A day to go before the Middlesbrough-Riverside match, and Wenger’s gone on another one-man-against-the-world tirade. My favourite kind…
The Arsenal manager has pleaded with the English FA to not go foreign once more, with regards to appointing a new national coach. “No Special One” is the order of the day; Wenger insists that the touted (pouted) Jose Mourinho is not the answer to England’s woes and that only an Englishman would have the team’s concerns at heart.
In isolation, the argument has its moments, but nothing more. You need look no further to see the magic that Guus Hiddink weaved with South Korea, Australia and now Russia to see that a good coach is a good coach.
However, it’s only a small part of Wenger’s argument of a greater scope, which attacks the proposed quotas a lot of desperate right wingers want to inflict upon the most marketable and arguably best league in the world.
In a scathing attack against a pointless, no-result, obsolete and racist quota-proposal, Wenger has drawn on his experiences in France (where he already had to battle with the corrupt FFA who had Marseilles’ interests – and their interests alone – at heart) which forced compulsory inclusions of status-players, whether they merited the position or not. Wenger says:
“I was at the centre of an experience [in France] where we had to play three players in the squad who were under 21. You know what these people became? Professional bench players.
Every week they sat next to the manager, not only did more French players not play but they did not even play in the reserves or practice enough, and in the end we cut the rule and we opened it up completely again because what happens is you produce professional substitutes.“
The statistic being bandied about at the moment goes along the lines of “71 per cent of players in the league were English in 1992-93, and now it’s closer to 38 per cent.” To whoever posits that, get a clue. That was just after the Heysel and Hillsborough disasters that excluded English clubs from European competition until they got their stadiums sorted. What European player would have wanted to ply their trade in such an isolated environment? Not many.
The quota system would signal the end of the Premier League. The pathetic excuses for leagues known as the Bundesliga and the Serie-A would rise above England’s, and Spain – as sterile as their league may be – will be unanimously crowned the best league in the world.
It would signal the end for both the quality of play involved, as well as the fact it would greatly disenfranchise the overwhelming majority of people that enjoy the Premier League – ‘plastic foreigners’, like myself. Like many of Third-Gen’s readers. Like many of any damn blog’s readers.
Yes, the English league is and English institution. But the Premier League – the breakaway league that brought in money for clubs to buy the best there was – Paul Ince or Roy Keane? Kiwomya or Kanu? Sutton or Benni McCarthy? – is an international product.
Time for the Little-Englander rubbish to stop. ‘Your league’ is the world’s league, now. You can argue for starting times not to be influenced by China, or American Footballers destroying Wembley’s pitch – but the only way England is ever going to compete as a team against the Germany’s, Croatia’s and Spain’s of this world is to do what they all did – focus on your grassroots, instead of the quick-fix Wenger-effigy solutions constantly spouted by Manchester United managers.
God, I love a good rant. If there were more English players like Theo Walcott, the team would already be twice as good. The young winger-cum-striker is working his socks off to get into Arsenal’s XI, instead of whinging about ‘how terrible Wenger is’. In an interview with the Telegraph, Walcott speaks of his admiration for Michael Owen, Liverpool and Arsene Wenger – the latter of which he gets nervous around out of sheer respect. Walcott has revealed that Wenger has given him personal advice on how to improve and become a fixture in Arsene’s team. Walcott says:
“He said I needed to be more aggressive, not kicking people, but running at players, getting behind players, doing the stuff he bought me for. He put me in against Slavia Prague and the two goals helped. If I had played poorly, maybe I would be in his bad books. I put myself about that game.“
Walcott, take some lessons from your fellow ‘English talent’, and commit a few more fouls anyway. You know, the ‘English spirit‘ and all that. Joe Cole and Marcus Bent – you are being watched. One man watching us, however, goes by the inconspicuous name of ‘Deco’, who says Arsenal is one of the teams he’ll be hoping to avoid in this year’s Champions League. To any Spurs fans with a lingering delusion of grandeur – teams like Barcelona would be salivating at beating your whipping boys. Just to drive that dagger in a little deeper (teach you lot to send me childish emails…).
Finally, Wenger has spoken out against Sam Allardyce who accused Arsenal of ‘blatantly diving’ – the focus surrounding Bacary Sagna’s penalty claim that even my Man Utd supporting uncle admits ‘was a close call’. Wenger says this is simply not true, and that the referee missed countless fouls against us while facing off with Newcastle.
Added to that, Manuel Almunia – the Sungod, how I love thee so – has reiterated how he would more than love to represent England one day, after he becomes eligible to play next year. Would be both a humouress and deserving thing to see – he has certainly performed better than either Robinson or David James this season, though it does remind you of how deserving Cudicini of Chelsea was of the same thing – and how stupid the FA were to overlook him.
Life, for you. Middlesbrough preview tomorrow – praise your respective gods, kiss your idols and walk under ladders to make sure of those three points. Fans have to perform so much work, you know. Salaam, until then.