Only 470 days to go.
Only £7,726,027.40 left to collect. Don’t forget the 40p. Fabio Capello won’t.
It’s in his contract, which expires on July 1 – the day of the Euro 2012 final.
That’s when reality will kick in.
Capello’s legacy will be a fearful, factionalised England team.
He has absolutely no interest in the long term welfare of our game.
He has opted to milk the system as if it is a fat Friesian.
He embodies, and exploits, the strategic weaknesses of his employers. Brutalised and marginalised, the FA is in a semi-permanent state of crisis.
It lacks the money and the moral courage to pay him off and admit the magnitude of the mistake. Capello’s minders, decent people in a dispiriting position, can only cringe behind painted smiles.
The farce over the England captaincy is a symptom of a wider problem, which has never been addressed.
It is captured in the sardonic smile of Franco Baldini, when he’s asked whether the job has changed Capello.
“Nooooo” he says, stretching a single syllable to infinity and beyond.
The implication is obvious.
Just as he’s made half hearted attempts to learn English, Capello sees no need to assimilate into a new culture.
An interesting character is Baldini in a revealingly indistinct role.
He doesn’t like being described as England’s assistant manager. He is Capello’s bagman, urbane and amusing.
At club level he is a brilliant deal-maker. He sorts the contracts, soothes the agents, seduces the directors.
At international level, he is a superannuated scout.
He and Capello filter reports on emerging players and seem to file them in the bin. They are short-term people in what should be a long-term business.
Capello dispenses knowledge sparingly as if it is gold bullion.
Listening to him analyse the three definitive teams of his generation – Holland’s total footballers, Arrigo Sacchi’s Milan and Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona – is fascinating.
But ask him specifically about England’s richly-promising Under-19 team and he witters on about the promise of Joe Hart, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young.
I doubt whether he could pick Liverpool’s Conor Coady, its captain, from a one-man identity parade.
He doesn’t need to.
Gone are the days when Terry Venables would invite a 17-year-old Rio Ferdinand to train with the senior squad in the build-up to the European Championships.
It is increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ventriloquist and the dummy.
Capello talks of fear, of players stripped of self-belief. Baldini confirms the England dressing room is a quieter, more reflective place during competitive matches.
The logical option would be to recruit a sports psychologist to ease what is known in the trade as performance anxiety.
The clubs would go berserk.
Baldini has an interesting theory.
In Italy, players are used to playing under pressure and cowering in the dressing room until vengeful crowds disperse. He believes English fans are too forgiving.
Their loyalty is a self-defeating safety valve. When players feel the weight of the nation on their shoulders, they shrink.
Jack Wilshere has the fearlessness of youth, but there will be no more bold experiments.
Capello is out to lunch. Quite literally. I sat next to him as he ploughed through his main course minestrone.
It was somehow appropriate he lost his last shred of credibility in his favourite Italian restaurant around the corner from Harrods.
Those 470 days will seem an eternity.
Capello won’t mind since he is on £16,438.35 per day for a seven day week.
Wales could do everybody a favour by beating England on Saturday and triggering another national debate.
Don’t count on it.
Count the days instead until Agent Capello is repatriated, his job done.