Keep the Ball has dug out an article by John Cartwright from February 2010 – prior to the World Cup “fiasco”. Many of the issues raised in the article have come into the public eye as a result of England`s performance in South Africa in June. Hopefully this article will provoke comment and discussion from our readers!!
In the child’s fairy tale a King rides naked amongst a large number of his rather shocked people. Being respectful as well as careful of what they say, everyone cheers and utters not a word with regard to the king’s state of undress. In fact the crowd express a total disregard to the fact that their sovereign is completely naked and call out how well dressed he is! It isn’t until a small child, unaware of the implications his honest comment might bring, calls out, “the King has no clothes on!” What was the result of his honesty? was he taken to the dungeons; was he expelled from the country; or was he applauded for his statement of fact? No the King continued on his way, undressed but majestic, whilst the child became lost in the normality of everyday life.
It must be asked, has honesty ever really been the best policy to follow? Honesty, as is prescribed in religion, taught in school classrooms and practiced throughout life to past, present and probably future generations, expects honesty to be coupled with acceptance. It all works out well if an honest comment is accepted by the recipient, but what about honesty when it produces an unfavourable reaction from the recipient? Should one keep their mouth shut or, disregard potential problems and say what’s needed to be said?
It takes a brave person to be honest and, like honesty, it sometimes isn’t the best policy to act with bravery. Fear of upsetting the ‘status quo’ is a constant battle in today’s world. Flourishing careers, domestic bliss, neighbourliness, friendships etc. can all tumble down in an instant when an honest comment is not accepted. So what do we do? Well, they say timing is the key to success in life, if so, timing and honesty must be combined and used with great care.
In my experience, being honest has not helped me to achieve the aims and objectives in my career; perhaps, also, I have not been as careful with my timing as I should! Issues relating to the coaching of football in this country that I disagree with and have honestly criticised have not been accepted by those in control of our game. Lately however, it seems the ideas and beliefs I have tried to promote in the past have started to make an impact on those who previously only offered ‘dead ears’. Much of the new FA publication. ‘THE FUTURE GAME’ looks very familiar!! I wonder how they saw ‘some’ of the light? But even now they still they can’t get things in order; they produce a playing vision after first producing coaching programmes for all ages – a ‘cart before the horse’ situation if ever I’ve seen one; plus, they then forget to include heading as a skill to be learned!!!! I could go on but, what’s the point?
It angers me beyond belief that generation after generation of football-loving kids have been denied the opportunity to reach their full potential as players because of the temerity, lack of vision and inefficiency at the FA. After 60 years of control over football and the development of players and coaches in this country, the FA is unable to provide a head coach for its senior national team and needs to go to Sweden and then Italy to find suitable candidates. God knows how many enquiries and initiatives etc. have been set up by the FA over the years to find a satisfactory method by which a continuous stream of talented coaches and players could be developed. One appointment after another to the senior position in the FA coaching dept. has been unable to produce a successful formula for coach and player development.
The protectionism at the FA combined with the hype used by all areas of the media cannot continue to disguise the fact that our game is alarmingly bare of quality. The adoring public still cheer, but they are beginning to ask questions and soon, like the small child, they will cry out – “ the game is naked!”. Will the ‘king of games’ continue to delude itself and will the concern of its adoring public disappear into oblivion? For this wonderful game’s sake I sincerely hope not.