By Tony Attwood
One of the original pieces of research that Untold has broken over the years was that which revealed the key to international success in football. The story has since become commonplace, and has oft been repeated in newspapers and on TV, but I’m still proud that it was this site which undertook and published the analysis.
What we did was quite simple – we took a range countries and compared their success in the world cup with a range of features such as population, number of registered clubs, number of registered players and number of qualified coaches. Success, I should explain, was not just measured in terms of winning the world cup. No, what we were interested in was how a country like the Netherlands could actually do comparatively well in the World Cup given how small its population is and how few of its top playerse play in their home country.
The result of this analysis showed quite clearly that it wasn’t the number of home grown players you have in the local league (something that is endlessly trumpted by the FA as a big problem for England) but rather the number of highly qualified coaches measured against the number of players.
When we think of it now it all seems utterly obvious – but when we ran the story it wasn’t at all obvious.
Now Arsene Wenger has added his concerns about the situation in England, but from a different angle. For he has expressed worries for the future of coaches in the English league after David Moyes was sacked.
Moyes was the 10th Premier League manager to get the chop just nine months after he was chosen to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson. And almost certainly he won’t be the last this season. If fan reaction is anything to go by West Ham will have a new manager next season. If history and the obvious attitude of the man in charge are anything to go by, Tottenham will have a new man running the team for next season. In fact we are close to over half of the Premier League managers that start a season not being there at the start of the next season.
And if recent reactions on blogs and Twitter are anything to go by this will not only be because the board wants to kick a manager out. The denigration of managers will continue to have an ever growing impact. West Ham away fans now regularly chant and sing against Sam the Slug (and when you lose your away support you really have lost support), while Moyes now finds his name is used in the English language as a verb. To Moyes it up means to make a total mess of everthing. “He Moysed it” means he totally screwed up.
The excuse for the constant churn rate is always the same. Billions of pounds are invested in football, so the pressures on managers to succeed at once is enormous. Although there is another factor present – which is that the financial gap between the Premier League and the Championship is so vast, that relegation can’t be considered. And as Liverpool has shown, once you sink from the top levels, it can take 20 odd years to climb back to what you once took as normal.
At Arsenal however things are always different. Arsenal is one of only three teams that have had the sort of longevity in the Champions League that we are used to, and which every other English team would crave, while Mr Wenger is the longest serving manager in English football – in case you have forgotten he has been with us since 1996.
But he is now expressing the worry that other coaches will never be given the time to develop a club has he has.
He recently said at a press conference, “If you want quality people in any job, you need to give them time to develop and to become good, or people with the quality will not come into our job anymore.
“The average expectancy of an English professional club at the moment is 11 months, and that is quite unstable. Every guy who is married, has a family, will have a big hesitancy before he goes into that game.
“That means the quality of the coaching and the quality of the managing is under threat, because it will not attract quality people anymore.
“I’m sad that Moyes wasn’t given time and I wish him well. I think it’s just part of what the modern game is now. There is no time available for people to do their job and that is a big threat for our game.”
Of Man U’s lack of style, culture and decency in its approach to the sacking he said, “It was surprising. In these kind of situations, you want the managers to be informed first, eye to eye, as we are used to. It didn’t look like it was like that.
“What I regret the most is that he has been sacked because he has big experience in the Premier League, he has shown quality and you would have loved him to get more time.”
In a sense it is another nail in the coffin of English football. Not only are English coaches not be trained up and getting qualified, they are also unable to get and hold jobs.
As with all our articles, the original research into the problem of football in England is still on the site. You can read the original report on the lack of English coaches in football and how it is the one factor that affects the English game via this link. Now with the need to sack half the Premier L:eague’s managers each season, the chances of getting anything sorted in this crazy league seems less likely than ever.