Now The Dust Has Settled…


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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6 Responses

  1. Wurzel says:

    England will be forever failures unless we get rid of the premiership.
    My reasons and more comment on the same subject HERE

  2. ursus arctos says:

    Well, that’s a controversial proposition.

    200, I don’t see how one can really criticise McClaren for taking the contract that he was offered by the FA. Surely part of the reason why he and his agent asked for a four year contract was that they knew that he would be out on his ear if they somehow failed to qualify. And just to be clear, that is not in any way meant to imply that one can’t criticise him for being a shambolic “head coach” (when did that Americanism arrive, anyway?). Even the myfootballclub crowd could have done a better job when it came to team selection and tactics.

    From where I sit, it is Barwick, Thompson and the FA “leadership” that has gotten off incredibly lightly in the whole debacle. They are the ones who hired McClaren; they are the ones who brought on the malign influence that is Terry Venables, and (if recent reports are to believed) they are the ones who decided not to hire Martin O’Neil because he demanded “complete control” over the team. The corollary to that is of course that McClaren didn’t have such control, and that at least some of his more bizarre decisions may have been dictated (or at least heavily influenced) from above. The fact that the usual suspects appear to have gotten away with such a travesty is both a greater indictment of the state of the “national game” than England’s failure to qualify and (I’m afraid) yet more reason for you to despair.

  3. 200percent says:

    The problem with the FA Council is that they are completely unaccountable. So long as they remain like this (and the only circumstances under which they will resign will be for reasons that are very little to do with football – cf: Graham Kelly).

    They have got (and will continue to get) away with it.

  4. Brian says:

    If the reports about Martin O’Neill are true, the situation only gets grimmer, because what are the odds that another top manager (Capello et. al.) would agree to take the job with no protection from bureaucratic meddling? Freshly disembarked from the Roman Abramovich club car, will Mourinho really be eager to sign on for three years of interference from Brian Barwick?

    One thing that I think helps keep the FA unaccountable is that, like most football bureaucracies, they seem to operate with a high degree of individual anonymity. I might be mistaken, viewing the situation from overseas, but I at least don’t have much sense of who’s influential within the FA, who’s really making decisions, where the political fault lines lie, etc. (Jonathan Hall and Jonathan Hill are two models of the same android, right?) I wonder if the best role for the media–and blogs specifically–right now would be to shine a light on the inner workings of the FA and to clarify some of these details. I’m not suggesting blogs can save the day, but it does seem that any amount of transparency would help to increase the pressure for minimal competence.

  5. 200percent says:

    I plan to put something up on here about all the runners and riders, Brian, in the next couple of days. I really don’t like sticking to the same topic for a few days in a row, but there really is a lot to say about this.

  6. ursus arctos says:

    I was actually going to mention the unaccountability issue, which I agree is at the core of the problem.

    In most continental European countries, the FA is ultimately under the responsibility of the Sports Ministry, which is part of the government. And while we are all aware of the harm that political interference can do to football, the fact that the organisations are ultimately accountable in the democratic process and that elected members of Parliament feel responsible for their actions is a definite positive (to give one example, it was only the insistence of the sports minister here that got the Serie A clubs to agree to a more equitable (though still inequitable) sharing of television revenue).

    One wonders what the reaction to Gosdiff’s wonderful Early Day Motion would have been if this was the case in the UK/England.

    The text of that motion in full:
    “That this House congratulates Croatia and Russia on qualifying for the European Football Championships from Group E; acknowledges that the Croatian team which beat England were far superior in technical ability, skill and commitment than the insipid and inept England team; notes that £747 million was spent on the new Wembley Stadium but the match was played on a surface similar to those used by Sunday footballers on council pitches; thanks the efforts of the Israeli and part-time players of Andorra in trying to help England by doing their very best against Russia; commiserates with the fans who have spent large amounts of their hard earned money following England during these championships; believes that the over-paid, over-pampered and over-hyped English prima donnas from the Premiership who took the field against Croatia disgraced the England shirt once worn by legends such as Stanley Matthews, Duncan Edwards, Bobby Moore, Nobby Stiles and Bobby Charlton; and recognises that they will no doubt be consoled by the thought that while they are watching the European Championships from their luxurious holiday destinations their celebrity lifestyles will be protected by them still receiving their vastly inflated wages, provided by Sky and Setanta television money, from clubs in a Premiership League which is nothing more than a money making machine for players, agents and entrepreneurial club owners which does very little for promoting the well-being of football in England either at the grass roots or international level.”

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