Dyke has much to ponder in new role

New FA chairman Greg Dyke has much to consider as he prepares to deal with the issues facing the England national side.

Last Updated: 12/07/13 at 13:52 Post Comment

Greg Dyke: Has a tough role as the new FA chairman

Greg Dyke: Has a tough role as the new FA chairman

Twenty-three years after playing a significant role in the deal that saw England's top clubs break away from the Football Association, Greg Dyke will try to deal with the fall-out.

As a senior executive at ITV, Dyke fuelled the early idea of the Premier League by confirming his organisation would be interested in acquiring the rights for such a competition.

Had new FA chairman Dyke squashed the idea flat, the concept may never have got off the ground.

As it was, club chairmen felt emboldened to press ahead, ultimately to ITV's cost given they instead chose Sky as their TV operator of choice, a partnership that endures to this day.

English football may have become a far more alluring product than it was back then, and its clubs may now tap into markets far away from the communities which spawned them. But the price paid by the FA has been huge.

Instead of running the game for the benefit of all, or at least being partners in it, they are now left trailing by the Premier League, their influence eroded to such an extent Roy Hodgson cannot even succeed in a plea for blockbuster fixtures not to be arranged immediately before England games of huge significance.

More than anything, it is this Dyke must attack when he officially takes up his new role this weekend.

The FA boasts many good people, doing work that largely goes unseen.

But this tends to get obscured by the latest bad England performance, of which there have been a few this summer following the respective failures of the Under-21 and Under-20 teams.

Improvement may eventually come through the magnificent set-up at St George's Park.

But by its very nature, coaching the coaches to bring through better English players is a slow process, the success of which is not going to be apparent until a generation or two's time.

And by then, the percentage of English-born players in the top division will have slithered well below its present already woeful 30 per cent The number of England-qualified Under-21 players is down at 2.28 per cent - both at the foot of the table of comparable figures in other top leagues in Europe.

If Stuart Pearce was critical of the high number of players unavailable for his Under-21 squad in Israel this summer, why should more have been expected of the Under-20s later on in Turkey, when, presumably, they supplied some of those who made up the shortfall.

England already seems to have reached the point where it lacks the strength in depth to be regarded as a credible challenger for a major tournament at senior level as Hodgson openly admits he is forced to rely on players who are not regulars at their respective clubs.

What if the Three Lions started to miss out on major tournaments; not just occasionally as at Euro 2008 or World Cup '94, but routinely?

There are other weighty matters for Dyke to address. High ticket prices, particularly for away fans, the scourge of racism is not beaten yet, ridding the game of homophobia is not as far down the road, whilst the serious issue of mental illness is only just being acknowledged.

Work on all these subjects needs to be tackled with intensity, focus and vision.

Yet the very fabric of our football culture will be affected if England can no longer provide English players for its own competition.


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