Sunday, 8 July 2012

ENGLAND : The Issues are Wider than the Penalty

Ashley Young's penalty crashing against the bar in the quarter final penalty shoot-out drama between England and Italy sounded like one of those goodnight tales Parents and Grandparents told kids. They hear it over and  over  again,  get used to all the details as they grow up , but it takes a while to realize such fables only serve the purpose of moral instruction , and not necessarily the order to everything in life.

One perhaps needs a reality check to decipher the reason England arrive at tournaments to a cascade of optimism , then exit on a whimper ( usually through penalties ) . The Nation wails in anguish , like the curse has struck again to claim the 50th born of every man and woman in the land. That misplaced masochism , the blind acceptance of a fate that befalls us , stoicism and stupidity intertwined . We lick our wounds , grovel in modesty , or blame an error by the referee  during the game . Then typically , the media gravitates to the theme  of technology being needed to prevent this and that ever happening again in tournaments of this magnitude. what a pathetic and pitiful bunch. We must find out the reasons we suffer from collective amnesia when it comes to The England National team . How we always fail to recognize the hazards associated with England and it's manager .

THE MEDIA : This is supposed to be the institution that shines the light on our National team ; serve us the nitty-gritty of facts on not just England , but it's rivals , so we can really know where we stand , and how we measure-up. The media is a dysfunctional super-structure when it concerns the coverage of England. Self-Possessed , and misleading to say the least .  From pundits at SkySports , BBC , and ITV, to the print media , week in - week out , average players putting in mediocre performances are aggrandized as " world Class " , " outstanding " and what not ! Take the case of Andy Carroll - a player who scored 4 goals in 35 league appearances  ( a host of them as substitute too ) with a total of 6 goals in 42 games for Liverpool last season. Yet ,  just because he managed a fair run in the last 6 weeks of the season , by some warped measurement , he had to regularly be mentioned in positive terms by the media. " He is a handful....."  " unplayable ". Excuse me ! why the hyperbole for a 6' 3 player who takes 10 seconds to kill a pass, and find a team mate . Worse still , this striker is left-footed,  and would most likely do a 100 meters  dash in 17 seconds . Why the media contrive an orgasm at the sight of him is a mystery to me. They practically put him on the plane to the Euros.  Jermaine Defoe had 11 goals in 25 league games ; 17 in 38 games in total for Spurs last season ; and for England : a statistic of 15 in 48 games ( 17 starts and 31 as substitutes ) An enviable record , hardly gets a mention in the media .  Do you want me to tell you about the media's other darling , Scot Parker. Our defensive midfielder who incidentally gets substituted so often..... and the media are accepting of the position : Dear Scot " must be tiring , he has put his body on the line for England". How much Churlish can they get ?  Do you want the media's role in misleading the nation Harry Redknapp is the "peoples" favorite for the England manager's job . How irresponsible to form this artificial amalgamation of opinions, subscribing to Harry as England's next  Manager after Capello quit in February, and attempt to rail-road the FA into appointing him to do the job. How disrespectful  , lacking in objectivity , and what gross abuse of power can that be !
The Media have constituted themselves to be part of the problem by acting as a pressure group , and lobbyists for certain individuals , and causes not necessarily in the best interest of the England Team. Are you still surprised England hardly get it right ?  this is a tip of the ice berg .

THE FA : It is Commendable they take a corporate structure , but this body most often forgets an intrinsic part of it's responsibility is football development . The National teams fall squarely in this premise. The FA have employed lots of talented managers to run England , Paying Millions for their Services. That to me is like paying a domestic cleaning company to tidy up the  aftermath of a flood to your house , when the pipe that has created the leak in the first place, has not been fixed. The FA shall continue to throw money down the drain till it understands it needs to set-up the way forward , this includes getting to grips with the reasons England do not produce many , truly special players ; establishing a proper functioning network of Synergy between the youth academy of Clubs , and the under 17 , 19 and 21 versions of the national side . This area needs life breath into it. The FA fail to take responsibility in creating the desired energy in this sector , if they did , they potentially could make it a vibrant aspect of our game, which snowballs into a gigantic conveyor belt of talent for Clubs and the national side. The point i am making is : this end of the spectrum is the goose that lays the golden eggs ; and the funny thing is that it's far less expensive than paying £ 6 million a year to a coach who cannot really come-up with what we need.
If the FA get a gathering of Ex- England coaches for feed back , before laying principles , definitions , and the required standards of tactical play to all England teams at international level , they would be seriously attacking the root causes of our problems at International Football . If you have a functioning youth system , with talent being produced in abundance , aiming to win international age grade tournaments , it spills over to the National team - that positive energy and vibration is created . If the FA is reading this : It is foolhardy to pay millions to the England manager , when  you could  have scores of talented players groomed for a fraction of that sum. Managers would  be drooling to work with a bunch of talented players immersed in the culture of playing in a certain way from the onset of their time in an England shirt at what ever level . The net effect is more potential England players are unravelled , and the Clubs reap the benefit too. Ever wondered why Andy Carroll cost £35 Million , or why young English players cost well above what should be their market value ? the answer is artificial scarcity .

These are just two reasons for the state of affairs. We need to stop crying over spilt milk each time England get knocked out of tournaments. Instead , focus on why it's become a perennial problem , and a self-fulfilling prophesy not to win tournaments . Paying tributes to Spain and Germany always, and admitting not being good enough.... wallowing in self-pity and mediocrity gets you no where . We need to get a grip , find solutions to the problems .  England have led the way with Stadia modernization ,  and  the commercial success of the premier league is the envy of many nations . It is time to pull resources together to invest in success at the international stage for our national teams . It is only when planning to win major competitions becomes a priority that success ensues. The right to be taken seriously has to be earned .
We are at a crossroads , and we must decide if to remain docile to this fate , or take the bull by the balls.