Football: Is the English Game As We Have Known It Dying?
England introduced the 'modern' game of football back in the 1850s. Since then, apart from winning the World Cup in 1966, we have achieved nothing on the world stage.
Why? Unlike other World Cup winning nations, who then sat down and totally re-evaluated their overall game in order to progress further, the 'beaurocrats,' otherwise known as the Executives of the Football Association, sat back in their plush offices preening themselves in their own self reflected glory.
In other words, "If it is not broken then why fix it?"
They then managed to put our game at the back at every level, so far that it is doubtful that it will ever recover. They appointed Charles Hughes as the Technical Development Director, with the 'brief' to totally restructure our coaching program.
Their view was that he would change the whole face of the game, and he certainly did that but not in the way the FA hoped for.
Hughes had never coached or played the game and yet for 18 years this man, who's based his whole coaching philosophy upon 'theory,' totally decimated the future of the game and was given probably the most powerful and influential role at the FA.
Now we have Trevor Brooking as his replacement, someone who I have the greatest respect for. But in view of his outspoken need for more monies, for the grass root game and a total restructuring of how young kids are coached and play, my guess is that the FA will not waste too much time to find an excuse to get rid of him.
We no longer produce quality young talent, not because we do not have quality kids, but our pathetic and outdated coaching methods no longer allow the kids to develop naturally.
Today, it is far easier for a top club to buy an overseas player than to spend time and money in developing our own youngsters.
Having coached in many parts of the world, leaving aside the truly great overseas players who have come to England to play, such as Bergkamp, Zola, Cantona etc, and more recently—Ronaldo, the fact is that many of the other overseas players, whilst still being good, are NOT considered anything special in their own countries.
The sad truth is that we have come to accept mediocrity as a standard for our own players, therefore, when we see an overseas player we immediately assume that he must be great.
If I am wrong, then why is it that we do NOT see overseas clubs clamouring to buy English players. Indeed, how many English players are playing abroad?
I do NOT subscribe to the theory that overseas youngsters are 'more gifted' than our own.
A child is not born a racist, a dog is not born vicious, it depends how they are raised and taught in the home.
Football is no different. Coach a kid correctly and he will be a better player—simple really.
On the rare occasion when we do produce a quality player, then the media will build that player up to a certain level before proceeding to crucify him.
For my money, Paul (Gazza) Gascogne was easily the most natural and gifted player we have produced in years, and yet the press 'murdered' him simply to sell papers. He was no angel but he deserved better.
Sadly, Wayne Rooney will go the same way once the press feel it is time.
Where once the lower league clubs developed their own talent before 'selling them on' as a means of generating income, as I said, the top clubs are no longer interested when they can buy the finished product.
For years, Dario Gradi at Crewe FC, one of the most respected coaches in the world, has produced a 'conveyor belt of young talent,' and yet the FA has never considered him for a senior post with our young talent.
Within 10 years, there will be a 'two tier' Premier League with many of the lower division clubs going part time.
Even more significantly, there will be a European Super League. An English Premier Club can travel to most parts of Europe in the same time it takes to travel, for example, from Portsmouth to Newcastle.
Satellite TV would give this their blessing, as the majority of fans required to travel for away games would stay at home and watch the games on television.
That is not all. Mark my words—EVERY game will be based upon the pay per view or a similar system.
Sadly, I honestly do not believe that their is a solution, simply because today and at every level—it is all about winning and INSTANT success.
English Coach (USA)
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