FIFA World Cup 2010: Call For Less Radical Radicalism From Common Sense Party
It's now been just over two weeks since the Bloemfontein debacle and to be honest, it's still a truly painful memory. Fabio Capello's men have been taken to the cleaners in the English media and justifiably so. Many of their proposed solutions to the problems with the English game have been laughable.
The most ridiculous of all of these is that Capello must go. Give us a break. The man has been successful at every level of the game at which he has coached and should be given the chance to get it right in 2012 at the European championships. Even if the FA had had a total brainstorm and fired the Italian, who do they bring in?
Roy Hodgson has just taken the vacancy at Liverpool so the best candidate would have been out of contention. The only other English manager enjoying serious success at club level at the moment is Harry Redknapp, the chances of the FA taking him on with his reported dodgy transfer dealings are, it seems, minimal.
It's surprising some of the tabloids are even bothering to give the notion of Capello's P45 any column inches at all when he rather cannily renegotiated his contract just before South Africa. Would the red-tops really support the FA in firing the Italian if they considered the fact it would take out millions from the piggy-bank in compensating him?
The next overused and tired old cliche trotted out recently is that England are a world class side. This is just not true. They may have world class players but they are not one of the great teams. Germany has proved that you can be a contender for the biggest prize in football with no true stars, but eleven players who get the job done. At the start of this world cup, many of us could not name most of the German 23, we can now.
Let's face facts here, England are not at the top of the world game consistently enough, mentioning them in the same breath as Brazil, Spain or even a second tier side like a Portugal is just wrong. If you look at England's record in international tournaments it is incredibly poor when you consider the pool of players, amount of money and support for the game throughout the country.
English sides have made the semi-final stage of a tournament three times. Two of those were on home soil. That's a record that pales when you put it next to Holland, France, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Argentina and most of the other footballing powerhouses. If you consider these facts then it is even more obvious that there's an unwarranted expectation, as much as there is a wasting and squandering of talent.
The next step as I see it, is clear, there needs to be a more concerted effort to build around the national side. And that means changing the structure of the Premiership to incorporate a winter break. Throughout the other major European leagues like Serie A and La Liga, football does not happen over Christmas and the benefits can be seen when it comes to major tournaments, can you name an English based player that would make this World Cup's best eleven? I can't.
If you put this break in, then there's the possibility of a secondary benefit of less of a need for immediate strength in depth as schedules become less congested at the heart of the season. Thus, that would give teams more of a chance to nurture and develop young talent instead of looking for instant replacements in the transfer market when there's a run of injuries. That is beneficial to the national side.
That to me is the most important and realistic step that can be taken, there's all sorts of arguments within the game about training methods, the lack of a national academy and the emphasis on physical prowess rather than technical ability in young players.
While I, like everyone else, has a view on these issues, there are more instant steps that can be taken. They are being avoided due to a combination of money, television, stubbornness and rose-tinted glasses.
Things need to change, the winter break is merely the first of many that must happen.
*That was a broadcast by the Common Sense Party*
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