League takes some England blame

January 1, 2000

Web Watch

Welcome to my new Pirate column.

Over the past three seasons I have contributed to our award winning matchday magazine with pieces under the general heading of Around Rovers. Over the same period of time The Pirate has moved on to take refreshed articles, new columns, and new writers, bringing you news and views of what is happening around the Football Club. As a result I thought the time had come to refresh my own offering and to come up with something new.

Ken Masters

My idea is to keep a watch on all football related official websites and to bring you news and views on stories and developments around football that will be of interest or even impact on Bristol Rovers and our supporters in some way. In addition to governing authorities, The Football League, various associations et al, I will also be keeping a watch on the official sites of other football clubs, especially those in League One and, in particular, those of forthcoming opponents.

So, that was the World Cup that was. I was disappointed, generally, with the competition, notwithstanding the final itself. The number of red and the yellow cards given in the final was without precedent, I think, but I can’t say that the ref had any options on the night. I was pleased to see Spain come through in the end, because of the technical ability shown and the way that they keep and pass the ball and work effectively as a unit.

What about England then. Bit of bad luck with the fumbled goal against the USA, and the goal that was not given against Germany, but overall very disappointing and falling well short of expectation. I was looking for a statement, or explanation of sorts on the FA website but found only disappointment from Steven Gerrard, reflections from Frank Lampard, Cappello ruing big mistakes and a statement that the manager would carry on in the job. Fair play, the FA did demonstrate their pride in the appointment of Howard Webb as the final tie referee.

 It was down to the BBC website to dig a little deeper with the view that, despite the Premier League being hailed by many as the world’s leading domestic competition, that success has yet to be transformed into an improved England national team. In this year’s World Cup they were eliminated in the Second Round, having won only one of four matches and were subseguently ranked 13th best of the 32 entrants by the FIFA, their lowest ever ranking in a World Cup finals.

The site reported that Richard Scudamore has said that the Premier League is partly to blame for England’s Word Cup failure in South Africa but that it cannot take full responsibility. The League’s Chief Executive added that it was simplistic to blame high numbers of foreign players for the poor showing.

Critics, and you may be one of them, have pointed to the high number of overseas players in teams, denying home grown talent the chance to play but Scudamore insisted the aim of the Premier League was to provide top class competition, regardless of players nationalities.

“We want the England manager to be spoilt for choice, we will take some of that responsibility,” he stated.

“If you go too far and try to artificially prop up English talent which isn’t good enough it won’t get the (Premier) League or England anywhere,” he reflected.

“Populating our (Premier) League with players who aren’t good enough to compete with the world class talent won’t be good.”

“We have to make sure development systems are bringing through enough players of world class talent.”

I think Mr Scudamore is missing a little in what he is saying. I agree with him that we need to bring through players of world class talent, but to do that we first of all need first class coaches running our youth and professional outfits. I believe we have learnt that lesson here at Bristol Rovers. We have had managers in the past who have, arguably, not been among the best coaches in the country let alone the world, no names I hesitate to add.

Things have changed behind the scenes here at the football club. It has been my privilege to see the group working with our new coaching set up in pre season and up in Scotland on tour. I am sure what we have put in place over the summer will pay dividends in the short, medium, and longer terms.

 One more from Richard Scudamore on the BBC website:

“What every England fan should expect is that the players we produce are world class.”

 “They should be able to give world class performances at these tournaments – that’s our focus.”

I am sure we would all vote for that, but please reflect on my view that only world class coaches will produce world class players and that the process starts at a very young age, continues through youth and then into senior sguads at top professional clubs.


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