Now at the risk of getting me head in me hand, and admitting right up front that I’m not the world’s biggest or most avid football fan…. isn’t it time…. given the state of play…. to think about…. maybe…. changing the structure of the international football team set up? (duck duck.. find cover.. )
Let me explain before you all rush to lynch me!
- England is out of the European Championships – after a dismal performance under less than talented leadership;
- Scotland is out of the European Championships – after a roller coaster ride of thrilling highs and miserable lows;
- Wales is out of the European Championship – without firing a serious shot in anger;
- The Republic of Ireland is out of the European Championships -after some of the most lack luster displays in recent memory;
- Northern Ireland is out of the European Championships – after some fabulous goal scoring and gut driven performances almost made up for the initial team disorganisation;
Now, I don’t have to be a football expert to see that there is a pattern here! The football associations will do the usual thing –England will sack their manager while the tabloids are in the usual feeding frenzy, Wales will watch the grass grow for two years then run around like headless chickens panicking about the world cup campaign, Scotland will head to the bar to discuss the situation and decide to worry about it later, The Republic will ask Johnny Giles and a bunch of old has-beens to make a report that everybody will ignore so that they can do their own thing and Northern Ireland will count their money from the Windsor gates and think, “Didn’t David do well.”
Now what this all amounts to is that the players of ALL the “Home Countries” will spend next summer watching the European Championships from their well padded armchairs – just like all the rest of us mortals. Mind you we’ll be reduced to watching some dire matches…. So perhaps it’s time we did something or else we face the prospect of having no real interest in the next World Cup!
Maybe its time we thought about:-
- paying players nothing for international duty but tying performance to charitable donations;
- banning negative doorstepping of players by press corps photographers and TV crews;
- reducing football associations hospitality budget and only allowing “victory” dinners;
- asking the domestic football league team coaches and managers to teach basic skills;
- getting domestic league team managers on-side about the national teams’ needs on fitness etc;
- finding ways to make attendance at international fixtures a pleasure for fans – an experience that is family orientated;
- re-instating a robust “Home Countries Championship” to replace all the meaningless friendlies where valuable players get injured in the pursuit of football associations monetary gain;
An we might want to think about…. combining some of these teams to see if we can make one team taht will challenge instead of two teams that always just miss gloriously.