Saturday, November 24, 2007

'England – it’s the foreigners what is to blame…'


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.

45 comments:

geez said...

BR:...in the wibbly, liberally Guardian... 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.

That kind of crap is par for the course in less than wibbly, libbly FOX TV. This is something from a recent sit-com character to a Polish American character: "You're Polish. It is in your blood, like eating kielbasa and collaborating with the Nazis."

Then the less than wibbly libblies at Fox sort of apologized *if* Poles took took the bit the wrong way:
"In no way was this dialogue meant to insinuate any connection between the Polish people and the Nazi movement."

Uh? What did it insinuate?

That said, I wouldn't mind at all if foreign folks weren't around to raise the level of play of the Premiere League. I gotta admit, I always enjoy seeing England lose. So I hope more and more of the furriners will come to the US to play in the MSL (even if they are English).

Brad Zimmerman said...

If this is how the English are reacting, they should be twice as ashamed as the average person on this planet since it's well known that they are (somewhat, at least) stoic in defeat.

Basically, they are just being sore losers. Perhaps if they play as if it isn't "guaranteed" that they will enter Euro 2009 they might make it.

Renegade Eye said...

You can't blame English football players, for accepting money to break traffic laws while being photographed. Give credit where credit is due.

beatroot said...

. I gotta admit, I always enjoy seeing England lose.

Everyone likes seeing England lose, even many England fans. There is a strange pleasure about it. Abd when teams come to WEmbley they play out of their skin. Croatia played Macedonia a week ago – Macedonia! – and lost 2 – 0. Croatians had qualified for the finals already and they just didn’t give a toss about the game. But when they came to Wembley, they showed everyone how good they are. Eberyone wants to beat England.

And now we are looking for a manager. All the sane managers are turning the job down or are making sure they are not in the running – nobody wants the job: who wants tabloid journalists going through your rubbish bins. But there is an Italian manager who says he is the ‘right age’ for the job – meaning that he is 61 years old and wants the kind of pay off that idiot Steve Maclaren got – 2.5 million pounds he got for being sacked!!!

But the latest news is that THE SPECIAL ONE wants the job. Is he crazy?

http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,,2216602,00.html

prostak said...

To be fair to Russell Brand, he's completely anti-racist and his tongue was firmly in his cheek writing that article, as with all his 'football' columns.

As for the football itself, questions really do have to be asked why the English teams with all their money produce nothing in the way of talented youngsters, whereas for example Crvena Zvezda alone have produced half of the greatest players of the last decade or two of Serie A...
I think a big part of the problem is the refusal of young English players to go abroad if first-team opportunities don't arise at home. The current Polish national side is a great example of a healthy mix of domestic and foreign-based talent; Boruc, Ebi and Bronowicki among others benefit from experience in another league's style. All the English can play is a crushingly direct game filled with one-footed players - Croatia did the simple things (beating men, keeping the ball) better, so they won.
Besides- a pitch unfit even for rugby, a goalkeeper given his first start in the most important England match for 18 months and a talisman who gets match fit by playing against the Sex Pistols, and the problem is too many foreigners?

prostak said...

Also, for what it's worth - the 61-year-old Italian is Marcello Lippi, is he not? England would do incredibly well to appoint him

beatroot said...

To be fair to Russell Brand, he's completely anti-racist

I am not saying he is a racist. But substitute 'eastern European' or 'Croatian' for 'black' or African' in any of the sentences that I quoted and you will see how ugly it looks. And I don;t think he would have written, 'tongue in cheek', that way about black players. And good. So why do they think they can get away with it about poeple from this part of the world? Eastern Europeans are like Chavs - the only group left for the British middle class to feel superior to. Saddos...

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with British jobs for British workers? There are hundreds of thousands without.

Anonymous said...

An important contribution the Croatians can bring to Britain is a vivid description, from their own memories, of the fate of a certain multiculturalist state. Maybe it is not such a good idea to create such structures in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Indeed it is funny to heap scorn on Eastern Europeans resident in Britain as the source of evil. Of course, pointing out the obvious - that it's all the home-grown jihadis that are the real threat - would attract a visit from the cultural diversity police and probably involve some involuntary re-education.

geez said...

BR: The url links posted in the comments section are still being cut off coz the screen can't be mazimized.

geez said...

the only group left for the British middle class to feel superior to. Saddos...

Well, jeez, they gotta feel superior to somebody...

beatroot said...

I will deal with the multiculturalist bit later.
But Geez, all you is slide the cursor along the link and you see that it is a full link..

geez said...

Weird. I guess it works even if all I see on the screen above before I copy it is:

http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,,2216602,00.h

BTW, how popular is hockey in Poland? I know that lot of the soccer clubs also sport hockey teams but I never hear much about the latter.

As far as professional spectator sports go, hockey has become my favorite. Fast, exciting continuous action. And often about a half-dozen goals a game these days.

beatroot said...

England 2 - Croatia 3...that's nearly half a dozen goals. What more can we ask for?

Don't know anyone interested in hockey, Geez. Ice hockey, maybe (though Poles haven;t mastered it yet like...well everyone else around this part of Europe has), but not the one on grass, that India, Pakistan and girls play.

geez said...

Well of course I meant ice hockey. How popular is it in the UK for that matter?

So Junior in Poland doesn't play a half year's worth of hockey to the tune of a month's worth of the daddy's salary?

About what percentage of kids play in some kind of organized soccer leagues in Warsaw? Do girls play on the same teams with boys at some levels?

beatroot said...

Hockey is a sport, but not an important one. Neither is American ‘football’ an important sport, because only Americans play it. That’s why it is called American Football. They are trying to get the Brits interested in it – have been for years. Now they are threatening to hold the Superbowl at Wembley! (It is working the other way too – because the Premiership is so keenly followed by people all over the world – and the viewing figures on TV, and revenue, are huge, we could see the FA Cup being held in Tokyo!).

No, football – soccer – is the only real global sport. And it’s interesting that virtually only America refuses to call it by its proper name. Football. Americans have a football game where the foot is very rarely involved. That’s just daft. It should be called ‘Throwball by men in strange clothes and helmets’.

In most languages, the word for football is derived from ‘football’. In Poland it’s pilka nozna – literally ball foot, though they are increasingly using ‘futbal’; in Russia its futbal. German Fussbal. Everywhere. Except in Italian, ‘caccio’ (meaning ‘kick’ – well, it’s more descriptive than the American) and in Irish – who borrow from the American - ‘Sacar’. And ‘soccer’ isn’t even a proper word. It means nothing.

I suppose the Irish do that because they have a ‘Gallic football’ game as well. But they do take American terminology in sports often. What the British would call a ‘100 meters sprint’ is in Irish English, like American, a ‘100 meters dash’.

Why do Irish use American words in sports?

mjk said...

An important contribution the Croatians can bring to Britain is a vivid description, from their own memories, of the fate of a certain multiculturalist state. Maybe it is not such a good idea to create such structures in the first place?

this comment requires further explanation: who is creating such structures? and where? for it would be quite clumsy in historical terms to compare the artificial union of different nations to create a new state to the arrival of people from different cultures into an already perfectly defined country, right? the one thing you can compare to the creation of jugoslavija these days, and only because it would its negative reflection, is the nato/eu working towards the independence of kosovo. immigration had nothing to do with the tragedy of the balcans (and the experiment didn't actually work that bad between 1945 and 1980: it actually lasted for a decade more after the death of tito).

geez said...

Neither is American ‘football’ an important sport, because only Americans play it.

An anti-Canadian comment, heh? Canadians have their own CFL and had their big Grey Cup (Super Bowl) yesterday. I don't know who won or played but it took place in the former Skydome in Toronto.

And the guy from Warsaw Station is trying to start something up with American futbol in Poland, no?

And before you continue to diss us Americans, don't forget you guys just got cremeated by ... Croatia! If it was Yugoslavia, you would have gotten beat 9-2 or something like that.

Guy said...

"the only group left for the British middle class to feel superior to. Saddos..."

Is that really the case? Around Hammersmith the Eastern Europeans are probably the second most popular immigrant group after the Aussie/Kiwi's. Sure nobody likes the Russian fat cats or the Romanian gypsies but in general the attitude is positive, particuarly towards the Polish (though that might be to do with the nice Polish cafe).

I can think of immigrant groups though of much worse like Pakistanis and Nigerians.

For me there are two stories in all this bloated football tosh. Firstly is the idea that English players are doing worse because of celebrity and money. And that, much like with British builders, the Eastern Europeans do it cheaper, easier and better (which surely is an admission of superiority?).

Secondly is the reaction: banning foreign players. This is common now in British culture: ban, don't nurture. The emphasis is on legislation and protectionism (how very European).

Frankly more foreign players is a good thing because it just means that English (or Scottish, or Welsh or whoever) have to work harder rather than resting on the laurels of geography.

Eastern Europeans take far more flak in the media than in real life. And considerng the balls the MSM in Britain generally pumps out that merely means its all of a level.

"Well of course I meant ice hockey. How popular is it in the UK for that matter?"

Very much a minority sport, there just isn't the ice available. Hockey is slightly more popular, particuarly with girls.

-Guy

michael farris said...

While we're here, isn't this the _second_ embarassing defeat to Croatia by England in recent years?

Face it, you're Croatia's bitch.

geez said...

I'd respond Ho, Ho, Ho but that's not allowed anymore so HeHeHe.

Then again, I'd feel even better about it if it wasn't Croatia....

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Geez. How is what I am saying anti-American? You just have weird sports, played by folk in Edwardian dress. Fact. Why don;t baseball players and footballers wear shorts - like everyone else?

An what's wrong with Croatia? It's one of my fav countries.

Guy. Totally. I agree that the media is out of step with normal people in Britain. But I have also met with stereotype thinking that these media peddled myths regurge on a regular basis. So they need to be opposed before they have an effect.

Guy said...

I absolutely agree beatroot. I'm very interested in history and one of the more interesting aspects is comparing historical realities with public perceptions.

In general what the public thinks is caused by cultural memes, which in this globalised world gives the media a lot of influence. As you say, if we all start expecting Eastern Europeans to have fangs and beat up British workers before stealing their jobs then eventually people will start to believe that nonsense.

geez said...

Anti-Canadian. Heh? Not Anti-American. By not recognizing Canadians play football and have their own league.

No shorts coz it would be too tough on the knees. And nowadays most bb players wear very long pants, not knickers. And basketball players shorts are down over their knees, too.

Croatia? Too many fascists.

Anonymous said...

mjk: who is creating such structures? and where?

"By this Treaty, the HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES establish among themselves a EUROPEAN UNION, hereinafter called 'the Union'." Currently metastasizing into new areas of competence.

mjk: for it would be quite clumsy in historical terms to compare the artificial union of different nations to create a new state to the arrival of people from different cultures into an already perfectly defined country, right?

The end result, people of different cultures living as neighbours under the same legal system and common government, is similar. Whether such a creation can survive the stresses of history (including profound political changes) depends on how compatible the cultures are. But looking at Yugoslavia, or even Czechoslovakia, one may have doubts.

beatroot said...

Croatia - too many fascists. Which British tabloid you read that one in, Geez?

And how is baseball tough on the knees? In fact, apart from the pitcher, how is playing baseball tough on anything? They are so lazy they can;t even be bothered to carry their bat with them when they are running.

mjk said...

anonymous: The end result, people of different cultures living as neighbours under the same legal system and common government, is similar.

and all terrorisms are the same, right? you start oversimplifying and you end up bombing the streets of bagdad instead of the mountains of afghanistan... for once, jugoslavija's was a forced union, one directed from the outside, whilst the eu is a free decision from the inside of its member countries.

anonymous: Whether such a creation can survive the stresses of history (including profound political changes) depends on how compatible the cultures are. But looking at Yugoslavia, or even Czechoslovakia, one may have doubts.

oh, give me the czech case, please... no war, no deaths, one happy country and one that starts regretting the whole independence thing... great example to be taught in nationalist schools!

beatroot: Croatia - too many fascists. Which British tabloid you read that one in, Geez?

no british tabloid needed, beatroot. hrvatka's is a special case, of course, having suffered (and inflicted) such a tragic war in still too recent of a time. but, should you drive across the dalmacija, you will see ante gotovina pictures everywhere, many claiming that people there prefer not to join the eu than to give him away. and yes, gotovina was their saviour from the serbian army. but he was also a war criminal. after that, you may visit rijeka, 300 kms. away from where the bullets and the bombs were flying. but do visit it on hrvatska's national day: oh man, it's scary... it would be fair to admit that the situation has improved highly in the past 5 to 10 years. but, if not clearly present, fascism is still in the shadows there.

michael farris said...

(nb. I've never been to Croatia, this is all second-hand)

Croatia was pretty enthusiastically on the German side in WWII (one reason for Poland not siding with Croatia at all during the 90's despite their common Roman catholicism, if anything Polish bias tends towards the Serbs strangely enough).
Also symbols from the Ustasha were supposedly revived in 90's independent Croatia (supporters said the symbols pre-dated the nazi puppet state and shouldn't be tainted by it while critics said you could say the same thing about the swastika).

On the other hand, Hungary was also on the German side and that hasn't hurt Polish-Hungarian relations. And there's a streak of fascist-apologetics in Hungarian politics still (I've been in Hungary a lot and it's one of my favorite countries, but some of their political debates do freak me out a little).

beatroot said...

I saw posters, but I don;t meet those attitudes among normal people (and I go to Croatia every year). And as far as EU is concerned, Croatia are the most advanced of all the Balkans apart from Slovenia and are, if truth be known, far ahead already of exsisting members in all sorts of ways - including Poland.

Just because we have Giertych does not make Poland catholic nationalist.

mjk said...

they've got an amazing potential and a lot of heart... well, maybe i am wrong, maybe it's not shadows but ghosts what i perceive... let's just hope the ante pavelic' soup doesn't get to be dish of the day ever again...

geez said...

Ever try sliding into the dirt at second base with shorts, BR? Diving after a groundball in the infield?

As far as laziness or lack of athleticism is concerned, I think it was best surmised by the great and rather rotund Polish baseball player John Kruk (now retired but formerly a first baseman with the Philadelphia Phillies --why is a team named after a female horse you will no doubt ask) who said something to the effect: I'm not an athlete, I'm a baseball player."

Nevertheless, I think hitting a baseball, thrown by a good pitcher, is the hardest thing to do consistently in sports. Look at Michael Jordan who tried to play baseball, but couldn't make the grade, after he retired from basketball. Then again, he probably would have sucked at sacar, too.

Of course, a lot of the most strident sports fans in the US see soccer as a sissy and altogether boring sport.

Too many fascists in England, too.

beatroot said...


Ever try sliding into the dirt at second base with shorts, BR? Diving after a groundball in the infield?


That's the strangest question someone's asked me all day.

I don't think I have voluntarily slided in dirt, either with or without shorts...at least not when sober...

I'm not an athlete, I'm a baseball player

Is that why they all take 'performance enhancing drugs'? But which drug? They run around four bases and then have to go and sit down for half an hour. So I reckon they must be smoking weed.

Why is a team named after a female horse?

Anonymous said...

A good rule of thumb for non Anglo-Saxons is that they hate foreigners. Just not the ones they know.

geez said...

Ever try sliding into second base without shorts, BR?

Anonymous said...

mjk: for once, jugoslavija's was a forced union, one directed from the outside, whilst the eu is a free decision from the inside of its member countries.

Which part of the inside, I wonder? You only need to check the recent statements by president Sarkozy, and read the V. Giscard d'Estaing's letter to Le Monde, to see how fundamental changes in the nature of the EU are being implemented, and how much the people of the individual countries have to say. And it is the people, not the politicians, whose support such a structure needs to survive.

mjk: oh, give me the czech case, please...

The _Czech_ case? Not the Czecho-Slovak case? ;-)

mjk no war, no deaths, one happy country

Actually, two separate countries now.

mjk: and one that starts regretting the whole independence thing...

I haven't heard of any serious political movement trying to rebuild CS. Have you?

great example to be taught in nationalist schools!

By all means, I also prefer the Czecho-Slovak way. In fact, it does show that national states can be good neighbours _without_ being clamped together in one vise (C and S membership in the EU is only very recent).

beatroot said...

jugoslavija's was a forced union, one directed from the outside, whilst the eu is a free decision from the inside of its member countries.

EU was and is an elite project, conceived and managed by ruling elites. There was no social movement for it and there is no real social movement to sustain it. That is Brussel's problem. Hence 'constitutions' which morph into 'Reform' treaties etc.

As far as Yugoslavia is concerned - then yeah, it failed. But there is no 'law' of nature or society that says that a national identity is the only identity that can unite people. WE all have much more in common than we do differences. Politics should be about finding that unity. The EU, however, is not it.

Geez - I never tried sliding into...dirt stuff...with my trousers on, let alone, off.

And can't those geezers catch a ball without having to wear BIG glove?

beatroot said...

And Geez - if you want to get your eyeballs around a proper game where men catch the ball, bat ball (which often bounced and deviated off the ground at 100 mph, or spun in disguised ways), ...and at the same time WEARING LONG TROUSERS...

then have a look at this

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ILmSAL7WTKA&feature=related

geez said...

And can't those geezers catch a ball without having to wear BIG glove?

Maybe that English goalie should have tried two big gloves.

BTW, I don't watch pornography or cricket. Something about sticky wickets.

beatroot said...

Come on...Baseball is cricket for folk who are sportily challenged.

michael farris said...

"But there is no 'law' of nature or society that says that a national identity is the only identity that can unite people. WE all have much more in common than we do differences."

But national identity is inherently a two-step process
1. what do we have in common?
2. what makes us different?

You can't have one without the other.

As for the EU, I certainly have lots of criticisms of the entity, but on the other hand, the EU has a better track record of improving living standards of member states than any other trans-national organization. That gives it a little leeway in my book.

geez said...

Sportily?

Who are the guys wearing ultra white carefully laundered and starched preppy clothes? My, my, what would ever happen if one perchance got a grass stain?

3-2. Ow.

Guy said...

"Who are the guys wearing ultra white carefully laundered and starched preppy clothes? My, my, what would ever happen if one perchance got a grass stain?"

You'd take them home and wash them?

JJ said...

Should there be a Salary Cap in Football?
Personally I think there should be! It’s just getting to be stupid money in football at the top of the premiership!
It’s always the same teams at the top proving that football success is based purely on money which ruins the idea of it being a sport! They’ve done it in rugby, basketball, hockey and American football and it makes the sports more competitive and better to watch!
I do a little Spread Betting from time to time and most matches don’t hold much surprise who is going to win, its boring! I want to see a team at the bottom pulling off an amazing season beating last seasons winners in a close fought battle!
Make things fair! It shouldn’t be about money!
Plus!
All there is all that money in the premiership and barely any of it stays in the UK so it’s not even helping the economy!
From my Spread Betting, if I ever win big (which is never, I’m unlucky) it’s still nothing compared to the average premiership players weekly wage!
This Rant was brought to you by Spread Betting Spike.