So we are here again!! The best English players in Woy’s pool of talent were picked and off they went. We all know what happened so no need to remind ourselves!!. As Russ wrote about the other day in his post, England Expects, the fallout has started and everyone from the highest FA members to Barry the White Van man, ex professional’s and even the kind old lady who works in the Post Office have had an opinion and rightly so. I have mine but today I’m going to delve into how the oldest Football Association in the World trains its coaches compared with our European buddy’s and why there is a lack of good English coaches in the top leagues? Now I can only really talk about my experience of International Football and that can only start at the 1990 World Cup, because that’s the first one I can remember which ironically was our best performance.
So starting with England’s past manager’s here is a cheeky list;
Sir Bobby Robson 1982-1990
1984 Euro’s Failed to Qualify
1986 World Cup Quarter Final
1988 Euro’s Group Stage
1990 World Cup Semi Final
Graham Taylor aka Turnip 1990-1993
1992 Euro’s Group Stage
1994 World Cup Failed to Qualify
Terry Venables 1994-1996
1996 Euro’s Semi Finals
Glenn Hoddle 1996-1999
1998 World Cup Second Round
Howard Wilkinson 1999-2000 Interim Manager
Kevin Keegan 1999-2000
2000 Euro’s Group Stage
Peter Taylor 2000 Interim Manager
Sven Goran Eriksson 2001-2006
2002 World Cup Quarter Final
2004 Euro’s Quarter Final
2006 World Cup Quarter Final
Steve McClaren 2006-2007
2008 Euro’s Failed to Qualify
Fabio Capello 2008-2012
2010 World Cup Second Round
Stuart Pearce 2012 Interim Manager
Roy Hodgson 2012-2016
2012 Euro’s Quarter Finals
2014 World Cup Group Stage
2016 Euro’s Last 16
So that’s the list of recent managers of England and to me it is not good reading but three managers stand out to me and they are….. Sir Bobby Robson, Terry Venables and also Sven Goran Eriksson. Why I hear you ask, well that is because they have had relative success. Sven had the Golden Generation of English football so should have done better with the talent he had at his fingertips, but the other two are the fella’s that for me did a great job!!! I will be chatting about the coaching structure of England in one hot minute but before that Sir Bobby and Terry were not super qualified coaches like the FA are trying to breed. They were Football men who lived for the game and knew it inside out with added overseas experience and also had the knack of getting players to run those extra yards and put bodies on the line for their Country. Now in my book that’s an England Manager!!!!. Also another thing that they have in common is that they were both employed by more Football men within the FA. It’s the guys in suits who themselves profess that they are “not football people” to again find a new manager!! The FA would like the coach to have all his badges and loads of experience and that person clearly is FA poster boy Gareth Southgate but just because you’re a coach who looks great on paper and can follow the New England DNA formula does not make you best for the job. I’m not knocking Mr Southgate, he has worked very hard and will one day be top of the tree but it is an underachieving system he has worked in. As a grassroots coach myself who is working up the FA Coaching Pathway that I know it will cost a lot of money and also a lot of my time but I’m willing to do this knowing ironically that at sum point the system will change and it will be another new fad that we will have start promoting. So is it worth that time and money? Will the Pathway keep changing? And would I be better off if I studied in Europe? Here are some shocking facts about the number of coaches reaching the top within the big Five leagues in Europe.
World Cup wins since 1990 and European Cup wins since 1992
Italy. 1 World Cup
France. 1 World Cup and 1 European Championship
Germany. 2 World Cup’s and 1 European Championship
Spain. 1 World Cup and 2 European Championship
So if you compare the Column Chart and Pie Chart of the number of top level Coaches to the success of the five nations it’s very easy to make the connection that you have a decent amount of top Coaches you will win the big Football prizes.
Now each nation there have won a World Cup or European Championship or even both but may I ask who has won them more than once and most recent in, let’s say, the Premier League era!? England only have a 5% share and have won nothing and this leads me to my biggest issue which is our pathway. Each countrie’s pathway is in the same region of cost as the others but time scales are not. It takes forever and a day to get on a coaching course higher than a level 1 in England nowadays but if you look at Spain they do three years of hard work and when the finish they can work at any level and then go on to the UEFA A and Pro licences.
We are not getting the coaches because we don’t have a system that is user friendly as well as providing quality. Change is needed, but at the top!! We need to get football people back in the FA!! Ex players, managers, ref’s, people that know the game and make decisions based on their knowledge of the game like the men who employed Sir Bobby and Super Terry and not old men who are just in it for commercial reasons. England as a footballing nation will not improve until we have all the right pegs in the right holes and focus on football using people who know Football and can move with the times. World Cups and European Championships are not the thing at the end of a season to delay a players holiday’s and a chance to grab the big sponsorship deals. We gave Football to the World and the World took it and improved it so let’s start learning from our counterparts and improving our own talent. Yes it’s fantastic having all these elite academies but we are breeding a type of player with no character who doesn’t know what to do when their backs are against the wall and this adds to English football having no identity. For example, Man City signed a four year old!! So by the time he gets to an age where he can play adult football he will be released and missed out on being a kid playing with his mates down the park learning with his pals. That can’t be too bad because most of the Brazilians are those kids who play with their buddies on the streets learning and then getting to the big time. In the last England squad at the Euro’s there was no stand out characters, no kids who spent all their time playing Football with their buddies. No Gazza’s, Lineker’s, Scholes, Terry’s, sod it even Heskey’s. Just a load of plastic professional’s. Even Rooney has lost that rawness that made him such a danger in the Euro 2004. So what to do next then? Well maybe start with this.
Ditch the box ticking criteria to be an England manager and give it to someone who knows the game.
Use the resources of former players, get them helping those younger England teams.
Make the coaching pathway more efficient and achievable.
Get some real football people in the power positions at the FA.
And most importantly listen to all CPOS podcasts we can talk sense sometimes.