I’m talking about football, but it could be about pretty much anything, these days. England got thrown out of the European Championships on Wednesday, as they went down 2-3 to Croatia, because there are ‘too many foreign players in the Premier League,’ apparently.
Nothing to do, then, with the fact that England, it’s players, it’s coaching, are just not good enough? The panic in English football mirrors the panic elsewhere. It's just another example of not facing up to the truth.
And just look at this bit of bilge from ‘comedian’, celebrity ex-junkie, Russell Brand in the wibbly, liberally Guardian. Russell was at the game, supporting England. And then they lost, after looking like rabbits caught in headlights as the Croatians turned up to teach them a lesson in how to play top, technical, attractive, counter attacking football.
I bumped into a Croat in the lavvy straight after the match and was still unready for good-natured prittle-prattle so I neglected to ablute to avoid handshakes [?]. I bore them ill-will even before the final whistle because of what I perceived to be a needlessly fascistic form of chanting throughout the match. Perhaps this says more about my prejudices than the philosophy of those fans but it did seem terribly well organised - two huge, adjacent sections of the stadium spent the entirety of the match indulging in a terrifyingly simplistic call-and-response mantra that unnerved me…
Sensitive soul, isn’t he?
I was transfixed by [Croatian coach, Slaven] Bilic - he has menace in his eyes, and in my nervous mind I likened him to an Eastern bloc pimp masquerading as a mini cab operator in Soho. I berated myself for being so racist, whilst my head still hung; ashamed by the comical escapades occurring on the pitch and my own misuse of stereotypes, the Croatian fans again brimmed over into their regimented yawp.
Of course, the only time you will see that kind of crap written about a nation of people, it is going to be about central and eastern Europeans. The PC code doesn’t travel as far as Zagreb or Warsaw.
Since that night, straws have been grabbed for. The reason why England are crap at football is because there are too many foreign players in the Premier League in England, say many. All those talented guys from Africa, Spain, mean our Jonny can’t get in the team.
They are calling for a ‘quota system’ of no more than, say, five foreign players in a team of 11, at any one time. That will sort it out. That will win us the World Cup.
Quotas? Sounds familiar, doesn’t it, you Romanians and Bulgarians?
It also sounds like a variation of new hapless, helpless PM, Gordon Brown, when he reassured trade unionists he was going to create ‘British jobs for British workers.’ Many have pointed out that, that little slogan comes straight out of a British National Party rally.
In soccer terms, foreign players have added immensely to the football being played in the Premiership. These players have raised the game, technically, to a new level. They are not a liability to English football, they are an asset.
English footballers were crap before all the foreigners turned up 10 to 15 years ago. Remember when England failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup? Why? Because they lost to Poland in Chorzow and drew at Wembley. Before the match in October 1973, the British press aped a prominent manager’s comments that Polish goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski was a ‘clown’. And then he played the most magnificent game of his life and denied England a much needed goal.
English problems have English roots. All of them.
Tomaszewski could be a bit of a clown, though – and certainly a much better one than Russell Brand.