• The England Man Biennial


    Green and Pleasant Land


    Dear all,

    The English patient (i.e. Football, The FA and The Future Game) is very sick. There is the presenting problem and the underlying problem. The FA Chief Executive, Martin Glenn, said that England ‘seem brittle at tournaments’ and ‘it’s something around psychological preparation and resilience’. That is the presenting problem. The patient cannot face the truth or lacks the self-awareness to diagnose the underlying problem. The underlying problem is this: there is a cancer within the body of the FA that is incurable.

    The FA is staffed by well intentioned people who lack the professional insight to understand what it takes to be successful at football. Coaching courses are woefully inadequate and the financial resources available are wasted in the wrong areas (i.e. up to £1Bn spent on Wembley Stadium, St George’s Park, the World Cup 2018 bid process, Fabio Capello, Roy Hodgson and a super-sized staffing structure that aspires to get an FA Cup final ticket, at least).

    Roy Hodgson, in his France 2016 exit interview said ‘I don’t know what I am doing here!’. That is Shakespearean! One thing that Hodgson ought to have been doing at his final England press conference was showing some accountability for the sides that he set out at the tournament. The France 2016 results might go down in history as the worst set ever from an England international side - to date. They certainly seem the most shameful at this time. It’s like ‘The England Man’ has locked-in syndrome to the ‘England Biennial' of maddening shame and stupefaction’.

    What is to be done? It seems to me that the players mistrust England get togethers as the FA tries to justify its existence with ever more elaborate pomp and circumstance. I ask you: what would happen if the FA was dissolved? Consider it: in my view the players would have a better psychological preparation for games if clubs released them to go and have a bit of fun doing what they love away from their club environment for a short while. A change is as good as a rest, as they say.

    I put it to you that if the FA was disbanded we could build a new Jersuslam of which we could be proud. Public money and resources could be spent on regional centres that were affiliated to the professional clubs where Key Stage 1 & 2 kids play. Then, we should leave kids alone in their friendship groups to play with joy and delight throughout primary school, but with augmented coaching from the regional centres for talent identification and accelerated learning. Professional clubs could then look to bring kids in to their environments more regularly from Year 7.

    We need to bring back the joy of football in this green and pleasant land. Currently, we can’t play and it’s painful. How long (has this been going on...)?

    Yours sincerely,


    (Currently - the sickest man in Europe)


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