The England Obituary, Part Four: Where Do We Go From Here?


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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8 Responses

  1. RichardG says:

    I would primarily agree with number 8. If we compare with Germany for a moment; Germany is a nation of some 80 millions or so, we are a country of 65-odd million, so not a huge difference. Through the 70’s and 80’s we had far fewer foreign players than now and still achieved little (1966 excepted). Since the formation of the European Cup in 1960 we have done nothing of note. Germany has been in 6 finals and won 3 of them. Since 1966 there have been 10 World Cup finals (ignoring 2010). We have never gone past the quarter-finals and have failed to even qualify 3 times (1974, 1978, and 1994). In the same period Germany have qualified for every finals, have never finished lower that the quarter-finals, have made 5 finals winning twice. Now, are German players genetically better footballers than us? No. So, it has to be the way they have been taught to play the game. Coaching from 6 upwards is fundamental, and the way you do so is even more important. It’s interesting to recall that the way Bayern played against ManU (admittedly once they were down to 10 men) was, if I recall the game correctly, almost a mirror image of the way the National side plays. It just seems to me that in Germany, the National side is the focus, and the way they play in competitive finals is what really matters above all else. Here, it’s all about the club side, and especially the ‘Big 4′ and that the economics of our game require instant results. That being so clubs buy in their talent, because they can afford it. Germany doesn’t have that level of money, so (with some exceptions of course) can’t.

  2. ejh says:

    Since the formation of the European Cup in 1960 we have done nothing of note

    Do you mean this?

  3. ejh says:

    Personally I would have thought that the most important stimulus to the production of top-quality professional footballers would be a large increase in poverty among the working class. That, after all, is the major reason behind Brazil’s consistent ability over several generations to produce many of the best players in the world.

    But there is good news on this front: Fat Little Fuck in 11 Downing Street is attempting to bring about precisely this! So when England win the World Cup in 2026 or 2030 we may all have George Osborne to thank. I trust they will put up a statue in his honour.

  4. Willie Miller's 'tache says:

    I had to chuckle at the Alan Green comment. I heard him on 606 (possibly after the Germany game) where they were talking about how the England team were a disgrace to the fans who had paid thousands of pounds to get out to South Africa. He wound up one call by saying, “at least I didn’t have to pay!” – Nice one Al, nothing like rubbing some salt in.

    No a more serious note, a very good article and I have to agree with point 8. I’m Scottish (and footballing rivalries aside, I was quite amazed at just how lacklustre the performances were) and I help coach my son’s under 10’s team. We’re a community club where we give an opportunity to all, regardless of ability. Recently, the club has been looking to completely shake up the format from the ground up (which is also taking in recommendations from the SFA). This would mean more focus on skills and technique at a younger age, with kids playing 4 a-side non-competitive games up to a certain age. The next level would be 7 a-side up until under 13’s. From there on it would be competitive 11 a-side. Also, another important point, not playing the kids in positions – it’s all too easy to leave Jimmy at centre back because he’s a ‘big lad’.

    The whole ethos is to focus on ‘development’ and not the need to win. However, the biggest stumbling block that we’re facing, as I suspect will be the same in England, is the acceptance of change. We’re part of a league and we come up against teams who are there to win, at all costs. If we’re looking to change how we coach and coach to develop, we could find ourselves out on a limb. We would need the league to buy into our proposal and that is easier said than done. There needs to be change from the national FA’s and a clear structure put in place… however, the SFA are on par with the FA for getting things moving.

    Also, we’ve had plenty of experience of ‘enthusiastic’ parents, from both teams – we’ve had opposing parents trying to wind up our players on a few occasions – they seem to forget that these are 9 year olds.

  5. Peter says:

    I’m not sure whether I agree or not with point 6. The important change since the influx of players outside the UK and Ireland into the Premier League for me is that fewer and fewer English youngsters seem to be getting a chance in the first team – whether the two are related or not is another thing. Maybe English youngsters have struggled because the top clubs are less willing to give players a chance in the first team for long term development, instead focusing on the short term fix of a loan from a club in a different league or another signing?

  6. Rob says:

    @Peter: English youngsters are being overtaken by foreign youngsters at the age of 16 and 17. The Big Four clubs pretty much have a choice of who they can sign within 90 minutes as a schoolboy, but their first year Academy scholars are full of foreign players, because they arrive closer to the finished product as possible.

  7. Gervillian Swike says:

    Some good views here, some I’m not so sure about. What I would say though is that your number 2 – resolve the Gerrard/Lampard situation – is something that Capello is responsible for. He knew from the very start that this was something that was a problem for England, and two years later, he has done nothing about it. I do appreciate your point about the other candidates, but I can’t see what Capello has done on the field that has significantly improved on the position that he took over from McClaren. Same personnel, same tactics, same unresolved issues, same results. He needs to account for himself if he expects to continue. The fact that his record suggests he’s one of the best coaches in the world is irrelevant if he can’t bring that to bear in the job he’s paid for – and so far, he hasn’t done so.

  8. Martin says:

    “Since 1966 there have been 10 World Cup finals (ignoring 2010). We have never gone past the quarter-finals”

    Hmmm. Nice research. 1990 and Paul Parker’s arse ring any bells?

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