Sir or see ya?

What’s the future for Gareth Southgate?

There will always be a place in football for nostalgia, for casting the mind back to days gone by and recalling the exploits of those that have etched their names into folklore on domestic or international stages. A select few will achieve immortality, with true legends of the game set to see their endeavours stand the test of time.

In order for such a standing to be achieved, something truly special needs to have been done. Whether that be upsetting the form book to savour a European Cup triumph or delivering a record haul of goals, some have earned the right to stand out above all others.

Memories can, however, be rather short in the modern era, with a “What have you done for me lately” mentality prevailing from grassroot pitches on the local park all the way up to Premier League arenas such as Villa Park.


Gareth Southgate is finding that out the hard way at present, with FIFA World Cup betting odds beginning to drift in a direction that the current England boss would have preferred to avoid. Having topped the charts at one stage, with the best offers and insider information across a range of markets seemingly weighted in their favour, they are now 7/1 to emerge victorious. With a global gathering in Qatar fast approaching, wheels have started to fall off the Three Lions’ bandwagon.

A man who once donned the captain’s armband for Aston Villa, while taking in 57 appearances for his country, has been around long enough to know that you are never going to be everyone’s cup of tea when occupying the warmest of managerial hot seats.

The England job has been a poisoned chalice for many, with few outside of Sir Alf Ramsey able to claim that they delivered on the expectations of a notoriously fickle fan base who is never quite satisfied with its lot.

Life appeared to be pretty sweet for Southgate in the summer of 2021, with a memorable run to the final of a European Championship that delivered plenty of outings in the familiar surrounds of Wembley Stadium seeing public opinion swing back in favour of football finally coming home. It didn’t, with Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses required to tick that particular box in 2022.

England still expects, though, and attention has turned back in the direction of a star-studded men’s national team as another major tournament looms large on the horizon. Preparations for said event could not have gone much worse, with relegation suffered out of the A section in the UEFA Nations League.


Southgate’s side went winless through that competition and have as many questions to answer when it comes to tactics and selection as they do definitive plans regarding seats on the plane and a favoured blueprint for success.

You get the sense that an era will be coming to a close one way or another this winter, with Southgate treading a tightrope that will not allow him to move much further. Land the ultimate prize in the Middle East and he can bow out a hero. Come up short and he may be pushed before he can jump.

Given all that he has achieved, with a last-four showdown at the 2018 World Cup and a Euro 2020 final on his coaching CV, it may feel a little harsh to be running an all-or-nothing gauntlet. That, though, is how fine the line has come between hero and villain, with Southgate suddenly finding himself in Sir or See ya territory.