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Premier League Greed Home To Roost

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?




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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday November 22 2007

Time: 7:09AM

Your Comments

Excellent article mate. Just written something similar myself on the Hearts site about international football in general. It's not longer the pinnacle of a player's career as money is what dominates everything now. Sad.
MrH
Right on the money JB. The football pyramid is at risk from globalization and the unprecedented and unmitigated wealth and power associated with it. I'm not reponding simply to that mess last night btw - although the demise of the national team is inevitably one manifestation of this. I was just saying on another site that non-qualifcation hasn't been a given for ingerland, last night reminded me of the classic failures of the '70s - the difference then however was that we were watching the likes of Bell, Channon, Hudson, Currie et al - players with no equivalent in the modern game - and back then we were distinctly aware of the technical gap in terms of continental teams - so this is an historic low. The minnow Croatia completely battered our bloated and bereft 'golden generation'. At least we can finally cast off that crock of **** now. Your points on the old first division I completely endorse - the most succesful sides to leave these shores and lift european cups were in fact anglo-celtic and those guys were sourced from the lower reaches of british and irish football at some point. There will be a huge reaction in the country to this no doubt, and calls for quotas etc and whilst we should get behind calls for a complete review of the game, ultimately the forces out there will prevail i'm afraid. Now we have to endure weeks of media led blood sport and bookmakers frenzy over the next top dollar appointment.
Craig Cain
The grass roots problem these days is that most youngsters prefer to be sat in front of a computer games console instead of getting out on the park and taking part in sports activities. Teenagers are too busy getting legless at weekends on drugs and drink is it any wonder then that emerging talent is so thin on the ground. The recent results at International level just reflects on how good a coach Eriksson is, getting us to two quater finals with virtually the same set of overpaid prima donnas. This surely is proof enough that he should not be looking at the Defoe, Bents, Owen, and Crouches of this world in January, which I am sure he won't give a moments notice to them.
alphieblues
Excellently astute comments all round. Just speaking to the French lads in work this morning and they were all referring back to 1994 when they failed to qualify for the WC under Houllier. This precipitated an overhaul of the game. The rest is history yet still there league is a poorly funded if Franco talented one in comparison to the PL circus.
Johnny Baguette
Take your point JB - but as you imply there isn't the same level of red in tooth and claw greed and vested interest in the French game. Alphie - thats a completely different issue, the debate aint going anywhere unless we confine it to the structural aspects of the modern game - like the expansion and development of the champions league, the ratio of foriegn imports etc.
Craig Cain
I was just debating with an Irish colleague the point CC made regarding the most successful anglo-celtic sides to conquer all in Europe. The Liverpool and Forest squads are classing examples and we've had a great time naming them! One Welsh lad here has proposed bringing back the Home Nations tournament and including Ireland as part of the equation instead of farcical friendlies. Seconded. Anyone having that?
Johnny Baguette
Liverpool and Forest yes. Also the successful Leeds side of the '70s (even Chelsea back then) our near neighbours of course, Arsenal etc you'll find that mix had something about it. As for the home internationals - do we really want to see those morons drapped in union flags kicking the ****** out of Dublin again, or the inevitable england scotland feck up?
Craig Cain
JB Will the introduction of the Home Nations Tournament IMPROVE our performances in world football or just drag it further down.
alphieblues
Great memories but then a horrible image, CC!! I draw a direct parallel with the booing of the Croatian anthem last night. Maybe panic had already set in amongst the Wembley "faithful." I dunno, there has to be some way of re-energising football across the islands. Just listening to Barwick and co on the press conference gave no reason for any hope. They want turfing out as do the FAI. Maybe Prince William can save the day? There he was sat next to Barwick last night. Exchanging his rugby hat for his football one. You couldn't make it up, etc...
Johnny Baguette
Alph, I honestly don't know, but it would focus attention on homegrown football and bring more younger players to the fore. It still works for rugby, but the policing issue is another matter!!
Johnny Baguette
Wouldn't improve the technical aspects of our game (or anybody elses) May be of some interest at U21?
Craig Cain
There's a point, CC. Slowly, we are drifting towards Stuart Pearce. Nice link, eh? Caretaker role for the touchline jester?!
Johnny Baguette
All the governing bodies JB (FAI, SFA and FA) are manned by rank amatuers and are loathed in equal measure by their public. When did you last see a pitch like that for FFS!
Craig Cain
SP:I'm reaching for the self-harming kit...fancy a round of high-school compass hand-stab anyone?
Craig Cain
Just listened to Royston Keane's comments and for once I fully agree with him. His analysis of over inflated egos, wrong body language, especially from players involved with the Champions League, and that good players do not automatically make a good team, are all very true. I also agree with the pundit who a few weeks aga made the comment that England winning the World Cup in '66 was the worst thing that could have happened as ever since we have believed that we are better than what we are.....Ah well lets forget all this and get back on Sven's march to greater things...thank goodness we don't have an Englishman as manager...
alphieblues
LOL! I think it's time the England team rolled up their sleeves and took a long look at themselves in the mirror....etc...
Johnny Baguette
"and that good players do not automatically make a good team" Alphie, they aint good players, Croatia handed them a footballing lesson, they are technically light years ahead. Agree on the Champs League it has corroded both international and domestic competitions. It needs to revert to a champions only format (either knock out or league)
Craig Cain
Great article JB ..... not wishing to get too drawn into this one but don't we suffer from deluded expectations in this country? I think CC touches on some of the greats from the 70's who couldn't inspire Ingerland to greatness even back then. It was always as such in this country, even with a 'golden generation'. Ingerland's trophy haul is on a par with Greece and Denmark in international terms, that isn't the fault of the Premier League or the structure back in the 70's. It is more a case of Ingerland not producing teams of the quality to win international tournaments. For what it's worth I believe Ingerland were beaten by one of the better sides in Europe last night. For us to reach that level we need a team that wants to play in all games for its country and a footballing structure that supports its national side. Dave Richards admitted at this morning's press conference that the Premier League must always put the club's interest first and foremost. In that case you won't get a Mourinho but more likely a yes man in the mould of McClaren or Pearce.
ronin
Ronin: Another cameo at HMs pleasure? Croatia has no powerful vested interest groups at a domestic level to pervert the game - a key difference as you suggest. These guys ply their trade in other leagues and are better for it.
Craig Cain
Croatia could go far in Euro 2008 chaps. Everyone looks to be on board, team spirited and enjoying their football. I see their coach complained about that appalling excuse of a Wembley pitch the day before the game. He had no trouble motivating his side to go for it regardless!
Johnny Baguette
....He also said that the pitch wouldn't suit England what he forgot to say was that the players wouldn't either.
alphieblues
 

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