year-old Italian, when asked if he would quit after 2012, confirmed: "Absolutely. Yes."
He added: "We have to qualify first of course but after that I will be too old—I want to enjoy my life as a pensioner."
He need hardly worry about qualification. Wales, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Spanish conquerors Switzerland are incapable of stopping the Capello bandwagon, which rolled along so smoothly without the big guns, Rio, Terry and Lamps.
I say good on you Fabio. Win Euro 2012 and get out. You know you can do it. I believe you can do it, with the fresh squad you used over the past week. But do the rest of them? And how many more stars will be shot down in flames by the tabloids?