Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Quota load of old bollocks



I know the issue of quotas is being looked at by most football sites today due to Steve Coppell and Gordon Brown sticking their respective oars into the issue. Alex Ferguson’s comments on the matter have also raised eyebrows (though his interest is in sticking it to Arsenal rather than the ‘health of the game’). But, aside from the questions over European employment laws and the development of the game in England, I thought I’d point out that the issue has always been a load of cobblers and is barely worthy of the discussion it’s currently getting.

English players, with the exception of a few decent stars in amongst the mire, have always been poor. A spark of gold in a pile of shite as Paul Calf (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcVDPDRKrt0) once said.

Think back to Liverpool’s win over AC Milan in Istanbul. Number of English players in the side – two; Gerrard and Carragher. Think back even further to Liverpool’s 1984 European Cup winning side (the last of seven wins in eight years for English sides) and the team was as follows: Grobbelaar, Neal, Kennedy, Lawrenson, Whelan, Hansen, Dalglish (Robinson), Lee, Rush, Johnston (Nicol), Souness. So that’s three Englishmen including the subs. Okay there’s more Frenchman than Scots in the modern European Cup winners but still very few English, and let’s not forget it’s only England that are bringing up this issue. The Scots are doing just fine… well until Saturday anyway.

Arsenal got to the 2006 final with only a half-fit Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell in their side. Yet despite their loss, when coupled with Liverpool’s victory the year before this laid many of the foundations for the idea of the ‘Golden Generation’ of English football that would win the 2006 World Cup. Five horrendous games later, the state of the English game looked a lot less healthy.

The Manchester United side of 1999 was far more representative in regards to English players – the Nevilles, Butt, Beckham, Cole and of course Scholes who would have been in there too had he not been suspended. Yet, after their triumph, 12 months later many of those players formed the core of an English side that went out in the group stages of Euro 2000. Spain didn’t last long in that tournament either, despite Real Madrid picking up the European Cup only six weeks earlier (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0CPIMH2t9s).

English sides dominated Europe in the mid-to-late seventies and early eighties yet the national side failed to qualify for two World Cups (74 and 78) and went out timidly in 1982 when they actually did make it to Spain.

In fact, there is very little to suggest that a nation’s success at club level – be it with home-grown players or foreigners – leads on to success at international level. Did Italy win anything in the late eighties or early nineties when their sides were dominating in Europe? Nope. Have Spanish national sides ever done anything at the highest level despite Real Madrid’s (and to a certain extent Barcelona’s) record in European competition? Nope.

Both the Italian and Spanish leagues have aspired to be the greatest league in the world over the last 20 years and both understood that this involved bringing in the world’s top talent. When Italy went out of the 1990 World Cup in the semi finals, they didn’t moan that they would have won the tournament had three Italians played for AC Milan instead of Gullit, Rijkaard and van Basten (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0O2nEZAb_Mk). They just accepted they were unlucky and moved on.

There was no attempt to block George Weah (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo8PS4XSCyk), Paul Gascoigne et al entering the Italy afterwards. Serie A was the best league in the world so it wanted the best players, therefore if the Premier League aspires to the same position they should continue getting top players by having an open system. In the long run, the policy of importing foreign talent has hardly done the Italian national side any harm now has it? What with that whole World Cup win and that.

Finally, no amount of foreign players should be blamed for a bunch of pompous ghost-writer hookers failing to beat Macedonia at home. England players and their coaching staff (well despite their coaching staff perhaps) have the talent to reach the European Championships and have no one to blame but themselves. What can be done about the malaise in their international team? How about organising their inflated egos into a vaguely coherent side and beating the other teams in a decidedly easy group. That ought to do it.

But with England’s football team, it’s always somebody else’s fault isn’t it. Damn Johnny Foreigner.

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Don’t forget to sign Mark’s ‘Keep Houllier Away’ petition (not poll as I said the other day like a damned fool). This French gimp must be stopped.
http://www.petitiononline.com/jxz81c/petition.html

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Here’s my choice for the job… and the dog that’s barking… that’s not his dog: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iaNlobvJMY

Later - JJ

3 comments:

Mark said...

has there been a knock on effect for ireland as well out of this? i've seen one or 2 articles in the recent months about young irish players staying in ireland cos they can't get into the english academies.
this could be a good thing for league of ireland but no matter how bad the coaches in england are, you'd have to assume the irish ones are worse (resources, amatuer/semi-pro coaches, facilities etc)
****
but anyway, all this talk is getting everyone nowhere. there are so many contradictions if you look at examples from different countries that no one really knows.
maybe if england hadn't a shit manager and could squeak past macedonia at home, they'd stand a better chance

JJ said...

It's hard to say if there has been an effect really in regards to Ireland. We probably have as many irish-born players in England now than at any stage in the last 20 years.

Many youngsters from over here get into the youth teams in England but obviously competition is a lot stiffer now than it was previously so plenty of them get sent home. Some irish parents aren't as keen to send players over as before either what with all this pesky education that so annoys Johnny Giles!

On a side note, with the money coming into the Eircom League (from TV rights and property sales) there’s a slim possibility we might get a ‘Rosenborg’ in the next decade too. This could help make it more acceptable to pick players playing at home.

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