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Question of the Week

What is more important, result or style of football?

Style of Football


Mission Impossible

By: Todd Bontoft
Date: 16/10/2000

The FA's chief executive, Adam Crozier, has not ruled out appointing the first foreign 'coach' - as international managers are referred - to the England Team. And on the face of it he seems to be in tune with the general mood of the country.

An NOP poll for the Sunday Times shows there is strong support for English Football's 'top job' being filled by foreign talent. Only 34% of people said the job should be restricted to an Englishman, while 59% said it should be given to the best person for the job, regardless of nationality.

The poll, however, is a representative sample of the population as a whole and this to me shows that the English national side does not belong to the likes of you and I. The national team's performances and its future success are driven by influences of the media, big business and sponsorship, and the mass hysteria of general public opinion. The views and opinions of genuine football fans are not heard amongst the loud clamour of opinions. We are just the ones that support our team through thick and thin. Attending games whenever we can and suffering our weekends invariably being ruined by what happens on a Saturday afternoon.

But the poll includes those who just aren't interested in football but watched Owen's goal against Argentina because "everyone else was watching the game" and to the worst category of all, those self-proclaimed football supporters. You know the kind that never go to a live game, watch the 'big games' on TV, buy their kids Moan Utd replica shirts, think the Champion's league really matters, perhaps have a passing interest with the local club but certainly never go unless 'we get to Wembley'.

They usually have an annoying habit of coming out with comments such as "Well, I'd go if they bought some decent players and they were worth watching". Maybe if they actually dug into their pockets and went we could have some new players!

The truth is, many true supporters care a great deal less about England and who's the next coach than perhaps many would dare to admit. Sure I want to see England doing well but I can take it or leave it. For a start, I would rather England never win another game if, by some supernatural law, it means that Grimsby Town become a major football club constantly challenging at the highest level for honours.

Oh so you don't agree? Should the Mariners only insist in playing and nurturing players eligible to play for England? Should we be quietly removing the talents of Neilsen, Handyside , Coyne to name a few, not concerning ourselves with our league status? I will be surprised if you said yes!

The article continues in Part Two

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