England's Slow Road To Failure

Today is an article by guest blogger, Alex Mason.  Mason is the Director of Coaching for Omaha F.C.

England’s slow road to failure

With so many experts, coaches, fans, and critics all trying to understand the downfall of the English game, I wanted to add some thoughts.

Without a doubt the game was modernized by the English, with new laws and a professional approach to the game saw growth around the world in the late 1890s, this made it the world’s game. I will say this again it became the world’s game, no more claims of “it is our game”. For us Brits we find it very hard to understand how the rest of the world caught us and with no hesitation lapped us, bit like the Famous British Ford Escort trying to keep up with the Porsche or Ferrari we all knew adding a go fast stripe did not change the outcome of the race, Coming second was a habit we all laughed about.

In 1981 I took the English FA Preliminary badge, I was told to study a Coaching education book by the famous Charles Hughes, this book had great detailed Techniques and Tactical approaches to the beautiful game, sadly the Book was already at the end of its second decade. My soccer teachers would laugh that not much had changed, So let’s looks at the game during that time, at least 5 world cup Tournaments had been played, countless European cups and all other events where the game was digested and taught back to the rest of the world, remember England did win the world cup in 66, sorry for the single claim to the worlds game.

Did the English game become stationary when the rest of the world were teaching themselves new Systems of play and formations that evolved beyond the WM formation and the 4-4-2

When we look at the late sixties and seventies, the British team’s were very successful, Celtic, Man UTD, Nott’s Forest and Liverpool, all of these teams had hardly any foreign players, but all of these teams had great  Scottish players who were very dominant within the English game! Was the change occurring on our own door step!

The influx of foreign players to the English premier League changed the game in modern times, the foreign player no longer worried about the damp winters as the high wages kept them lovely and warm. The only players feeling the cold was the young English players trying to compete against the new stars, This influx of players almost destroyed the “Academies” as we grew to know them, Everton, Liverpool, West ham, Spurs, Derby County were all recognized as great producers of young stars we all watched in the early days of the Premier League, I did say the early days, here I am today a diehard Arsenal fan with the embarrassing fact Arsenal’s only English player Theo Walcott did not make the England Squad, some of you will remember the Arsenal team that had Seamen, Bould, Winterburn, Dixon, Adams, Merson, Parlour, Smith, Wright, nine players all from one team all starting for England ! The answer is starting to come through, we (Brits) for the love of the game have turned to the rest of the world for our enjoyment, we smile with excitement of this upcoming final between Holland & Spain, was there the same excitement from the world when England played Algeria!

How frustrating to see Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard and co argue with each other, while the US was all marching to one drum beat. How exciting this is for American soccer.

So in one sentence, England has to reinvent the game they once created, the problem is every other country is now perfecting theirs!

It’s a funny old Game

Alex Mason
Omaha FC

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