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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 11:36 GMT
England's recipe for success
Winterbottom had wide-ranging responsibility
BBC Sport Online chief football writer Phil McNulty examines the changing role of the England manager since the late Sir Walter Winterbottom was in charge.

Imagine Sven-Goran Eriksson receiving his England squad after the careful deliberations from 92 club chairmen.

Imagine Eriksson, having digested the names of the players foisted upon him, then being ordered to organise the travel and accommodation for England's finest.

And then - when the occasion demanded it - rustling up a healthy and hearty smorgasbord to keep his charges on the go in those all-important internationals.


It certainly is in these modern days of Team England, where the manager is accompanied by an army of attendants designed to cater for every whim of the multi-millionaire sportsman.

Eriksson is backed by a team of attendants
Indeed, the manager can even have his favourite faith healer on hand for a spot of mental relaxation if he feels it will help achieve England's aims.

Swede Eriksson's sole responsibility is the selection, preparation, planning and success of the England team.

Everything else is taken care of by a coterie of assistants who leave him to concentrate on football.

Eriksson still carries massive responsibility, but it does not include being chief cook and bottle-washer for the FA.

It is all a far cry from the era of former England manager Sir Walter Winterbottom, who died on Saturday aged 89.

He did have to organise travel and accommodation. He did occasionally cook for his players - while taking care of the not inconsiderable matter of taking England to four World Cups.

Winterbottom was England's first manager and regarded as the father figure for a generation of managers and coaches, including Bill Nicholson, Bobby Robson, Don Howe and Ron Greenwood.

Ramsey commanded immense loyalty
But Winterbottom's reign came from a different age, when all-encompassing power did not rest in the hands of England's manager, but with powerbrokers locked in smoke-filled rooms at FA headquarters.

He was appointed as the FA's first director of coaching in 1946, but his work in this department was overshadowed when he took on the added responsibility of team manager.

Winterbottom was at the behest of club chairmen, and the FA even had its own international selection committee, that used to provide him with the players he could select from.

It has been suggested the selectors were not averse to picking a few of their own players when the occasion suited them, whether Winterbottom liked it or not.

It was not something the modern day manager would have accepted, but it was certainly a sign of those times.

England's management moved towards modernisation when Winterbottom was succeeded by Sir Alf Ramsey in 1962.

Ramsey, unlike Winterbottom, came armed with formidable success at club level after guiding Ipswich Town out of the old Second Division straight on to the First Division championship - a unique achievement at the time.

Revie - bingo and carpet golf
Ramsey was regarded as stubborn by some, but he commanded fierce loyalty from his players.

He was certainly not a man to have team picked for him, or have his preparations tampered with.

Ramsey was rumoured to have come under pressure from some within the FA hierarchy to drop Nobby Stiles after a couple of tasty tackles in the 1966 World Cup.

He stood by Stiles, and the reward for both men was a place in history.

Ramsey was also meticulous in his preparation, ensuring England staged a tour of South America in 1969 to prepare for the World Cup in Mexico a year later.

In the 1970s Don Revie's preparation included the infamous dossiers he would prepare on the opposition.

The tactic did not sit quite so easily at international level as it did at Leeds United, with his files occasionally finding their way into the bin as opposed to the minds of his players.

Revie was also a fan of an early form of team bonding, with wild nights of bingo and carpet bowls rumoured to have taken place among his squad.

It was hardly the Hong Kong "Dentist's Chair" of Terry Venables Euro 96 vintage, but it was preparation of its time.

The changes in pace and preparation were followed by Winterbottom's pupils Greenwood and Bobby Robson, before Graham Taylor, Venables, Glenn Hoddle and Kevin Keegan held the fort.

But the death of Winterbottom allows the spotlight to be thrown on a bygone era and reflect on how time and football have moved on in leaps and bounds.

And it illustrates how lucky Eriksson is that the only recipe he has to produce is the one for World Cup success this summer.

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