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July 2021

Premier League tells England where to stick it – thank goodness

By Tony Attwood

It is bad enough that Sky keep moving fixtures around making it impossible to plan family occasions, weekends away and the like.  I suggest a trip to the seaside, and then suddenly a match that was on one day is now on another, plans fall apart, and I am by and large blamed.

So, having suffered from years of mucking around by Sky it was rather pleasant to see that Sky and the Premier League mucked around my old nemesis, the Football Association.  The Football Association (motto – and seriously it is their motto – “A world class organisation with a winning mentality) who with lots of other football associations, take one or more of our players, force them to travel all over the world, bring them back after hours and hours in aeroplanes, bring them back with a broken leg, and then tell us, “Sorry chums, he can’t play any more, but have him fit again in a six weeks will you, because we’ve got another match… and even if he’s not fit we’ll play him and hand him back even more injured than before.”

So yes, the jolly old Football Association, inventors of the rather tedious and past its sell-by-date FA Cup, whose regional derivatives once held a vote to try and ensure that no one but no one would play Royal Arsenal FC because they had dared to pay their players (the regional FAs lost the vote because the local clubs knew that Royal Arsenal brought with them the biggest crowds of the season), yes that FA asked the Premier League with its allies Almighty Sky, to ensure that no big games happened just before irrelevant England were playing someone or other in a competition which is currently causing night after night of rioting and protest in Brazil.

And this for England was a matter of national importance and vitalness.  England are playing Moldova and Ukraine in vital World Cup qualifiers in September.   Now I know that Untold readers are fairly upper crust people who know stuff, but I wonder how many of the general population actually know where Moldova is, or what the most famous (infamous) event in the history of Ukraine was.  OK Untold reader you know, but what about the guy next door?

Anyway the Premier League stuck two fingers up at the Football Association and we have Liverpool v Manchester U that weekend.   We are playing some other London side but I can’t remember who.  Sky don’t seem to have selected any games for their diary yet, but with a 5-2 win guaranteed for us that day they might be asking for Arsenal to play some time other than Saturday.

Incidentally that reminds me, if Radio 5 Live has that ex-Liverpool Irish fella back on this coming season phoning in his predictions I guess we will have the usual “there’s no need to have a ball – just let them fight it out for 15 minutes first,” type gibberish that he usually comes out with.

Anyway, Moldova, big time opponents.  Mighty Warriors.  Too much for England.  (Mind you I’ve always thought that the problem with England was that Alfred the Great actually won.  But that’s just me).

The Premier League told England where to stuff its use of players without paying for them.  The simple fact is that the England national time is a feudal relic.  In fact it is the last Feudal Relic in England.  Its demand that men be sent to it is rather like the notion that the great land owners who were given counties by monarchs in return for thousands of men who could be slaughtered on the battle fields.  Feudalism (which now apart from the Football Association only survives on the Island of Sark, is a creed that shows no interest in the well being of the individual or his employer.  It is a crude Dark Age philosophy and it is no coincidence that it is supported by the utterly anti-democratic Fifa and its toadying allies the F.A.

Sadly however some national newspapers who ought to know much better have actually been supporting feudalism against capitalism in their articles of late.  Which probably says quite a lot about the state of British politics and British newspapers, as well as the state of English football.

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Many are now speaking of the “gulf between national and club interests” as if it were a bad thing.  To my mind the gulf should be as big as possible.  One day, and I am not sure it will be too far away, some players, some clubs, and even some countries are going to stand up against Fifa, against national football and against the feudalism that is part of it, and simply say no, this notion ended centuries ago.  Stop it now.

As one paper said, “England are in danger of becoming an international irrelevance: a non-event with fans at home and an impostor in international tournaments.”   The only thing wrong is that notion that this is in the future.  It is here and now, as the nation as a whole turns its back on feudalism and the FA, and its ludicrous posturing.

The notion that the FA is allowing itself to be pushed into the ground is just plain stupid.  Institutions survive if they are vital to the society in which they exist.  When they are not they vanish.  England (the FA) lost its right to be taken seriously as a national footballing nation when it turned its back on the idea of having a large number of professional trained coaches to help our youngest players.  They handed that right over to schools who had bumbling enthusiasts rather than trained professionals.  As a results the clubs moved in and took over the training.  Now we see the result, and to try and overcome this England try to impose their will on the TV companies that set the agenda because they pay the money.

Now we find the Premier League is quite reasonably not interested in being blamed for an eternity of gross under-achievement by the England team.

If you want to know why England are so awful at football all you have to do is read this article.  It is not a set of my opinions but a simple scientific analysis which shows statistically that the problem is the number of coaches.

The failure continues – just look at our Under 21 team.   And reports suggest that during the under 21 international competition of late several top clubs sent monitors to see how their players were being coached, and were so horrified they have started holding meetings to discuss how they can stop their players being misused and abused in the future.

Progress on the coaching ground is doomed if there is not the political will to reconcile England’s needs with the rampant market-driven ethos of the clubs. The FA is dysfunctional and should simply fade out.

For international football, as with the Olympics, people are at last waking up.  The UK lost £2bn with the London Olympics.  £2bn which the country does not have and is now being paid for by cutting every possible service you can imagine so that quite soon we won’t have hospitals, schools or anything else.  Just a bunch of fat bankers and the FA.

Sadly the UK had no mass protests like those in Brazil now, those in Athens after its Olympics… International tournaments, people worldwide are learning, are a con trick used to make the organisers wealthy, and the host country poor.  World-class stadiums, third world society, that at last is what people are saying, and the tragedy of my own country, the UK, is that there was no mass protest against the insanity of what we did last year.  I do not want my grandchildren educated in leaky cold schools with no facilities – because all the money that could have been used to improve them was spent on London 2012.

For the first time I think there is just the slightest possibility that regular tax payers and people who quite enjoy a bit of sport will say, “yes, I like all this stuff, but not when it wrecks a nation’s economy or gives money to the appalling and disgusting people who organise these things.”  Let’s get rid of Fifa, let’s get rid of the FA, let’s get rid of international football and the Olympics.  Instead let’s just get on with supporting our teams, and doing our own local sporting activities in a personal attempt to stay fit and healthy.  Do we really need more?

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14 comments to Premier League tells England where to stick it – thank goodness

  • MJB

    Best article I have read in a long time. Absolutely spot on. Cheers!

    No body riots much in this country due to social apathy and malaise. This is the result of feeling totally helpless because those who should be listening are not anymore (if they ever really did). Hats off to Brazil though and Turkey too.

  • Bryb

    Couldn’t agree more, brilliant article.

  • safa gooner

    Could not agree more!!!!! Brilliant article & bang on the money.

    When South Africa hosted the world cup in 2010. We spent millions if not abit more than a billion Rands. We built new stadiums & uplifted surrounding areas. Had to sell foreign beverages at 10 times the cost. Then FIFA come in, take all the money, leaving us battling to even cover the utilities on such stadiums. They are thieves in broad daylight.

    These Associations should be looking after the players, the clubs, the national teams. There only desire is to pocket the goods in their favour!!!!!

  • Pat

    You are right about the Olympics Tony.

    The great majority of the 8000 dwellings being built on the Olympic park will be too expensive for most Londoners to afford to live in.

    But the Carpenters Estate, a council estate of 700 homes on the edge of the Olympic Park, is being emptied of its inhabitants and is threatened with demolition.

    What, in truth, has the average East Londoner gained from having the Olympics there?

  • Gonnerjoe

    I don’t think the problem was the Olympics the problem was the baling out the banks in the great scheme of things 2 billion is not bad compared to billions given to banks at least the country got something for money.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I was always under the impression that the new nation of Moldova emerged after that unfortunate assisinations of the old royal family . You know they who “lived nasty and died-nasty “!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Some rare footage taken at the scene –
    After this tragic incident ,Europe was never the same again,
    with the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and Russia ,the unification of Germany after the wall came down , spliting up of the Balkans and the emergence of new nations who we (me ,actually !) don’t know or care too much about .
    What has this got to do with football ? Sweet FA !
    DISCLAIMER – This posting may be the figment of my imagination brought on about by the lack of Arsenal news !

  • Sav from Australia

    Superb article, Tony. Top quality.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    Thank god our country never got selected for all this drama..I just read that one of the preconditions of FIFA for holding world cup is that they would not pay taxes.. Why not, I want to know..

    Thank Tony for this beautiful article..

  • swing

    To Safa Gooner

    I could not disagree with you more. First of all South Africa spent billions on stadiums, infrastructure, training, transport services, technological services etc. A lot of old systems & infrastructure were upgraded. Furthermore SAFA (South African Football Association)which was perpetually in debt as a result of non-investement by both the private sector and the government, had generated billions from the world cup from a position of near bankruptcy.

    The world cup also had the added benefit of sheltering the vast majority of citizens from the recession as a result of all the construction & upgrading of facilities that was taking place. Another benefit was to the economy as a whole which made billions in that 3 week period alone. The tourism benefits are still there till this day.

    In conclusion I would state that for other countries the world cup might not have been beneficial to the masses but for South Africa it definitely was.

  • Timmy

    Loved the rant, it’s a protest and it’s gbam!!!

  • Goona Gal

    @ Tony – Sorry, I disagree with you, I love the FA Cup. Us winning that trophy again would be fantastic.

    @ Swing – I am surprised by your comments as South Africa is still paying for the tournament and the recent Africa Cup of Nations showed that the stadiums do not look good and the pitches were in a V.poor state. They were half full because of rising poverty and many locals could not afford to attend the matches on their doorsteps. Also you must of forgotten the mass demonstrations that took place just before the WC started in SA as many of those construction workers you talk about had not been paid.

    There is no denying that the World Cup makes a lot of money, but this is for FIFA not the host nation. As for tourism, South Africa has always been a popular destination and funnily enough I don’t think the TV crews bothered to show hardly any shots of the beautiful landscape or culture of South Africa which would of been a great showcase for the country. Instead they focused on fan shots holding vuvuzela’s and/or fans with colourful painted faces/bodies.

    For me the key question is did the nation as a whole really benefit from hosting the WC? I would say ‘No’. SA is a nation with such a turbulent recent history at a fragile crossroads and in my opinion FIFA took advantage. Don’t get me wrong, South Africa has much to be proud when I recall how well they hosted the 2010 World Cup among the extreme scaremongering. But has that translated into reduced inequality, better schools, hospitals, roads, large scale international investment opportunities or even football academies? Was it £2Bn (approx) well spent? I would say ‘No’.

  • para

    International football is so passe. I say get rid of International football and improve the Champions league and Europa cup to provide the worlds football.
    I NEVER watch international games anyway. I also think that countries should start to pay the wage of the player for the time they have them away from the club. As stated in article above, i have also been increasingly frustrated at players coming back injured from international games.