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England - what now?

I had completely lost interest in the national team, years and years of promise hyped up in the media, the constant rolling out of the sixty-six winning team members talking of exciting new prospects. The years of seeing our side stumble through tournaments and then crashing out meant that for people like me, the thought of seeing a new nineteen-ninety semi-final run or better would never come to fruition. Then along came a man that i simply thought wasn't up to snuff, Gareth Southgate. Not exactly a manager filled with winning pedigree, what on earth were the FA thinking?! I had convinced myself that with Gareth at the helm we would struggle past the minnows finishing second in our group before being dumped out of the tournament by Columbia but as we now know, what actually happened was far more inspiring than that. Yes we met Columbia in the second round but this young team was fearless and particularly ruthless at set pieces, Gareth's game management was masterful and we exorcised some demons in this tournament and before we knew it, a semi-final awaited us. This is when i realised that the similarities with England and Wycombe were telling, you see i believe that this England squad lacks the skilful and technically gifted players of France or Croatia, that being said, we have an abundance of those types of players in the under nineteens and under seventeens, Players like Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden, Ademola Lookman, Reece Oxford and so on.

Therefore i understood within myself that England getting to the final would have been the same as Wycombe winning that play-off final against Southend, We as a club were not ready for that then but look how strong we are now. I truly believe that Wycombe will do very well in league one because of the foundations and time allowed to build such structure, similarly had England got to play France in the final i feared a humiliating drubbing similar to that of Brazil v Germany of four years ago. Imagine how much better the national team will be with young technically gifted players who play without fear and who have experience of winning international tournaments at youth level, of course this all depends on how much club football they get between now and then. A few like Jadon and Ademola have made use of playing abroad because they know the opportunities out there are better for young talent, the Premier League is a business which only cares about one thing - the Brand. How much can they sell the brand for and what do you need in order for the brand to stand out from the crowd, the best managers and the best players from around the world.

This fixation on the monetisation of our top domestic league leaves our young english players often left languishing in the lower leagues and the national team suffers as a result, the few that do make it are weighed down by enormous pressures to succeed and as a result often do not reach their potential. The Premier League is a cancer on English football and i hope beyond hope that this world cup run can wake up those at the top of the game to act and change the status quo.



  • I don’t think the England team doing as well as it has in a major tournament for 20 years is going to be the catalyst for any changes.

  • @fedup1980 You write that you "realised that the similarities with England and Wycombe were telling", but then highlight what is a very obvious difference between England and Wycombe; i.e that England have an abundance of skilful and technically gifted players in their under nineteens and under seventeens. Wycombe don't have any under nineteens or under seventeens, never mind skilful and technically gifted ones. Not sure I see the similarity there.

  • @fedup1980 nice post. I think as was pointed out almost all of those lads, despite tender ages, had all been out and about in the lower leagues on loan as they could not bfreak into their first team. Both Gareths perhaps not the first choice after their early managerial career, but what a blow to the idea of paying enormous sums getting an 'experienced' (old - mediocre recent record - been through twenty five clubs) man in. Good on them. Thanks to @Chris and @Uncle_T for punching us in our post-tournament euphoria rose-tinted glasses and restoring normal Gasroom service.

  • Fedup1980 makes some excellent points but alas I think his vision of the future is romantic rather than realistic.
    In England, club football is more important than the national team for the vast majority of fans. He describes the Premier League as a cancer but trying telling that to the millions of people all across the globe who follow it every week.

  • @fedup1980 said:
    The Premier League is a cancer on English football and i hope beyond hope that this world cup run can wake up those at the top of the game to act and change the status quo.

    I wonder what sort of thing you'd suggest?
    Moving to some sort of limit on foreign players is surely a backwards step? Pretty unlawful to discriminate on those grounds these days too.

    Stopping Chelsea (for the worst example) of hoarding tonnes of youngsters, only to send them out on repeated loans and never get a chance in the first team might be a step forward.
    Everyone knows you don't go to teams like Chelsea and Man City as a very young English player if you want to ever play for them. However, money will usually be the main issue, and how many players do we hear of that are already millionaires before they've even played a few first team games!

  • @Malone I occasionally wonder whether Jordon Ibe would have had a more successful career if he'd gone from us to a club like Bournemouth rather than straight to Liverpool.

  • Successful in terms of progressing as a player, very likely.

    He'll no doubt be on colossal wages though, so it's probably a secondary thought.

  • @Malone agree quota system would just drag quality down. As it is...all of those players play in the Premier League, so not sure it is the Big C of football. You could say having to compete has made work to improve or be more willing to go out on loan rather than just collect their pay.

  • Also, the other thing to consider, is that in our whole history we've won 1 World cup (in our own country), and reached 3 other semis between the World cup and Euros.

    We're not that big a fish.

    Imagine being Brazil, Germany, Spain or Argentina after their world cups with their previous.

  • We have over-achieved (and I have loved it) but we are papering over the cracks of the whole England set up still. A number of the players in the England squad are not first choice in their clubs and they need to take responsibility for that as much as anything else. Southgate has shown that he will support players who are playing well and is happy to pick on that and not just club shirt or status. Lingard for example needs to be playing week in week out and not be a bit part player at United. Same for Rashford. Whilst the kudos of playing for a United or City is alluring playing games has to be a better option. Either way you are rich rich rich

  • I cannot understand why a footballer would not want to play, but having said that...if I could get paid for not working too much I would take it.

  • I'd put it back to you, if you were on 100k a week, and had everything you could ever want, why would you want to spoil it by playing! It's inconvenient

  • Hopefully, at the very least, someone will notice that the majority of these players cut their teeth playing lower down in the pyramid rather than in the u23 league or for Premier League B teams.

  • @glasshalffull said:

    He describes the Premier League as a cancer but trying telling that to the millions of people all across the globe who follow it every week.

    Well sure, if you want to sit on your arse and eat Pringles while you watch Brighton v Huddersfield in your y-fronts, then you live in exciting times. But for the likes of us who support small Football League clubs, who's chances of climbing through the leagues like Wimbledon and Cambridge have been all but obliterated when money became king, who can have their best young talent pinched for the price of 2 night stay in a crap B&B, who have seen their share of the money hoovered up by the already-rich, who have seen their attendances plummet thanks to the smorgasbord of televised footy being hurled at us by Sky, who are forced to bow to the interests of the minority on every decision (EPPP, Checkatrade B Teams etc) because they threaten to withdraw money if they don't, then yeah the results are in sir and I'm afraid it's cancer.

    There was a fascinating documentary about the formation of the PL on, I think, ITV fairly recently and it might be available online. That tells it like it is. The whole thing was about money. It was about a few old men with lots of money wanting to make even more and clubs like Aldershot directly went out of business because of it. Wycombe just inherited the same mess a few years later.

    It wasn't that long ago that some PL chairmen were calling for promotion/relegation to be abolished and the PL to become a closed shop. If you think these people give a shiny Aldershot if clubs like Wycombe and Accrington go bust and disappear, then you are kidding yourself.

  • This is a football forum...there's no need to drag a person's personal snack preferences or preferred garb for viewing the television into this @Jonny_King

  • Gather you don’t really like the Premier League then Johnny?

  • Everything Jonny says is true at the upper echelons of football.

    I remember the new US guy who took on a senior role in UEFA suggesting that clubs like Man Utd should automatically qualify for Europe regardless of domestic performance. His argument was that global football fans don’t want to watch the likes of Leicester City.

    They have no regard for the spirt of the game, for the importance of competitiveness or merit. It boils down to what is most profitable.

  • @OxfordBlue indeed. What they fail to recognise is that with no promotion or relegation at stake or chance to get into Europe, interest - even from the corporate prawn sandwicher - would soon disappear. It's already more exciting to see who gets relegated than which one of four wins it. Could see the competitive leagues below actually get a boost!

  • Incidentally Jonny, interesting that you mention Brighton and Huddersfield, two clubs who Wycombe have faced in league games not that long ago and therefore proof that it’s still possible to climb through the leagues.
    Also, it was as a direct result of selling one of our best young talents (Jordan Ibe) to a Premier League club that we were able to pay off our biggest debt after he moved to Bournemouth, another club Wycombe have played who went on to climb through the leagues.
    FL attendances have not plummeted, quite the opposite in fact with year on year increases over the last decade.

  • So let me ask this question. If Wycombe ever reached the Premier League-and past opponents that we’ve played like Bournemouth, Burnley, Huddersfield, Brighton, Cardiff, and Southampton have all proved that it’s still possible to climb through the divisions-would you stop going to our games?

  • Have a night off eh?

  • @Jonny_King . I must admit, that all the international friendlies and qualifiers turn me off massively. I was getting close to the thinking that they're a remnant of the past, with little need these days. After all, would the best international teams even beat the best club teams?
    However, the tournaments rescue it, and this world cup has been magnificent.

  • Of course I’d keep attending and in its own way it would be immensely special, but we’d lose a lot of ourselves along the way.

  • Like most things the PL has its pros and cons.

    On the plus side the product sells English football to the world, attracts high quality players with (occasionally) some high quality football on display. The stadiums are greatly enhanced on the whole and the demographic attending PL matches is (probably - I can’t remember last time I went) more balanced and reflective of society than it once was.

    On the flip side, well everything @Jonny_King and @OxfordBlue said and more.

    Personally I prefer the analogy of a parasitoid wasp rather than cancer, (too much planning over random mutations) but ultimately it will end up killing the host (English professional football) if untreated.

  • I must say I don't have a particular hatred for the Premier League I just have no connection with it, quite simply its as if its a different sport to me. I read the headlines about Team A signing player Y for a disgusting fortune and struggle to get excited as I have no idea who these players are. West Ham for example bought a Brazilian player for £35million, a player who was not even in the Brazil squad, has only played once for his country yet he demands a fee of that much.
    I rarely watch match of the day as I don't know the players, I don't 'recognise' the teams, I just don't care.
    HOWEVER the past two or three weeks has made me at least think about the national team again and I hope this positive attitude continues.

  • @glasshalffull said:
    So let me ask this question. If Wycombe ever reached the Premier League-and past opponents that we’ve played like Bournemouth, Burnley, Huddersfield, Brighton, Cardiff, and Southampton have all proved that it’s still possible to climb through the divisions-would you stop going to our games?

    That's sort of missing the point though isn't it? The way the PL has evolved has meant that it be nigh-impossible for a fan-owned Wycombe to climb through the leagues and establish ourselves there. None of the clubs you list are in any way comparable to us in terms of size and stature, except perhaps Bournemouth who spent millions of pounds chasing promotion and sustaining their PL status. As you well know, that model isn't an option for a fan-owned club, and I doubt many Wycombe fans would want to gamble the future of the club trying to follow it.

  • Didn’t the sale of Jordon Ibe happen before that mad rule about maximum transfer fees for youth players?

  • If Eric Plant will allow me to reply to some of the points raised (sorry Eric, I’ll seek your permission to post in future-genuinely didn’t realise that was one of the Gasroom rules):
    Yes, most of the clubs who’ve climbed through the divisions did so with the help of a financial backer(s) but who’s to say that couldn’t happen to Wycombe in the distant future?
    Dr Congo is partly right because we sold Ibe to Liverpool before that rule came in, however there was a clause about future transfers that worked in our favour when he moved to Bournemouth.

  • I think anyone who supports the 'premier league' has a rather strange moral compass

  • @fedup1980 dreadful post. You support your town/country wherever you are from. If you have to think about it then football is not for you

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