EITHER side of the rivers Tyne and Wear there will be disappointment that Harry Redknapp has been overlooked for the England job.
Not because Redknapp holds a North East mandate to take over the Three Lions – he was never the people’s choice, despite the narrative pursued nationally – but because it means he is free to continue talking up Tottenham’s interest in our region’s best players.
Anyone forwarding the case that Redknapp carried public opinion with him would be best advised to survey the bars and offices of this region, where mention of the Spurs boss usually draws a venomous response.
Just before the England job become available, Redknapp committed the cardinal sin of revealing Demba Ba’s contract release clause.
Although a particularly busy agent had been circulating details to anyone who would listen for weeks, it was the Tottenham boss who made news of that public.
He did that on January 8, the point at which Ba had hit 16 goals for Newcastle. The Senegal striker has scored once since, and his future has been the subject of constant speculation.
Sunderland know this tactic only too well, for it was a similar story when Kenwyne Jones was wanted by Spurs back in January 2009. Redknapp revealed a bid had been put in and the Black Cats, troubled by relegation, battled to hang on to a player who never quite regained form or focus.
Football fans don’t tend to forget these things and maybe, as we consider the FA’s likely appointment of Roy Hodgson, the same is true of the game’s power brokers.
The FA have gone for the safer pair of hands in Hodgson – and in doing so have taken in a wider set of interests than who might deliver the best press conference soundbites.
For while Hodgson is an under-whelming appointment, he comes with little baggage. Liverpool fans might not rate him but for the rest of us, there is a clean slate. He is not the polarising force that Redknapp would have been.
In the North East, England’s latest managerial move is more likely to meet with indifference than criticism.
It is not true that the region doesn’t care for the Three Lions, but there is increasingly a feeling of them and us when it comes to matters England.
The FA’s decision to end the successful policy of rotating England home matches in favour of playing every fixture at Wembley isolated the team from this region and the actions of Fabio Capello seemed to confirm North East supporter’s suspicions that they were being marginalised.
Capello only deigned us with his presence once during his entire reign, and his comments on Darren Bent’s move to Aston Villa were ill-founded in the extreme. The striker had been overlooked during his time at Sunderland but was suddenly elevated to first choice when he switched to the Second City – a move that left most of us flabbergasted.
Hodgson might be more of a bridge builder than his predecessor. It would certainly be remiss of him not to pay a visit to the rising forces from the North East before the European Championships.
There are English success stories here that Redknapp or Capello might have overlooked. Jack Colback has been the form man of the last two months at Sunderland while there is an English foundation to the Newcastle defence that was performing miracles until Saturday’s demolition at the DW.
If Hodgson decides those players aren’t for him, fair enough. But at least he would have done the North East the service of actually visiting the area.
His coaching credentials speak of a capable man and although he wasn’t for Liverpool, no manager gets to his age without a black mark or two on their CVs.
Competent and credible, he deserves a clean run at the England job. In these parts, the shadow of Redknapp will not hang over him.