Norwich and Leeds ‘not good for English football’? Sod off

Matt Stead

Norwich and Leeds earning promotion from the Championship “would be bad for English football”, apparently.

The Canaries and the Whites are top of England’s second tier with half of the season played. How the f*** have Norwich done it?

Norwich are top on 43 points, with Leeds just one behind. They have a five-point gap on third-placed Sheffield United.

But talkSPORT journalist Ian Abrahams believes English football will suffer if they remain as the top two come May.

It really is a quite ridiculous thing to say, so let’s go step-by-step.

“Now, I have to say that it’s great to see Norwich back towards the top of the Championship, or on top of the Championship, and looking to get back into the Premier League. But my argument today is that it would be bad for English football if Norwich get promoted – and indeed Leeds – but certainly if Norwich get promoted.”

Go on…

“Right, Daniel Farke was brought in at Norwich to try and copy what was done at Huddersfield, where of course David Wagner came in and got them promoted. And he came into English football largely because Jurgen Klopp came in at Liverpool and was seen as a shining light. So German coaches are the way forward.”

Daniel Stendel at Barnsley is literally the only other German manager in the entire Premier or Football League, but carry on.

“Well lining up behind Daniel Farke’s Norwich and obviously Bielsa at Leeds are Chris Wilder, English coach at Sheffield United.”

Good spot.

“Darren Moore, English coach at West Brom.”

And former Jamaican international.

“Frank Lampard, English coach at Derby.”


“Dean Smith, English coach at Aston Villa.”

You’re on a roll.

“And also Tony Pulis, English coach at Middlesbrough.”

Weird way of saying Welsh.

“The only way we’re going to get more English coaches into the Premier League – we only have four right now: Eddie Howe, Sean Dyche, Roy Hodgson, and obviously we have our friend Neil Warnock down at Cardiff – the only way we’re going to get English coaches into the Premier League, I believe, is for them to get their teams promoted.”

There certainly are only four English coaches in the Premier League. And only one of them, Howe, is currently higher than 14th. Remind us again why we need to automatically promote more?

“So therefore I think it’s bad for English football that Norwich and Leeds are the top two in the Championship, because if they get promoted that’s two more spaces denied to English coaches.”

“Denied”? How would failing to earn promotion ahead of foreign coaches be “denying” them anything? They need to earn it, not have it handed to them. That’s the point. And surely it’s great for English football that so many English coaches are competing so high in the Championship anyway? Why not focus on that?

“I’ve said from the beginning that Daniel Farke’s doing a great job up there, and I have to say that it’s largely a bunch of foreign players. You wouldn’t have gone and picked Teemu Pukki to lead your attack this season but he’s got 13-odd goals. He’s fantastic. They signed him from Brondby.”

What are you on about?

“I’m not saying anything against what is going on at Norwich or, to a certain extent, what’s going on at Leeds. What I’m saying is that for the good of English football, those two sides being top two in the Championship right now, and Norwich winning nine of their last 11 and being top and beginning to surge clear a little bit, is not good for English football.”

Just four English teenagers have played more minutes in the Championship this season than Norwich right-back Maximilian Aarons, who might disagree that Daniel Farke “is not good for English football”. Todd Cantwell could also have a few things to say about it; the 20-year-old is a key component of the Canaries’ squad after being given his first-team debut this season.

Also, James Maddison said he was “very grateful” to Farke back in September. The attacking midfielder joined Leicester for £20m on the back of a fine season for Norwich, where Farke gave him a central role. Maddison is a future England international, and Farke played a key role in that. And that is apparently “not good for English football”?

As for Leeds, only two players have featured more often than Kalvin Phillips this season. Kemar Roofe, Jack Harrison, Jamie Shackleton, Lewis Baker, Jack Clarke, William Huffer, Tom Pearce, Patrick Bamford and Ryan Edmondson would also suggest Marcelo Bielsa being Argentinean is no problem. They are all English, aged 25 or under, and have been used by the manager this season. Imagine if Bielsa wasn’t “bad for English football”.

Eight of the last 15 managers promoted from the Championship were English. They aren’t being “denied” anything. Stop saying silly things for attention.