Quite the generalization, obviously. But simply put, can anyone tell me of a player that can make it into this side? Terry, Ashley Cole, Joe Cole, and Steven Gerrard. That is it. Shaun Wright-Phillips? Not on your life. Aaron Lennon? Not a chance. £10million keepers like Scott Carson, who are only too easy to beat blindfolded?
It all comes on the back of the entire league aiming their vitriol towards Arsene Wenger, a man who, like it or not, has near-single handedly made the Premier League what it is. Steve Coppell, a manager who has achieved nothing of note apart from promoting Reading into the Premier League, is the latest to have thrown his hat into the anti-Wenger brigade, saying Wenger is damaging English Football.
Make no mistake: I love any chance to go into a rant. This is one of those chances. A few things to say to Messieur Coppell:
- One: Wayne Rooney. The epitomy of how rare a world-class English player actually is – bought for a staggering £22million pounds at the age of 18 from Everton. The anonymous (ie, far from ‘world class’) player known as Michael Carrick – £18million. Hargreaves a similar story. Shaun Wright Phillips (‘e’s world class, narf!), £21million. Steven Gerrard was touted as £30 million to Chelsea (which would have been paid) until he had a change of heart. Theo Walcott is comparitively a steal at £5million, which will head upwards to £12million soon enough.
- The complete inability to adapt to new positions. Read: Gerrard and Lampard’s position dillemma in the national team. Compare this to the brilliance of Matthieu Flamini, who had never played at left back before, shoring up a patch work defence to create the Champions League record for most minutes without conceding. Some newspapers rated him as worth £7million after his leftback performances two seasons ago. Only now is he worth that much once more, but that’s a real, uninflated value – and worth every cent.
- The players Arsenal have offloaded: Ashley Cole, Jermaine Pennant, David Bentley, Jay Bothroyd, James Harper and Steve Sidwell. Who would get back into our team? Not a single one. Who was given chances? The only one that can have cause for complaint is perhaps Steve Sidwell, who took it all commendably in his stride, playing brilliantly for Reading before screwing up his career by bench-warming for Chelsea.
What is inescapable is the fact that the English players that have been involved in our youth setups have hardly ever been good enough – and most, if not all London clubs can say the same. Chelsea had their Terry, we had Ashley Cole (note: not ‘our’ Ashley), West Ham had their Carrick. London, being as congested as it is in talent-boroughs, will never compete with the Lancashire, Merseyside or Manchester boroughs, due to geographic affordability the latter clubs have at their disposal. It is fitting that the London clubs have such cosmopolitan make ups, as it is directly reflective of London itself.
Putting quotas on English players required would not improve the national team. Walcott proves that if you’re good enough, you will play – as does Hoyte last season, who was far more defensively solid than Eboue, and Eboue knew it. If these English players were all out there, some would be playing for Arsenal. A quota is not going to make them magically appear; the English team (who gives a flying fig about them?) will stay the same or decline, and the league will be struggling to keep up with Scotland’s Premiership.
Incidently, where did all this money that Coppell, Keane, Allardyce come from that they can afford all these pretty (foreign) signings of theirs? Oh, that’s right. TV-rights money. All £50million of it, kindly provided by Arsene Wenger, and the style that he brought to the Premier League that makes everyone want to watch it. A stupidly racist argument against him, that bears no relevance in the world of today. FIFA can go stick their international footie where it belongs: In a once-every-four-year tournament, which will give it some kind of value, while we watch the best quality soccer in the form of Club Football. End of.
Not that Wenger needs me of all people to defend him. He himself goes on the attack, saying that UEFA have no right to criticise him for using an assortment of young players from around Europe, when UEFA rules perfectly allow him to do it. He says:
“I cannot see how UEFA can, on the one side, instigate a rule that favours that and, on the other side, criticise the clubs that do it. “I don’t understand because our purpose is to give a good life to a player who wants to become a good football player. I don’t see what is wrong with that.“
Ask yourself what the difference is between Arsenal developing a myriad of young players under an effective training regime from around Europe, and the likes of Financially-doped Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd buying all sorts of players (Tevez? Ashley Cole? Harry Kewell, anyone?) from other clubs, a lot of them struggling. The answer: Age and several million pounds. What is it that makes people hate Wenger so much?
Not to worry: Arsene Wenger is being a right robot about it all.
“Me? No, I don’t need it. Why? I am a marathon runner. I keep fit, every day I do a little something, in the gym, running, or both. I will get a break because my team doesn’t play, but I will be watching games. Holidays? I am quite lost on holiday. I am happy to do what I do, and as long as that happens I stay where I am. I am still here because I feel I have built a new team and I want to see what I can achieve with the new team.“
Several people have reflected on the fact the guy really does need a break. He has unbelievable stamina for someone his age. Dont Fergie me, neither: The old crock uses the media to scout out his ‘dream-signings’ of Kleberson and Anderson. Brilliant work, that.
Steven Gerrard has come out and said ‘Arsenal are not out of reach‘ in the title race. Whoever said we were, Steve? In fixtures coming up, the one to look out and say a prayer for is Man Utd playing Blackburn at Old Trafford – a draw could happen. They’ve pulled out the stops against Manchester before, and I would not be surprised to see a 1-1 happening. Here’s hoping.
Lastly, in something a little more humerous: Arsenal fans are suing their own club for the ‘yiddo’ chants we here thrown at Tottenham. Yes, I am aware that Spurs fans label themselves this, but that does not make it acceptable, it merely makes them the idiots that they are. None of them are actually Jewish, in spite of the club’s history – my supporting Arsenal doesn’t make me ‘English’, does it? Alisher Usmanov’s not wearing a kippur because of his cahoots with David Dein, is he? – therefore, it actually is, wonder of wonders, believable that someone would get offended by all this ‘Yiddo’ talk.
What would be brilliant is actually caving into their demands, and watch hundreds of Tottenham fans get kicked out when the Derby comes around in December as they get trounced 3-0. A man can dream, of course. A man can dream.
Hope it’s all peaceful where you are. It’s oh so quiet, here…