Some month ago a post here identified where the FA had to go to resuscitate English football and questioned if it would actually happen this time. Well the answer is that it won’t.
[see ‘WHERE THE FA HAVE TO GO TO RESUSCITATE ENGLISH FOOTBALL – BUT WILL IT HAPPEN THIS TIME?’]
Now, the Football Association is the governing body of football in England but for the past decades it has failed, failed, and failed again to stand up and be counted or as our American cousins would say step-up to the plate, eh?
In late July the FA duffers with their normal gay abandon precipitously appointed a new England Manager to replace serial loser Roy Hodgson, who after three years had ingloriously lead the team to a third doomed finals play-offs in June at the France Euro 2016’s, before he finally got the well deserved boot.
It was common knowledge however that Hodgson was for due for the bullet if he failed again, and the chances of that were high, yet the FA had absolutely no plan in place about replacing him, so when the time came their shortlist was embarrassingly short and severely deficient [wildcards like minnows Bournemouth’s boss Eddie Howe, and Steve Bruce newcomer’s Hull current boss, or Glenn Hoddle (again?), Alan Pardew ex-Newcastle governor now at Crystal Palace, or even David Moyes another failed manager] – is that totally irresponsible or not? There was no need for them to make such an urgent appointment, but they had to rush into it like headless chickens, so they could get it over with and get back to their quiet and rich living lives, didn’t they? The main man choosing the Manager is a bloke who admits that he knows ‘nothing’ about football – so what the hell is he doing being in charge of selecting the new man, or for that matter even being in the FA as a top highly paid executive anyway, to boot, eh?
It is true that it transpires that there is a World Cup qualifier next week and somebody had to be in charge of the team, but put in context what is any new chap going to do in a few weeks anyway as the die is already cast, isn’t it? Anybody could have been a temporary Manager for such a fixture – even a ball-boy, as they will probably lose anyway [they are playing Slovakia (rank 24), who they couldn’t beat at the Euros, and in their last game at that tournament England even got knocked out by lowly Iceland (ranked 36), didn’t they?].
Moreover, the qualifying draw was more than could have been wished for as England are in a pretty rubbish Group [England (rank 13), Slovakia (rank 24), Scotland (rank 51), Slovenia (rank 59), Lithuania (rank 139), Malta (rank 176)], so we are expected to soundly win it, and to qualify for the finals in Russia in two years’ time should really be a forlorn conclusion, shouldn’t it?
So who did these FA idiots appoint? Perhaps a winner this time? Dream on everybody. A man for the future then? Dream on everybody. A football legend possibly? Dream on everybody. A tactical genius conceivably? Dream on everybody. An inspiration figurehead instead? Dream on everybody. A football icon perchance? Dream on everybody. Maybe this time the football public’s choice? Dream on everybody.
No, they appointed an old bloke whose main attributes are that he has been around the block more than a few times, and he knows how to lose with dignity, don’t you think? The new guy is Sam Allardyce (affectionately known as “Big Sam”) who was plucked from the obscurity of less than a year at failing Sunderland FC, who the FA then paid multi-million pounds in compensation for giving him the job, to boot.
While in some quarter of a century in football management he undoubtable has had a modicum of success, specifically in the lower leagues, and is a charismatic character, he has though regularly failed – starting twenty years ago at Blackpool (Division 2) whence he got the sack after two years, then there was under two years at 3rd Division Notts County, followed by seven years at Bolton Wanderers (having first got them promotion to the Premiership) whence he somehow fell out, but that was followed by the chop at Newcastle after less than a year, then his time at Premiership Blackburn Rovers was only a brief spell of 2 years before he was sacked by new owners, and then came his marching orders again, because of his style of play, after 4 years at West Ham (despite getting them promotion to the Premiership).
Allardyce was a candidate for the job some 10 years ago and that would have been a better time for him in fact. To be honest he has not really had much success at the top level, so he hardly appears to be an outstanding choice as England Manager, does he?
Well Allardyce has today now announced his first 23-man squad to play on Sunday, away in Slovakia, and as one would expect it is mainly the old crowd that played so woefully in gutless humiliating disgrace under Hodgson, but with a few tweaks – like recalling Phil Jagielka (Everton), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), and Theo Walcott (Arsenal), while dropping Everton midfielder Ross Barkley (an unused player in England’s Euro 2016 squad), as well as pulling in uncapped Michail Antonio (ex Notts Forest and now West Ham United). However, it is not so much as who is in his squad, but who he will actually play in the first game, isn’t it? Will footballing glory return, eh?
Even more shameful for the ongoing English game, the supposed home of football, is the obscene amount of money that is sucked-out of the Sport from the top at the expense of the grass roots and squandered on ludicrous transfer fees mostly to foreign clubs, offensive sky-high payments to so called agents, and not least the unbelievable millions doled out to useless over-paid, over-indulged mollycoddled undeserving players, isn’t it?
For the start of this season we have witnessed Premier clubs lashing out nearly £800 million on transfers – if that isn’t obscene what is? Manchester United even broke the bank with amongst others a World record signing from Juventus. The irony is that they paid at least £89M for Paul Pogba in a transfer fee alone (that may well rise to £109m while on top of that his wages will be another £85M over for 5 years), when he was their player only four years ago and they ditched him – that’s the idiocy of English football for you, isn’t it? [Reportedly, Pogba’s agent wanted a sum of £17M just to broker the deal -how the hell can that kind of money be paid to a nobody middleman?].
Other European teams have got the Premier League’s number these days, so the transfer fees double when any England football club is involved, as they know those in charge of transfers here are out of their depths idiots with more money than sense. The base problem is that the FA have in the past decade or more allowed England’s major clubs (25 of them now) to be taken over by rich foreigners who treat them as playthings or as cash cows (as in the case of Manchester United) – it all started with Chelsea and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, didn’t it? On top of that, the FA have stood idly by while the sport has been taken over by outside interests, and moreover our game swamped by foreign managers and foreign players – no other country would have allowed it, would they? Try that kind of game in the States and you would get stuffed, wouldn’t you?
Nearly all the top flight Premiership clubs have funded big money moves and the big ‘net’ spenders within the current transfer window, as might be expected, are Man U (£153M), Man C (£164M), Everton (£42M), Arsenal (£39M), Chelsea (£34M) [but surprisingly not Liverpool or Spurs], while up there was West Ham (£43M) and a bit ahead of others Middlesbrough (£21M)
What the hell happened to the ambition to create a level playing field (no pun intended!) so that there was fair competition and the rich clubs couldn’t continue to seize all the spoils?
[The future of England football while in the hands of the Football Association is nothing less than dire, don’t you think?]