If only Harry Redknapp had called his autobiography Here's What You Could Have Won. The reference, of course, would to be what is fabled as the greatest robbery of the age – the decision of the Football Association not to gift the England manager's job to Harry. The loss was all ours, reportedly, and to read the extracts of Harry's book is to feel the comforting arm of the quiz show host around one's shoulder, as he gestures sympathetically towards the heap of off-brand electrical goods and matching luggage that we now won't be going home with.

As for Roy Hodgson, who can only be cast as football's equivalent of the Blankety Blank chequebook and pen – well, Harry wishes Roy all the best. Course he does – even if the buildup to the manager's crucial World Cup qualifiers at Wembley has been overshadowed by the serialisation of the memoirs of the man whose turning 65 last year was marked by journalists at his weekly Tottenham press conference singing Happy Birthday to him.

Even now, you can't turn down the chorus of commentators lionising Harry for how decently he treats players. Quite so. And here he is this week revealing – in the days leading up to England's crunch games, and for no conceivable purpose other than personal enrichment or petty score-settling – that Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand all texted him last year to tell him they wanted him to get the England job.

No one overrates himself quite as self-deprecatingly as Harry, it must be said, and the excerpts on the big job constitute his self-elevation into that exclusive club of Greatest England Managers That Never Were. The only thing he doesn't seem to have the answer to is why in the name of sanity he Never Was, despite having been cleared of tax evasion two hours before Fabio Capello resigned.

"I am still asked quite regularly about what went wrong," Harry laments. "I wish I knew for certain. Nobody at the FA has ever explained why I was overlooked and not even asked for an interview."

It's an enduring mystery, isn't it? I don't want to go out on a limb here, but maybe the FA felt that despite it being perfectly legal, it just didn't smell right to have an England manager who had seen fit to open a Monaco bank account in the name of his dog. If so, the stopped clock principle dictates the blazers might even be right about something else one day.

As suggested here at the time, Roy Hodgson seemed to have been appointed to manage expectations as much as a football side. And painful as it may be for the recovering fantasists to admit, England are exactly where they deserve to be at this stage of their qualifying campaign – and I have a nagging suspicion that they'd be in precisely the same place at this point had Redknapp taken over, if by some miracle he had survived the onslaught of fake sheikhs/Newmarket-potmen-masquerading-as-jockeys attempting to trip him up along the way. The only difference is that too many people would still be nursing the same old ridiculous delusions that once we got to Brazil, it'd be all right on the night.

If the Hodgson appointment did not represent quite the death of this brand of English optimism, it certainly represented the moment it was cryogenically frozen, with reanimation possible only in the event of some huge technical leap.

All of which makes this week's slavering over Redknapp's book a drearily retrograde exercise. But at this meta-stage in the psychiatric journey that is supporting England, perhaps a week of nostalgia for something that never came to pass is preferable to spending 90 minutes anywhere near the present.

Qatar solves the puzzle

A while ago, someone drew my attention to an item with a claim to be football's most bizarre, inelegant, and overpriced piece of tat. Retailing on Amazon is a 300-piece jigsaw of former Manchester United finance director Nick Humby who's now at the LTA, but you can still pick up the puzzle for £15.32. Where on earth, I wondered, could there possibly be a market for something so sensationally pointless, so outlandishly irrelevant? How thrilling to get an answer to that question – and how predictable that it should be Qatar.

To the Doha waterfront, then, where a statue of Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbutt on Marco Materazzi has been unveiled as part of the emirate's drive to whip up excitement for the 2022 World Cup (suggested slogan: Kick The World).

In fact, this is not the first time the statue has been exhibited. It was created in France as an "ode to defeat", and temporarily shown outside the Pompidou Centre, where it was not universally admired. The idea that anyone stupid enough to take it off the owners' hands could possibly have been found must have seemed beyond the realms – but hats off to Qatar for proving them wrong.

If you do have to buy your football heritage off the shelf, you have to start somewhere – though the Qataris rather remind me of the sort of gazillionaires who commission vast libraries for their houses, then fill them with fake book spines bought by the yard.

Still, the message is clear: anyone with any seemingly unsellable bric‑a‑brac – be it a Nick Humby jigsaw or a neo-impressionist rendering of Robbie Fowler proffering his backside to Graeme Le Saux – should take heart. Qatar's newly installed curator of footballing antiquities is awaiting your call.