Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Make-your-mind-up time

And so, the much needed decisions and planning required for next season get postponed yet again. The board meeting, initially scheduled for Monday, at which Fabio Capello's future as coach was to be discussed, was postponed "due to the festivities that have been organised in celebration of the League title in basketball" until this Thursday.

This smacks of indecision at the top (surprise, surprise). Winning the football and basketball leagues in the same season should be celebrated (the last time this happened, was 21 years ago, in 1986), particularly since both sections have won their thirtieth trophy in the competitions. I suspect, however, that the postponement is more to do with the recent upsurge for support for Fabio Capello and a corresponding decline for Calderon's supposed favourite candidate, Bernd Schuster.

For most of the past week and a half, the sports press (especially, As) would have you believe that the sacking of Fabio Capello was a done deal. And yet, for all the protestations, the number of fans publicly asking for his head is surprisingly small. An enterprising blog, Fans del Real Madrid, has gone so far as to start an online petition for him to be retained (last count, over 7,300 people had signed).

By itself, I don't believe this would have any effect, even though the petition has been reported in various media, including the Gazzetta dello Sport. However, a head of steam seems to have been building in the press, and, given Calderón's populist tendencies, he may be reconsidering. Remember, this is the man who justified his not keeping a promise to bring Kaká, Robben or Cesc by claiming that "people voted for me because I brought Capello and with him a serious approach to the sporting side of running the club." Taking him at his word, and given that Capello has fulfilled his objective (to win a title), Calderón should call elections if he gets rid of the man he signed up for three years.

If Capello does stay (which I still think unlikely), it will be interesting to see how the president backtracks to try and salvage some sort of relationship. His authority is (even more) seriously compromised, and it's all been his own doing. If Capello goes, the new coach will have to start afresh to try to bring the players onside. This may well result in another poor season, potentially signalling the death knell for Calderón.


linda said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've read that Capello's definitely gone? If so, what do you think of Schuster, who everyone says is the replacement?

Gonzalo said...

Marca claims so, but there's been no official word. I'll post on it when we hear from the club what they've been planning over the past couple of weeks. You won't be surprised to hear I think it's a mistake, though.