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Is Southgate The man For England

Southgate faces final Spanish test as interim boss

A 3-0 win against Scotland at Wembley on Friday night has strengthened the case for Gareth Southgate taking up the post as permanent England manager. The Three Lions certainly rode their luck in the initial exchanges with Scotland wasting several very presentable chances before the heavy favourites showed a killer instinct in the final third.

There would have been a sigh of relief behind the scenes in the country’s footballing headquarters. Two wins and a draw from his interim spell in charge of the senior national squad is likely to mean the Football Association offer Southgate the position on a full time basis although there is still the small matter of a glamour tie with one of the best international teams in the world to contend with.

england manager, gareth southgate

Spain visit Wembley on Tuesday, themselves in something of a transitional period following Vicente Del Bosque‘s retirement. The 65-year-old coach took La Roja to the pinnacle of the footballing elite and while they not be at the height of their powers following a disappointing couple of tournaments, they are one of few teams against whom England are underdogs in their own back yard.

Despite lacking the potency of a World Cup qualifier, this game should be played at something approaching a decent tempo and it will certainly be the most effective yardstick for judging what state the national side are in as they close out 2016, albeit it may come too late to adjust the identity of who leads the country into the rest of the qualification campaign for Russia 2018.

Barring an absolute mauling by the Spanish, it seems extremely likely that Southgate will take up the role which he publicly distanced himself from following Roy Hodgson’s departure this summer. The question now seems to be whether or not he is made to wait to find out his fate and when a decision is made, how much faith is placed in his relatively inexperienced hands?

Because of the hysteria around Sam Allardyce’s departure after just one game in charge and the short turnaround before the clash against Malta, the FA had little to no opportunity to consider any viable alternatives to Southgate, who was a natural interim appointment due to his role with the Under-21 side. Now though, the question is, how much due diligence will the organisation feel is appropriate?

Sam Allardyce leaves England job

England are not scheduled to be in action again until March when they visit Germany in another high-profile friendly clash. Theoretically, that could open the door for another candidate to come in and take up the job, although the majority of the likely candidates are either uninspiring or unavailable.

The former Middlesbrough boss has urged his employers to resolve the situation quickly but in an environment ruled by red tape and governed by committee, failing to consider any alternatives would only come back to haunt the Association should Southgate’s tenure take a downturn.

English football could certainly be in some sort of managerial limbo for a few weeks to come, especially if Tuesday’s result raises more questions over whether the establishment have identified the right man for the job.

Is Wembley To Be New NFL Home?

Should The NFL Find A Home In London?

When you consider the fact that over here we call the game American Football, you have to wonder if the long term expansion plans of the NFL are of benefit? This year sees three NFL matches being played at Wembley with gridiron fans having the chance to watch a competitive match in September, October and November. This is giving hope to the idea that London may eventually host a team that plays in the regular NFL season, welcoming visiting teams from across the Atlantic on a regular basis.

It is clear that Wembley will be delighted if this were to happen. The stadium is desperate to bring in any money that they can and if they were able to guarantee the home fixtures of a NFL team for the season, they would be on to a winner. With the season running in the Autumn and Winter, there would be no Cup finals to worry about and no major concerts. This means that the NFL season falls into a time period when Wembley doesn’t have much on apart from the occasional international match. This may represent a problem because it is not as if the Wembley owners want to run the risk of seeing English international matches tour around the country again but it is not as if the NFL season clashes with the time when people expect Wembley to be busy.

will american football come to wembley?

Will Wembley be available?

There is a slight snag at the moment that Spurs may be on the lookout for a stadium they can use for a year and West Ham United have already told Tottenham Hotspur not to expect to see the inside of the Olympic Stadium unless they are playing the Hammers. Spurs wouldn’t share with Arsenal and after that, they would have to pitch themselves across London in the hope of finding a stadium that would be big enough to fit their fans in. That could be a potential barrier when it comes to the NFL hopes but then again, it may be that Spurs will get themselves into gear and have their Wembley season all wrapped up before NFL in London plan comes together. The only thing is, it is not as if Spurs have been moving quickly to this point so there is nothing to suggest that they may finally click into gear.

The other argument will resolve around whether there will be sustained interest for an NFL team playing at Wembley for the course of a season. These matches will be an indicator if there is sustained interest. There has been no problem in filling Wembley once a year in a one-off game but for three matches, that means there needs to be a lot of fans connecting with the sport. The people behind the campaign suggest that 4 million people in the UK watch the Superbowl but there is no indication that these people will grab a season book package or be inclined to head to London. American Football is a sport that is much better suited for TV viewers than it is for people who attend the games.

NFL games provide a day out

There is a culture in the NFL about spending most of the day in the parking lot and having a social element to the day. This is not something that is too prominent in UK culture, certainly not with parking lot parties although pubs may benefit.

The 2014 Wembley games are:

Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins Sunday 28th of September

Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions Sunday 26th of October

Jacksonville Jaguars v Dallas Cowboys Sunday 9th of November

There are plenty of betting options available for these games and the fact that they are being played in the UK may entice more fans to have a greater level of interest in what is going on. Whether there is long term interest for an NFL team in London remains to be seen but it does appear as if the NFL will be creating a permanent home in the English capital.