PHIL NEVILLE will soon be packing his flip-flops and factor 40 for the tough gig that is Miami.
While we are all freezing in our isolated world, Neville has left England’s women’s team and bagged himself a Florida foxhole.
Lucky man! Not so much Miami Vice, as Miami, hmmmm, very nice. Good luck to him.
His record as boss was mixed.
A 2019 World Cup semi-final berth — only losing to eventual winners USA 2-1 — was countered by really poor form since then, with the Lionesses losing five of their last nine games.
Enter a woman!
The replacement for 43- year-old Neville is former Holland boss Sarina Wiegman.
These are exciting times for women’s football and Wiegman comes with a cracking CV.
She won Euro 2017 with Holland and was runner-up at the 2019 World Cup.
I confess I was surprised when Neville was appointed as he hadn’t managed a team before.
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Surely you need a certain level of experience before becoming the focal point for a nation’s hopes and fears.
Mind you, some of the best men’s managers in recent years barely kicked a ball in anger.
Arsene Wenger, Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez spring to mind and Jose Mourinho was a translator under the late Sir Bobby Robson at Barcelona.
As for Wiegman, she ticks both boxes, with 104 caps for the Netherlands as a player.
The 51-year-old is renowned for her professionalism and high standards and takes over just before the 2022 Euros on our home soil.
We all know the galvanising effect Euro 96 had on the men’s game — Three Lions on the shirt and all that — and, hopefully, the same can happen with the women.
Wiegman, who is set to take over after this summer’s Olympics — assuming they go ahead — has all of our best wishes as the England team have been bridesmaids but never the brides.
Runners-up in Europe twice and World Cup semi-finalists twice, Neville and others before him could not find the key to the trophy cabinet. Now, where have we heard that before?
OUT OF TOUCH
I HAVE to admit that I am bemused by this constant berating of footballers for celebrating goals by hugging.
As far as I am aware you cannot catch Covid from someone who has tested negative — no matter how close you get. And all the players on the pitch have tested negative.
Premier League players are now tested three times a week, making them, I would think, among the most tested people in the country.
Scoring a goal is one of the great pleasures of being a footballer and a fist pump or elbow bump doesn’t really have the same effect as a pure instinct goal celebration.
But, of course, we will all comply with the rules. No matter how little they make sense sometimes.
EFL DEBT OF GRATITUDE
WEST HAM received a letter from the chairman of Northampton Town last week, writing to thank us and all Premier League clubs for their assistance with the EFL bailout.
He recognised that all of football is struggling through this pandemic and suffering significant losses, so the bailout was 'much appreciated'.
He’s not wrong.
Three Premier League clubs recently posted significant losses — Man Utd £23million, Spurs £67.7m and Southampton £76m, no doubt with more to follow. The Prem collectively is losing £100- a-month.
He said that 'Northampton Town wanted to just recognise the role of the Premier League clubs in helping'.
A thank you goes a long way, so a touch of class from Kelvin Thomas.
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