In footballing terms Holland doesn’t have much going for it. It’s not very big – 16 million people which is about 30% the size of England.
The league is very poor, compared to the EPL, and virtually all top players play outside of the country.
So how come they can play so well – and not just this time, but when they won the Euro, and when they played in two World Cup Finals?
The answer is… mentality. A mentality that says, come on, let’s try. Let’s be creative. Let’s experiment. Let’s no be afraid of mistakes. Don’t worry if it goes wrong. Try it. Change the system. Try something else.
It is, in short, the mentality of Arsenal.
And this very simple analysis shows not only why England can’t and won’t win anything, but also why Arsenal has had to rely on foreign players, and why the only English players who are ever going to be any good are those who come through from the age of about 3 months.
English schools do not teach creativity. They do not value creativity. They value order and control. For example, go to a school in Holland and look at the kids. They are wearing what they want. Can this happen in England? No of course not, we all have to be the same – everyone has to wear the uniform. People talk as if the entire schooling system would collapse without uniform.
In Holland there are few schools with uniform. Does the country fall apart? No.
In English schools there is an emphasis on marks, grades, exams. The Dutch do this, but not to the exclusion of everything else. They value art, music, drama – and that expression of the self is taken on to football.
Listen to some half-baked ill trained football journalist talk about Holland and within 2.3 seconds he calls the Dutch team, “Dutch Masters” referring to the school of painting that gave us everything that we recognise as 17th century.
The big problem is you can never contemplate making England a centre for the celebration of creativity in the child. When there is creativity it is nurtured outside of any educational system, and the creative person is seen as some sort of freak. Think of our great creatives, such the rock musicians of the past 50 years. How much of that was nurtured in school? About minus 100%.
Or think back to the golden age of English creativity – the period from around 1580 to 1620 – the greatest period of the English theatre. True, Shakespeare and the Kings Men played at the royal courts. But the theatre, and Shakespeare’s plays were grounded in the humour and entertainment of the masses. The theatres were shut over and over again because of riotous behaviour among the crowds, and the sedition of what was said on stage. It was never part of the education or establishment. The establishment hated it and did everything possible to control it. The Globe was built where it was to try and get away from the censorship of the state.
So, that’s why Arsenal is full of foreign players. That is why Holland can play like Arsenal, and England can’t. And that’s why we can’t do anything about it.
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