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The Sad State Of English Football



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Ironic. It is so ironic that England have to turn to an Italian to coach their national team. Did they not proclaim themselves to have the best league in the world? Did they not earlier deplore the Italians for the state that Serie A is in?

English football is so sad that even the French are poking their noses in and rubbing salt to the wound. Raymond Domenech, as far as I’m concerned, is a prick. He says too much for his own good and most of the time, his comments are just about as useful as a losing lottery ticket. But this time, he finally said something clever when he said that employing Capello is “a real blow for English managers“.

It’s not just a blow, it’s a rude slap with a girly pink fly swatter. Considering that England is the country that spawned football, this is a sad day indeed. I bet none of the good folks who first came up with the rules for modern day football at Cambridge University over 150 years could have imagined a day like this.

However, I’m not all about blasting the English. What would be the point of that? By failing to qualify for Euro 2008, they have already hit rock bottom. The point I’m trying to make here is that this truly is a rude wake up call for English football and its fans.

For too long have they been hiding inside the bubble of invincibility which they have constructed for themselves. Too long have they surrounded themselves with the air of self-perceived superiority. The sad fact is that England are not as great as they make themselves out to be – I have been telling England supporters this my whole life and none of them listens.

Years ago they employed a Swede by name of Sven-Goran Eriksson. When that decision was made, many derided the English FA for turning to a foreign coach. It was a disgraceful thing to do considering how the English often saw themselves as a football powerhouse. To be sure, the English FA wasn’t too pleased of the decision themselves and vowed that never again would they turn to a foreign coach. Yet 6 years later, the English have, as Britney Spears put it “did it again”.

What about the Premier League? It is the best? Hardly. Let’s look at the the winners of the Champions League for the past 10 years. In a span a decade, the prestigious competition was won by a English club only twice – Manchester United in 1999 and Liverpool in 2005. That’s not too bad you might say considering that Italian clubs have only won it twice as well during that same time span.

However, if we were to increase that time span and look at the past 17 years (1990 was when the ban on English clubs in UEFA competitions was lifted) then it comes much more startling. Because in the past 17 years, Manchester United and Liverpool were the only two English clubs to have won the Champions league and this is pathetic when compared with the other top leagues of Europe. During that time span, Italian and Spanish clubs have lifted the trophy no less than 5 times each.

What about Golden Ball winners? The last English to have won the award was Michael Owen in 2001, and I can’t even remember why he won it. After Owen, you’ll have to look all the way back to 1979 the find the next English winner – Kevin Keegan.

These statistics, coupled with the fact that an Italian is now at the helm of the English national team is proof that English football is not all that grand and magnificent as it is made out to be. The problem here is not that it is over-hyped, but rather, is that the English are too stuck up and ignorant to recognize its own shortcomings.

They seem to have forgotten that 6 years ago, they stuck their tails in between their legs and have gone about employing a Swede to head their national side. And in doing so, relegated themselves so that they were no different from other national sides such as Andorra, Ghana and Singapore, all of whom have employed foreign coaches. The English have forgotten all of that and are now going down the same road again, heck, even war-torn Sierra Leone has a coach from their own country.

It is time that the English recognize once and for all that they are not the football superpower they think they are and start making things right. Because at this rate, I won’t be surprised if their next coach is a French.

Kenny maintains a personal blog called “The Meditation Chamber“.