Premiership clubs destroy England – Is Dyke right?

The new Chairman of the FA, Greg Dyke, has opened his account with a high profile critique of the current state of the game in England.  His fundamental point is that the pool of English talent continues to diminish and something needs to be done about that.

Looking at the last World Cup and the recent Under 21 Euros, you could say he has a point.  In both of those tournaments, England produced pretty lame and tame performances, and never looked to be in danger of troubling the silver polishers.

Personally, I think there are some very good young English players around right now, not least of all our own Theo, Jack, Gibbs, Corporal Jenks and the Ox. The likes of Daniel Sturridge, Joe Hart, Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley, Ryan Bertrand, Jack Rodwell and Wilfried Zaha all look excellent.  And amongst the youngsters behind them, there are players who look to have real quality: for example, Spurs’ Tom Carroll looks very good.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the English game is in fact the English and Welsh game, and right now there is something of a resurgence in the Welsh game, evidenced most obviously by Bale’s transformation into a Galactico, but also shown by the amazing success of Swansea and the return of Cardiff to the top division. And then there’s our own fantastic Welshman.

So, I’m not so sure the problem is as bad as it’s being made out to be.  It’s also worth remembering that, in recent years, the senior England squad has become more reliable about qualifying for major tournaments.  In the 1970s and 1980s, they made it a habit of missing out on qualification; that doesn’t much now.

Dyke’s focus seems to be on foreign players’ presence in the Premier League.  He cites figures suggesting that, in the last 20 years, the number of English players in the starting line-ups of top-flight clubs had gone from 69% to 32%.  He also said the proportion of new signings by PL clubs who are qualified to play for England had fallen from 37% to 25% in the past two years. “Last weekend only 65 English players started in the Premier League with another 14 coming on as substitutes,” he said. “Taking into account that some of these players are not international standard, I think it’s fair to say we already have a very small talent pool and it’s getting smaller.”

I won’t get into the basis of Dyke’s stats, save to make the general point that percentages can be calculated in many different ways, so I don’t necessarily take Dyke’s figures to be gospel.  For example, it isn’t clear to me where Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and Irish players fit into the analysis – players from those five footballing nations constituted the pre-PL pool from which players were drawn, so narrowly looking only at English players now would stunt the figures. Also, when you think of dual qualification, people like Carl Jenkinson for example, the truth behind the figures can become less clear.

But let’s assume that Dyke is right, that there is a diminishing pool of English PL players for the England coaches to recruit from.  Is that really a problem?  And if it is, why has it happened, and what could be done to rectify it?

Whenever I hear people complaining about the number of foreigners playing in the PL, my first reaction is always to point to the stubborn reluctance of young English players to make the same moves as their counterparts from other countries.  If they’re not getting enough pitch time in England, why not go to Holland, Sweden, France, Portugal, Belgium, or the US?  My guess is those youngsters are too scared to take on the challenge of moving country and/or prefer to take the easy, better money of being in an English PL squad.  Introducing quotas on foreign players (even if that were legally possible) wouldn’t answer those problems.  It would be better to give those young players some life-coaching, so that they make better decisions and broaden their horizons and their ambitions.

So, any thoughts?  Is Dyke right?  Do changes need to be made to the way the game is organised?  Does the strength of the national team even matter as compared with the ability of the clubs to recruit whatever players they want?

Written by 26may

159 Responses to Premiership clubs destroy England – Is Dyke right?

  1. John says:

    NEW chairman makes bold statements now there’s a first. Who cares we’ve got Ozil!

  2. Don’t worry 26, Dykey boy has a the answers, he’ll bring back Roland Rat and get Woy Hodgson to wear a pink shirt, that was his last stroke of genius.

    Good post 26, I can’t help but feel it is just grand standing for the hacks and his employers.

  3. 26may1989 says:

    What happened to your umlauts, Chary???

  4. They don’t seem to be working even though I’ve changed my display name – I have to edit each of my comments. 😦

  5. 26may1989 says:

    For those who keep saying Arsenal bought the wrong player on Monday, this article sums up very well for me why that view is wrong:

  6. 26may1989 says:

    That’s better – Ö ChärybdÏß1966 Ö – excellent!

  7. TT says:

    Hi GoonerB,

    Responding to your question from the previous post (sorry haven’t read this one yet).

  8. Belfastgooner says:

    Thanks for the post 26/05. I think Dyke must be deluded if he thinks that the PL’s main aim to ensure that the England team is capable of challenging at the major championships. Their priorities are entirely different.
    AW has certainly been at the forefront of nurturing young home grown talent but when you see the hire and fire mentality of most clubs demanding instant success, the managers don’t have the luxury of trying to think about improving the national team.
    If they feel that it’s a priority for young stars to play for the underage squads like the U21s then they should not be allowed to pick the same players for the seniors as well.
    Personally the internationals are a major irritation especially this break which seems to be taking forever to end while we’re all waiting for our new hero to make his debut and light up the PL. Arsenal first everything else second…

  9. Big Lebowski says:

    The FA need to look at themselves first, 1st you have to get kids off their backsides from playing their X boxes or PS3’s. next provide decent pitches and coaching in schools & communities. Why should EPL clubs pay millions for a mediocre player from the lower leagues, who they use to buy and improve on, when you can get more talented players from abroad at half the price.

  10. Shard says:

    If the talent pool for England is reducing, they need to ask why at a more fundamental level than just blaming the PL clubs. Is it the lack of proper coaching? Is it that other sports have gained in prominence, or are easier to get into? Surely no other sport offers as much of a potentially rich career as football. Is it only the PL clubs’ responsibility to nurture talent? Give them a player good enough, and they’ll play him. It’s as simple as that.

    In my view, the lack of talent in terms of numbers is not the problem. Although to some extent it has changed in the past few years, but the English seemingly still value ‘grit’ and ‘steel’ ahead of anything else. Those are euphemisms and excuses for a lack of ability and technique. English football is played differently. To some extent it is because it is refereed differently. As long as you refuse to join the rest of Europe in the way football is played and the interpretation of the rules, you will suffer.

    There is no quick fix to this. Simply putting in more players into the PL will not do the trick. It’ll just result in the overall quality of the competition dropping. Rather than raising the level of the English players, it’ll lower it.

    Of course from time to time we hear this lament. It’s probably the only thing the FA can say to hide its failure. Have they built the centre of excellence that they were going to on the French model? Maybe, in the short term, they could start off with protecting the young talent they have already rather than letting Wilshere be kicked off the park, and also by not protecting, and even rewarding club footed oafs like Ryan ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly’ Shawcross for breaking legs, by national team call ups? That would be a start, which might see better young English talent able to come through.

  11. fatgingergooner says:

    He’s looking at it from the top down, when actually it needs an overhaul from the bottom up. Blaming top clubs for having too many foreign players doesn’t sort out the fact there is not enough English talent.

    Need to start looking at schools, coaches etc from a young age and bring the quality in line with other countries.

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  13. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Shard

    The FA did finally open their centre of excellence, St George’s Park, a couple of years ago. Its construction was mothballed when the incompetently organised construction of the new Wembley Stadium overran massively on costs. But at least it is now running.

    Your point about physicality in the English game is a good one. I think it is going now, people might not admit it, but I think the injuries done to Ramsey and Eduardo did serve as a lesson that the game is too fast nowadays to tolerate as much old school physicality. But we do still like a bit of blood and thunder in our game, and that is one thing that handicaps the development of skill in the game.

    There is one very basic point: kids need to learn to love the ball. They should be encouraged to get as many touches of it as possible, to build that intuitive understanding and control of the ball. Get that sorted and the tactical stuff is easy. But that is hardly in the English, British or Irish tradition.

    I also don’t think the fact there are fewer Englishmen in the PL is necessarily detrimental to the England team. British and Irish players have been displaced to the other divisions, that is clear. And in doing so, the standards there have been raised. I saw highlights of the Bristol derby from last night and saw ex-Gooner, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, score an absolute pearler for Bristol City, top quality goal, and then he created the opening that led to City’s winner with a great run.

    What’s so wrong with England picking players form outside the PL? The Championship is after all one of Europe’s biggest leagues by attendances in its own right.

  14. Shard says:

    A read into Arsenal’s brand strategy. Nothing new as such, but I think well worth a read.

  15. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just jöining in the umlaut crowd 🙂

    Öur Özil öözes sö much föötball class

  16. TT says:

    Sorry am not English so 26may’s fine post is a bit academic for me. 🙂 From the outside, I think FGG @ 11:00 made a very good point. Well said, too!

  17. Gooner In Exile says:

    Hmm didnt work, suppose I have to change my WP name

  18. Didn’t seem to work for me either GiE, still editing my comments.

  19. Big Raddy says:

    26. Interesting.

    I happen to agree with Dyke.

    Arsenal, MU and Everton are a poor examples so let’s look elsewhere. Who has a youth set-up? Which team starts young players on a regular basis?

    It’s true that improvement has to start from grass-roots level but what is the point if the big clubs refuse to take a chance on a player.

    For example, Chelsea. What hope has a fine young player like Josh McEachran got of playing 30 + games in the PL?

    As to why English players do not play abroad … well, it seems to me they are not good enough. It will be interesting to see how Apeboy beds in but apart from him? If PSG want Rooney they have the money – so it isn’t a question of English players wages being prohibitive. No, the answer must be that our players are spoilt, poor value for money, and cannot adapt to living abroad.

    I love the old Ian Rush quote when playing for Juve, “It’s just like playing in a foreign country” 😀

  20. Gööner In Exile says:

    On to the subject of todays post i had a little discussion with FGG this morning, i think there is something wrong….we don’t have the best players in the world plying their trade in the PL, we have some distinctly average foreign players who are taking the place of young English players, the question has to be why?

    If it is purely wage demands then either the young English players should be ashamed of themselves, I doubt this is the only problem.

    Foreign managers in the Premier League, well he is correct there, there are only four English Managers in the Premier League, Holloway, Allardyce, Pardew and Steve Bruce. That probably tells you all you need to know, if these are the only English coaches deemed good enough for the PL what chance the players?

  21. evönne says:

    26 -thank you for the post. An excellent piece.

    I have heard Dyke’s statements, but dismissed them as ‘just a noise’. I think that upon his new appointment he is expected to make changes and rattle a few cages, and that’s the best he could come up with.

    Not a bad call though. I would much rather see English lads playing in EPL, but that’s a bit like saying I’d prefer a British plumber or a decorator to a Polish builder. This country is so cosmopolitan that it is becoming a rare treat to meet a through-and-through Brit, let alone get them working for you.

    And yet, when you do get an Englishman to do the job, they are usually better than the foreign counterparts. Same applies to football – physical presence and mental strength can only be matched by the Germans.

    So all in all, I hope that Dyke manages to make changes, good luck to him

  22. Shard says:


    I did say that the physicality in the league is changing slowly. Would we have seen the reaction to the McCallum (?) challenge on Haidara of Newcastle even a few years ago? I think not. And also increasingly, the teams that come out of the Championship are more of the Swansea variety than the Stoke, who themselves seem to have realised that they’ve spent a ton of money on a crap product. Though they won’t change overnight it is still a start.

    More need to be done though to protect players. This business of not punishing dangerous tackles because the ‘referee has seen it’ and hiding behind imaginary FIFA rules must stop (Apparently they’ve made a stride forward here too although I forget the technicalities of it) Limiting bans to 3 matches should also be removed. Other leagues do it. Even the MLS which can be quite physical, bans players for longer periods, and uses TV replays to do it. How referees behave in a game also affects the players’ development. Rooney’s kick at a Montenegrin player doesn’t happen if it is similarly punished in England rather than a ManU shirt being a license to get away with anything. Wilshere meanwhile seemingly pays the price for wearing an Arsenal shirt, and if England then suffer it’s portrayed as Arsenal’s or Wenger’s fault. The U-21 teams are misused by idiots like Pearce, who instead of acknowledging their role as a developer of talent, want to just enhance their CV by winning even if it is contrary to developing players. All this is needs to be looked into and forms the action that can be taken at the top, and which should show relatively quicker results.

    AT the bottom end of the scale, maybe the new centre will help. I am less aware of the grass roots level in England, so my thoughts here are limited to more general stuff like better coaching, perhaps more exposure to foreign coaches, exchange programs with academies in other countries etc.

    It’s an interesting challenge, and I also find it quite interesting that even an established football country such as England faces fairly existential questions on the future of its development.

  23. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Shard

    You’re right, those of a football mindset in the UK are asking plenty of questions about the future of the sport here. But there remains a deep and real passion here for the game. The trouble is we haven’t found our way to cultivating success in recent years in the way that our European brethren in Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy and France have.

    The situation is far worse in Scotland than it is in England. The Scots were the true originators of the modern game in the 19th century but their game is now in a terrible state, on pretty much every level. In England (and I think Wales) it’s not so bad, but there remains a problem. I would agree with Dyke on that, at least.

    The problem has perhaps been made to look worse by high profile British successes in plenty of other sports: tennis, cycling, athletics, rugby, cricket, the Olympics and the Paralympics, they’ve all had huge successes here in recent years. Which makes the mediocre performances of the national game look worse.

    I don’t think the situation in English football is as bad as some make out, but we could certainly do with a bit more of a focus on pure technical ability here.

  24. chäs says:

    What I don’t understand is that while the Premiership pool of English players may have gone down over the last 15 years, surely the quality of those players should have gone up? They will have been playing in a better quality league, with better quality players and with better role models around them.

    The 10% or 15% of English players we’ve lost wouldn’t have been of sufficient quality to play for England anyway. The remaining English players should have improved in leaps and bounds.

    As others have said, the reason for this comes from looking at it from bottom up, not top down. Yesterday’s discussion about coaching, large pitches, playing throughout the winter on terrible surfaces, dividing players into age groups, a win at all costs mentality for kids just developing their skills revealed a huge amount about where this country is going wrong.

  25. chäs says:

    Thanks for the post, 26. by the way. 🙂

    I hear the comment that the smaller number of English players in the prem is the cause of England’s poor showing as a team so often in Nottingham (usually from local supporters) and completely disagree that there’s any direct link.


    Thanks 26, interesting post.

    I tend to agree with Dyke, though i don’t like his name, brings back bad memories.

    In essence the Premier League is a big fat bloated cash cow.

    There is no responsibility to the England team from the Premier Clubs, its all about money. for this reason i would like to see a quota system were Clubs are forced to play a certain amount of English players.

    This is not only good for the National team, it also helps to preserve the identity and spirit of the clubs themselves.

    I can see the arguments against and the possible legal challenges of introducing such a system, but if we are not careful we will not only have a weakened National team, but also face the danger that current owners will believe that they can do what ever they want in search of the next buck. The 39th game is an an example of this greed.

    Football is this country’s National sport and should be protected.

    Jumpers for Goal Posts you Bastards

  27. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good day to you all.

    Dyke certainly has a point and it is illustrated by 26’s third paragraph in which he can name just fifteen young players, two of which, Zaha and Carroll are not regular starters fot their clubs, and is Walcott at twenty-four still a “young” player?

    When you look around the Premiership you see a host of foreign players interspersed with a few English ones almost as tokens.

    The recently closed transfer window also provides telling evidence, can anybody recall seeing even a hint of a foreign club expressing an interest in an English player?

    Here at Arsenal we have a well respected academy but it is filled with players from all over the globe, who are of no use to England. Our recent hunt for a central striker threw up just one serious option for an English player, Rooney, such a vital player for the England squad yet ony two clubs expressed any real interest, Arsenal and the Chavs.

    Yes Dyke has a point but can he or anyone do about it? Nothing is my guess.

    Sorry if there are any spelling errors in this comment, but my spell-checker along with various other tools have disapeared from my computer.

  28. arnie says:

    On to 26may’s great post a bit later, but first another piece of fantastic news:

    Hey ho!!!!!

    Excerpts from the news:

    “Hansen’s most memorable moment with the Premier League highlights programme – which currently attracts 5.5m viewers – came in 1995 when he famously responded to Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa by insisting: “You can’t win anything with kids.”

    “That line pretty much made me, simply because I got it so dramatically wrong!” Hansen admitted. “But despite being so dramatically wrong, if United hadn’t won the double that year, you could still say that line now.” ”

    Yes, Mr Pompous Pundit Pool-dweller continued to make that point, most recently or Arsenal throughout 2007-2013, predicting doomsday every year, and a position close to the bottom half. Egg on his face every time, still wouldn’t give up.

    Good riddance! Hopefully, MOTD will be worth watching once again!!!!

  29. gooner61 says:

    Will the FA still allow the England manager to take under 21 players for friendlies when they have tournament games.if so why say they want to win anything.mind you its easier to sack the manager than take any of the blame .

  30. Big Räddy says:

    MOTD needed a change. Trouble is they will give more work to the idiot Shearer

  31. rhyle says:

    Great read, as always – have given this a lot of thought over the years. It’s not the responsibility of EPL clubs to solve the problems of the FA, and quotas will never work – restriction of trade for EU players, restriction of earnings as well if you factor in minimum number of players on the pitch and appearance earnings. Quotas can work for non-EU, but not EU players as we’ve seen.

    Have put a blog with my solution in the inbox, hope it’s of interest!

  32. arnie says:

    Fantastic and very thoughtful piece, 26may. Hats off!!!!

    It is generally acknowedged that the EPL is the best league to play in, most recently by a guy called Mesut with a difficult family name. This was not the case 20 years back. It is also acknowledged that much of the success of the EPL was brought about by reorganisation of the league 15 years back. Which, together with an attractive and generally inclusive multicultural society, and a widely spoken and understood language, made the EPL one of the main places of choice for foreign players, managers and most recently owners. Which in turn created competition which is at the base of the success story that the EPL is. Yes, generally a success story.

    One of the downsides, claims Dyke, is the crowding out of home players. I am glad this discussion is happening now, rather than 4-5 years back, when snooty pundits and journos consistently blamed Arsenal for not playing English players. At the same time, Arsenal was breeding plenty of home talent in its Academy, a fact that went conveniently unnoticed.

    Why was Arsenal subject to such vitriol, when it was actually supporting English (and Welsh) football by developing youngsters? What is the fault in supporting a culture of meritocracy together with best value for money? And what indeed is the crime in starting to develop a multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic and multinational team, much earlier than any other English side? Remember the turn of the century folks, and the sharp contrast between an Arsenal side and any other?

    The UK is a small land, in area and population, and therefore limited in talent pool. But it is a land of people who, by and large, work hard and try to be the best in the world. And there are opportunities for people who are good, and want to be the best. But the expectation of the people, fuelled by the press, far exceeds capability. Imagine the burden of expectation that Tim Henman used to face every year before Wimbledon? He was a capable, hardworking athlete, but just did not have the right skills or the right luck to make it. Now, at least we have a Wimbledon winner! Hey ho!!!

    Same in football, really. Every time before the Euros or the World Cup, a huge burden of expectation hits the team, driven by the press and a fanatic people. Two distinct lists come together, hand in hand. Reasons why the team is the greatest ever (better than 1966), and reasons why the team will fall on its face. Both lists have ludicrous entries. I vividly remember one from the doomsday list that said: but, our manager is Swedish, and what a pity Sweden is in the same group, surely the team will manufacture a loss to Sweden.

    Together goes a degree of crowding out, because scarce home talent attracts a high premium, so home players are much more expensive compared to their value. At the same time, and as 26may rightly points out, home players are inward looking. They would not play abroad. There was a time when the only English player playing abroad was Hargreaves. At the moment, there is probably none.

    Verdict: Perhaps, not withstanding the talent, most of which rests in Arsenal (hey ho!!!), there is probably a bit less than what is expected. But to blame the PL clubs for that is ludicrous. If at all, they provided competition which should in principle improve quality. Solution must lie in academies. Will the FA support the PL in getting more home players in to academies? How? Let us see some action, rather than blank rhetoric!!!

  33. Rasp says:

    Top post 26m. I’m afraid I’m one of those for whom international football comes a long way second best to club football and so I find it hard to get too excited over the national team.

    AW clearly believes it is important to have a solid core of English/Welsh players and I believe Arsenal has the balance about right. But as everyone has said, an improvement has to begin at grass roots level with better coaching and facilities then sooner or later it will percolate through to PL level.

  34. Rasp says:

    Excellent analysis arnie. You have become a regular and valued contributor to the site – isn’t it about time we added your name to the list of authors? 🙂

    We’ve got 10 days to fill before the proper football returns, do you fancy writing a post for AA on any football related topic of your choosing?

  35. arnie says:

    Raap: thanks a lot. A scary thought, always easier to punt on a going thought rather than start one yourself. But, could give it a try.

  36. I think I’m being a bit thick but what is the significance of “Man On” that keep using on stories about Özzy ?

  37. 26may1989 says:

    Norfolk, if you want me to write a long list, just say the word, I can do it! Probably not the most interesting contribution to a discussion though!

    The assumption lying behind the assertions of some in Dyke’s camp is that the situation is worse now than it was before. I don’t see too much evidence of that. The truth is, other than a short period from c1965 to c1970, England have always been pretty ordinary in international football, and as I said earlier, were arguably significantly worse in the 1970s and 1980s than they are now. I do think we should do better as a nation, I just don’t think undermining the quality of the PL is the way to do it.

    From an economic point of view, increasing the quota system would make English players more valuable, so it would actually encourage them to continue to be less ambitious about playing elsewhere. That’s not going to help.

    We already have a quota system, in the form of the homegrown rules for squad membership. That seems more than sufficient to me.

  38. Had says:

    Off topic

    @Admin / Webmaster : last season we used to have lots of stats on the right side of the website (assists / goals ranking, results in the league and so on)
    I really enjoyed it, is it possible to have it again this season ? 🙂


  39. Rasp says:

    Hi Had, I’ve been compiling the stats and intend to reinstate most of what you saw last season. There’s not much to show after so few games but I will put them back up in the next few weeks – thanks for noticing 😛

  40. chäs says:

    Apparently when SSN broadcast news of Dyke’s statement they had a picture of Mesut Özil alongside. Reason enough to disagree with the whole thing.

    Do we really want to go back to the days of Hillier and Selley? 🙂

    Here is a list of the 1990 England squad. That year being the best we’ve done in an international tournament since 1966.
    Is anyone suggesting that these players wouldn’t have made it to play in the Premier League if it had been around then?

    Peter Shilton
    Gary Stevens
    Stuart Pearce
    Neil Webb
    Des Walker
    Terry Butcher
    Bryan Robson (c)
    Chris Waddle
    Peter Beardsley
    Gary Lineker
    John Barnes
    Paul Parker
    Chris Woods
    Mark Wright
    Tony Dorigo
    Steve McMahon
    David Platt
    Steve Hodge
    Paul Gascoigne
    Trevor Steven
    Steve Bull
    David Seaman
    Dave Beasant

  41. chäs says:

    I didn’t send the Walnutt assist for the spuds but updated my copy for next time.
    Did you see Rhyle sent a post in, as I didn’t see you acknowledge it?

  42. Thanks chas, I’ll have a look. Can someone remind me how to do the Umlaut on a small o on the pc please?

  43. 26may1989 says:

    A fair point chas, though I’d guess Dyke would say it’s the pool of talent that’s the problem, rather than the ultimate group of players selected.

    At a rough guess (and excluding those that went to play in Scotland), I think six of that 1990 squad played abroad at some point. Number of the current squad who have played outside the UK? Zero. In fact, when was the last time a player was picked for England while playing for a non-UK club? Owen “I’m not Canadian” Hargreaves?


    Ime afraid i have to disagree with most people on this subject.

    Its not just about the England team. Its about the identity of the Clubs and spirit endeared through out the country for football in general.

    Premiership teams full of foreign stars may seem great in the short term, but i believe in the long run it will have a detrimental affect, damaging peoples relationship and affinity to the game.

    In addition, its just another step for modern day owners, mostly in it for profit, to push the game in the direction that suits them as opposed to what fans or the general public want.

    On a broader scale, when is a line in the sand drawn. When there is a 39th game, no relegation or promotion, etc.

    By the time people take action, the game we all know and love could be lost.

  45. Shard says:

    Alt + 148, peaches

  46. Had says:


    Great ! I really love it, that’s actually how I got there in the first place and bookmarked this site.
    Of course then I enjoyed articles and comments !!

  47. arnie says:

    26may: Yes, Hargreaves, and Beckham. Just a nitpick. Agree with your general point.

  48. Shard says:


    While I agree about the identity of clubs being essential, I don’t think that has to come from the nationality of the players. That can help the bond with fans maybe, but surely it doesn’t have to be the foundation of it?

  49. chäs says:

    A larger pool doesn’t produce better quality at the top though, just more sediment at the bottom. 🙂 The better quality should still be evident in a smaller pool of players.

  50. Shard says:


    Before those two, and before Bale, there was Steve Mcmanaman at Real Madrid. I never liked him, but he was a very good player.

    Also, isn’t Hargreaves canadian born or something? I think he was a Bayern Munich academy graduate, although I’m not sure. He’s English more in name than anything else.

  51. 26may1989 says:

    That’s an interesting point, Terry. But I don’t think kids (i.e. future footy fans) find it difficult to feel the same sense of kinship with a foreign player any more than one from the UK. They are growing up in a more pluralistic, mixed environment, and that impacts on how they view their clubs.

    I do agree that there are problems in the connection between clubs and young fans, but I think that’s more to do with sky-high ticket prices, all-seat stadiums etc, than it is to do with the national make-up of the teams.


    True Shard, but i am attempting to make a broader point.

    The powers that run football in this Country are in it for money. This may have been true in the past to, but the issue was not as relevant because the money swirling around was less.

    I just see the demise of the England National team as just one of the processes that in the long term will damage football.

  53. 26may1989 says:

    Cheers arnie and Shard.

    Hargreaves is from Alberta, Canada to parents who had migrated there from Bolton. He was recruited to the Bayern Munich academy when he was a teenager. He was eligible to play for Canada, Germany, Wales and England. The first time he lived in England was when he joined Man U.

  54. Raddy. Look what someone from Denmark gave me

  55. chäs says:


    26, i agree.

    I suppose its a gut feeling. My rather bloated stomach is telling me that the demise of the England football team is going to be detrimental in the long term, but we will see.

  57. Haven’t read all of Dykes statement but Inter have fielded all non Italian sides and Italy still does well

  58. Shärd says:

    Well since everyone’s getting with the umlauts….

  59. chäs says:

    Arctic, GM.


    That GM pic of that nice looking beer has got me all excited. haha

  61. chäs says:

  62. Rasp says:

    Thanks Had, its good to know my efforts are appreciated 😉

    Hi chas, no, I must have missed Rhyle’s offer of a post, we’ll acknowledge and schedule, thanks for the head’s up.

  63. Shärd says:


    What is the significance of the Le Grove twitter exchange?

    Oh, which reminds me..Chary..or is that Chäry… I’d been sort of wondering that too about the “Man On” advertisements. Apart from the initials being the same as Mesut Ozil, and it’s use in football parlance, I’m not sure it means anything in particular. At least,not that I can figure out.

  64. arnie says:

    Terry: The optimist in me says the demise may still be stalled if we continue to take the Academy seriously. We have done well in the recent past. Other clubs can also perhaps do the same: Pool, ManUre, Everton? And the FA can do more by way of support.

    On the more general point, I am Indian and can speak only for myself. I moved to Britain in 2000, and one of the reasons I started supporting Arsenal was the lovely brand of football that a mixed group of players produced. Yes, diversity was part of the attraction, at least for me.

  65. arnie says:

    And diversity in other dimensions as well: a fantastic women’s team, development team, promotion of gay rights, etc.

  66. Rasp says:

    GN5 …. where are you? You must be the smuggest of smug supporters on a smug day in smugland 😕

    We’re going to grant you a 24 hour blog amnesty to come on and shout “I TOLD YOU SO” as many times as you wish 😆

  67. Sidney says:

    After Greg Dykes comments my biggest concern is for teams like Arsenal in Europe, what will happen if we are forced to field diluted English talent just for the sake of quotas,
    We cannot have one squad for the Premier League and some extra quality foreign talent just for the Champions league, top players won’t stand for that.

    Also shooting Dykes comments down I would like him to explain the demise of Scottish football, the League up there isn’t full of Johnny Foreigners yet I cannot think of one player that has come out of Scotland in the last 20 years who would get into a top 4 team yet in the 70’s and 80’s they had players who were top top quality like Dalglesh, Hanson, etc.

    Harry Redknapp got it right, kids don’t kick footballs around anymore. the parks ban ball games, too much traffic in the streets and the kids have it too easy, stay in the warm and play FIFA etc or go out and play football in the rain (on there own) it’s a no brainer.

    Don’t let Dyke get his way please!

  68. chäs says:

    Less of the twitter conversation came out than it appeared would with the link. I was disgusted that some are still trying to do the club down by implying that we only got Özil because we spent a shed load of money almost with all other factors disregarded. I was hoping miserable f*ckers everywhere would at least take a few days off.

  69. chäs says:

  70. Thanks Shard, I’m not quite sure about this “Man on” business either. I thought it may some subliminal farewell to our ex GK that left for Sunderland.

  71. chäs says:

    Well said, Sidney.

  72. dandan says:

    Rasp am I allowed to whisper, 🙂


    Very nice points arnie.

    Hope i dont come over as some form of bigot.

    i am all for diversity. The other day on the tube i decided to pick pocket some business mans wallet. He caught me at it and yelled “What the hell do you think your doing?” I replied “Ime just introducing some cultural harmony into your life by diversifying your cash to me”

    He understood perfectly. haha

  74. arnie says:

    Yes, well said, Sidney. Dyke and the FA should come up with constructive efforts rather than trying to finger Arsenal and co for quite fantastic efforts to promote the English game.

  75. Rösp says:

    Hi chas, as a reformed miserable f*cker, I am now rejoicing in my new mental condition of being a happy f*cker …. at least as far as the football is concerned.

    We are judged by results and the result of our summer business is success. We have added to our defensive depth and flexibility (Flamster) and bought one of the top players in the world …. one who is superior to Bale and cost half the price …… I can’t see any room for despondency

  76. arnie says:

    Terry: point well taken. some of the money made by the big clubs should be put into development of the game at the junior level. If that is what the FA wish to do, good luck indeed!

  77. Räsp says:

    Hi dandan, sorry I can’t hear you 😛

  78. chäs says:

    Haha, Rösp. 😆

  79. Rosp ?? Why are you Rosp ? And you have have a “metal” condition, which is good, can I ask power or death ?

  80. ..and now Rosp, you’ve changed it to mental…booo !!

  81. Räsp says:

    Haha chary, I’m also räsp now … oh the power of editing, I can change history and never be wrong again!

  82. dandan says:

    Story of my life Rosp. 😦

  83. Räsp says:

    dandan, do you know where GN5 has gone?

  84. Räsp says:

    chary, where do you go to find all these variations on the letters, I found ä by a process of elimination – there must be an easier way

  85. chös says:

  86. ärnie says:

    Thank you, Räsp, I can now do a copy and paste …..

  87. dandan says:

    Sorry I don’t Rasp, Kelsey is the man to ask.

  88. chös?????????????????????????

  89. ärnie says:

    Wenger, Ferguson, Mourinho and Ancelotti were honoured at the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum in Nyon on Wednesday, in recognition of their contribution to European football.

    BTW, has Wenger or any other top manager made any reactions to Dyke’s rant?

  90. evönne says:

    chas @ 4:10pm 🙂 🙂 very gööd

  91. chäs – I got my twitter feed onto the blog 🙂 but it only showed my tweets and they are insanely boring so I took it off. There’s another set of instructions to read so I’ll have another go later 😦 #girlsandinstructions

  92. chäs says:

    I was thinking earlier this morning that if blogging was like twitter, I would probably have unfollowed some of the great bloggers on here at one time or another. Maybe the two should be kept separate? 🙂

  93. chäs – it probably won’t work anyway cos the instructions are so complicated 😦

  94. I just found my umlaut-y stuff by random googling Raspers.

  95. Big Räddy says:

    chas. So true….. Take that Didit fella, I would have binned him along with Spectrum..

    Do we need tweeter? There are enough technical problems with bloody WordPress

  96. Irishgunner says:

    FGG – That is interesting about the post you left last night about the training in Holland, seems to be a good idea. Clearly it’s working. Would also tougher up players if they are in with older kids.

    RL/BR – I watched that Downfall video 3 times, so very, very funny.

    GM – Can’t wait to meet you 🙂 Even if I don’t get a ticket I’ll be down at the Tavern pre-match but I’ll source one between now and then.

    I should get Norwich tickets easy enough though? I have Red Membership (x2) but stupid work means I won’t be able to try for tickets till 5pm and they go on sale at 10am or something?

  97. Irishgunner says:

    My favourite pastime of this week has been going up to Man Utd fans moaning about getting Fellaini and butting in on their bitching with:

    “Arrah sure lads if you’re not willing to fork out the big money, you’ll not get the world class players!”

    It’s a nice, smug feeling doing that. One signing has made us so feared … it’s great!

  98. Hi all, a Post from 26May, a rare treat indeed.
    I’m still trying to digest the Mesut Ozil signing, absolutely brilliant piece of business.
    As to your Post, 26, it is a deep-rooted political issue more than a football one. We have a diverse and somewhat diluted culture, and in embracing that, you lose a certain amount of national pride.
    There is something fundamentally missing from our mentality that exists in countries such as Scotland and Germany, you only have to compare the passion of any of the Old Firm or the Bundesliga clubs to see it.
    Most 12 year olds from a council estate or big cities in this country would rather sell drugs than play football because we live in a nation obsessed with celebrity culture and dominated by greed.

  99. Irishgunner says:

    Kind of appropriate that the diverse and diluted culture debate should arise on the week we sign Ozil who attributes his work ethic to being German and his flair to being of Turkish heritage.

  100. Hi Irish,

    I think the Germans have a better sense of who they are culturally than many of the English. You only need to look at their football achievements from Men and Women on the international stage.
    The Women alone have won the last six Euro Championships, and have a coimpletely different mind-set to their English counterparts.

  101. Irishgunner says:

    Hi WaTA,

    Do you think it has to do with integration or just a sense of identity? It is a really interesting area and one I did a mini-thesis on in relation to Ireland and the Irish rugby team, could have completed a library of works on it to to be honest and I still don’t know the answer ha ha

  102. chäs says:

    I feel closer to the Germans than I do, to say, the scousers or brummies.

  103. chäs says:

    Apparently Sanogo starts for the French u21s for those gagging for football.

  104. Hi Irish,

    I think it’s far too big a subject for me to give you a proper articulated explanation. England has been raped and pillaged for thousands of years by all and sundry, which makes them a somewhat mongrel race. But for me, there’s a major personality issue. As a capitalist country entrenched in pageantry and privelige, 95% of the people are enslaved by a system that forces them to work for and protect the status of the top 5%, even at the cost of their own lives.
    Most people are so oppressed by this system they find it difficult to find or share any sense of national pride.
    The problems in football mirror those of society, again ruined by greed.
    An example of this is the death of Kettering Town, whom Ron Atkinson won his only title with in 1974 (Southern League), and only missed out by a few votes from being elected into the Football League. Derek Dougan and even ‘Gazza’ managed them, now they are no more.

  105. Gööner In Exile says:

    Thänks Chäs I wïll hävë ä göösy gändër ät Sänögö

  106. Watch out London the Germans are invading arsenal .
    Just don’t mention the war

  107. weedonald says:

    If you look at Spain and France….they have excellent Club or National academies and a focus on youth development that puts England to shame. The Fa are a bunch of stuffed suits who aren’t interested in anything but filling their fat bellies and spouting nonsense about the EPL and foreign players….when they do NOTHING to generate youth talent in England. Its the same with referees…allowing the PGMOL to control the officials in the EPL like the mafia they are.

  108. Gööner In Exile says:

    “Most people are so oppressed by this system they find it difficult to find or share any sense of national pride.”

    Did you miss London 2012 completely?

    There was plenty of national pride in evidence.

  109. Gööner In Exile says:

    I also wanted to take issue with Sidney earlier who said people were banned from playing sports in park and that traffic is an issue etc.

    I really struggle with this, because I don’t see it, ok I see the traffic, but I also see pedestrian crossings, I see the football pitched unused… No idea why maybe it’s the fact that kids are packed off to summer clubs whilst parents work, or maybe the thought of strange men approaching because the tabloids have made us think there is a predator waiting to snatch them in every alleyway.

    I talked with my sister in law the other day she said “but it was different then”….I had to words for her “Moors Murders”. What there is more of now is tabloid frenzies.

    Now when I was a kid and I played over the park if a strange man or woman approached us what did we do? Run home as quickly as we could.

    I’ve already said I want George to have the same childhood I did, do the unsupervised things I did, and not be surrounded by gadgets, we all have the ability to make it different.

  110. dandan says:

    We are the Arsenal.. What planet are you living on….. Do a bit of foreign travel mate and you will see how lucky you are to live here.

  111. Hi Gooner In Exile,

    The Olympics and the Paralympics were fantastic events which created a little window of national pride for two months, but we’re not discussing a multi-sport subject, we’re discussing football and Greg Dyke’s assessment of our national side.
    The Olympics didn’t cure the triple recession or take us out of austerity, it merely distracted us from the bigger picture.

  112. Hi Dandan,

    Firstly I just want to say I hope you and your family are all well, thanks for the response.
    I’m not criticising the country, there is plenty to enjoy and savour about Britain and being British. I do consider myself fortunate, because our heritage marks us out as the greatest country in the world.
    The administration and governance of the public is a completely different subject, and not really one that belongs on a football blog.

  113. Gööner In Exile says:

    The thing is Herb, football is in some ways an isolated anomaly, cycling, cricket, athletics are out performing football in terms of international success so your theory, to me anyway, doesn’t hold.

    As surely we would be under performing in these sports too….we’re not which says that football may just be going through a bad patch, or that we are not identifying talent, or that it is not being coached properly.

    I think Dave Brailsford proves what good coaching achieves when used in the right way.

  114. GoonerB says:

    Sorry I am late to the post. I thought I would be commenting far earlier but things conspired. Well done for stepping in with the post last minute 26May and your thoughts about why young English players don’t seek to play abroad more, as players from other countries do, hit a chord with me. It is an area I have often wondered about and I feel also translates to British managers. It is one of many areas where I feel we fall down in this country.

    I was a massive England fan till the later 90’s and quite literally fell out of love with the national team. I actually care very little for the England national side these days because I feel, by and large, the whole of the English football hierarchy have their heads shoved up their back-sides.

    My in laws are big fans of the EPL and each supports an EPL team religiously, but I always remember when (many years ago) my father in law seriously played down England as a national side alluding to an arrogance and over-inflated opinion of ourselves as a football nation. I couldn’t get where he was coming from at the time but slowly started to see it this way myself.

    All that over the top media nonsense and sabre rattling just before a tournament, about how we can conquer the footballing world is now very tiresome. Full page pictures of certain players in an open roar with lions fangs inserted into mouth. Then when the business starts we end up being technically outplayed by far smaller countries with far less resources and investment in domestic football. Sure we bully and overcome some of them with our direct and physical game which mirrors the English game as a whole, but even then you are watching it frustrated knowing the big come down is just around the corner.

    When the embarrassing exit does happen I can hear the likes of Shearer very somberly announcing that now finally we must do something about the state of English football only to sit on MOTD the next season and applaud teams like Stoke from the rafters for an excellent 0-0 draw with a gritty defensive display against a better technical side where they got 10 men behind the ball and “got in their faces”. How they deserved that point. Well, you can’t have it both ways Al.

    One of the things that finally switched me off from England was the persecution of AW. He always said that because of the scarcity of technical English footballers that the few out there were vastly over-priced and he could get the same quality far cheaper on the continent where the vast majority were better technically trained from a young age. All the while he was setting in motion his own academy to bring through better technical English players, yet no-one in the English football hierarchy or media bothered to look at what he was doing, and preferred to castigate him and literally pronounce Arsene Wenger as the sole reason that the national team was failing. Pardew once mocked Wenger for the number of foreign players in one team saying he would never stoop to that. How bloody hypocritical is that man now?

    What AW also said is that by limiting foreign players in the EPl you will not improve the national side but just weaken the EPL, and it is a view I have always agreed upon. They didn’t want to listen to him then and won’t now. At 16 a player should have all the basic technical skills in place and just need the maturing of those basic skills. Most of the English players fall a notch below our European counterparts at this age and that is why the foreign players get the nod from the top sides, and no amount of artificially forcing them onto the EPL will improve them to the required level at this stage, and as a bi-product, the national side, to the required level.

    One centre of excellence in the country will not suffice either IMO. The centres of excellence we should be looking to are all over the country. It is all the youth saturday clubs that need to be changed where the attitude to the type of football to be played needs to be corrected and moving higher all the clubs like, say in this region, Barnet, St. Albans, Stevenage, Luton. They all need to be encouraged and probably backed and financially rewarded to coach to a specific agenda in areas like encouraging defenders to play the ball out rather than shout at them the first time they get caught on the ball because they didn’t “Get Rid”. We have to stop favouring the more physically developed player than a more skilful but less physically developed player of the same age, especially say in the ages 8-12, because I still believe this still largely goes on. I don’t think we would have a Messi or Neymar had they been brought up in England.

    I remember when France failed to qualify for a tournament under Houllier and the French F.A drew a line in the sand and decided to do something about it with their younger players and cue the great side that won the 98 world cup. When they won it we all declared proudly how we would take a leaf out of their book and follow their blue print to success. Did we? Did we hell. That is the problem we always talk about it but never actually do it. We should actually be looking to say lets match what that nation (the best currently) do and actually improve on it. That is what Spain and now Germany have done. We always talk about catching up and not going one better, and in the end we don’t even catch up with what the best national side of 8 years earlier were doing. We just revert to the same old view of things once the EPL starts and applaud those gritty defensive, physical sides.

    That is why I am no longer really an England fan because you can see from the comments from the likes of Dyke that he is just churning out the same old lines as we did back in the 90’s, about johnny foreigner stopping the progress of the good honest belt and braces English lad.

    No-one in that English football hierarchy actually asks the question “why are the foreign players favoured over the British lads”, because the answer to that question provides the solution to the problem (not in 2-3 years but with a dedicated 10-15 year programme with a full change of our footballing attitudes. I actually don’t think most of them want to face the unpalatable truth and the difficult answer, so just find it easier to moan about it like Dyke. And so it goes on unchanging.

    Rant over.

  115. chäs says:

    Good luck with that re George.
    All the lads we go camping with are gadget mad, though they do play football and cricket for hours on end. If they weren’t allowed their electronics they’d feel as though they were deprived.

    Sanogo looked good with his back to goal in the first half, his hold-up play and linking with the midfield very good. He still looks like he’s growing into his massive frame to me. The French were 3-0 up after 18 mins, none for Yaya as yet.

  116. Gööner In Exile says:

    The gadgets will be hardest as my house is full of them…. But it’s about seeing them as I do as a great help rather than a necessity.

    GoonerB the one player that bucks that trend recently is obviously Little Jack….but the crazy thing is we are not just out played by strong nations like Spain, I guarantee the Moldovans will have more respect for the football than us this weekend.

  117. The England national side has been under-performing for years.
    Who knows what might have happened in Mexico ’86 had Argentina not cheated their way past us, a penalty shoot-out away from the WC final in 1990 and the Euro’s in 1996, but it’s been poor fare overall.
    If any of you watch ‘The Big Match’ on ITV4 (times vary), you will immediately recognise the style of football and how little things have changed. Punt the long ball to the big man up top and go from there.
    It has been the staple diet of our coaching manuals for time and memorial.
    We have a laziness embedded in our DNA, and have far too much procrastination. Where others would address urgent issues immediately, the English will pause for tea and spend hours pondering their best strategy.

  118. fatgingergooner says:


    Did Sanogo manage a goal in the end? Did he play well?

  119. chäs says:

    I didn’t watch the 2nd half, fgg.
    They won 5-0 in the end, he didn’t score.
    All goals were scored before he got subbed off on 67′.

  120. chäs says:

    Nice grävätär. 🙂

  121. arnie says:

    Going back to the original post, really really fantastic work 26may. A relatively heavy day with many sombre thoughts, positive and negative. The nice balance was a welcome change from the wild fluctuations in the last few days, from doom to elation, and so on. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    I think whichever side of the divide each of us falls on, or even if one is split exactly down the middle, we generally agree about two things about Arsenal and AW.

    1. In consitently supporting the Academy, which had a fantastic collection of British home talent, and despite no support and only castigation from all around at the time, Arsenal has done a fantastic job that we can all be proud of.

    2. In retaining our English and Welsh talent, we are placed very well in future states of the world in terms of home player representation on the team. Whatever happens, we need not worry about quotas/ regulations. More importantly, we can expect many players playing, and leading for, the relevant national teams. And we can be proud of their exploits for the national sides.

    The flip side is that, Arsenal should not ignore the Academy. It is very important for the Arsenal way of doing things, and we are very proud of it. So, in addition to spending some money in teh transfer market, for a change it has to be said, we should soon start to focus on teh Academy again. Even if it does not bear fruit in the short run.

    Go on The Arsenal!!!

  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all.

    Couple of days of great posts, and interesting and entertaining comments. Thanks GonnerB and 26.

    England. Not sure I see a problem. Get to quarters and semis quite a lot. Lots of good young players coming through, and if it weren’t for the odd pen, we may have one another world cup along the way.

    If there are problems, and nothing is perfect, then I’d say we pick some rubbish managers, and then compared to Spain, France, Italy and Germany, the weather is rubbish.

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Day 4, and I still have not got over the signing of Ozil 🙂

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Interested to read the parenting thoughts of 26 and GiE.

    Vingt-six suggested children need hurdles to overcome. I immediately got Dave over to assemble five foot concrete block walls in front of my childrens’ bedroom doors. I’m expecting straight “A’s” from both this term.

  125. chäs says:

    Definitely feel closer to the Germans

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Do you want to take the Ant n’ Duck show on the road. Dortmund away I suggest

  127. chäs says:

    Sounds great, Micky.
    Unfortunately that’s Ant’s birthday week and we have a few things lined up already.

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry, just look at the pic above. You have something “better” to do!

  129. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all.

    Bit of admin….Peaches/Rasp I stuck a post in drafts with a scheduled date it doesn’t have to be used when I scheduled it but I did it on the phone and If I set draft on the WP app it always asks for a date to publish.

    😀 at Micky.

  130. chäs says:

    Not better, just already arranged. 🙂

  131. Gööner In Exile says:

    Surely Chary has forgiven Cesc a little bit.

    Fabregas told The Sun: ‘I would not have moved for double the money. Nor triple. No.

    ‘I’ve paid out of my pocket to play for Barca. I earned more at Arsenal. There are dreams and this was mine since I was a child.”

  132. fatgingergooner says:


    Love the fact that you’ve just made a whole days blogging meaningless by pointing out the fact England are rubbish due to the weather! 😀 Brilliant!

    Wenger wasn’t wrong when he said the TW is like a game of poker. ‘I will see your £109m, and I will raise it with free transfers and a 1-0 win and then just to p*ss you off even further, I’m going to throw in an Özil!’ 🙂

    Day 4 Özil Update: Still cannot believe we’ve signed him!

  133. fatgingergooner says:

    Did anyone actually mention the winter break, or heavy workload that players have in England?

    It sounds cheesy but there are no easy games in the PL. The pace of matches compared to La Liga, Bundesliga etc takes its toll. Barca were 6-0 up at half time the other week and had barely got a dab on, then a few days later Villa went to Chelsea and could’ve had a draw. It would be interesting to see what percentage of games in England are still highly competitive after 75 minutes compared to those around Europe.

    This may also explain why Spain dominate right now. Fair enough, they have brilliant players, but also the majority of their starting XI play for the 2 teams that walk the league every season. Not only do they play together regularly but they dominate most of the domestic matches. That’s before you even look at injury comparisons between the PL and the much softer La Liga, where fouls are given for absolutely minimal contact. Could that be a factor?

  134. evönne says:

    some revealing stuff from Ibrahimovitch. The last paras are about Wenger, hm…..not too flatering

  135. MickyDidIt89 says:


    It is kinda obvious really. For nine months of the year (we can call it the “football season”), children come home from school, do their homework and have something to eat. By this time, it’s dark, cold and raining.

    Upstairs, there is a Playstation, with super realistic car racing of every type, with a proper steering wheel and foot pedals. Have you ever had a go? I have, and it is absolutely brilliant.

    Now, of course, you could go out in the dark, cold and rain to be shouted out by some old git who still thinks it’s really unfair that he was not selected to play for Manchester United, and he’s bloody well going to take it out on you.

  136. evönne says:

    are you that old git? what’s that about Manure?

  137. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Actually, here’s a real life example.

    Recently, I was on holiday in a beautiful village in Italy, where there were no drunken yobs roaming the streets at night. Every evening, I was happy for my 13 yr old son to go out into the square with his football, and kick about with Italian boys until 11.15 at night.

    Last night, as with every Wednesday, there was football training in my local village, but said son decided he didn’t want to go.

    Interestingly, it’s run by Mike. Mike is a Manchester United fan, and I know him quite well because he has twin boys in the same year in the same school. Mike is an absolute prick.

  138. Mike says:

    see you next Wednesday mate!!!

  139. Mïke says:

    At least I am a prick who takes his son to football training

  140. Bïg Räddy says:

    Morning All,

    Interesting read abut Ibra. The man obviously has “issues”

  141. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Danish Mike
    Are you ganging up on me?

  142. Gööner In Exile says:

    Headline: Wenger made me feel like a little boy

    Quote : The really awesome thing was that I was going to meet Arsene Wenger. I felt like a little boy when we stepped into his office.

    Subtle difference on who caused the feeling.

  143. GoonerB says:

    The acquisition of Ozil I think will be bigger than we even perceive right now. The positive fall-out from this will extend beyond purely the acquisition of a great player. It also makes a statement to world football. How many top players do you think now view us in a completely different light. I wonder what RVP thinks now?

    Reports doing the rounds this morning are that AW will move for Suarez again in January and will re-smash our new transfer record with a £50m bid. I know some don’t want him due to his character but purely on a football level he is absolutely top draw and likely the final missing piece in our jigsaw. He is that rare blend of striker that scores goals at the rate of a top poacher but provides the assists and link up play of a top AM. We were not his first choice even though he would have considered us. I just wonder whether the Ozil deal will now make him see us as a first choice destination as oppose to a second choice if the other one doesn’t come off.

  144. Morning all

    GoonerB – I think you’re right, the signing of Özil is such a massive statement of intent that players should be lining up to sign for us. The dutchman is going to be really sorry he listened to the little boy in his head.

  145. Sorry all, I’m having trouble deciding which post to use for today ………………….. back in a bit.

  146. Ok, I’ve chosen ……. perfect for a Friday 🙂

  147. ……….New Post ……………..

  148. england buy says:

    Hello there, I came across your site by way of Google if you are an associated subject, your web site surfaced, it looks fantastic. I have added onto favorites|put into this bookmarks.

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