It’s not just about – MONEY!

By John Cartwright

I’m sick and tired of MONEY being used as the easy reason for our football failure(s). even when MONEY was less available to players in the past we still failed to reach top status except for the ‘last of the street players of 1966’.

I will not accept that high earners consider their wealth during games at domestic or international levels. Our problem – their problem, with results and poor standards in our game stems well before MONEY becomes an issue; THE PROBLEM, IS OUR PLAYERS ARE NOT DEVELOPED PROPERLY!

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A poor upbringing in any sphere of education will create learning difficulties that lower understanding and interest in subjects. However, if a subject is taught with enthusiasm and direction, students are more likely to respond positively. Football education is a sport to be taught and learned and should be introduced and developed forward in carefully arranged stages from junior into senior levels. This development model must inspire players and provide a realistic pathway towards high standards in individual skills and game understanding -excellence must be the vision to achieve.

This development model is far beyond the haphazard approach we have ‘tinkered’ with over the past 60 years. Fitness levels and athleticism have improved but individual skills and game understanding have not. By the time a player reaches senior levels he has acquired an insufficient football education and this has required foreign ‘imports’ to provide the necessary game qualities we fail to provide. When our players are selected for international duty the choice is becoming more slender with each season. Team selection is about using English ‘workhorses’ for the squads; the skilful talent plays for our foreign opponents!

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Coaching direction from the mid 1950’s has tended to lack practical experience and false ‘pathways’ have generally been the consequence leading to frustration and failure.  Our players enter an arena with a ‘wooden stick’ and not a metal spear’ to win the battle. Individualism and tactical foresight is virtually invisible whilst effort and negativity abound. Yes, we give 100% effort, of that I have no doubt, but the content of that effort lacks the positive issues of the game of football. There is a famous saying; ‘give me the child and I will give you back the man’. Unfortunately, our ‘football children’ are returned as ‘youths’ without the essential qualities to succeed in the big and demanding world of football.

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31 thoughts on “It’s not just about – MONEY!

  1. well said john most people think this is a recent problem but its been there for decades

    even in the great english teams of the 60’s like liverpool and man utd the skillful players wasn’t english they were scottish or irish man

  2. It doesn’t matter how much money a player earns or how many sports cars he may have, at the end of the day his earning power will be dependant on the progress, development and improvement he makes as a player.
    The coaching methodology has not reflected the social change in the country where a child will not have a small rubber ball at his/her feet during most of their leisure hours, as was the case in past generations. In Spain, Germany, France etc this vital issue has been addressed and we have been left badly behind in the vital area of young player development.
    The FA are, predictably, reacting to the latest International Tournament ‘disaster’ with the usual big talk and outlandish ideas for what they believe will lead to an improvement. But speaking to the all the coaches, experts and performers from other sports will not, on its own, do any good because we have been down that route so many times before.
    Children do not grow up with a ball at their feet, as they once did, because society does not work like that any more. However, it’s the same in France, Spain and Germany, but they have understood the problem and adjusted their coaching methods accordingly. We still remain stuck in a rut and coaches working with junior teams, and even teams in higher levels of the game, repeat the coaching methodology which the managers and coaches recall from their playing days of many years ago.
    I agree with Jason that back in the sixties it was clear that the supply of really talented young English players was slowly drying up, due to the change in the make up of a more affluent society. Because Scotland lagged behind for some time with attaining this affluence, nearly all of the Football League’s leading clubs had a core of Scottish players and many managers would not contemplate fielding a side without a strong Scottish influence. Similarly, this was also the case with many outstanding Irish and Welsh players.
    I have just seen England beat France 2-1 in the opening match of the UEFA Under 19 Championship. But it was a victory which was won by battling qualities, rather than skill and invention, and although it is vital that our traditional ‘fighting’ attitude is retained, because the foreign teams have always respected us for this, the level in technical quality is not rising accordingly. After a good start where England scored two goals in the first ten minutes, it was a victory achieved through resolute defence with defenders possessing good heading ability and a keeper good on crosses.

  3. Hi John…. My choice for England Manager/Coach, from the names which have been put forward in the press, would be Eddie Howe. He is young, bright and intelligent. He has developed an attractive and effective game style at Bournemouth, stuck to it and got the players to believe in it. He has many of the characteristics of Chris Coleman, who I think deserves a lot of credit for what Wales have achieved during the last two years and their fine performance in the Euros.
    Sam Allardyce has many supporters, due to the fact that it has been said that he has introduced many new ideas at the clubs he has managed. But these have been innovations from the field of sport science and his approach has been to employ large numbers of experts from their various fields, such as nutrition and fitness conditioning. He has himself been largely a delegator.
    The England Manager should also be the England Coach and be in a position to influence the FA Coaching Scheme. Howe would need someone to assist in this and I think that Glenn Hoddle would be a good man for the job. Basically, Howe and Hoddle would start to influence the coach education that is issued at St. George’s Park. The object would be to produce an English game style that everyone can follow at whatever level they are involved in the game.
    When Ron Greenwood became England Manager/Coach, he introduced a ‘think tank’ of English coaches and managers to run the various teams below the senor team, from the ‘B’ Team and Under 21s, down through the various under age teams. Coaches like Dave Sexton, Don Howe, Terry Venables, Bobby Robson and yourself became involved. Bobby Robson, of course, eventually took over as the England Manager when Ron Greenwood retired.
    The objective, of course, was also to get as many English coaches as possible thinking along the same lines. Many, like yourself, had already been considerably influenced by Ron Greenwood and so this innovation was of great benefit during this era. There is no reason why it cannot be reintroduced and I think that Hoddle could take on the responsibility of getting English Managers and Coaches together to form a similar ‘think tank’ and hopefully provide the various supporting England teams with Managers and Coaches from this group.
    If the method is successful in getting the English contingent all thinking along the same lines, and therefore all pulling in the same direction, then the next England Manager would come from this group. It would be a case of natural succession which has been the German policy for many years.

  4. Hi Steve. I read your comments with interest and feel i must make some important points as i was involved at the FA at the time as you mentioned.
    Before that i must say that Eddie Howe, is young and interesting name you put forward as England manager. I think he has done extremely well at Bournemouth, but the difference in standards between our Premier League and International football at the highest level is huge as present and past failures have highlighted. In my opinion, there is nobody who has the overall quality from the present English stock of football personnel to bring about the changes so necessary in our game………..what a damning indictment of coaching here!
    I was at the FA as Youth international Manager during Ron Greenwood’s time there. I can assure you that there was no linkage between the National dept. and the Coaching dept. During that time. Ron, as you mentioned used top club managers to join England squads as part-time managers or to assist with player preparation or scouting during senior international matches. Any discussion to create a national playing style was never mentioned and playing preferences of each of those managers you mentioned tended to prevail. I ran the England Youth squads and tried to introduce my football beliefs into our playing style during the four years i was there. Nobody told me what to do or how to do it. The transference of playing influence that i initiated with players was not necessarily continued with coaches at higher levels. This development ‘fracture’ occurs not only at international levels but also within the development structure of our football clubs.
    The ‘split’ between teaching and playing here has been long term and continues to this day. IThe structure of our game resembles a house built without……….. first finding an appropriate buildindg site (playing vision) — designing an unsuitable building plan(coaching programs) — building the roof before laying foundations(playing infrastructure) — false advertising to sell the house(media ‘hype’) ………. some crazy house, some crazy football !!

  5. Hi John…Thanks for the clarification of the situation at the FA when Ron Greenwood was the England Manager/Coach. Of course, Ron Greenwood had a considerable influence on English football long before he went to the FA through the brilliant coaching that he produced at West Ham and the development of so many fine players at that club. Some coaches took his ideas on board and were massively enthusiastic, others less so and went down a different path.
    Because we have such a cosmopolitan Premier League, and it’s getting like that in the Championship as well, there is less and less likelihood of a root and branch change coming about in English football. Why should a German in charge at Liverpool, a Portugese at Man Utd or an Italian at Chelsea, worry about the ever-diminishing influence of the England national team in international tournaments? There is no reason why they should and they are paid enormous salaries to bring success to their clubs. Nine times out of ten , to strengthen their squad, they will go abroad to buy a new player so the situation for England just gets worse.
    I think that we are really suffering because we did not make the best of our good days. When we won the World Cup in 1966, even fanatical England fans admitted that England were not in the same class as the great Brazilian team of 1958 and 1962. We won it through work rate and great physical commitment. We also had the fruits of Ron Greenwood’s coaching at West Ham in the performances of Moore, Hurst and Peters in a number of the matches. We actually had a better team in 1970 when defending the trophy and with a little more fortune could have gone further than the quarter finals. But after that English football started to turn in the wrong direction and the physicality of English football became too pronounced, at the expense of skill and imagination.
    England’s World Cup success and Ron Greenwood’s major part in that success, did see the emergence of some very imaginative and innovative coaches in this country: Allison, Sexton, Pleat, Howe, yourself and others. It should have led to England dominating world football but after 1970, England never qualified for another World Cup until 1982.
    I believe that it was due to football becoming a really big business in this country and a lack of direction on the part of the FA Coaching Scheme. That took us through to the early nineties and the introduction of the Premier League. Originally intended to assist the building of a better England team through a reduction in League fixtures, it has actually had the opposite effect. The infusion of players, coaches and managers from abroad has arrested development in this country until we have arrived at the situation in which we find ourselves today.

  6. Hi all. I have said for many years that our game is detached in so many ways. Development doesn’t produce quality and playing suffers the problem of transferrence from practice into playiing. Equally unhelpful iin player development here is the the lack of a progressive practice and playing model; youngsters move up from one coaching level to the next. without a smoothe, pre-planned entry, often finding themself under the teaching of coaches who have little or no concept of what work has been done during the previous development period.
    Clubs should be able to promote staff from within. Managers should have come through the club’s system so that playing styles can be maintained or adjusted without wholesale changes occuring. Failure at the top level should mean a replacement from within; the search for people who have no background with a club should be a last resort.. Any necessary football changes(tactical-physical-player sales and buys etc.) should be completed by staff who know the club well and are prepared to steer the club back to success.
    A similar method should be used at the FA. They have a significant number of people involved with national squads from u/15 upwards.These people and their assistants should have the quality over time to move up the scale and be prepared for the top job when it may become vacant. In this way a continuity develops, with any variations and adjustments recognised introduced as requred. Using staff developed from within would lessen confusion and unrest and bring back stability, purpose and direction more quickly. The FA coaching scheme must introduce a much more realistic, age related approach to development. Young players, whether talented and fed into Academy football, or less so who play socially, must be introduced into the game in a way that offers both understanding as well as enjoyment. The flow of playing talent should move along the development pathway and find their particular level of ability and desire, be it to the top professionally or for the ‘Dog and Duck’.

  7. Many Premier League clubs have recruited good quality youth players from foreign clubs in recent years. These young players are in their mid teens when they are placed in the academies over here, where they complete the last few years of their youth development and then, if they have developed well, they win a place in the first team squad. Clearly, this underlines what John says – “youngsters move up from one coaching level to the next, without smooth pre-planned entry, often finding themselves under the teaching of coaches who have little or no concept of what work has been done during the previous development period.”
    This raises the question of whether English clubs request detailed information regarding the work which has been undertaken during the development of each young player’s career to date? If this is not being researched adequately, then the countries from where the young players come, will suffer as well because its young talent will not be developed to its full potential.
    Last season it was said during the TV commentary, that Chelsea’s Under 18 team which won the FA Youth Cup was made up of a complete squad of English born players and who had all been at the club since about the age of 9. Provided there is a linkage between each team at Chelsea in the various age groups and good communication between each coach, then this is a much better pathway to be following. Certainly, in the matches I saw, Chelsea’s Under 18s were quite impressive in that competition.
    If Chelsea provide a proper and fair pathway from the academy to the first team then there is hope for the future, but the new Chelsea first team coach must accept some responsibility for ensuring that there is some visible progress.
    It has been reported in the press that Gareth Southgate does not want his name put forward for the position of England Manager/Coach. I have not seen the details reported for the reasons behind Southgate’s decision, but really the succession to the England job should come from within the FA’s circle of coaches. This has always been the German approach and it has been very rare for them to appoint a new coach directly from a club but from the group of coaches who work for the German FA. Possibly Southgate doe not yet feel ready for the job, but if we want to follow the German example then all coaches working with the various England development teams must know that ultimately they are working towards the position of England Senior Coach.

  8. Hi all. I have just watched two pre-season friendlies; the lack of individual playing quality is incredible and from back to front negative ball possession is rife. Space recognition seems to have disappeared as passes are sent backwards and sideways when huge openings are available forward. Shots on goal and actual goals are short in number — crossing is so misplaced, being either overhit or unable to get beyond a front defender. No wonder i see in the Press that our clubs are chasing and signing more and more foreign players —- our standards are incredibly low and there seems nothing anyone is doing about it. God knows where our game is heading.

  9. If you watch any match in this country at whatever level, just a few minutes after it has started you will hear the shout from the touchline- “play the easy (simple) ball”.
    Whether it’s children in the local park, amateurs in one of the numerous leagues throughout the country, or top flight (English) professionals in the Premier League, if any one tries to beat an opponent or break through a gap in midfield with the ball or on the edge of the penalty area, and fails, then the groans that erupt from the side-lines are quickly followed by shouts of “advice” from the touchline, to next time just make the simple pass.
    Since England returned home after their dismal display at Euro 2016, we have had the inevitable meetings by high-level staff at the FA. High on the agenda has been the search for a new Manager/Coach, but, in addition, high profile people from other sports have been contacted to discover their secrets which brought Olympic Gold Medals, cycling success and rugby victories.
    Lessons can be learned from other sports, as has been discussed before, but the FA experts seem unaware that first of all we must raise the basic standards at all levels of our football and these are problems which only those involved in football, at all levels, can bring about.
    English football has been trapped in fear for many years and it is this fear that prevents a talented young player really expressing himself out on the pitch. The fear of making a mistake, of not seeming to be following the team ethos, and being harshly criticised for it by the coach. The ‘maverick’ players of the past like Gazza had the strong character to produce individualism despite criticism, but then take on board the good advice he received from the top coaches he came into contact with and further develop his game by learning how to conjoin with team mates.
    For various reasons, perhaps our young players of today just don’t have the strong character of Gascoigne, Best, Marsh, Osgood, Hudson and others from earlier eras, and who demanded the right to produce their individualism. Perhaps the young player of today won’t fight against poor coaching that he knows fails to fulfil his full potential, like his predecessors did, and accepts things as they are. He shouldn’t have to fight this though, and every coach should first of all be maximising the individualism of all his young players.
    Until we get this right we shall remain in the football wilderness.

  10. Player development is a long term process that must be linked with an outstanding coach education programme.We must produce great coaches at all ages with a gamestyle and development spine based on outstanding individualism. 5yrs to 12 yrs of age is the most important stage and yet that’s where the players get the worst coaching.The academy system has shown it is incapable of producing sufficient numbers of great players hence the import of quality from abroad.Yet still the F A tinkers around with their latest 10 year plan devised by people who have no experience and real knowledge. Yet the answer is simple !! Why don t they get an advisory group with the likes of Cartwright, Venables, Hoddle, Ferdinand, Neville and ask them to come up with a plan!! Real thinking international football people .

  11. A lot of very good coaches and managers, with considerable knowledge on the game and what is required to develop young players, have been allowed to drift out of football. It is regrettable that many players today go into the media when they hang up their boots , usually as TV pundits, rather than, as used to be the case, entering management and coaching on the bottom rung of the ladder and taking on a job at a club in the lower divisions of the League, or even in non-league.
    Gary Neville is impressive when describing technical and tactical points on Sky Sports, but going straight to that from playing and then into a coaching position with the England team alongside the Senior Coach position with a leading European club, Valencia, did not provide the grounding that I feel a similar role at, say, Bury or Stockport County, would have done.
    In the past, great manager/coaches such Clough, Shankly, Greenwood, Allison, Sexton and Nicholson served a lengthy apprenticeship at a lower level of the game before taking a big job at the top level.

  12. Admin… I suggested the need for an advisory group on this blog ages ago, with the likes of the men you suggest, but hardly got a response! So obviously I concur. Some will remember an excellent document put out by the PFA – it was never from what i can tell built on…by anyone…except Premier Skills.

    Let’s assume that the FA will not get an advisory group as suggested…THEN WHAT IS THE NEXT MOVE?

  13. You can have as many advisory groups as you like, but if nothing gets done and no plan of action is agreed upon, then there isn’t much point. Lots of good people, coaches, managers and administrators, have come and gone over the last 50 years but we don’t move any further forward. The problems pretty much stay the same, but actually get worse because of the ever diminishing number of really talented players. First of all we must decide how we are going to coach young players, first of all in the vitally important age group of 5 – 12 years. As Admin stated, this is the group probably getting the poorest coaching, if any at all. In the past they didn’t get any actual coaching either, but they developed technical skill in street games. The disappearance of street football, as has been repeated countless times on this blog, has not been replaced by a satisfactory coaching methodology, until John Cartwright devised the Premier Skills Coaching Scheme. This needs to be rolled out as the way to coach in the early years of young player development and so the FA must take this on board. I actually saw a Senior FA Staff Coach put on the Level 1 Premier Skills Course as an FA Coaching demonstration a year ago. But this was on his own personal recommendation, having done a course himself, and not something that had been decreed from the higher echelons of the FA.
    But there is some talent in the Academies, as shown at the moment by the England Under 19 team in the UEFA Under 19 championship in Germany – played 3, won 3, into Thursday’s semi final and qualified for next year’s Under 20 World Cup in Korea. Yesterday they beat Croatia 2-1 and played quite well in the first half, until taking their foot off the pedal after half time and letting a very moderate team come into the game. I was interested to see that Charlton’s Ademola Lookman played up front for England. Whenever I see him he tries to make things happen and is imaginative and plays without fear. The same can be said for Ojo, Omoha and Brown. Also, in the first half it was noticeable that the England keeper, Woodman, played as a sweeper-keeper, the deep defender available to take passes from team mates who were closed down and switch play to progress play down another route.
    But what was also noticeable was that England hardly ever tried to put in crosses for runners going into the box looking to get on the end of them. Earlier in the day, Germany had beaten Austria in a game they had to win to progress and their game plan for the match revolved around good delivery into the box, for the striker they brought in to provide the target for them. Germany got the win they needed mainly due to the successful application of this tactic.
    It is ironic that a traditional English approach is being used by a foreign team, whilst England seem to be almost neglecting a method of play which was the cornerstone of our play for generations. By all means develop our game with the best ideas from the foreign sides, but let’s not ignore what were always our strengths and should continue to be so.

  14. Let’s assume that something can get done; let’s assume that people will listen; let’s assume that advocacy – with a snarl – is possible… because what is the alternative!

    Now I’m not sure about Neville and Ferdinand, although it sounds good to have their names on a list… I am sure that the ‘coaches’ need to be people who will from the outset ADVOCATE CHANGE…and have the vision needed.

    It is no good being woolly about this…the FA are not delivering a coaching methodology that develops individualism in the young player. But everything relevant needs to be in this NEW DOCUMENT.

    Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle and John Cartwright have all worked with the FA in important capacities previously, and are the obvious initial names that HAVE TO BE invited onto this group…John can chair it. Others can be added…

    These guys are going to be given the task with producing a ‘Coaching Scheme for the Ages’… Forget the ‘DNA’ cobblers – leave that to Darwin.

  15. Hi all. As i stated in an earlier reply it looks like we will get — ‘a clenched fist and a snarl’ as our next football ‘leader’ !!

  16. Just as worrying as the almost barren field of candidates presented for the task of managing/coaching the England team, has been the reluctance of Under 21 boss, Gareth Southgate, to put himself forward for the job.
    The coach of the Under 21s is ostensibly the next one down in the pecking order for the job, in the absence of a ‘B’ Team which England have not had for many years. Bobby Robson got the England Senior Coach position in 1982 when Ron Greenwood retired, partly due to his work with the ‘B’ Team, as well as the good job he had done for some years at , Ipswich Town. I recall at the time that the feeling at the FA, with encouragement from Ron Greenwood, was to try and introduce the German system where the successor to the National Team boss is already working alongside him or with the national team immediately below, whether ‘B’ Team or Under 21s. When Germany appoint a new National Coach it is usually a seamless process because the successor is already part of the German National Team’s coaching team and so already in place.
    So Roy Hodgson’s replacement should really have been his assistant, Ray Lewington, but since he resigned along with his boss after the Euro, then Gareth Southgate should have been the one immediately in the frame.
    If Southgate feels at the present time that he does not measure up to the job, then that is fair enough, but I feel that maybe ‘Team England’ have lost sight of the need to develop successors within their group so that this recent embarrassment of there being such a barren field to choose from, can be avoided.

  17. Hi all. During my time working abroad in Kuwait in the 1980/90’s, the national team had reached the World Cup Finals and oil money had brought top coaches from all parts of the globe into their football . The thing that i found interesting during games was how tactical situations would be changed several times in games. Unless one was ‘quick on ones’s feet’ to recognise and make necessary decisions to counter these moves by opponents, a game could easily swing aginst you — and defeat in Kuwait was not acceptable!
    I watch games here and the coaching staff involved and see little or no tactical changes to situations that either consolidate or increase a successful outcome. Changes made are usually simply player repacements for a poor performers with little or no difference to tactical re-adjustments. The failure of our coaching and development methods goes far beyond poor skills teaching and limited game understanding, it lacks the inclusion of tactical foresight to install instinctive appreciation of game change opportunities in our coaches. Tactical ‘sameness’ throughout games no longer provides a satisfactory answer in today’s football world if we are to achieve success.

  18. Hi John…At this time of year, when the new season is just a few weeks away, it is quite common to read a quote in the press from a manager, when he says that he has decided to use a certain tactical formation, perhaps because it has proved popular and effective in the international tournament played that summer or because he thinks it will suit the types of players he has available.
    I don’t think that you can commit yourself to any particular tactical formation because it will depend on the tactics used by the opposition. When West Ham played Man Utd towards the end of last season in an FA Cup replay at Upton Park, manager Slaven Bilic decided to play with a defensive line of three. But Man Utd played with only one striker, Marcus Rashford, using extra players in midfield from where they controlled the game and won 2-1. West Ham played the whole 90 minutes with that numerical imbalance which gave the midfield, and the match, to the visitors. Former Hammers’ centre half, Tony Gayle, in his role as a Sky Sports pundit, commented on this tactical blunder, ( a blunder in the sense that West Ham never changed their tactics throughout the whole match), a few weeks later when Man Utd were the visitors again, for the last ever match at Upton Park. This time Bilic got his tactics right and West Ham won 3-2.
    Since Antonio Conte took over at Chelsea as Manager/Coach, mention has been made that he has favoured a 3-5-2 formation in his last two jobs, with Italy and Juventus. I am sure that once the season starts, we shall see how he makes adjustments at various points in a game, depending on the opposition line-up and state of the game. As you say, we must become better at making tactical tweaks during a game as soon as something unexpected occurs. This will be the big test for new England manager, Sam Allardyce, because at that level fist shaking and beating a drum have much less effect. In that respect he may actually prove better than a lot of people are expecting.

  19. Hi all. Have we gone completely insane when it comes to judging football talent? The once, long ago ‘star’ showed individual skills and was unpredictable. Today, it seems that as long as one passes the ball ok over 10 yards you’re worth your weight in gold’ !

  20. The French team, who have reached the Final of the UEFA Under 19 Championship and tonight play Italy, have players who display individualism and produce the unpredictable. Particularly left winger Mbappe who takes the ball up to his opponent and with lightening quick feet movement regularly leaves him standing. In the semi final against Portugal, when they won 3-1, Mbappe scored scored two himself and laid on the other goal. When the ball is out wide on his flank, Mbappe torments the defenders in 1 v 1 situations and when the ball is on the opposite wing, he gets inside to attack the crosses.
    France seem to be continually producing talented players of African and North African descent. Their parents settle in France and live and work in the suburbs of large cities like Paris and Lyon and the children come either as infants or are born in France. Junior football teams flourish in these areas and the coaches, when they are interviewed after the discovery of a ‘new star’, always stress that their prime concern was always to encourage the individualism of the child and push him/her on to higher levels at the first opportunity.
    England actually beat France, 2-1, in the group match and were the only team to record a 100% record in those matches, but then lost 1-2 to Italy in the semi final. England have some players of promise but I feel that essential ingredient of unpredictability and invention is too often missing. Except for Lookman, and I thought it was disappointing that he was not used until the last few minutes of the semi final and it was too late. So again we show our mistrust in the unpredictable player, though maybe a game-changer, and favour the reliable but ordinary.

  21. “A lot of very good coaches and managers, with considerable knowledge on the game and what is required to develop young players, have been allowed to drift out of football. It is regrettable that many players today go into the media when they hang up their boots , usually as TV pundits, rather than, as used to be the case, entering management and coaching on the bottom rung of the ladder and taking on a job at a club in the lower divisions of the League, or even in non-league.”
    Thank you Steve. This seems to be a massive English problem which is deep rooted. Not only do former British coaches and managers not pass on their wisdom but top level players simply witter on as television pundits when in reality they should be learning to be coaches and helping to develop the players of today and tomorrow. Clearly most of them do not want to be ‘managers’ and some are not capable of being managers but their skills and knowledge of the EPL especially are being totally wasted. There is far too much hype and not enough substance! In Holland, Spain and Italy it is almost sacrilegious for former internationals to be swanning around in TV studios rather than coaching at previous clubs or even at international team level. Even in the Bundesliga, former players would be expected to be more deeply involved in their sport and to contribute to the next generation. How can players the calibre of Scholes and McManaman be wasting their time in studios or at pitch side when they ought to be preparing boys and young men for the next decade?! They probably don’t feel that it is worth their while and certainly don’t fancy the media backlash and furore which seems to follow two bad results at any club…? It seems that it is a cultural problem of instant success, hype and neoliberal “money worship” which is hurting the whole sport, not just in England but has now infected the European leagues. Does anyone agree…?
    Senior players in their late 20s and early 30s should be gently encouraged to start studying and coaching 2-3 years before retirement. Carlo Ancelotti described this thinking at Milan in the early 90s. Players need encouraging so that they develop their thinking and transition from playing 1st XI, full throttle to 60% of the time as a squad member, then to part time(bit part) if they are happy with this role; then they could retire into full time study before deciding whether coaching and/or managing is really for them. In the UK it seems to be left to chance rather than there being an official policy of career development…. The louder, more articulate players seem to be encouraged in England because they are naturally more erudite or vocal but that does not necessarily make them the best students or thinkers.

  22. While Michael’s sentiments are representative of an overall view, I think that your analysis is remarkably flawed because of the following: You focus is predominantly on those – very, very few top players who go into punditry.

    Ferguson was not a great player as an example, but made it in management.

    The best brains amongst the pros may just be the journeymen, not necessarily the McManamans of this world.

    Furthermore, REAL football knowledge as Mourinho and Sacchi have shown is not just the domain of ex pros…that whole attitude is mainly a British one I feel!!!

  23. Hi Michael and Brazil94….I have read in the press today that recently retired players are being encouraged by the FA to swap their comfortable seats in TV studios as pundits, for the training grounds of Pro Club Academies and Junior Clubs in the community, in order to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation of players.
    But I think that we are leaving it a little late to encourage players to take an active interest and role in coaching. The seeds of interest should be sown at an earlier age, rather than waiting until a player reaches his thirties and faces the prospect of hanging up his boots. We then read that a player with one hundred England caps and a cupboard full of medals, is “starting his badges”, as he considers an alternative career in coaching. In the early seventies I used to go along on one or two evenings each week, to watch the coaching given to schoolboys of various ages at West Ham. There were young players from the senior squad doing the coaching, like Alvin Martin, Pat Holland, Mick McGiven and Anton Otulakowski, who were still in, or just out of, their teens. They were getting valuable coaching experience long before they retired from playing.
    It was also commonplace in those days for players to coach in local schools in the afternoons, after they had finished training. Training would finish at about 12.30 and after showering and changing, the players would then go into schools to take the football classes. Ron Greenwood encouraged this at West Ham because he was keen for all his players to be students of the game and develop an interest in coaching. Many other clubs followed his lead and all managers obviously preferred their players to put their afternoons to better use than going into betting shops and snooker halls.
    It seems that at the top level these days, there is less flexibility during the players’ working day, for very many to get involved in schools coaching. Rest and recuperation seems to play a big part in the periods between matches, as does the mental and psychological preparation. Sometimes I wonder if we have become saturated with modern training and conditioning techniques, incorporated from the whole field of sport, at the expense of the basic skills and knowledge of football.

  24. Steve as I said I am not interested in the few with 155, 000 caps! This is not especially important. The players you mention with the exception of Martin were not internationals.

    Can we get over please the fixation with the few who go into punditry and the ‘scrapping and bowing’ towards those with a million caps!

    I am sure that the modern player is not necessarily ‘monkish’ in his preparation, and could, if bothered or interested, find the time…but let’s not just leave this ‘learning’ up to the Pros!

  25. Hi Brazil94….I can assure you that there are far more than “……the few who go into punditry….” The proliferation of TV channels and radio stations, as well as other media outlets, make punditry a thriving industry.
    Tony Carr’s recent treatment by West Ham United presents a poor reflection on the attitude of most clubs towards youth development in this country and will not help towards making it an attractive second career to the present day player.

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