A Manifesto for Establishing Continued Success for the English National Team.

Greg Dyke has a fistful of complaints against everyone but the FA as to why the English national team has failed at every level for a very long time – yet is engaging the same minds responsible for the current problems to solve it. The problems are not insurmountable, but a paradigm shift needs to occur at the FA in terms of their own responsibility to deliver elite players and ensure that they get the time on the pitch they need to develop to their full potential.

Being an insomniac, I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years and have always had a very basic solution in mind – remove the self-interest of the domestic club and you have the foundation for success. Below I’ve detailed what I think are the key issues and how it should be resolved. You might think I like my US sports based on what I’ve put together below…and you’d be right.

The key issues as to why the national team has continually failed:

· Not enough young English players forcing their way through to first team football at the top of the game.

· Not enough coaches of the calibre required to nurture young players to their full potential.

· A lack of desire or willingness of top-level teams to release their players on a consistent basis to the national team.

The following steps are those that I feel would be address the situation and put English football back where it belongs – at the top of the international tree:

· Increase scouting at FA – identify potential “elite” players as early as possible, retain them as FA-based players but make nearest PL team responsible for development – a certain % of academy must be allocated to FA players who live within a certain distance from training ground. If more than one team in locale, decision where to train must be made by player after tender offers by clubs. Club will then have first refusal of said player under the following point.

· FA owned central contracts. FA must follow crickets route of ensuring their best players are made available to the national side and the only guaranteed way of doing so is by following a cricket / US model of central contracts for English players, with teams then negotiating with FA to “loan” their players, paying a loan fee and all wages for the player. FA must have right of recall for those players not getting an agreed amount of game time to ensure English players are given priority. This would negate the key legal issue around having to field a minimum number of English players vs non-English, which contravenes European employment rules in terms of EU players – particularly bearing in mind that the appearance remuneration makes quotas impossible as a restriction of both trade and earnings.

· All FA-based players must take their coaching badges as part of their education. Need to ensure the next generation of coaches are coming through. Should also learn how to effectively referee the game at the top level.

· All England internationals should be contractually obliged to help with the coaching of young English players at their domestic club and pre youth football tournaments. Could be rotated, with players having to complete a minimum level of hours per season.

· The FA should be responsible for the fitness and assessment of fitness for all English players, not the domestic club.

· Through agreement with international FA’s, there should be a player / coach swap, where elite players and coaches are sent abroad to learn under different techniques / philosophies for a short amount of time.

· Premier League clubs should be contractually obliged to provide facilities and help in the development of the next generation of coaches and managers.

Hopefully you’ve found it interesting – would love hear what you think!



40 Responses to A Manifesto for Establishing Continued Success for the English National Team.

  1. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks Rhyle. From one insomniac to another, interesting thoughts, and I agree with much of what you say.

    But there’s one item on your list of fixes that really sticks in my throat: central contracts. My objection goes to the fundamental nature of the game; is it primarily a club game or a national team game? To me, it is most definitely mostly about club football.

    I make no apologies for saying that, though I know there are many football fans who see it differently. I want to see England do well in every tournament, but absolutely not at any cost to Arsenal or the club game generally.

    The idea of the FA being able to pull Wilshere or Walcott, or the Welsh FA being able to pull Ramsey, from the league fray is utterly obnoxious to me. It’s a long time since the international football represented the highest level of the game, the club game is far superior. And the clubs of course (using our money) pay vast amounts for the services and development of their players. Club football comes first.

    It’s different in a game like cricket, where the dynamics are the other way around: even a real cricket enthusiast like me spends little time thinking about their county team, most of the attention goes into the England team, something that is reflected in the finances, with most of the professional game’s money (both in England and internationally) being generated in the international game. County sides are willing to accept the loss to the England side of their star players for some or perhaps all of the season because they get a huge chunk of cash back from the ECB as a share of the revenue from broadcasting international games. They can live with it because they know the international game is where the action is. So my county, Yorkshire (don’t ask why), can easily accept not having much of the services of an important player like Tim Bresnan.

    I also have my doubts about whether the FA could afford to have 10, 15 or 20 PL players on central contracts at today’s rates. And any potential for the players on those contracts being paid less than those market rates would be very vulnerable to a legal challenge from those players, on the basis that they should not have to receive less money on a central contract than they would from a club.

    All in all, that’s a no to central contracts from me!

  2. Bïg Räddy says:

    Rhyle. Some interesting and different ideas .

    I agree with 26 about central contracts being unfeasible. However, this is because, like him, and millions of others I am club biased. That said, I am always proud when an Arsenal player starts for England.

    One difficulty is the massive amounts of money in club football which the FA cannot compete with.

    The coaches at big clubs are foreigners or have (almost always) international experience.

    I will be thinking about your post as I cycle up the coast.

  3. JanMan says:

    Good post Rhyle. Unfortunately I think the British mentality is part of the problem. The party attitude, binge drinking and overall lack of discipline plays a big role. European kids are brought up from early ages to play with the ball. The coaching ethics are all geared towards movement with the ball and group drills working with the ball. If the kids are not having fun with the ball then they cannot develope skills. I think that the British way of thinking about how the game should be played is at fault. Everyone talks about grass roots football, well that is all where it begins. British coaches are not prepared to adapt to European coaching methods. Why do you think that everything changed when Wenger first come to England. He set the standard for all to follow. Look at players like Cole and Terry, what sort of example do they set for young British players to follow? Look at the previous U21 coach, Stuewert Pierce, what a clown. He blamed his failures on the players and refused to take any responsibility. Sorry to say but English football and the English mentality towards the game is still in the middle ages, miles behind everyone else. The British Premier league is the greatest in the world because it attracts the best players from around the world and the EPL is where the money is. The F:A. needs to step up to the plate and take responsibility for its failures and stop trying to blame everyone else for the state of English football.

  4. rhyle says:

    Thanks for the feedback, peeps.

    I, too, am club biased 100%. Haven’t watched an England game outside of a major tournament since we got beat by NI…clear tha the players (particularly Rio) didn’t care, so easy for me to stop caring too!

    Central contracts – yes, it is difficult, and does require a complete overhaul of current thinking. It’d be hugely difficult to land with clubs, I’d imagine, too. But I’m convinced it would work. FA financial responsibility to the players could be mitigated through the auction process and loan fee from clubs being reinvested and I’d make clubs responsible wholly for wage whilst player is under contract and finally a current-market process of selling English players to highest bidder overseas. As I say, understand why that’ll be a tough sell but can’t see any other solutions that ensure pitch time and that the interests of the national team are held to be of equal importance to those of the domestic club.

    What about a shared ownership model? Could that work?

  5. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the post Rhyle, some interesting ideas there. As one who also puts country a long way behind club in priority, the idea of having Arsenal’s best English players tied up with a central contract doesn’t appeal.

    I think the farce of selecting Qatar for the WC shows how ridiculous the whole FIFA situation has become and does not bode well for international football in general. FIFA is institutionally corrupt, and once Sepp Blatter retires he is likely to be replaced by Platini who has already shown he will be equally biased.

  6. JanMan says:

    So now Rio Ferdinand steps up to back the FA and claim it is a disgrace to have so many foreign players in the EPL (referring to the City Newcastle game). This is the same Rio Ferdinand that refused to play for England as it interfered with his special training programme. Also Rio, remind me again, how many foreign players are on Utd books?

  7. Evönne says:

    good article Rhyle, thank you very much!

    I often thought on the subject of international football, but not necessarily in England. I am from Poland, a large country with huge footballing history and traditions, that cannot beat Montenegro. There are many good Polish players in the country and abroad, that simply cannot play together.

    I love Arsenal first and foremost, but it hurts to watch my countrymen being ridiculed by even smallest nations of Europe.

    Why is this happening? No idea whatsoever. No national pride? Probably

  8. Gööner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all, food for thought there Rhyle.

    When I was a lad the football system in my school was thus (in terms of priority):


    No second questions….that was it.

    I said the other day how I know people whose children have joined a pro academy only to be told it is the only football they are allowed to play (excluding schoolboy international).

    Central contracts not for me but I do like the coaching ideas, and the reffing idea. You wouldn’t think it would be too hard for PFA to join in.

  9. chäs says:

    Thanks for the post, Rhyle.
    I’m not sure I understand it being from simple stock.
    I can’t see how English football belongs at the top of the international tree.

  10. RockyLives says:

    Thankyou Rhyle
    That’s a very thoughtful and well argued Post.

    As I’m sure you knew when you were writing it, the argument will fall on deaf ears to most people here on AA because we will always put club before country. I’m no exception.

    If we starting from scratch and creating a football system whose aim was primarily to win the Euros and WCs, then the approach you’re proposing would have merit.

    But football in the UK started at a very local level – teams of co-workers – and grew into the club system we all continue to follow and enjoy.

    The national side and its tournaments are really a ‘bolt-on’ to the club system and as such will never have the support of people who, first and foremost, support their club team.

    I always enjoy getting behind the England team for tournaments (ironically, even more so since I stopped living in the UK). That said, it has been harder to like England in the last 10 years because the team has included some humungous twunts.

  11. Hi Rocky

    I used the post that you’d left in drafts, I’m hoping you weren’t wanting me to save it until tomorrow. In other words have you time to put one in for tomorrow, pretty please 😉

  12. I can’t see how they can fix International football in this country

  13. Gööner In Exile says:

    Peaches I assume you’ve seen my post in drafts if you are really short? Not that I think it’s a Rocky Monday offering just if you’re short.

  14. Gööner In Exile says:

    Rocky touches on something important…..we English laughed off the World Cup in the early years….was it 1950 we first entered?

    Maybe we should have remained out of it, would save the heartache 😀

  15. RockyLives says:

    I was planning to put a new one in for tomorrow 🙂

    The other was just a quickie following your plea earlier in the week.

  16. Evönne says:

    how would you know about the 50s GiE?

    I don’t even think there is anything tragically wrong with the English football. The EPL is one of the strongest leagues in the world, but it is hardly because of the English players. So why would anybody expect this country to win the World Cup, or think not winning it is a failure?

  17. Bïg Räddy says:

    Rio Ferdinand. The imbecile believes his opinion has weight and value

    He hasn’t coached or managed. He has been shown to be a drugs cheat. He refused to wear the England shirt etc etc etc

    Shame on him and all who sail in him

  18. Boring day
    No news wife watching shit on tv

  19. Gööner In Exile says:

    Right chaps and chapesses thinking caps on 4 days of posts to fill to stop Peaches shouting later in the week 😀

    I’m sure 26 said something about an AST related post, and I’m pretty sure Micky has thought of a special way to welcome Özil.

  20. Gööner In Exile says:

    “The Newcastle protestors hope their march will help find a new owner for the club”

    Are there a lot of millionaires on Newcastle High Street or are they just going to continue til they find someone?

  21. 26may1989 says:

    Wotcha Exile. AST tirade has been written, it’s with ‘er indoors for consideration….

  22. Gööner In Exile says:

    “Arsenal are reopening £15m contract talks with manager Arsene Wenger, and hope a £40m January transfer fund will persuade the 63-year-old Frenchman to sign.”

    So he does want to spend money? Or you’re just making shite up again?

  23. Gööner In Exile says:

    Good stuff 26….that’s 1 less post needed, now we just need to hope for rain and flat seas in Cornwall and Micky’s will get written.

  24. arnie says:

    Rasp, Peaches, et al.:

    I can try and do a post for Weds. Does that work? When/ where should I send this? cheers.

  25. neamman says:

    Good post but I don’t really care about International football. Of course if England or any home nation is playing I want them to win but if they don’t so be it. I would rather Arsenal win the EPL than England win the World Cup if I had a choice.
    My support is for Arsenal, Rangers and Orient in that order. Don’t know why I like Orient other than I used to pass their ground on the train every day 40 odd years ago and just got fond of them.

  26. Gööner In Exile says:

    Arnie, there’s a page at the top of the blog called Be Our Guest, all the info you need is there (basically the email addy).

    Best thing to do is put post on an email (either in email or attaching word document).

    Peaches/Rasp decide running order based on time sensitivity of content, others kept in reserve for International breaks etc. We all enjoy a good trip down memory lane from time to time.

  27. arnie says:


    Great food for thought. Unfortunately, things are busy, hence I am coming in so late. But two observations.

    First, the comparison with cricket is interesting. What is called a national team in cricket is not really a national team. Unlike the English FA, which has some natural legitimacy at the national level, the ECB is really a club. And international tournaments, the Champions League and the so-called Cricket World Cup, is really a club tournament.

    Some time back, a new club was formed in India, challenging the role of the BCCI (the Indian board), and its legitimacy was questioned. The government took leagl advice and gave a judgment that the BCCI was really a club, and had no legitimacy as the sole representative for India. I suppose the same holds for ECB. Hence, central contracts can work there. Not so in football.

    Second, as pointed out in your post and earlier posts by 26may and others, I think one of the big problems in England is that young kids do not play football, or for that matter any other sport. Facilties are not the biggest problem, in my view. But the bigger problem is lack of initiative, in schools and within communities, whereby young kids have given up on sports, more on less, and taken up other activities! What a pity.

    I cannot suggest a solution to the problem. I have tried my hand at organising sports at a junior level in England. It is very difficult. The situation is similar in Scotland, where I live now, but somewhat less acute, in my view. Here, the bigger problem appears to be limited talent pool, because of a small population.

    This is in addition to other issues that people have commented on. Lovely post, Rhyle.

  28. arnie says:

    Thanks a lot, GiE. I plan to send something in on Tuesday.

  29. Gööner In Exile says:

  30. chäs says:

  31. chäs says:

    Superb, GIE.
    You can almost see his confidence visibly growing.

  32. Gööner In Exile says:

    True Chas, the things he is trying and achieving on the pitch now is brilliant to watch. For Wales he is the leader in midfield but for us he can still play the supporting role to Santi er al.

    Think we have to be careful as fans not to let Özil’s arrival overshadow the quality already there.

  33. Bïg Räddy says:

    Morning All,

    Ramsey looks a world class player in that vid.

  34. Gööner In Exile says:

    Anyone feel a bit sorry for Kyle Walker over the “Laughing Gas” story?

    For those of you who avoid the media he was photographed in summer inhaling Nitrous Oxide on a night out in the summer.

    Firstly it’s legal, secondly effects last for minutes rather than hours, it doesn’t really alter your state of control.

  35. Evönne says:

    re Chas’s photo above:

    Sports photographer Adrian Dennis won the ‘Barclays Shot of the Season’ [awarded by the Premier League] for his image which captured Arsenal celebrating Laurent Koscielny’s equaliser against Manchester City last season.


  36. Evönne says:

    GiE – oh yeah? 🙂

  37. Evönne says:

    I win the best gravatar today !

  38. Great gravatar evonne 🙂

  39. Morning all

    ………….New Post ……………….

  40. Bïg Räddy says:

    GIE. Feel sorry for a Spud???

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: