Chris Goreham: Club football will always be priority in England

FA chairman Greg Dyke. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire. FA chairman Greg Dyke. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Thursday, June 26, 2014
6:30 AM

At some point this week the big cheeses at FA Headquarters will start patting themselves on the back.

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It’s only a matter of time before someone notices the message scrawled on the whiteboard behind the desk which Greg Dyke now sits at. Written in the immediate aftermath of England’s uninspiring performance at the 2010 World Cup, it says “Be as good as Spain”. If matching the Spanish was the ambition four years ago then well done everybody, it is mission accomplished.

The fact that Iniesta and Xavi nipped just in front of Henderson and Jagielka in the queue to check their bags out of the World Cup underlines how dangerous it is to covet the success of others. It’s about a decade since Norwich City went big with their ambitions of following ‘The Charlton model’. At the time The Addicks were an established mid-table Premier League club whose fans used to ring national radio phone-ins complaining that Alan Curbishley had taken them as far as he could and that they needed to ‘push on’ from being constantly 10th in the top flight.

The Canaries wanted a bit of that action and so pursued Charlton to the extent that we’ll be playing at The Valley again next season having also been there in League One. It’s no good trying to copy others, footballing success has to be an organic 
process, built from within.

Which takes us back to the plush offices occupied by those ultimately held accountable every four years when England find a new and more ignominious way to crash out of a World Cup. It feels like a particularly big bolder that needs pushing back up the hill this time especially with the knowledge that it is likely to come tumbling back down very quickly in Russia in 2018.

In fairness the Football Association had tried to anticipate the need to shut the cage door before their three lions bolted and mauled the World Cup dreams of their own nation for another four years. The creation of the taskforce aimed at improving the fortunes of our national team has underlined the magnitude of the 
challenge ahead.

Greg Dyke recruited some of the finest 
football minds this country has to offer including Roy Hodgson, Rio Ferdinand and Dario Gradi as well as Danny Mills (inset), Sprowston High School’s biggest soccer success story, unless you include local radio commentators. No, thought not.

Together these brave men put forward a proposal last month which they said would lead to more English footballers getting more competitive games at a younger age, the conclusion of which would mean a wider pool of talent for the England national team to have at its disposal.

You can’t argue with the logic but many supporters had no problem at all arguing with the idea of allowing Premier League B teams to join the lower divisions of the Football League. The howls of derision were nearly as loud as the bright orange fancy dress preferred by sections of Holland’s support in Brazil.

The fact remains that while we’d all dearly love England to win the World Cup most of us are not interested in compromising the fabric of a thriving domestic game, steeped in tradition to get there. Ask Cambridge United or Luton Town fans on their return to the Football League next season whether they would rather be playing Mansfield and Chesterfield or Manchester United Reserves and Chelsea’s youth team. The answer would be overwhelmingly in favour of the former. We may envy other countries’ national teams but not many of them can boast the sort of intense competition and passionate interest that we have beyond England’s top two divisions.

Is it worth jeopardising that for a slightly better chance of winning in Russia or the heat of Qatar? It’s like asking the whole country to stop eating fish and chips on the understanding that, if things all go to plan, there’s a possibility they might have a better chance of getting a month’s supply of caviar in four years. No-one is going to agree to that. When the flags and wall charts come down in a week or two we’ll be back to worrying about our club sides again. They keep us going for 100 weeks out of every 104 while England only really get our undivided attention for the duration of one major tournament every two summers.

The England team is not the priority of any football fan that I know so why should we expect anything other than what we’ve just seen in Brazil?

England’s only success, in 1966, was achieved when they followed ‘The Charlton model’ but it’s far too late to call Jack and Bobby out of retirement.

12 comments

  • England have showed us all how bad they are and Hodgson is as manager......if we leave him and Dyke in charge then nothing will change!

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    dave123

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • What do you expect when you put people in charge who no little about International football,Dyke has not got a clue and showed his ignorance in appointing Clueless Hodgson instead of Harry!

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    dave123

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • Do you notice that all of England's opponents bust a gut to attack England defenders when they are bringing the ball out of defence ... Why ? they know the big hoof upfield will be used, Gerrard is world class at long passes the others though do it to get rid of the ball.

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    Retep

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • English players have to know how to control the ball and pass balls on the turf before they can even hope of doing the fancy stuff. Its all very basic really. How many times do we see England players making passes that the receiver has to chest down and try and control. There are also lots of flicks of the ball when it is obvious it will not work .. they get rid of the ball though as it is a hot potato ! Its simple really and it is all down to the basics.

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    Retep

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • I should have seen that coming: "scr apping" is a verboten word!

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    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • Btw; I suppose the next "Model" to follow will be the Southampton model. Trouble is, by the time that club has cashed in on the undoubted talent there, it will be back to Square One and battling for survival, until they strike another rich seam. There seems to be no way that the stranglehold of the wealthy clubs can be broken. FFP Rules? We`ll see. A glimmer of success, and Soton lose their manager plus several of their best players to "The Big Boys". I read somewhere, a while ago, that there were those that considered l`l ol` Naaridge as the new `model`. Then off went McMessiah and along came The Unwholesome Trinity. Perhaps Tony will win that ephemeral "Model" title for Crystal Pulis next season?

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    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • Btw; I suppose the next "Model" to follow will be the Southampton model. Trouble is, by the time that club has cashed in on the undoubted talent there, it will be back to Square One and scrapping for survival, until they strike another rich seam. There seems to be no way that the stranglehold of the wealthy clubs can be broken. FFP Rules? We`ll see. A glimmer of success, and Soton lose their manager plus several of their best players to "The Big Boys". I read somewhere, a while ago, that there were those that considered l`l ol` Naaridge as the new `model`. Then off went McMessiah and along came The Unwholesome Trinity. Perhaps Tony will win that ephemeral "Model" title for Crystal Pulis next season?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • Mad Brewer

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • Good piece from Chris Goreham. Football at the Europa Cup level is far more important to top English clubs than International competions. I wonder if Harry Redknapp is going to "name names" in the `reluctant player` business? Or is an estoppel in force.... Some nice metaphor about the Three Lions. "Tut-tut", you can almost hear Stephen Fry say, "really, they are leopards". Would you agree, Stew, that Mr. Goreham is one of EDP`s more talented writers? `Twould be ungalent to say otherwise ;-) Btw; my "Danny Mills inset" is an advert for a Wilco dashboard camera. Must rush out and get one, though I would prefer a photo of Danny Mills. Nice boy.

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    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • Chris just a quote from the above: "Greg Dyke recruited some of the finest 
football minds this country has to offer including Roy Hodgson, Rio Ferdinand and Dario Gradi as well as Danny Mills (inset), Sprowston High School’s biggest soccer success story" If these are "some of the finest football minds the country has to offer" God help you! I can't see much changing in the immediate, mid or long term with these assembled gems on board for Team England.

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    RoadWarrior

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • .....even tallant! ...??

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • .....of course you are right Chris!....what many, maybe the majority also want to see is our clubs bursting at the seams with homegrown gallant, and not overwhelmed with foreign mercenaries!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

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