By Tony Attwood
I do enjoy it when Untold manages to get a bit ahead of the game. We’ve been debating the 25 rule for months, have gone through various interpretations, looked at what the official EPL rules say, doubted the comments on the Arsenal web site, and generally munched the whole thing over a bit.
Now, quite a bit later, the rest of the world is catching up and “25” is the discussion point.
We’ve meandered around the Arsenal list until there is nowhere else to meander – we know we’ve got loads of spaces for foreign players, but that these could well be taken up by our “home grown” kiddies in January, when they start to turn 21. That to me looks like a decent bit of planning.
Such planning doesn’t seem to be the case elsewhere. Either there’s going to be no transfer dealings to talk of, or a lot of players are going to be off-loaded to anyone, or even kept out of the “25” while being paid.
And this is really the issue. The 25 list means that you do have to plan. You have to limit your squad, check the origins of the players, and look at who is coming up through the reserves.
Of course for the Tiny Totts, Fulham and clubs like that, the final point is no issue, because they don’t have reserves. But even for them, there is a problem in that if you get caught near the 25 mark, and you need to buy someone to “strengthen the defence” to use the technical terminology, you have a problem.
Naturally you can toddle off to the football supermarket and buy someone but, that means you have to drop someone else. Fine, if you can drop that person into the transfer market, but if no one wants to buy you either have to cut your losses (and I think there will be some real losses going on) or you have to put players out to grass (almost literally). But he still has to be paid £50k a week or whatever it is.
To do the simplest of summaries, you can have 25 players aged over 21 on the qualifying date, and 17 of these can be foreign grown. (And yes I know it is more complex than that, but as I say, we’ve done this one so often that I really can’t go over it all again. Go into “The Players” section on the home page and you’ll find the articles with the definitive rules and list.)
Here’s a little starter: which club has the lowest number of players ready to be registered in the “25”? Answer Blackpool with 17.
Who has got the lowest number of foreign players. Answer Blackpool with 3.
Arsenal meanwhile have 19 players out of 25, of whom 14 are foreign grown. But as I say, we need space for Theo and the rest, who even as I speak are getting older.
So, I ask, who is in trouble – or at least, teetering on the brink? Remember the rule is 25 players, 17 foreign.
Over the limit already
Wolverhampton Wobbleyou have 26/10, (rather careless really) and so have to cut.
Manchester Arab are of course a basket case – they care current rating 31/16, so even without another purchase they have to ditch six players, five of whom need to be aliens.
The Stoke Disgrace are on 26/7 most of whom are called Shawcross. So they have to get rid of one and just be ok but would then still have no room to muck about by buying other homicidal maniacs.
Wigan, perhaps surprisingly, are on 24/18 – so they will have to drop on foreign chappie.
Getting close to the edge
The KGB in Fulham are on 21 / 16, so if they are going to expand the squad, it will be mostly with home growners. Not their style and I am still not convinced that their youth set-up is fully functional these days.
Fulham Al Fahed are on 25/12, so The Oooooze, who has taken over the club has got to sell or drop if he buys. I suspect he’ll blame everyone else.
Notlob W are on 25 / 11 – so they too will have to sell to buy.
Liverpool Insolvency are oddly on 23 /17 which means they have space for a couple more home grown players, but all the news everyday they are buying more johnny foreigners (to quote Lord Sugar on Dennis Bergkamp). The key factor for them is that they are run by RBS and RBS want their money back, so everything for them is survival, until they find a backer.
Man IOU are on 25/12 so they are full – but if they sell they have lots of room for foreign red devils.
The Tiny Totts, never very good at counting, as our recent reviews of their finances have shown, are on 25/11 – which is bad news for Arry given his usual wheeling and dealing at the end of the each transfer window. If he buys he’s got to sell, but at least he can buy foreigners – although he is known not to like people who don’t speak his form of Gibber.
The other teams in the league have got two places or more both in the squad as a whole and in the number of foreign grown players they can bring in.
Quite interesting eh?
Oh well, please yourself.
But if you didn’t find that interesting you can always read about Arsenal’s re-birth 100 years ago in the glorious “Making the Arsenal” or you read about how the Tiny Totts have stolen history, twisted it, and made it look as if Arsenal were the baddies. Next up in the series is how Tottenham became the first franchised football club – hopefully up later Sunday, monday at the latest.
And then there’s the full statement from Cesc on Barca – that’s worth a gander. And the rest.