Tag Archives: Ian Holloway

How England can win the World Cup

2 Jun

Archimedes was soaking in the tub when he discovered displacement theory.  Isaac Newton took a breather under an apple tree.  “Let it Be” came to Paul McCartney in a dream.  I was cycling home from KFC when I had my Eureka moment.  Without wishing to over-egg the pudding, I think I might have just come up with an idea that will have Roy Hodgson’s boys winning world cups for years to come.

*England* play in the premiership.

Here me out.  Call them FC England (or England ‘A’, or Albion, it doesn’t matter).  FC England operate on a similar policy to Athletic Bilbao.  Except rather than selecting players only from the Basque region (which, admittedly, might be a better idea…), FC only pick players who are eligible to play for England. 

FC England will adopt the same style and formation as the national team.  The benefits of continuity in style of play are evident at La Masia.  Barcelona play the same formation in their Under 7’s team as they do with the big boys.  The transition is therefore seamless.  By extension, the Spanish national team also enjoy greater prosperity by playing a similar style of football to Barcelona.

England, currently, play nothing like a similar style or formation to any of the big premier league teams.  So let’s create one.  Rather than looking like eleven blokes who met in the car park 30 minutes before kick-off, England could play with a confidence and cohesion that has been forged over several seasons in the testing fires of the premier league.  A noble aim, but who can ensure such similarities in play will be implemented?  I’ll tell you who.  Roy Hodgson earns £3million per annum to coach a measly six competitive games a year.  Roy is a decent man and keen as mustard to see English football progress.  So I’m sure he’ll be delighted to up his gaffering responsibilities to a full league season.  If he will persist with this prehistoric 4-4-2 set-up in the national team, he shall have the benefit of implementing it week-in, week-out in the premiership.  Two banks of four may score low with the judges on degree of difficulty, but at least our execution will be spot on.

To be clear, Too Good isn’t suggesting some sort of state-sanctioned annexation of players.  No-one is going to be forced to play for the domestic Three Lions.  By the same token, though, turning out for them is hardly going to damage anyone’s chances of an international call-up.  Wizard of the wing, Adam Johnson, did nought but hurt his England opportunities by enjoying a couple of seasons on the comfortable and well-appointed substitute seats at the Etihad.  Poor old “Jinky” then hammered the final nail into his international coffin by joining Sunderland.  38 games a season under the watchful glare of Mr Hodgson is not exactly the worst way to guarantee AJ a seat on the plane for Brazil 2014.  If you’re lucky, Roy may even extoll some of the coaching titbits that made him a managerial legend in the footballing powerhouses of Norway and Switzerland.  Off the top of my head, James Milner, Ashley Young, Adam Johnson, Danny Rose, Ryan Bertram and a no-longer-first-choice-at-Chelsea John Terry would all benefit from signing up for the Albion All-stars.

The fanciful notion propounded herein would quickly fall foul of “castles in the sky” accusations were it not underpinned by sound logistics.  No great idea can survive on Jamie Milner alone.  There are issues of facilities and fan-base to consider.  For one thing, FC England need a ground to play on.  I’ve decided that Wembley will do very nicely for home games.  Not much by way of training facilities around there, though, unless Hodgson’s competence really is limited to a quick game of Head Tennis on Wembley Way.  What would be extremely useful is if there was some sort of national football centre with state-of-the-art facilities.  St George’s Park, you say?  £105million well spent.  We’ll take it.  Between the Burton development and Wembley, you have nigh on £1billion in footballing infrastructure. 

Unfortunately, Eileen Drewery is no longer on the payroll of the Football Association, so we can only use ordinary powers of speculation as to what kind of fan-base FC England would have.  I’d like to think that, on some level, we would all be fans.  It is, after all, England.  English players in club teams tend to enjoy a special place in the hearts of most fans (I would gladly pledge my first-born daughter to Micah Richards).  So a team full of Englishmen ought to similarly endear.

Football clubs used to be the sinews of the locality.  However, with the introduction of all of those Jonathan Overseas into English football, this is increasingly no longer the case.  I’m no protectionist; a premier league with players from all corners of the globe is a fantastic thing.  I also think that, contrary to the opinion of many, the influx has been very good for English players (would the national team really be any better if our top-flight contained no foreigners but was barely any higher in standard than the Championship?)  However, anyone whose main driver for supporting their local team used to be watching footballers from their area must no longer feel the same strength of bond.  Maybe a few of these fans could support FC England.  Since FC can be run on a not-for-profit basis, ticket prices would be cheaper, too.

Before you dismiss this idea as merely the mad ramblings of a recent premier league champion, think about this.  The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results.  And nobody got anywhere new by taking the path most travelled.  The current trajectory for the English national team is down, not up.  We’re getting worse; and dressing up as the Germans isn’t the answer.  Full marks to England for not ballsing it up quite as quickly as we suspected they would in the Euros, but drawing at home to Ireland and being bossed by Montenegro in our WC qualifying group is not what you would call optimal.  We need to take a different route. 

There was a time when World Cups and European Championships evoked feelings of hope and expectation.  Recent major tournaments have conjured images of 11 flustered men on the fringes of sunburn.  We don’t look like we are going to achieve anything by conventional methods.  So let’s give this a go.  And if that means only two teams go up from the Npower Championship this year, so be it.  Ian Holloway gets annoying over a whole season, anyway.  Consider it a patriotic sacrifice for glory to be brought on the nation.  It’s a small price to pay to watch an ageing John Terry, adorned head-to-toe in his clean and unspoilt kit, lift the world cup high above his head in the Maracana.


There’s only one way this beautiful image will become a reality…