England went out to Germany, again.
We’re now so used to that outcome that most football pundits will have been preparing their explanation for England’s failure as soon as Germany was confirmed as our knock out round opponents. That said, England’s failure this time was more comprehensive than most would have predicted (excepting Fabio himself perhaps!) with the side doing little more than going through the motions from the moment the Germans fourth went in, not that they did much more at any stage before that.
Of course the pundits have been quick to point the finger of blame but as usual they are failing to point to the one influence which more than any other is responsible for the lamentable state of English football -that being the media itself (excepting, of course, me).
Not only does the media ignore the extent to which its role in generating a frenzy of unrealistic hope amongst the England supporting public puts impossible expectations on the backs of every England player (only to denounce the team as rubbish when performances fall below those unrealistic expectations), even more crucially, the media has failed to address, at least so far, the extent to which the premier league and the media’s unrelenting support of it has all but destroyed any hope an aspiring English footballer might have of a regular first team place in the top flight division and with it the hope of the English national team for the foreseeable future.
Case in point; Theo Walcott who just 4 years ago was England’s golden boy etc
Sure the premier league generates a huge amount of revenue but the majority of that money goes to support the foreign talent which now accounts for a massive percentage of first team premiership players and coaching staff. Sure the premier league is home to some of the finest talent in the game but it is increasingly a global league and not a league that supports English football as it was intended to do. Even more embarrassingly, with Spain’s success in South Africa and Inter’s success in the European Champions League, even with its huge proportion of imported talent, the English Premier league may no longer be football’s premier league.
How can the England national team possibly hope to compete on a world stage when effectively it no longer has a top class domestic league from which to draw it’s talent. Of course that might seem an unfair dismissal of the English “Championship” as it calls itself, but given the amount of money going to the premiership as against that to the Championship, much of which comes from the media companies currently laying blame for England’s dismal performance, the evidence is there for all, who want to see it, to see.
So what can be done to change matters?
Grass roots change is required. Whilst extreme measures could involve turning off the tv, to discourage our tv companies funding our competitors through the premier league and a boycott of products from companies sponsoring the premier league, the easiest most enjoyable way we can really get behind England would be to get out on a weekend and actually kick a ball around; whether that’s with a local team or with family and friends is not important just as long as the English public starts playing the game again.
If that sounds too much like hard work, go watch your local team (whether it be a championship team, a kids team or (even) a woman’s team) and spend the money you save, not subsidising millionaire footballers, in the pub afterwards, discussing the state of the game with people who are at least as expert on the game as the premier league supporting media who are prepared to blame anyone but themselves.
No one can expect to excel at anything they no longer participate in – and that applies as much to manufacturing, agriculture and enjoying a pint in a decent pub as much as it does to producing a decent football team.
As for Fabio, he must be extremely grateful that whoever it was that chose to review his contract just prior to the start of tournament removed the performance clause from his contract which would have seen him somewhat less well provided for had he been sacked by the FA, as I believe he should have been, immediately after England’s ignominious exit.
Just why the FA thought removing that particular clause, just when England most needed to be certain Fabio was doing his utmost to get his team to perform, was a good idea, is anyone’s guess. But, having done it, with the FA being obliged to pay Fabio a further £12 million over the next two years, regardless of whether or not Fabio remains in the job, it’s easy to see why the FA are so keen to keep on the manager who oversaw England’s worst performance in a World Cup in years, if not ever.
So as badly as the England team played on the pitch, my blame for England’s abysmal performance goes not to Fabio or the team players but to whichever idiot it was at the FA (assuming they work for the FA) who made the decision to remove that performance clause from Fabio’s contract.
Unfortunately, unlike the England players whose failures on the pitch are permanently recorded for pundits to salivate over, whenever the opportunity is presented and whose shortcomings off it are the subject of doorstep journalism and often truly offensive conjecture, sadly most of us will never even know the name of that idiot, let alone get to ask them what the FA were they thinking?!
Shame, as I think the idiot’s explanation could be very interesting. Then again, for the money it cost (not to mention the national humiliation) it really should be.