The fall out of England’s dismal exit from the World Cup gathers apace in England. The coach, Fabio Capello, has been placed in limbo and must wait two weeks to hear whether the FA will back him or sack him. It is the natural instinct in times of failure, it seems, for the head to pay the penalty, and after previous poor World Cup or European Championship showings England coaches have been shown the door (usually at great cost to the FA).
Thankfully, some are reflecting on somewhat deeper problems at the heart of English football: At least if these two blogs are anything to go by: Stumbling and Mumbling and donpaskini. Don Paskini’s post looks at the Premiership and its organisational structure and lays blame for England’s malaise there. The clubs are too powerful and are run for profit and not the fans.
It seems to me it all boils down to what supporters want. In England it seems supporters crave winning and are clearly willing to pay a higher price (clubs run for profit etc), not just to buy their tickets. Do German fans have a more mature attitude to winning? Do they value the taking part over the participating? It would almost seem that way, given that German supports flock to games in droves, and different teams seem to win the Bundesliga each year. They don’t seem as bothered as perhaps the English press would be with failure on the European stage at club level.
Paskini also goes wider and somewhat akin to this, asks about a cultural difference between England and the more successful footballing nations, and probably has a good point. Of course though, one can’t change culture by firing the manager because the players aren’t up to scratch, and because beneath this the entire system of English football seems rotten to the core. Is it a British thing? Small nations regularly make the Euros and the World Cups, Scotland haven’t for years and I don’t think I was alive when Northern Ireland or Wales last made a major tournament. The fall-back for British fans is the tennis now: Wimbledon. But once you get past Andy Murray, there are no other good British players, and Murray only got good by going to Spain for his development. What is wrong with British sporting organisation? Is there anything wrong? We crave winners but perhaps we don’t care enough about the right organisational structures (British tennis has been in the doldrums for decades).
Who knows. But it seems the most idiotic solution is the one the FA will take (if past judgement is anything to go by), and Capello will fall on his sword, leaving grassroots football in England still desperately in need of the kinds of changes made elsewhere decades ago…