In the run up to the European Championships and with the naming of a new manager and his squad dominating the news agenda, the FA have been quietly treading a route of reinvigoration. A path that will hopefully at long last, put paid to decades of underachievement.
This summer will see the completion of the FA’s new national football centre (NFC) at St George’s Park. Heralded as England’s answer to France’s famed Clairefontaine academy, there will now be a centre of excellence for our national game, not seen but desperately needed, since the demise of Lilleshall in 1999. As top clubs created their own academies to train young players, Lilleshall became redundant, with the task they performed so admirably in bringing through the likes of Joe Cole, Michael Owen and Scott Parker to name but a few, being taken in house by professional clubs. With the enormous resources of the Premier League era clubs, the training of top young players could scarcely be improved upon by a Lilleshall replacement and the NFC seems primed to address this, by investing far more time and resources, into the development of young, skilled English coaches.
The Football Shake-Up series will be taking a look at our beloved game and the problems it faces today. We will be discussing ways to improve the lot of the fans, the clubs, competitions and much, much more. If you’d like to contribute to the series, please get in touch. What would you change about the way football is run to make it better?
Since May of this year, Plymouth Argyle Football Club has been in administration. With debts of £17m and players and staff unpaid in nearly nine-months, talks of a strike have been confirmed by manager Peter Reid as the search for a new owner of the 125 year old club have stalled.
“People who love soft methods and hate iniquity forget… that reform consists in taking a bone from a dog.”
- John Jay Chapman
As Sepp Blatter settles into his fourth term as President of the FIFA Family, we have in recent weeks seen an outpouring of opprobrium toward the increasingly sinister and opaque world of international football governance. As more and more members of the so-called Executive Committee are linked to corruption charges, the average football fan is left wondering, if not the ineffectual national associations such as the FA, nor the wider federations such as Michel Platini’s obsequious UEFA, nor the pocket lining overlords in Zurich, who exactly is looking after our beloved game?
The answer, quite simply, is no-one. Unless of course you count those long-neglected, put upon and persecuted people, us, the fans.
“That’s why we’re Champions, that’s why we’re Champions” sang the fans at Loftus Road today after seeing their team take a lead against Leeds after only 30 seconds. How close they were to not being so until this morning’s announcement by the Football Association (FA) regarding Queen’s Park Rangers’ guilt in the saga of the ownership of Alejandro Faurlin’s economic rights but confirming that the Championship winners will not be docked points as a punishment.
How can Ashley Cole shoot someone with an air rifle on Chelsea property and get away with it? How did Wayne Rooney elbow Wigan’s James McCarthy in the side of the head and never come close to official admonishment? Press and fans alike called for Cole to be sacked, for Rooney to be banned. Nothing materialised. Chelsea informed us that that matter had been dealt with internally. Manchester United denied Rooney had done anything wrong. Is there a systemic problem which allows the top players from the best teams, to commit the crime, then shirk the time?