OK, so it seems like the English FA are embarking upon an extensive and far-reaching search for a successor to Fabio Capello (hat in Italian), before offering the job to Harry Rednapp.  Almost everyone agrees that the outcome is a foregone conclusion, so why bother going to extraordinary lengths, and expense, to arrive at the same result?

The appointment of a manager for the English national team is not an unusual event.  It happens quite frequently, and is usually conducted under the glare of the nation’s press.  However, similar situations are faced by employers across the country every day, where an important managerial post is vacant, and the obvious candidate for the job either already with the company, or has been identified from elsewhere.  If the end result seems inevitable, then why carry out the search at all?  Why not simply offer the job to him or her, and be done with it?  In many workplaces there is a need not only to be seen to be fair, but a legal requirement to be scrupulously so.   Forgetting legalities, there is a list of reasons why this is essential good practice.  I’m no HR Director, so I shan’t try to list them all here.  In essence though, the company wants to be absolutely sure they appoint the very best available individual, and that they are seen to be making the opportunity open to all suitable candidates.  Within the bounds of what is reasonable, subjecting internal and external candidates to the same selection procedure gives all parties the ability to make the best match, and do the right thing for the right reasons.  Comparing a terrific internal candidate with other serious rivals for the post helps to ensure that objective decisions can be made.  By measuring candidates against the same standard, you can be reassured that you definitely have the very best fit for the post.

Conversely, the formerly presumptive candidate, if successful, will know they have attained the post on merit, and gain confidence from being selected this way.  Employees who inherit a promotion, when their boss leaves, are always unsure if they have the complete confidence of the board – Just ask Steve McLaren.

Back to the England job. Succession planning – Capello’s contract, as was, would have run out later this year, and would have needed filled anyway.  This job pays £6m per annum, the tournament cycle runs every 2 years, from European Championship to World Cup, and there is a finite pool of individuals who are capable of the role.  With these factors in mind, it beggars belief that the English FA haven’t already done some of the groundwork.  For such a crucial position, there must be contingency plans in place (that don’t include gifting the job to Stuart Pearce).  No matter who (Harry) gets the job this time around (Harry), this job will need refilled every couple of years, and can always fall vacant at a moment’s notice.

Lastly, can the Tottenham Chairman, the FA and Harry Rednapp just get in a room and sort this out, as it’s already making my teeth itch!

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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