So, after only 6 days, England who brought football to the world, are out of the World Cup and predictably, the corpse is being picked over by all and sundry.
It’s the players, its the manager. They’ve all got to go and start afresh. Except we’ve only just started afresh with a new (English) manager.
No it’s neither of these, although the players didn’t play very well, it has to be said.
No it’s principally the fault of the Premier League (PL) in England, aided and abetted by the governing body, the Football Association (FA).
I’ll keep this brief otherwise you the reader will swiftly lose the will to live, believe me.
FA originally governed English football but suffered a breakaway some years ago by the top 22 teams to form the PL. This move was linked to TV rights and is currently worth about £1.5bn a year. Now some might say this is a tidy sum to invest.
It certainly is. The only problem is, the lucky recipients of this money, the PL clubs choose to give most of it to the players as wages. Many players are on salaries of £200,000-£300,000 A WEEK.
In fact most clubs declare that between 60-75%of their income goes in paying player wages.
That’s right, not investing in their grounds, spectator benefits? Sorry, no. Grassroots development, er, they’ve recently cut the funding.
Still you might think that paying players so much should reap benefits. Well, it does.
The only problem is most of the players are foreign. These players hone their skills in the PL and then thrash the pants off us in any given competition that we enter.
At the last count there was only 25% of eligible players in the PL who could play for England.
This exists because of what I call the PL’s eBay approach; buy it now. Rather than invest in English youth and grow talent, the business model of paying so much in wages means that success has to be immediate to continue to gain TV rights money. Failure to do could mean financial meltdown.
So the clubs simply cast around the world and buy the best that is available anywhere. The rest as they say is history, a bit like England’s success.
The clubs won’t even be helped. Recently talk has been of a salary cap, which you think they would welcome as a means of lowering their costs. But no, arms in the air, they claim such a cap would restrict their ability to compete in the transfer market.
And so we stumble on. The PL couldn’t give a toss about the England team. The FA, staffed by men in blazers as it is, lacks the guts or intelligence to impose governance on the PL, even though its their role to do so.
The fans hand over their money week in, week out and England maintains its position as the whipping boys of footy.
One last point. Although Spain also went out early this time, they have nevertheless enjoyed a period of dominance in world football. Now their team is ageing and they too have to rebuild.
But. It’s worth noting that in the Spanish league, La Liga, 65% of the players are eligible to play for Spain.
Plenty of choice there, then.