Sunday, 22 February 2009

E is for ... European Champions League

Two points to this post. One is the return of the European Champions League where the best of the best of European club football teams play each other to find the best team in Europe and therefore arguably the World. Portsmouth went out of the little European Cup early on so all that's left for me is to hope that Manchester United don't win it.
Very unpatriotic of me perhaps, shouldn't we English be cheering on the English teams? Nope because it seems that everyone who is not a Manchester United fan, hates them. Very tribal English supporters and there teams, very much an attitude of if we can't win it we don't want you to either and as a Pompey fan and therefore in no danger of appearing in a European Champions League match this side of hell freezing over, i will be cheering for Inter Milan this week.
The second point is the idea that creeps up every few years just after England do crap at a tournament. The blame will be put squarely on all the foreign players we have in our league which blocks the progress of the English players. The teams that mostly get it in the neck for having so many overseas players are Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United which just happen to be the four teams who top the Premier league and make it to the later rounds of the Champions League every year. Would Liverpool fans be happy to give up Fernando Torres and go back to having Emile Heskey upfront again just so England can do a bit better in World Cups? If a budding English player can't learn to be a better player by daily training at his club with the likes of Cesc Fabregas or Deco then he probably isn't England material anyway.


Cheezy said...

I guess I'm a typical English football fan too... I agree with you about the scum, I'd hate it if Manyoo or Chelski or Arsenal (who are about as English at the Job Centre in Stepney Green) won the Champions League. Liverpool I don't mind so much, but that's mainly because I've got some good mates who are scousers and it's fun to watch them in the CL... (always down the pub).

I disagree about the damage unrestricted foreigners are doing to the English national team though. I think it's considerable.

I would be inclined to agree with you, but then I find myself asking a number of pertinent questions... e.g. Why, after everyone unites in the thought that David James (who is tres dodgy anyway) is the best English goalkeeper at the moment, are we scratching our heads wondering who the other keepers in the squad should be? Some of the best goalkeepers in the world used to be English, right? Why do we have to play the utterly useless Glen Johnson at right-back? Or Wes Brown, who is really a centre-back? And Stewart Downing at left midfield? (who's just slow and rubbish). And why, if both Rooney and Owen are out, do we have very few English strikers used to scoring regular goals for their club sides?

It's surely because there are very few English players filling these positions at the top Premiership clubs, yes? It seems to me that we're doing the national teams of countries like France, Italy, Spain, and countless African countries a massive favour by letting them play in what is (along with La Liga) the most competitive football league in the world, but our own national team is getting nothing in return. Less than nothing actually, as it's actually handicapping us.

All of this is quite apart from the issue of how the number of youngsters growing up. It's easy to blithely say that 'the cream will always rise' but I don't believe this is so. Like many other parts of life, it's really a numbers game, and the more you get through playing at a high level, the more will continue to progress.

The (admittedly sometimes flaky) Sepp Blatter makes some good points about the issue here.

Cheezy said...

Sorry, I didn't complete a thought in the above post. Meant to say:

All of this is quite apart from the issue of how a large number of youngsters growing up near their local team can't have a realistic aspiration of ever actually playing for that team (particularly so if the team is Arsenal or Chelsea or Manyoo or Liverpool etc, etc.

Falling on a bruise said...

Many people see it as the fans either wanting success with their club or success with their country.
Would i be happy to let Pompey sink down the leagues if it meant England winning a European Cup or World Cup? No.
Would i prefer to see Pompey filled with foreigners and stay in the Premier League even if it meant England failed in the Quarter Finals of competitions every few years. I'm afraid i would.
My guess would be that Theo Walcott's game has improved since being at Arsenal and training and playing with better players than
if he had stayed at Southampton and been playing every week. Being in the company of a better calibre of player has to improve a persons game hasn't it?

Cheezy said...

"Being in the company of a better calibre of player has to improve a persons game hasn't it?"

Well, even though England's two best results in World Cups - in 66 and 90 - came from a situation in which the personnel played their club football in a league mainly filled with their compatriots - I generally agree with this point. That's why I wouldn't support going back to a limit of 2 foreign players per team. I think the best compromise would come from a scenario of approximately half and half. In the absence of this happening though, as it surely can't because of the tyranny of EU regulations, I enjoy seeing Premiership teams with a decent number of English players... e.g. Go on the Villa for that Champions League spot! Oh, and come on Spurs on Sunday! :)

Cheezy said...

PS: Scum-haters might get a good laugh out of this!'despicable-shit'-200902231598/

Falling on a bruise said...

I think Spurs will be the most popular team in the country for 90 mins at the weekend. I also hope Villa nick the European spot, nice to see the big four being made to fight and Arsenal look like the team to miss out.

'don't ronaldo to me you lazy fucking ronaldo, just get it done or you'll get my toe up your ronaldo-hole'." Great stuff.