By John Cartwright
On Thursday the 10th January 2013 in the Sports’ section of the Daily Mail, there is an article by Jamie Rednapp, a regular ‘football pundit’ for Sky TV. His article was entitled: WE’VE GOT LOADS OF KIDS DRIVING RANGE ROVERS, BUT WHERE IS THE ENGLISH — MATA, SILVA OR CAZORLA?
He continues by saying he’s ‘scared about the future of English Football’; so he should be! For far too long mediocrity in our game has been ‘camouflaged’ with hype and called greatness. Individual players, teams’ and the game in general have all been placed on unworthy pedestals to distract Joe Public’s awareness of the poor quality of our game. Yes, there are some exciting games in the Premier League’s program as he states, but there is also a great many that are extremely poor.
It’s time the truth was told regarding the mess our game is in. The Premier League is indebted to Sky TV for financial support; without it the vast majority of the clubs in the Premier league would be seeking ‘life-support’. Whilst the Premier League squander millions the rest of the game here survives on a financial knife’s edge. Foreign players are introduced in ever larger numbers each season thus denying ‘home-produced’ talent the playing opportunities that they need.
But it must be asked as Jamie does in his article; ‘where is our talent for the future’? I’ll tell him…….. we don’t have any! Those young players he mentions as ‘rich in potential’ would not have cleaned the boots of the young players of the past. The easy use of words that over-emphasise standards; great — legend – star etc. by all involved inside and outside of our game when discussing football, be it about players or aspects of the game, has seriously distorted the true levels of performance that should exist. Money, ‘the root of all evil’, plays a significant part in ‘pedestalling’ mediocrity, for financial gain and advancing personal, professional status leads many to ‘talk the game up’ to retain public interest and advertising revenues.
It worries me that Jamie, a talented player who’s career was shortened through injury, should only now show concern for our game’s future. There are many who have signalled the demise of our game for many decades — it’s been obvious to anyone prepared to look, but ‘the greed is good brigade’ have smothered all criticism using money as an instrument to deter questioning about the route our game was going. Like himself, I also watch all levels of the game each season and as he says, “there is nobody that gets him off his seat”. But why is this lack of talent regularly occurring ? It’s not just the importation of foreign talent, they are here because we have failed to produce the same high playing standards as our overseas rivals!
The ‘Red Herring’ that is St George’s at Burton, is yet another development blunder in my opinion; putting a roof on a building prior to laying foundations for it is gross stupidity. It is the latest in a long line of disastrous decisions on development methods and playing infrastructure that have failed to produce the required standards for the game. Whilst we continue to wander aimlessly without agreement on where we should go and how we should get there, we will remain a frustrated football nation.
Jamie, in my opinion we don’t have the best league in the world. But by repeating it over and over again it has become a fixation that is accepted without thought. The amount of players and managerial prizes won by the Spanish league recently puts our Premier League to shame. I have always been a lover of the game but I am becoming disenchanted with the physical ‘fightball’ I see week after week here. I thank God that I have seen football played in the manner I have always believed it should be — the artistic football of Barcelona FC.
All sports should consist of three major components; activity intelligence, realistic, high level skills and suitable physical ability. To become a top performer these three elements must be discernable qualities and all supplementary aspects are connected to these. If one looks at the players on view in our football today, how many of them, if any, can one say has at least two of the three elements mentioned? Very few. The vast majority of our football ‘products’ cover their lack of playing intelligence and skill deficiencies by an increased physical ability—they can run and fight all day!
Yes, we have got exactly the football we deserve; over-hyped players playing over-hyped football for huge amounts of money. We have cheated and deceived ourselves continually by calling ‘rubbish – great’ and in so doing we have lost the ability produce and recognize true quality. Jamie, you should be concerned, I have been for many decades and have spoken about it, but honesty is not the best policy when criticising our money-obsessed game, criticism might reduce the flow of cash!