I’VE rarely laughed out loud at The Onion in my many years of reading the satirical US website.
The online newspaper dispenses the kind of wry humour which raises a smile rather than summoning a guffaw.
But on occasions The Onion can hit the funny bone, such as this magnificent headline a few days after 9/11: “God angrily clarifies ‘don’t kill’ rule”.
The satirists struck the right note again seven years later when US voters elected an African-American president for the first time while the country was mired in a recession and two unwinnable wars: “Black man given nation’s worst job.”
I wonder if Roy Hodgson feels a little like this today as he prepares to take the reins as England manager.
Granted his task is not as tough as Obama’s. Whatever else Hodgson is expected to do, he won’t have to cope with a banking crisis or devise a credible exit strategy for Afghanistan.
But still, they don’t call managing England “the impossible job” for nothing.
Just look at what it’s done to the last few men to pull on the Three Lions tracksuit.
Fabio Capello left in February with the bitter taste of failure in his mouth for the first time in his long managerial career.
Sven Goran Eriksson, Glen Hoddle and Kevin Keegan left the England job because of penalty shoot-out incompetence, interview incompetence and an admission he couldn’t do the job respectively. None of these men has achieved anything of note since parting company with the FA.
Graham Taylor and Steve McClaren have had decent post-England success, though they have rebuilt their professional reputations while opposing fans mocked them as either ‘the turnip’ or ‘the wally with the brolly’.
So it is perhaps just as well for Hodgson that he is already 64 and that managing England may end up being his last job in the game.
This week the West Brom boss is being hailed as the answer to the national team’s problems.
Barring the miracle of a tournament win, Hodgson will be on his way out in a year or four, mocked by the tabloids, booed by the fans and bad-mouthed by some millionaire star in a cash-in autobiography.