Thursday, 5 February 2009

Is football foreign to you?

Workers at the Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire have been on strike over the past week or so concerning the use of foreign labour. Hundreds of British workers across the country joined the strike, backing the dispute over the rules on employing foreign staff. Owners of power stations and refineries (in this case) have been giving a large chunk of the jobs to foreigners to carry out.

You may be wondering what the devil this has to do with sport?

Well, top level league sport in Britain, particularly football, is dominated by overseas players and has been for some years now. I don't see many strikes from the English players in line with the oil refinery case however.

Premiership and top league clubs have bought in so many talented foreign players and managers. Without these players, it can be argued that English football would be considerably less wealthy and popular. Not to mention the high standard of Premiership football today, largely thanks to the overseas players. However, the English national team is struggling because of it.

Teams with big money can splash out on the big names. Take Chelsea FC for example. This is their squad:

Cech, Ivanovic, A. Cole, Essien, Carvalho, Lampard, Di Santo, J. Cole, Drogba, Mikel, Ballack, Malouda, Bosingwa, Ferreira, Deco, Kalou, Terry, Mineiro, Alex, Belletti, Anelka, Hilario, Mancienne, Stoch, Woods, Smith, Kakuta and Hutchinson.

Last 6 managers (excluding Graham Rix who was in charge for just 2 matches):

Scolari (present)

Spot many English names in there? As David Brent once said: "shouldn't have thought so." Chelsea faced Liverpool for their last match, where only 6 out of 36 squad players, from both teams, were English.

There has been some talk of introducing new rules to football, with regard to clubs having a certain amount of 'home grown' players in their squad. This hasn't kicked off terribly well as yet. Furthermore, acadamies have been set up to try and enforce a further influx of local talent, but foreign players are appearing here too.

Certain clubs are taking this seriously and some quality local players are begining to shine through however. Middlesbrough FC have a strong urge to develop their youth teams and young English players. I was fortunate enough to hear a talk from their Academy Manager David Parnaby a few years ago. He emphasised the importance of home grown talent to English football, focussing on the success of their player Stewart Downing.

If England's top players, such as Gerrard, Terry, Rooney and Lampard, play alongside overseas players at their clubs rather than training with talented English footballers, what hope has our national team got?

They gel so very well with these big money players at their clubs, and spend plenty of time training with them. They have now forgotten how to work well with their fellow countrymen. Failing to qualify for the Euro tournament highlights this.

Is there any hope for the future of English football if the foreign player allowance doesn't change any time soon?

1 comment:

  1. Quite right!

    Cricket is no better, currnet rules mean every county has overseas players who qualify because their granny was Italian! On top of this they bring in a test player from SA, Australia etc for a couple of weeks here and a couple of weeks there. It's not easy listing your county side when these big money signings are flitting in and out.

    Must be great to be in a county academy, flog yourself round in the seconds at all of the unfashionable grounds, get some runs, think you will get in the county team and bang! We've signed Tendulkar for the next three weeks.

    Sure as hell doesn't help England.


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