Foreigners in our own country
‘He would have been a perfect fit for the Leicester job but Sean’s just got one problem: He’s English. Youngsters have grown up in this global football village and been gifted this beautiful Pep Guardiola way of doing things where even the goalies do Cruyff turns. Guardiola serves up adventurous, trendy tapas but it’s plain old meat and two veg from guys like Big Sam and Pulis’ – Stan Collymore, October 2017.
“We are not getting opportunities. We are seen as second-class citizens at the moment, and that has got to change” – Phil Neville, October 2017.
“I think you are almost deemed as second class because it is your country. It is a real shame that we are highly-educated, highly-talented coaches now with nowhere to go” – Sam Allardyce, October 2017.
When Allardyce becomes Everton’s new manager, nine of the 20 Premier League managers will be UK-born. Ten of the last 16 appointed managers in the top flight are Brits aged between 50 and 70.
Maybe the above three (and others too) should come together to make one joint statement on the issue to save time? Or might they shy away from airing their views for a while?
Ask a simple question
“The Premier League is the foreign league in England now. When you look across the owners, the managers and the coaches and the players, that is exactly what it is now. I think you are almost deemed as second class because it is your country. It is a real shame that we are highly-educated, highly-talented coaches now with nowhere to go” – Sam Allardyce.
Everton is your answer there, Sam.
Still, Allardyce was right about foreign owners not appointing British managers. Apart from Farhad Moshiri at Everton. And Guochuan Lai at West Brom. And Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan at Swansea. And Maxim Demin at Bournemouth. And Tony Xia at Aston Villa. And Paul Suen at Birmingham City. And Vincent Tan at Cardiff City. And we really could go on.
Wish you were here
We already had the dissection of England’s World Cup base in Russia almost two months ago, when the Football Association announced that it would be using the small town of Repino on the Gulf of Finland.
The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Evening Standard all did feature pieces on Repino and England’s hotel, generally agreeing that this was a quiet location chosen for exactly that reason. There would be a training centre, transformed to give England all they required.
On Wednesday, The Sun’s Neil Ashton also paid a visit, presumably on his way to Moscow for Friday’s World Cup draw. See if you can guess what Ashton thinks of the venue (that he will also presumably be staying near):
‘IT feels like the end of the world. Everything breaks here. There is not much to do in Repino, not much to see, not much to set the pulse racing.’
It’s almost as if they didn’t build a place solely to keep a visiting foreign journalist entertained in late November.
‘But preparing for the mother of all football tournaments? Hmmm. There is simply nothing to do here, with the nearest smattering of shops a few kilometres down the empty, deserted, soulless roads.’
Breaking: Summer seaside resort is quiet in the depths of winter. More as we get it.
‘There is no DSquared, no Dolce, no Armani here — England’s players will need St Petersburg for that. England’s players will want to give this place the cold shoulder, for sure.’
Will they? Or will they be concentrating on training and preparation for the World Cup more than going clothes shopping and hitting the supermarket?
‘When England arrive in June, the scores of empty vodka bottles discarded by destitute Russians will have been cleared away. Make no mistake, this place could drive anybody to drink.
‘There is a hairdressing salon on site, with the stylist cheerfully explaining that a cut and blow dry will only take “half an hour”.’
It’s at this point that you do question the validity of the trip, with Ashton sauntering around asking questions about haircuts and looking for litter.
‘That leaves 23 hours and 30 minutes of boredom to fill.’
And around 1,000 words of column.
‘Instead they will spend most of their time holed up at forRestMix preparing for the three group games that will make or break England’s international reputation.’
Exactly, Neil. Which is kind of the point.
A reminder: England are in Russia to prepare for, and play in, a World Cup. Imagine the Sun headline if there were shopping centres and nightclubs everywhere: ‘WAG HEAVEN FOR ENGLAND PARTY SQUAD’.
Still, it isn’t all bad
‘England will bring their own chefs but the hotel buffet – comprising turkey, pork and cod – is top notch’ –
Judith Chalmers Neil Ashton, The Sun.
So glad we got a lists of proteins that England players won’t be eating.
‘Painting a picture’ of the day
‘On the same road is the fancy supermarket Globus Gourmet, dumped on the side of the road for no logical reason, stocking high-end food for well-heeled Russians.’
By ‘dumped on the side of the road for no logical reason’, does Ashton mean ‘built’?
Should we check? Nah
‘Vardy’s 100th league goal proves Poch right to write off Spurs hopes’ – Daily Mirror.
‘Leicester 2 Tottenham 1: Jamie Vardy strikes 100th league goal as hosts extinguish Spurs’ title dreams’ – Daily Telegraph.
‘Jamie Vardy’s 100th League goal piled on Tottenham’s Premier League frustrations against a determined Leicester City’ – Independent.
‘Jamie Vardy scored the first, registering the 100th league goal of his career’ – Guardian.
‘Jamie joins the 100 club’ – The Sun.
A lovely line used almost across the board, but piping hot nonsense. You see Vardy has now scored 69 league goals, not 100.
The figure of 100 is explained by The Sun: ‘The Leicester star has now scored a ton in English football, 69 for Leicester and 31 for Fleetwood’.
Vardy did indeed score 31 times for Fleetwood in league games, but they were in non-league at the time. So if they count then so do the 26 he scored in the league for Halifax Town and the goals he scored for Stocksbridge Park Steels before that. You can’t just include some non-league goals and not include others to fit a handy figure.
But still, 100 up. Depending on your maths.
A different perspective
‘Ashley Young’s deadly double ramped up the pressure on leaders Manchester City… Manchester United now trail rivals City by just five points, with Pep Guardiola’s men hosting buoyant Southampton tonight’ – Charlie Wyett, The Sun.
Perspective is a funny thing, isn’t it? Alternative take: Manchester City have won their last 11 league games, and are looking to maintain an eight-point lead in the Premier League against a Southampton team who have won once away all season.
Changed your tune
David Moyes, November 11:
“If it works, great. If it doesn’t, then I’ll see the East End of London for seven months, then I’ll go elsewhere.”
David Moyes, November 28:
“I’d love, if I can get good stability and strength, and I hope that it could easily be 11 years. West Ham have unbelievable potential, unbelievable potential to be up there. They’ve got the infrastructure now.”
Let’s call him a man of extremes.
Wonder why that could be?
‘Gary Lineker was hypocritical enough this week to personally bar the Daily Mail and The Sun from his BT Sport Champions League press conference despite having earned considerable sums for writing ghosted columns for both their newspaper groups – Charlie Sale, Daily Mail.
How odd. It’s almost as if he had the power to do it, disagrees with your front-page policies and despises your vendetta against him for daring to have different political views. Bloody pinkie, leftie liberal snowflake.
Tortured intro of the day
‘In the first M23 derby since the ‘Poodunnit’ saga, Brighton once again failed to find a ‘whowonit’ – Adrian Kajumba, Daily Mirror.
Recommended reading of the day
Peter Staunton on Burnley.
Rory Smith on buoyancy suits and football training.
Marina Hyde on Gianni Infantino.