English football and its cripplingly parochial mindset

Joshua Byers

There are many reasons given for English football’s failure, recent at club level and not so recent at international, on the global stage. Absurd wages definitely figure into the issue, as do England’s well-documented problems with youth and grassroots football.

Nothing quite makes the English look foolish and points towards a culture that is too proud for any self-analysis that might lead to improvement, though, as the laughably parochial attitudes present in the English game.

This is a point highlighted every time a big managerial role becomes free, and we are told by many an ex-pro that his golf buddy deserves the job over a proven foreign coach on account of nationality. We have to keep telling ourselves that surely nobody paid for their insight would replace Pep Guardiola with Tony Pulis if given the opportunity to do so, but it’s pretty apparent that they would.

The latest reminder of this came recently, with the idea that José Mourinho should sign John Terry. This outlandish possibility was promoted by Danny Mills and Charlie Adam on Radio Five Live. And no, they were not proposing that he become part of Mourinho’s backroom staff.

Okay, so Manchester United’s injuries this season mean that anyone from John Terry the footballer to John Terry the taxi driver from Walthamstow would have a chance of getting a game for the Red Devils, but United are rumoured to have hundreds of millions to spend this summer; should they really be looking at a defender nearing retirement who can’t get near the starting line-up of the club they are looking to overthrow?

Even disregarding age and current quality, we can’t imagine it would make either set of fans anything less than disgusted.

SEE ALSO: Dejan Lovren: a victim of football’s blinkered culture

Terry linking up with veteran centre-back enthusiast Tony Pulis at West Brom is a move that makes sense – hell, he might get a game as anything from a Libero to a Number, 10 what with Pulis’ love for fitting as many central defenders into one XI as possible, acting as a kind of reverse Garth Crooks.

Manchester United, though? A side hoping to become Europe’s best once more? This does not make sense.

Unless, of course, you’re a myopic patriot intent on promoting your countrymen for each and every role in English football. The same type of person who garbled minds everywhere with constant promotion of Sam Allardyce for the England job until the FA actually appointed him. Big Sam, charged with the task of developing talents such as Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling so that their talents could be harnessed and England could win a World Cup.

You’d think the car crash that was the lovable wine-in-pint-glasses enthusiast’s time at England might have made them think twice about defiant ‘proper Football Man’ statements. Evidence would suggest it hasn’t.

So, Jose, it’s time to make a call. The papers have been linking you with Raphael Varane, but Danny Mills and Charlie Adam are saying the person who you should really be recruiting is John Terry, a man who was a brilliant player in his prime but will turn 37 shortly after the season begins. He’s English, don’t you know?

Start the discussion

to comment