The FA’s latest muddle-plan. Mucking around with the “home grown” rule.

By Tony Attwood

First the (perhaps) good news.  Greg Dyke of the FA has said the FA was “100 per cent behind” the introduction of video technology to help referees.

Trouble is, the reputation of the FA is now so low that having them on your side could be more of a hinderance than a help.  Taking a look at their latest endeavour, makes this clear.

The success of any football nation in international football depends primarily on one thing: the number of players the country has per qualified coach.  The players per coach the worse you do.

The fairly simple research that established this was first published in Untold in 2010 and has since been republished (without acknowledgement) in the Daily Telegraph in August 2013.

You’d think that the FA might have grasped this fact by now – how well your country does has nothing to do with artificial rules and regulations, where the players play, how many top clubs you have in your country or anything else.

If it did then the most successful countries, from Germany to the Netherlands would be awash with artificial rules controlling who could play.

But no, Football Association chairman, Greg Dyke, now wants to change the rules in England to remove the “grim picture” for young English players.  He could do it by reducing the costs of training up coaches in England, except the FA are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy so he won’t.

The other problem is that the FA, having had funding withdrawn from Sport England for gross incompetence, and having put out a plan for a new set of 3G pitches for young players (which has now been abandoned because of lack of any sort of funding) and being committed to taking money from fast food chain McDonald’s now, is running out of headline grabbing excuses.

So in short, muddle, mess, incompetence and taking funding from a fast food chain are the order of the day, and the only way the FA have of getting out of it is to come up with more half baked ideas.

The latest proposal is to up the number of home grown players and say that the player has to have been on the books of an English or Welsh club for three years before turning 18, rather than before they are 21.

Players can’t sign for overseas clubs until they are 18 unless the family has moved for employment or family reunification reasons. (The club can’t move the family in and then give one of them a job as a cleaner – they must have the job first).  This is the rule that Barcelona broke and which resulted in its ban from transferring, and the one that the President of Barce ignores when doing his PR stunt of trying to explain away the horrors of the child exploitation programme his club has run for years.

Now the FA claims it has agreed new visa rules with the Home Office in the UK and Dyke says that 42 non-EU players would have been prevented from getting work permits over the past five years.  However Gabriel Paulista, who joined without having played for Brazil, would still have been approved owing to his experience in La Liga.

And how would that make things better?

Ah, that’s the question, and there is no explanation, because there is no evidence and indeed all the evidence there is points the other way.  Look for speeches that say, “Germany is successful internationally because it has artificial rules like this,” and all you will hear is silence.

So Dyke goes round talking about the fact that only 22% of those who started matches for Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United this season are qualified to play for England, and turns that into an explanation for international failure.   It is a bit like saying that the countries that win the world cup don’t have English as their national tongue, and so all our players must learn Foreign.  The first part of the statement is true, but there is no connection with the second.

The FA also tell us that only 23 English players appeared in the Champions League group stage compared with 78 Spanish players, 55 German players and 51 Brazilian players.

And why?  Because the youngsters don’t get coached properly.  They are often coached by amateurs with no training and so no qualification, and as a result the players lose their way.

But this is the English tradition.  Muddled amateurism.  The instant pundit who knows and talks a lot.  We elect them as political leaders, we raise them up as heros, and put them in charge of economic policy when they have never worked in economics.  (Indeed when it comes to teaching British values in schools, as teachers now have to do in England, I think “muddled amateurism” ought to be the first value taught.)

Now the Premier League can put a stop to the childishness of Dyke by voting against it.  They and the Football League stopped Greg’s last idea (the B teams playing in the Football League) and will presumably do the same again.  His other plan (that the reserves of Premier League teams can play in the Johnstone’s Paint trophy) is still on the table.  But then Arsenal often do this anyway in the League Cup.

At the moment the to be “under 21” for the 2015-2016 season, a player must be born on or after 1 January 1, 1994.

So who are Arsenal’s qualifying players?

  • Francis Coquelin
  • Kieran Gibbs
  • Damian Martinez
  • Aaron Ramsey
  • Wojciech Szczesny
  • Theo Walcott
  • Danny Welbeck
  • Jack Wilshere

Others who (as far as I can tell) will come into this group when they pass the qualifying age requirement are

  • Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
  • Calum Chambers
  • Serge Gnabry
  • Gedio Zelalem
  • Chuba Akpom
  • Hector Bellerin
  • Isaac Hayden
  • Ainsley Maitland Niles

And from the loan group (again correct me if I’ve got any wrong)

  • Carl Jenkinson
  • Ryo Miyaichi
  • Jon Toral

But now let’s turn to the issue of who the FA want us to emulate.   Who has produced the most top-flight players from its own academy in recent seasons?  Well, the answer is… Barcelona.

And they have done it by flouting EU and Fifa regulations and allowing two types of transfer from without the EU.   First they allow families to travel into the EU to be with the children that Barcelona sign.  Which is not clever given that the child might well fail to make the grade, and if the family has no job between them, and no local language skills, they are then destitute.

Second, by allowing agents to present children to them without the parents being present.  If Barcelona turn the children down, they are in a foreign country, abandoned by their “agent” (who is in essence a child  trafficker), and destitute on the streets.

If we look at the top clubs who have the most home-grown players in their first team squads at the moment we have

1.     Athletic Bilbao – 16
2.     Barcelona – 14
3.     Real Sociedad – 14

Now we can see how Barcelona do it – by flouting the laws and having no moral responsibility for the families or children who are brought to the club but then don’t make it.  Bilbao and Sociedad do it by having policies which mean they only recruit from the Basque region.   Which works ok if one wants to promote existing strong nationalist and regionalist tendencies.

So it is, in my view, another crazy bit of tripe from the FA.  Sadly the press will probably latch on it without thought, and will believe that the failure of England at international level is due to the Premier League and not due to the abject failure of the FA to produce vast numbers of  qualified coaches.

But that is what you get with the press.   They never ask “why?”


Anniversary of the day – this isn’t the only season we’ve been on a good run….

24 March 2012: Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 0.  7th consecutive win during which Arsenal scored 21 goals.

All the anniversaries of the day can be found on the home page, and the complete list of over 4500 anniversaries is published on the Arsenal History Society website.

39 Replies to “The FA’s latest muddle-plan. Mucking around with the “home grown” rule.”

  1. “Greg Dyke’s proposal is vague and confusing, but what it seems to boil down to is “let’s have a lot more Harry Kane’s.

    I though that one was quite enough.

    I hope that the clubs reject his scheme. Not only is it too complicated to understand, it is not supported by a shred of evidence. John Hartson has stated that he became a better player by playing alongside DB10, but Dyke does not seem to grasp this notion. What stands out is the total lack of analysis of England teams failures, which were evident for 3 decades before the main influx of foreign players. No great surprise that he does not mention the question of coaches.

  2. The failure of the FA to produce large numbers of qualified coaches takes me back to the Dark Ages of my own youth.
    During my attendance at a grammar school during 1935/1941, I had not an ounce of coaching in football, cricket and athletics.
    Consequently I picked up bad habits which lasted throughout my sporting life.
    Coaching by a professional teacher is so essential it is a sad reflection that so little is done throughout the British Isles…..compared to continental Europe and no doubt the rest of the globe.

  3. nicky

    I’m not sure how it works now in schools or indeed how it works elsewhere. This is how it was when I was at Senior School in the 70’s

    My Maths teacher was in charge of football.

    My English teacher was in charge of Tennis.

    My Music teacher was in charge of cricket.

    I was NEVER ‘coached’ as it where.

    We just played, and that was it.

    The same with my ‘Sunday’ team.

    Training Night consisted of:

    A jog round the pitch.

    Press up, leg lifts, squats etc.


    Possibly some ‘keepyuppy’

    Then a game of Possibles v probables.

    I was never ‘coached’. We never worked on set plays or team tactics.

    But it was from this pool of players that the local Clubs scouted players.

    3 players I played with made it on to a professional pitch, the best known of which was a guy who played in goal for Luton town when they where in the old Division One, whom some of the older lads may recall, one Alan Judge.

    My point is this sea of players in which the Professional Clubs where trawling where as far as I can recall, totally un coached.

    I get the impression that things in England have hardly changed whilst the rest of the World has well and truly moved on.

  4. I struggle to talk fairly on this issue for one reason : if the WP rules were more relaxed it would be advantageous to our club.

    You just need to look at the 16/17 year olds Wenger has brought here from within Europe- Anelka, Fabregas, Gnabry,Bellerin- to know that over the years he would have brought in some tremendous players from South America in particular.

    It would have been a huge help in the restricted years to have access to undervalued older players in that market ,too, and there are still plenty of players out there now who don’t meet wp rules but could be excellent signings.

    The current rules exclude the prospect of buying those players, and the new ones would obviously make it more difficult. For me it’s crazy to say ‘Burnley, forget about finding players in those markets who suit your needs and your budget; only the big boys can play; and only when they pay the premium rates on established players.’

    Meanwhile, we’ll be battling in Europe against teams who are prodigiously active in recruiting the best young talent from South America and Africa.

    So, yeah, I can’t be trusted to think fairly about what’s best for english players when the rules over the years have prevented us from pursuing Toure, Di Maria, Falcao, and no doubt countless others, probably including messi.

    A big annoyance is to see people laud Simeone and Athletico Madrid, and tout him for the top jobs here, without appreciating how many of his club’s best signings over the years would have fallen foul, here, of wp rules. Miranda and Aguero, for instance, Godin may have had enough caps by the time he joined them (but not when he first came to Europe) and now this fast rising Uruguayan cb. Then there’s Costa, the Chelsea left back Luiz.

    As it happens, though, Wenger could be relied upon to still give English players a good chance to make it with Arsenal.

  5. The last time England had coaches Brian Clough and Bobby Robson hence better team play by england in general
    Now it muppets that should be managing or are managing the crystal palaces and boltons etc of the EPL they aint worthy of top club job.
    When cloughie can win the european cup twice with forrest and they wouldnt let him manage England it says it all sadly just because he was outspoke.

  6. This would be the same sweet FA that managed to spend almost three times the cost of the new Arsenal Stadium (final cost is I think unknown or incalculable – nice work if you can get it 😉 ) built at the same time in the same city, whilst forgetting to specify a football pitch for their showpiece stadium…

    On a previous thread Al wrote:

    “Riley (now*) saying has said we need video technology. I thought it was laughable coming from a man who claims they get 99.9% of decisions correct.”

    Which when you reflect for about a nanosecond is a very funny consideration.

    I guess poor old mike must have been taking advice from some kind I expert in PR! 🙂

  7. the main reason england cant win anything is down to the old english saying it is not winning but taking part which is important.english players dont give 100% when they play for england.they should take aleaf out of the german book,never give up fight to the final whistle.

  8. Jambug, I’m embarrassed to say I only figured out the vital importance of keeping your eyes open when heading at some point in my mid-twenties. From being quite weak in the air it became a real strength.

    Similarly, I had to figure out for myself why, for long passes, I very rarely struck the ball as well or as far in games as when training or mucking about- I tended to tighten up in games and always rush things when trying to get any power. After making a conscious effort to make use of time and just concentrate on technique, much better. I think I was thirty by then!

    Shooting was the same. I figured it all out, including a good attitude to get something out of every game and keep enjoying even the lousiest performances (breaking it down into ever smaller parts- so you concentrate on the next touch,etc), right at the end, when my achilles and hamstring were giving me a lot of gyp leading me to call it a day a few years early.

    The point being, no, I did not receive much coaching in my time. In a representative team I recall the coach making the point of wanting me and the other forward to make sure we were close to each other when one competed in the air. ‘whoa’, i thought, ‘this is getting technical. Never had instructions like that before’

    The shame for me is that it was only after properly maturing- mid-twenties, unfortunately- that I became interested in learning anything. School, uni, the works- don’t know what the hell I was thinking for the most part but I had none of the love of learning and knowledge I now have.

    If that’s anything like common, or even if it applies to a half or a third of the population, I suppose it makes the need for good coaches (and teachers) all the more pressing.

  9. @Jambug,
    You were just a little better than me. The Masters merely turned up to ensure there was no larking about in the nets. I was a quick bowler who was banned from any short stuff for fear of injury to batsmen just before the summer exams.
    In athletics the high jump was omitted for the same reason.

  10. I remember in the late forties when we played football or cricket at school the individual masters saw it as skive they left us to our own devices,and usually had smoke and read the newspaper. The boys learnt football skills by playing in street with a tennis ball and coats as goals there was no tv or distractions so most individuals did gain some proficiency in the game.

  11. Bloody hell. Anyone who doesn’t stick to a policy of ignoring what idiots say about the club should have a look at Adrian Durham’s latest (or then again?)

    it might be his masterwork of crumminess.

    “And still there are people who think he is the right man to manage Arsenal. Some even have the audacity to cling on to that well-worn myth that he had every right not to win big trophies while Arsenal paid for the stadium. Hard to believe gullible Gooners fell for that one. The income and assets from day one at the new stadium meant Arsenal could always compete. Unfortunately Wenger misjudged the impact of Financial Fair Play, another mistake he made.”

    All of it is in that vein.

    The right thing to do is of course to ignore anything he does and any platform that hosts him. Still, it is painful to think he’s out there spewing this rubbish and that there is anyone gullible, stupid and lousy enough to agree with a word he says.

    If there is any profit at all in studying the more pathetic specimens in the press, particularly where our club is concerned, maybe it is justified to take one last good look at Durham’s work here. Breathtakingly rotten stuff, and incredible proof of just what liberties the dishonourable can allow themselves when they introduce even a couple of completely untrue premises.

    The stuff about finances was a lie, which only the gullible would believe, and we were therefore on an equal footing with all our big rivals? Well, then now you can just say whatever the hell you want about ambition, performance, failure,etc.

    I’ve no excuse now, I have to avoid him and that dreadful Mail website from hereon in. I’ll take my consolation, for his continued existence, in the fact he genuinely sounds more and more unhinged the better Arsenal do. Can he compartmentalise his nonsense, and live as a normal man outside his Arsenal claptrap? I doubt it. He richly deserves the trouble it will bring him, if that’s the case.

  12. Coaching (or what passes for it) is pathetic at most levels and always has been. At the top level it’s pretty obvious that the English/British coaches in the lower half of the EPL seem to spend as much time teaching time wasting and other ‘dark arts’ as much as they do skills and technique.
    As far as the England team goes (coached by Gary ‘kick ’em if the’re better than you’ Neville) – it is drawn from a squad of 25 which itself only really needs a pool of maybe 100 to create. If that 100 is so good that it can keep out the best players from all over the world we should have no trouble at allat International level.
    However such players, if they are at top clubs, are already playing too many high pressure games for those very clubs.
    So the solution is to vastly improve coaching and reduce the number of club games at the top level. It won’t happen because the first costs more money and the second reduces income.
    How much does Greg Dyke get paid for coming up with the drivel that he does?

  13. I understand Dyke is hold talks with each of the Premier League clubs. He should be told to put his own house in order before tampering with the “home growns” – i.e. get rid of the incompetent and biased referees, starting with Riley, address coaching and finally authorize an independent probe into the manner in which the FA finances have been managed over the last 10 years.

  14. It seems to me that Greg Dyke is gurggiling and making funny noises which most babies do at 6-8 weeks.

    Heard on BBC Radio 5 this morning we don’t want to stop the likes of T. Henry coming to England just the average player. asn’t T>Henry an abverage player when he arrived at Arsenal? Wasn’t OG and lower league French player before he arrived at Arsenal?

    Crazy, crazy do anything but face reality is the menatlity of the FA amd the PMGOl.

  15. Rich/Nicky

    One thing I will say is that I don’t blame the teachers in any way shape or form. It was not there fault at all. It was the system.

    In fact if it wasn’t for those guys giving up there spare time, after school, we wouldn’t of been able to play in the first place, at least nowhere near as much as we did.

    I think they probably did have enough qualifications to do some coaching but 2 things would of restricted that:

    a) time

    B) and we have to be fair about this, when you’re a kid all you really WANT to do is play a game. Any attempt made at ‘coaching’ would almost certainly of been roundly boo’d. He had no chance.

    Where the coaching should of came in was the ‘Sunday League’ guys.

    The only thing I remember getting shouted at me, time and time and time again was…..PLAY THE WAY YOU FACE. That was about the extent of my coaching.

    As for Durham. Obviously I wont go and read Durham but I’ll say here and now, I bet a vast majority of comments disagree with him. If someone is brave enough to take a look and can tell me I’m wrong I’ll hold my hands up.

    But from my experience when he first had the column and I was daft enough to think it worth while calling him out for the twat he is I found most posters thought similar to myself.

    Maybe it’s changed.

  16. At the age of 12 our school football team was mediocre.
    Our rugby team, however, was outstanding.

    We went a whole season unbeaten and the only match that we lost was to a team from a senior school (a whole year older) and then only narrowly AND we scored from a drop-kick (much to their astonishment as they had not heard of it).

    So what made the difference between a mediocre soccer team and a dynamite rugby team (with essentially the same players)?

    COACHING of course!

    Thanks for the article Tony – don’t give up banging that drum.

  17. For most people who want to become coaches, having training by a professional is probably the best path. I do not believe it has to be the only path. People move, and so a local FA may end up meeting someone who has training from outside of the region. Accepting or rejecting this person blindly doesn’t make sense. There are some people like myself who study a lot, and will teach themselves what is needed. And hopefully we will know to seek out others to help us in areas we can’t do ourselves.

    When the football pitch was a field without fixed stands, it was relatively easy to change the size. If you had a player with a good throwing ability you played with a narrow field. If you had fast runners, you played with a big field. This was part of home advantage.

    I am 5’9″ tall, which is probably taller than average in the 1860’s of England. My reach is 7’4″ and my wingspan is about 6′. With a little jump, I can touch the crossbar. I probably effectively cover about a 9 foot width, so about 44% of the goal opening. I am going to suggest that one of the occupations best suited for goaltenders in the 1860’s was to be a mason. Young Wojciech Szczęsny is 8 inches taller than I am, and touches the cross bar without needing to jump, probably has a 7 foot wingspan, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was close to a 3 foot vertical in jumping. And I will guess he effectively covers 69% of the effective area of the goal. I will guess that at the current time, about the most any goalkeeper can cover is about 82% of the goal area. This due to improvements in diet and training.

    The goal area (8 foot by 24 foot)has not changed appreciably over a period in which the ability of the goalkeeper to effectively stop goals has almost doubled. If the goal was to be resized for the better ability of current goalkeepers, the cross bar would be about 11 foot off the ground, and the net would be 33 feet wide.

    Some field dimensions depend on the penalty area. If the goal area is 3 yards wider, presumably the minimum pitch width would have to be 3 yards wider. The penalty spot is 1.5 times the goal width from the goal line, which would put it 16.5 yards out, which is almost to the extent of the penalty area (18 yards).

  18. Tony, sad to say the thrust of your argument regarding the number and quality of coaches available to coach youngsters is 100% accurate. Most managers/coaches of local youth teams are dads who have taken the basic Level 1 coaching course. The problem is replicated in the girls game.
    My daughter was selected to receive four hours of UEFA qualified coaching at her local Girls Centre of Excellence which includes games against other CoEs such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Millwall etc..
    Despite the FA’s stated intention to raise the profile of the womens’ game our CoE is losing its funding at the end of this season and all the girls in the U11/U13/U15/U17 squads are supposed to return to ‘grass-roots’ teams and play with and against poorer quality players. Typical of the FA no detailed strategy to replace the CoE has been forthcoming. How on earth the FA think this decision is going to result in more girl and women players making the grade from East Anglia.
    I know this is slightly off topic from your original post but does demonstrate the muddle-headed thinking prevalent at the FA with regards to youth football. It’s not rocket science.. more and better qualified coaches will result in better players at all levels of the game.

  19. Surely instead of restricting imports the FA should encourage exports. Sure, players may not get called up to the national team for a year or two extra due to whatever adjustment period there may be, but they will have grown as people and players just for the experience of having moved out of their comfort zone. I’m certain that whatever change in mentality this can bring about lends itself positively to how players handle themselves on the pitch.
    I wonder what effect this kind of nonsense spouted by Dyke has on the price of English players, if any.

    Great article, and I would just add, has Dyke not even looked at where the Brazilian national team players actually ply their trade?!

  20. What really gets me, though, is that often amateur coaches could do a lot more to improve. There are shedloads of information on how to coach, on drills, etc. on the internet. There are DVDs for sale and there are other coaches in your area that you can ask over who would be delighted to help you out. The FA is not the be all and end all for coaching. It starts with coaches understanding that they have to improve and making an effort. I am a physical education teacher, and when I have coached as a volunteer and when I felt I was out of my league, I made the effort to become more knowledgeable. And when things cost too much I invited over coaches who I knew were knowledgeable and I picked their brains. Though you are a volunteer, shouldn’t you try to put your best foot forward?

  21. Jambug

    No, I’ve never held anything against teachers or coaches. I’m quite sceptical over whether or not anyone would have been able to activate the motivation within me, which is the key to learning in the first place, necessary to try learn anything about the game.

    I’d say it’s impossible to isolate any one cause of us definitely not punching over our weight as a football nation, and probably punching under it.

    The correlation between increased money and increased foreign players is unmissable, and by definition that means less British players at the top level, but the tournament record isn’t in reality much different between the two eras.

    Is football maybe a bit more working class still, here, than in some of the better performing European nations? It certainly feels that way when you hear your Germans and Dutch especially talk about the game. Or are other working class cultures a bit less suspicious of intelligence, generally and in football in particular? Difficult to say because I only know my own time and place, but I certainly stuck the old handbrake on, brain-wise, once up in big school, and the football crowd was amongst the dumbest of the lot.

    You only have to listen to the ex-pros in how they view Arsenal – Shearer was the latest this weekend: ‘they’re good, if you let them play’- to become convinced we’re still not close to getting it, that hard work, running, hitting people at pace, and grit aren’t the building blocks of the game but something you can add, relatively easily, once you’ve nailed basic skills.

    Add that to a clear shortage of qualified coaches, and a league quite good at disguising technical and tactical weakness while rewarding running and hitting people hard, and it’s pretty difficult to see any big changes on the horizon.

    Something like 7% of the population attend private schools, and the last GB Olympic squad had about 40% privately-educated people in it. One among many indicators that coaching is crucial.

  22. I remember my youth side playing a 2-3-5 (not used since the 20s) in the mid 70s. Thank you Mr. Hurley for your effort to teach us football.

  23. Someone needs to accredit those instructional things on the Internet. I was looking at some information on tackling a while ago, and in one of the demonstrations, the person doing the tackling wrapped both legs around one of the legs of the person being tackled. Add in a nice twist at the end, and instant broken leg.

    It isn’t like engineering, where right to practice is restricted. Anyone can put up a sign saying they are the world’s best soccer instructor, and charge money for whatever they produce.

    How does one tell if an instruction book or video is any good?

  24. My son plays for his local under 8 team here in the East Mids. At the start of the season his team were given 2 dates that they would be attending training sessions run by the FA. These were to take place at local schools / sports centres, there would be other teams there and the teams would be mixed up so he would not just train with his current team mates.

    The first one was cancelled about two days before. The second that was due to start at 10am on the Sunday was cancelled at 6pm the day before. Reason given was they didnt have enough coaches. Says it all.

  25. Rich

    Another thing about Durham.

    I’ve mentioned on here a few times how I think all Arsenal players should boycott TalkShite.

    Apart from the obvious reasons there was a couple of specific things said by Durham that I felt where verging on defamatory.

    The Ox was injured in a match prior to an England Game. Durham accused Arsenal of lying about it.

    He did the same when it happened to Theo.

    In Theo’s case he went as far as making such a big thing about that he wanted ‘all my listens to keep an eye on this’ and call the show when Theo plays in the match after the International.

    Both The Ox and Theo missed at least 2 more Arsenal games following the Internationals.

    Listening to that **** as little as I could (Mess room Radio, Grrrrr) I don’t know if he apologised but I doubt it very much.

    Anyway my point is, with the withdrawal of Sturridge from the England squad will Durham throw the same defamatory accusations at him and his beloved Liverpool?

    Fat chance.

  26. Nicky – my football teacher scored in the FA Cup Final and won the double. But we still didn’t do much beyond play matches… My first proper training sessions were as a 23 year old.

    I am now a qualified coach and I can clearly see that the kids I oversee are far superior to where my peers were at the kids’ age.

    I wholeheartedly support dramatically increasing the number of qualified coaches. Courses should be numerous and free. One caveat though. Professional clubs start taking kids at the ages of 5 or 6 these days. They are not actually part of grass roots youth football after that (or until they get spat out). Now the pro clubs have qualified coaches. But the pro coaches for the younger age groups tend to be Level 2 or 3. I expect the ones in Spain, Holland, Germany will be Level 4 or 5 (UEFA A or Pro Licence).

    So still a lot more to do.

  27. Danny Mills says that the only thing he learnt from this weekend’s matches is that referees must be assisted by technology otherwise their abject performances will plummet to an alltime low

  28. Jambug,

    You’re not helping me there with my new vow not to waste time on Durham!

    To be honest,though, I’d already broken it by having a look at the comments on his article from today.

    Surprisingly, more agreed than disagreed, but I didn’t look any further than the first page (about ten comments)

    Unsurprisingly, the commenters in question were a very sorry bunch.

    Worth noting that the stupidest of them, a Chelsea fan from India, was blathering on about no other club putting up with it..when they have an owner as wealthy as ours.

    That is fast becoming a trend. The better we do, the more they will resort to insisting we had money all along. Virtually every one of the dozens of insults and accusations from Durham today is built upon that lie and, aside from the times we do something as shocking as lose a football match, the more the past will have to be referred to, and the louder it’ll be insisted we were not operating at any real financial disadvantage.

    Fat chance he’d apologise for anything. Last week he was slamming Wenger for complaining about the away goals rule, so someone put up a tweet of his saying the rule was nonsense from a year ago. As always, he just weaselled away and said he was only looking for debate and you can’t prove otherwise, or some such bollocks.

    Not a serious person in any sense, so I really,really should avoid him and his gimpish ravings.

  29. Rich

    Sorry my friend.

    Just don’t go there any more.

    When I read your post repeating what he said it did piss me off but surprisingly it didn’t wind me up as much as perhaps it would of done before.

    I think that’s because over time I’ve come to realise just how sad a human being he must be to resort to such lies, and be so obsessive over us.

    Our Country has so many footballing issues it’s actually quite worrying.

    -The diabolical way the FA has pissed Millions up the wall on Wembley

    -The resulting cuts in funding to grass roots football.

    -The way Riley has run the PGMOL.

    -The diabolical quality of our referees

    -The diabolical bias of our referees.

    -The way the media jus swallow all the above with hardly a whimper.

    -The way the media embraces characters such as Mourhino that no other Country ever wants to see again.

    -The way the media defends and embraces thugs such as Shawcross and Taylor.

    -The way the media openly encourages violence as a way to counteract skill.

    -And not least the way a moron such as Durham, whom basically everyone knows is a fool, is given air time, and paper space.

    It’s all very sad really.

  30. @jambug

    I noticed Costa has a grade 1 hamstring tear & that Spain insisted that their medical staff examined the injury before approving his withdrawal from the squad.

    I wonder if the England medics have similarly examined Sturridge and Lallana?

    Returning to Dyke the FA Genius – part of the problem with his new proposal is that some of the existing regulations do not work evenly e.g. it seems much easier for certain clubs to obtain work permits.

    Also are the onetime much vaunted EPL FFP rules still in existence – or have they faded into the large voids located inside the FA craniums?

  31. I see that Dyke wants to spend a whole lot more money on getting World Cup for 2026. I am assuming that the Scottish, Welsh and Irish FA are run better, but they are pissed about Gill. What they should do, is start buying up English FA debt, with the idea of eventually forcing them into bankruptcy. Phil is jumping on the bandwagon about helping improve England’s talent. What is a stronger drain on talent: FA policy or Phil Neville and other goons breaking legs?

  32. Jambug

    You’re not wrong about any of that.

    Hopefully, I’ve finally learned my lesson with that git. There’s nothing to learn from that rubbish, not even know-thy-enemy stuff.

  33. @bjtgooner
    I hear on the radio that the injuries (I use this word loosely) to the Liverpool players are not life threatening and both should be fully fit and available to play against us in next weeks fixture. I am sure our players will get similar considerate treatment from the England manager, fully supported by a sympathetic press, when next the occasion presents itself. I am sure that Rodgers previous rants at ex Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson did not in any way influence the decisions to release the two players concerned.

  34. @mick

    Thanks for that. I see that Sterling may not be taken to Italy – to avoid burn out!

  35. @bjtgooner
    March 24, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Re Sterling; something about a broken toe nail 😉 🙂

  36. Unfortunately the present coaching system produces coaches who’s main aim is to make as much money as possible out of young player’s parents.

    There is very little regard for player development/improvement.

    Obviously, we must applaud the efforts of the many parent/volunteers, without which the kids would not get football at all.

    To think that there is or even can be a developmental pathway for our young players the way things are is pure fantasy.

    The FA is totally void of thinking outside the box.

  37. A good point about English players needing to play outside of England – it would help them a lot. They might get more and better coaching in some other countries. They would become more humble and teachable, because they would have to stop thinking they are better than others by virtue of being English. Reality would teach them this. And then they might actually become “thinking” players.

    One of the things that makes Alexis so good is that he thinks faster than others. His kicking the ball over his head behind him totally surprised the defender and he was able to turn and control the ball in the box and be very dangerous. How could he do this? Because he is thinking so fast and so creatively. One rarely sees English players with creativity like this.

  38. Dykes comment about Kane makes me laugh. I do think he’s a good player especially as he’s a very hard worker unlike far too many young English forwards. But it’s only this year at the age of 21 that he’s looked remotely like a PL player. At Norwich, Leicester, Orient and Millwall he was clearly a good lad slightly out of his depth. He did get better at all of them but he wasn’t ready to play 1st eleven in a ‘better’ team in the PL until this year.
    So do we have to keep young English players in the 1st team squad even when they aren’t up to the level……. according to Dyke the answer is yes!!!!

    There are plenty of young players that get near the first team, their egos go berserk and they become a nightclub legend, let their football slip (despite coaches warnings) and end up playing for a 1st division team, however with the Dyke rules we may have to keep some of these wasters.

    What a stupid set of rules…..

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