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Friday, November 16

Johnny Foreigner must be stopped

The debate is finally going on in England about the foreigners in our game. About time - the trend is alarming, English talent being squeezed out in favour of imports and in 24 hours its likely to be one cause of England not qualifying for the Euros next Summer and ruining the dreams of the Austrian/Swiss tradesmen who banked on the pounds rolling through with our good away support.

Steven Gerrard when pressed basically said we need caps for the league to ensure a healthy international future. There are enough people in the game now saying the same thing that it has to be true, at least to an extent. I firmly agree that if English players aren't given a chance and then not given a chance to develop that we will cease to be relevant in the international game as our players will all be coming from the Championship as England doesn't produce many Wayne Rooney's.

Its all very well saying don't worry , England will produce less players but that the best ones will find a way through but I am not so sure. With managers under more pressure than ever to produce instant results, they don't have time to take chances on unknown British youngsters when there are cheap foreigners there to fill in the gaps, some we may even have heard of.

Look at Walcott - cant get a start at Arsenal because Wenger doesn't trust him enough to get us 3 points every game so he gets thrown into some B games. Walcott would get a chance and would surely shine is there was a cap limiting all the foreigners.

There are many problems with the system - one is that foreigners are cheaper, clubs pay for rubbish like Carew for 2 reasons - name recognition sells some shirts and they are cheaper than English alternatives. English lower division clubs impart an 'English tax' on the bigger clubs who try to buy their English assets. Its daft really but its the culture of the domestic game and its killing us as it forces chairmen to buy abroad - simple economics: Buy 18 Fabregas's or one Carrick .. for the same price. This has to be sorted out. Trouble is Premiership chairmen don't care about England, some of the chairmen aren't English so really shouldn't have to. The FA and the Premier League need to care but their hands are tied by European law so instead they are focusing on coaching , however they aren't putting any serious money into it yet so by caring, they are in fact just talking...

The FA also need to fix one massive coaching flaw - the 90 minute rule. If a young English talent is unearthed by a club, they can only take him on if he is within 90 minutes (or miles, not sure which) of the club else he cannot play for them. This means places in the North East have less chance (and less Geographical area due to the coast) to scour for talent. Yet the laws allow such clubs to take anyone from anywhere in Europe on, just not England where you are restricted to the 90 miles. Total joke which again only encourages clubs to scout abroad.

The cure - fix the 90 mile rule to encourage clubs, have clubs reduce their ridiculous prices for English talent (don't know how) and cap foreign player limits to that at least 2 or 3 English players (and I don't mean Scots and Irish) are in the team - a league requires national identity as well as class. I love Johnny Foreigner in England, I think Fabregas, Henry, Cantona, Ruud the Donkey, Alonso, Drogba the cheat, Berbatov and that ilk... they have improved football immensely. But can anyone say the same about Senderos, Stepanovs, Aliadiere, Djemba Squared, Josemi, Pellegrino, Kuyt, Boularouhz, Yakubu, Clint Dempsey, Finidi George... for every superstar that comes in there is just as much dross which doesn't exactly address English technical deficiencies. Look at Fulham, bought a load of pap this Summer and are now in the mire.


  • Careful, Simon, that you don't bite the hand that feeds you.
    1) Without foreign players the premiership is not the best league in the world - full stop.
    a) Not the best league - The TV contracts would be less lucrative. They are not paying over the odds so Asians can watch Everton kick the crap out of Blackburn

    2) As you stated, there is an English "premium", you could buy a player of comparable quality to an Enlgish player for about half the price in France

    3) Testimonials for players in the premiership now makes no sense. In the old days, it was a good little bunsen burner to set the old geezer up with some dosh to see him through his days, maybe open up a battle cruiser or something - Why is this no longer necessary? Because even journeymen are paid a king's ransom. The amount of money these players are on is ridiculous. Please do not compare to baseball. Comparaison n'est pas raison.

    1) Maybe instead of inflating player's salaries due to the TV contract, the league should shave a portion off the top to 1) develop a national centre of excellence similar to what the French have and to provide charitable founding across England to get children playing football instead of becoming more and more americanised?
    2) Limiting number of foreign players would benefit the top clubs - If you put a quota in, the Man U's, Arsenals and Chelsea's would still have their foreign superstars. Teams like Fulham and Pompey though would be bent over sans vaseline for the reasons you mentioned. A Clint Dempsey would probably cost 5 million instead of 2 milion based on the English premium. Pompey would be much lower in the table, 'arry can only work so much magic.
    a)If you want to introduce a player cap, you need to also introduce a wage cap / transfer cap because the smaller clubs would be more adversely affected than the bigger clubs.

    In my mind, the TV contract is the problem. What you are also now seeing is the slow demise of the 3PM kick-off time so they can show more matches on TV and at times convenient for other TV markets. That would be more early games for Asia and later games for N America.

    You could also blame the money on making the players soft. At Fulham five or six years ago we were decrying the lack of a few English players with the cut and thrust needed to survive in the premiership. We could not afford one. Now I hardly hear or read the words "cut and thrust" or "English yeoman" used when describing English players. They have all gone continental.

    I think people need to chose whether they want the best league or what is best for England. I think those few decent England performances were down to players who were hungry.

    The jolly sated lot that has been playing for England care more about their cars, birds and London nightclubs. They talk a good game but bottle it. Of course, Anton Ferdinand had a go at someone because he thought someone was going to try to nick his 65 thousand pound watch. Real hard man there.

    England has been fattened up like some feckless unathletic rolly polly mama's boy who deserves a good boot put into him. In some respects, their view of themselves versus where they really are reminds me of the US. They think they are world beaters and tough as nails but I will take John Terry on no problem.

    All that being said, England have some gifted players such as Joe Cole and SWP. But he sat the bench for Chelsa you say. No, he could have stayed at Man City if he really wanted to but chose to take the money and sit the bench at Chelsea.

    Walcott has some talent but is hyped up by the media. He also stirkes me as not being very tough.

    England need to stop blaming foreigners and realise the riches they sought have done them in.

    By Blogger Chris P, at 7:04 PM  

  • How about the fact that almost no English players play abroad? Surely the team would benefit from 4/5 of its players being exposed to Serie A, The Bundesliga and La Liga instead of living in the hype-ridden goldfish bowl that is the Premiership.
    Maybe then some of the players would grasp the idea of holding possession and being patient? (aka boring)
    Same goes for Ireland of course but we have less players capable of playing in those leagues.
    Also, there were very few foreign players in England in the 70s, 80s and early 90s and it didn't seem to help the national team then. They finished bottom of their group in Euro 88 and didn't qualify for USA 94.
    Arsenal have set the standard for not bringing English players through. Its easy to say that it is because foreign players are cheaper but West Ham seem to have done a good job of it with the likes of Joe Cole, Carrick, Rio, Lampard and Glen Johnson.
    That 90 minute rule is a terrible idea. Did United bringing Beckham up to Manchester do him any harm? Sounds like something that wouldn't stand up in court as well.

    By Blogger TheBusbyBoy, at 10:06 PM  

  • Allow the clubs to buy as many foreign players as they would like.

    However, to be allowed participation in European football the following season, each team would be required to show that English born players represented the Club in at least 60% of all playing minutes (all competitions).

    This should also impact the distribution of league monies at the end of the season, with the smaller clubs obtaining a larger share of the wealth.

    By Blogger Jediwisdom, at 9:08 AM  

  • All seems very complicated.

    How about British players showing some adventurousness and venture outside their comfort zone of the Premiership in order to develop as players?

    England, like Ireland, also have a chronic lack of leadership. That has nothing to do with the number of foreigners in the league.

    By Blogger TheBusbyBoy, at 11:16 PM  

  • I quite agree, more English need to travel but for some reason its ingrained in English culture not too - going back as far as I can remember there are very players i can think of who have done it and one of those was Welsh (Rush).

    Not sure if its cos clubs dont want them of if they'll not go. I keep hearing that if the big clubs had an English Fabregas or an English Vidic or Tevez that they would be playing ahead of their namesakes. I still maintain however that Wenger and the like need an incentive to try out these players from time to time - leaving it to Wenger maybe not enough. Apparently Arsenal have a rack of good English talent in the academies now and in 3 years it will be shown but Wenger still needs to play them. Bentley was one and he never really got a chance.

    Incidentally John, wasnt West Ham relegated with some of those players?

    By Blogger Simon Burke, at 10:48 AM  

  • PS) I couldnt care less about the Asian market - until they can produce proper football talent their audience is just a tool to market to. Pandering to them is daft.

    By Blogger Simon Burke, at 10:50 AM  

  • Simon Burke wrote "Pandering to them is daft". Of course it is but what do you really expect from the berks running football in England.

    English players should venture overseas if they could. I think time spent in Spain would be very beneficial. I don't know that Italy would be that good for them as La Liga is usually so negative and defensive.

    Also, hate to defend Chelsea but Chelsea shows you can have a good mix of foreigners and domestic talent. Lest anyone forget they have Terry, Lampard, Ashley Cole, Joe Cole and SWP. You could argue that SWP and Joe Cole would play more at another club with less foreigners but the point is Chelsea actually meet the quote of 3 players. I don't think 60% is realistic.

    Jon makes a good point. Let's go back to those glorious days in the 80s and 90s when the long ball was weapon of choice and 6 pints and a beef roast was a proper meal the night before a match. Were England world beaters then - No.

    I think people wear tinted spectacles. Football is much better today. For argument sake, let's say the BNP wins an election and England leaves the EU. Then they can ban foreigners no problem.

    OK, "top flight" now has all domestic players. The football goes back to being shite, the TV money dries up and players need testimonails again but when England play in internationals, they show the cut and thrust of English yeoman though they are not as gifted technically as other countries' players. Occassionally they win against their Latin foes, English grit and determination triumphing over Latin historonics and prancing.

    We could start a whole other thread debating the "halcyon" days of English football. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the US beat England in 1950. This is not to say the US is good but that maybe England were a little more poor than people believe. Then we have 1966. There are those that dispute some of those goals. I am not going to get into the brass tacks of that but all we have to say that England was ever any good was 1966 really.

    By Blogger Chris P, at 11:51 AM  

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