By Tony Attwood
It’s FA Cup weekend in case you didn’t notice, so I had planned to run this final article before the preview of the Brighton Cup match, on the subject of the FA.
And I am staying with that – but with the addition of a few results.
Chelsea 2 Bradford City 4.
Mourinho said would be a disgrace to lose, before the match, and in the radio interview afterwards said it again. No one mentioned the talk of the quadruple. Their team was
- 01 Cech
- 31 Christensen
- 05 Zouma
- 24 Cahill
- 28 Azpilicueta
- 07 Ramires
- 08 Oscar
- 12 Mikel (Fàbregas – 70′ )
- 17 Salah (Willian – 70′ )
- 11 Drogba
- 18 Remy (Hazard – 76′ )
We could sympathise, having lost to Bradford in December 2012, although a slight difference was that we lost on penalties in a match that was at the Bradford ground and was in the league cup. But still it hurt.
Meanwhile Manchester City lost 0-2 at home to Middlesbrough. All the radio talk I heard as I drove home from an afternoon at the swimming pool with the grandchildren was that it was hard on City because Yaya Toure and Nasri were not there. I don’t really recall too much media talk excusing our results this season because of the loss of Giroud and Ozil. And Ramsey. And Wilshere. And Arteta. And Gibbs. And Debuchy. And Koscielny. And Walcott. I’ve probably missed a few.
Also a lot of excuses made about the fact that Manchester City got back from Abu Dhabi just 19 hours before kick off. And why Abu Dhabi? Not mentioned on the radio, but Abu Dhabi is the hub of Ethiad airlines. Ah. These sponsors. Would would you do without them? In Manchester C’s case, not much
And then there is Tottenham. They brought on Adebayor on 70 minutes for Soldado, and the crowd booooooooed. So did that help? Well, no. Leicester didn’t score their first until 13 minutes later. Tottenham lost 1-2.
Could we say that the booing of Adebayor by Tottenham fans encouraged Leicester, or even helped Leicester? That might be going too far, but certainly it didn’t help.
Adebayor is reported on various sites and by various journalists as being paid £5.84m a year. His contract ends this summer – Tottenham obviously can’t sell him. So since signing for £9m in 2012 from Man City he has cost Tottenham about £24m. All to be booed by the home support.
I don’t ever want to aid Tottenham H but booing your own players never helps.
So its the FA Cup, the FA’s pride and joy. The FA who persuaded George Osbourne MP the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to talk about their super wonderful plan to build lots of special pitches for children and teenagers.
“I’m a strong believer in improving sporting facilities for young people … Building infrastructure that supports participation in sport is an important part of government’s responsibility to support a healthier and more active society”
What he thought he was launching was an £8m fund to build 14 new artificial pitches a year. Two days later Birmingham council started to close 20 of its pitches because of government funding cuts.
And it wasn’t just them. Knowsley council doubled its pitch hire cost because of government cuts. Worcester council put up prices by 50%. Carmarthenshire council then showed that anything England could do they could do better and trebled the charges. They’ve since come back to doubling them. But they put their cricket pitch prices up ten fold.
But despite this, and the chaos caused by their attempt to use money given by Sport England for other stuff on the grounds that the weather was against them (Sport England took the money back and told the FA to piss off), the FA has said it is involved in trying to tackle childhood obesity.
In a nation where 60% of adults are overweight that’s necessary work, but whether we should allow a highly mortgaged incompetent bunch of old duffers into the problem, is another issue. They also want to sort out the shortage of sports teachers in England’s schools, the training of primary-school teachers and a new programme to play junior football indoors through the autumn and winter.
Meanwhile the government including Osbourne has cut the number of hours of sport that children have to do in schools, and cut all the sport schemes that the previous government had pushed into schools to draw them kicking and screaming into the 19th century.
The FA has called on government to “introduce a comprehensive coach education programme that provides those delivering sports coaching to school-age children with a recognised qualification in working with young people”.
Yes indeed. Hey ho. The FA’s PE Unit started in 2013 sending out six (count them) coaches to develop the coaching skills of teachers. There are 26,000 schools in England.
Meanwhile the FA is still sponsored by Mars (the chocolate company) Carlsberg (beer), and… McDonald’s (the obesity company), while £757 million was borrowed to rebuild Wembley.
The only way forwards of course is to get rid of the whole FA organisation, and replace them with people with a certain degree of sense. Wembley could be sold and the money used to pay off the debts of the FA.
Of course more youth coaches are needed, just as more coaches at senior levels are needed. But I wouldn’t trust the FA to organise the proverbial in the brewery.