The Telegraph argues that, “The answer will have to come from a compromise which recognises that what matters are game-time minutes for England qualified players [EQPs] rather than this dreary battle over the numbers in a squad.”
No evidence is presented to show this would help, or even why it would help. And there is no attempt to look at what other nations do, and encourage their home talent to go and play in other countries in order to get the hang of foreign football? After all if it works for Sweden, Russia, Croatia, France, Belgium and the like, why not for England?
But it turns out, all that is a blind – a load of nothingness to make sure we don’t actually focus on the huge misuse of logic and numbers that follows, when the author continues…
“After the 25th round of matches this season, the percentage of total minutes played in the Premier League by England-qualified players stood at 34.4 per cent, up from the all-time low of 29.9 per cent last season. The corresponding figure for this season among the big six clubs falls to 27.2 per cent.”
And what is wrong here is the same as is wrong in so many pieces in the media that we look at: the figures are not put into context. In fact what they are compared with is the fact 60% of Spain qualified players play in Spain. 50% of France qualified players play in France. More than 40% of Italy and Germany qualified players play in their home countries.
But that is not the same as a measure of minutes played by England qualified players. A quick look at the club rosta and we can see that the actual comparison number if 95%.
Let me do that again.
60% of Spain qualified players play in Spain. 50% of France qualified players play in France. 95% of England qualified players play in England.
Now was the Chief Football Writer of the Telegraph deliberately attempting to mislead us by NOT making a proper comparison? It looks like it, because I am sure he is a literate chap. But he is comparing the percentage of players who play in a country of origin in every other case, with the number of minutes played, in the case of England. It is not a like for like comparison at all!
Why has he written this? The answer can only be the same as the reason that the esteemed Amy Lawrence ran her notorious “Arsenal have only two players scoring in double figures”, piece . In both cases the statement was true but in each case it was utterly misleading. (Ms Lawrence you may recall put a huge negative emphasis on Arsenal’s achievement, when in fact having two players scoring in double figures in the top 25% of the League).
In the Telegraph’s case when Sam Wallace, who perhaps I may repeat, is not just any old football writer but is the Chief Football Writer of the highly esteemed Daily Telegraph, is either having a dodo moment or is deliberately misleading us. I would go with the latter, since an eminent newspaper like the Telegraph has checkers and proofers and whatnot, and between them they must have noted this twisting of reality.
Quickly, the piece goes on, and notes “The FA has one card to play, its endorsement to government which, for now, still takes the view of the 156-year-old governing body.”
Ah but now we may ask, if the view of the FA and indeed the government was worth more than the leftovers in the pig sty, the Daily Telegraph would not be reduced to using hugely misleading commentaries like this one.
I have regularly argued that the media is being used to manipulate football reality and get supporters to see the game in particular ways that suit either the media, or (in this case) the authorities. When I started this series of articles I had no idea the Telegraph would oblige me so quickly with such a perfect example.
This is not one of my, “why are they not talking about these important issues like referees and PGMO?” pieces, but a deliberate attempt to manipulate the story to influence fans into supporting a wholly unsupportable proposition.
The Telegraph, and its chief football writer should be utterly ashamed. Certainly both have lost all credibility, and if the FA had had any credibility left, it would have now lost it. But it had none, so it hasn’t.
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