Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Thursday November 22 2007
The old English First Division used to be centre stage for English, Northern Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Irish homegrown talent to ply it's trade and nurture it's skills.
Well, it's not now.
Instead, what homegrown talent (and they have to be way above average players) that can force their way past a myriad of foreign international stars through to English Football's top flight are few and far between. This is to the extent that enormous sums have to be paid out by clubs in order to secure their signatures.
Furthermore, Premier League clubs rarely look to the increasingly distant lower leagues for breaking talent. On another front, what is the point in a local lad signing for the likes of Chelsea at youth level? He'll never make the first team, so why bother?
Many of England's 'superstars' who failed to qualify for Austria and Switzerland are multi-millionaires enjoying the trappings that come in off the back of their club's Murdoch Sky money and in increasing cases, foreign ownership. These lads have it all. I question some of these players desire to play through pain barriers and give it all for their country.
Grass roots motivation and passion are lacking and on the managerial front, there is also a dearth in upcoming coaches with the knowledge and expertise required to take on the national side.
So what can be done to halt the money fuelled juggernaut that has knackered our national sides? Well, getting behind Michel Platini's proposal to introduce foreign player quotas for each club would be a start in England. This would firstly give teams outside 'The Big Four' more of a chance to compete with them. Then the homegrown lads need to be playing week, in week out, not benchwarming. In my view, youth academy and youth set ups should be compulsory and teams compelled to field these lads at the first opportunity. A reduction of satellite TV's monopoly and getting the national game back into homes that can't afford it could only bring the game closer to the home nations' youth potential.
I could go on. It's useless castigating the hapless Steve McClueless this morning. An easy target who I believe honestly did his best with what he had available but his refusal to resign smacks of arrogance. Sports hacks in 'The Street of Shame' are already savaging him.
The same experts will be calling for the installation of Jose Mourinho as England manager this morning. A massive salary would of course, be a pre-requisite. That would solve nothing for the game at grass roots level and it is the exact 'throw money at it' policy that I would fully expect the pisspoor Football Association to follow.
Er, Pearce for England?
Date:Thursday November 22 2007
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