I’m not quite sure what to accuse FA Chairman Greg Dyke of being. He’s either an incredibly short-sighted and outrageously detached-from-reality imbecile, with an embarrassing wealth of ignorance for everything he should be protecting and nurturing, or he’s a clown – someone who’s maybe just having a massive laugh, yet none of us find his ideas remotely entertaining and in fact has become stuff of nightmares.
He thinks – and it’s not just him, it must be said – that so-called ‘big’ teams should be allowed to have ‘B’ teams in the Football League. Why? In the hope that one day England will win the World Cup. Sorry – did I say ‘one day’? I meant a specific day – the day of the World Cup 2022 final, since this is his deadline.
The reason why we’re not winning the World Cup right now is because there aren’t enough English players playing at the top level of English football. According to some figures I read somewhere, players who are eligible to play for England make up a third of all players in the Premier League, which does indeed seem very low.
Now, why is that? Turn the clock back to 1991 and the figure is more like 90%. I don’t actually know that; I haven’t done any detailed research. But the point is, I don’t have to. Everyone knows that the number of English players playing in the top division of English football in 1991 was much, much higher than it is now.
So what happened between 1991 and 2014? The multi-sponsored, multi-million-pound prick-generating, tosser-churning, wag-assembling conveyor belt that is otherwise known as the Premier League.
In other words, since the Premier League was created there’s been a dramatic drop in the number of English players playing in England’s top domestic football league. That’s the Premier League’s doing – with its massive TV contracts and bags upon bags of money that attracted some of Europe and the rest of the world’s players to come and play here, forcing home grown talent to rot in Chelsea’s reserves before being released and playing their careers out in the lower leagues. This is not good, according to the FA.
The Premier League created this problem, and now Greg Dyke and the FA are rectifying it by ruining the lower leagues. Dyke thinks it’s a great idea to have fixtures such as Hartlepool v Stoke City ‘B’ or Tottenham ‘B’ v Wycombe. I can just imagine the nation – and Sky – salivating over the prospect of West Ham ‘B’ v Oxford on a Tuesday night in front of 174 fans. That sounds great.
Said Greg: “We urge them (lower league football fans) to balance the specific, narrowly-defined concerns of their particular club or league with what will be of the most benefit to the game overall, to the development of young players and to the success of the England team.”
The problem I have with that quote is the bit about ‘what will be of the most benefit to the game overall’. Is having a better national team really going to improve the game overall? Is it really important that we win the World Cup? And if we did, how does that actually benefit the game overall – and how does that affect me, a Grimsby Town fan?
He seems to be thinking that every football fan values the national team over their own local club. I support England and always will do, but my local club – the team that I go and see most often; the team that represents my town, my place of birth and my heritage – is the one that matters most to me. It’s engrained in my life and I would watch them week in, week out if I could.
I can’t say the same about England.
My final point about this ‘B’ team proposal is this: how long will it be before a genuine club (Accrington, Tranmere, Southend, Bury) gets relegated at the expense of a ‘B’ team exploiting a loophole? I for one do not want to be relegated on the last day of the season because Aston Villa send their ‘B’ team two internationals who score the goals to keep them safe and relegate us in the process.
The whole idea is ludicrous and should never be allowed to get off the ground. If you haven’t yet signed the petition I urge you to do so now.