Fabio Capello's resignation as England manager capped a remarkable day for English football on Wednesday with Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp at the centre of it.
Capello's exit in the wake of a row over the deposed England skipper John Terry, means the English FA have to act swiftly in appointing his successor with four months to go before the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine in June.
In reality, the FA need to have his replacement in place before their next match, a warm-up friendly against the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium on February 29.
Stuart Pearce, the current coach of the England Under-21 and British Olympic team, and an assistant with the national squad under Capello, has been touted as the probable short-term stand-in, but Redknapp's name is the one widely being put forward as a long-term replacement for the 65-year-old Italian.
Redknapp started the day awaiting a jury's verdict following a 13-day trial at Southwark Crown Court into allegations of tax evasion while he was manager at Portsmouth which could have led to him spending most of the next two years in jail.
The jury agreed unanimously that he was not guilty on both the charges he faced and, after he left the court a free man with an unblemished record, his name was back in the spotlight hours later as the future England boss.
The 64-year-old Londoner though, is contracted to Spurs until 2013. While he has made no secret of wanting to lead England one day, he has repeatedly said he is totally committed to his club side and would not talk about England unless and until he was offered the job by the English FA.
Redknapp would be a popular choice, not least because he is an Englishman. While every football manager and player has his detractors, Redknapp has relatively few.
He is widely respected, not only by his own club's fans but by neutrals as well who recognise that his teams play with attacking flair, that he manages players well and that he is an astute tactician.
He comes across as a man of the people, with a positive and good-humoured approach to life, the game and the media, traits that would be a breath of fresh air after the taciturn disciplinarianism and halting English of Capello.
Pearce is another possible contender for the job, as is Jose Mourinho, who appears set on leaving Real Madrid at the end of the season, while Dutchman Guus Hiddink, Arsene Wenger of Arsenal and Roy Hodgson of West Bromwich Albion have all been linked to the job by London bookmakers William Hill.
Whoever takes the job has one serious problem to deal with before choosing a squad and a team that could stand any chance of reaching the later stages of Euro 2012.
Capello resigned as manager on Wednesday because he felt the FA undermined his authority by stripping Terry of the captaincy last week after the player's criminal trial for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers was put back until after the European Championship.
Capello maintained that Terry was innocent until proven guilty and should have kept the armband. Once the FA made their decision, his position was untenable.
The new manager must now select a new captain and decide whether to take Terry as a member of the squad at all.
He also has to decide who else to take to the finals which is why it is probably important the job goes to an Englishman familiar with the Premier League.
FA Chairman David Bernstein, who accepted Capello's resignation on Wednesday, has repeatedly said he wants an Englishman to assume control of England while he is chairman.
Redknapp, arguably, could do the job part-time because England have only three warm-up matches, against the Dutch, Belgium and Norway, before the finals.
Pearce though, has worked as one of Capello's assistants as well as managing the Under-21s and is free to concentrate all his time on the national team, while Redknapp's Spurs still have an outside chance of the Premier League title and a realistic shot at the Champions League.comments