Where Do We Go From Here?

Next Time

The Future

As a follow-on from my previous football-related post, during which I promised to espouse on the ways that the England footy team can recover from its current pit of despair, another significant event in the England calendar occurred today as the first half of the mountain that needs to be climbed has been identified.  This afternoon’s draw for the qualifying campaign for World Cup 2010 has thrown us, once more, together with scourge of Euro qualifiers, Croatia.  The other teams are Andorra (again), Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.  With those three latter teams surely proving to be a challenge in the away legs at least.  So, here’s my short term advice for the FA on how to move the international team back to the top of the pyramid.

  • Appoint a manager with technical prowess in preferably both the Champion’s League and International arenas.  No rush appointments, so even if the right man is not available till the summer of 2008 then so be it, let Trevor Brooking take over for any friendlies between now and then.
  • Quality not quantity.  Fewer matches for the top players are essential.  Relegate six teams from the Premiership in 2009 and promote only two into it.  Thus, a 16-team Premier League creates a more manageable 30-game season with room for a winter break.
  • Arrange a summer tournament for both 2008 and 2009 to keep the players in the habit of getting together for games after the end of the domestic season.
  • English player quotas.  Insist on minimum levels of national representation in the 16 selected players for each game.  Anyone who shouts about EU Work Directives and legislation from Brussels should be ignored: These European laws are not designed for people earning £10,000-a-week
  • Central contracts.  As in the cricket model, key players to be identified and contracted first and foremost as England  players and sub-contracted back to the clubs.

Of course, many of these will never happen because of lost revenue but that’s my armchair based advice.

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