Friday, July 29, 2011

English Footballers: Stubborn? Or overpriced?

The English Premier League is arguably the most entertaining league in the world. Not necessarily the best, but the most entertaining. It is definitely the most commercial league of all; the quality of football on display cannot be disputed, but the debate over its strength above other leagues can be. We’ve come to accept and love the fact that players from all over the world come to the English Premier League to showcase their talents and become superstars for the clubs from the top to the bottom. We see quality players like Mikel Arteta showing off their stuff for a mid-table club like Everton. But I’ve always wondered, why don’t English players ever do the same? Why don’t English players move abroad to play and make a name for themselves abroad? And I don’t mean your superstars like David Beckham, I mean the average players like Matthew Etherington. Of the current crop of English players, how many of them play for a club side outside of England: none. Are they not good enough to make it abroad? Or do they just lack the balls or ambition to make a move?

When you look at the full squad lists of most Premier League clubs, you’ll find Italians, French, Germans, Spanish and any other nationality (of all ages) you can think of; but on the other hand we never hear or see any young English talent trying to break through abroad, or even just a regular English player taking the opportunity to play abroad. Is it because the players don’t want to move? Or is it because the clubs don’t want to buy English players?

I’ve got to say I believe most English players (again, not the superstars) could probably do well in other leagues which are at a slower pace than the Premier league, but I also believe that English players have got a certain stubbornness and laziness which is what keeps them where they are. Very rarely have we seen any English player speak another language, even after they’ve moved abroad. David Beckham was in Spain for almost 5 years and he could barely muster a sentence to complete an interview in Spanish; so there’s already the refusal to learn another culture and to improve on a personal level. I also think there is a superiority complex with this belief that the Premier League is the ultimate league and that nothing else comes close to it; whereas most leagues across Europe are just as competitive. Let’s take the example of a player like Jermaine Defoe, who has been at numerous clubs all over the Premier League - he has never won a single trophy in his career but is earning lots of cash sitting on the bench (for club and country). Doesn’t an example like this make you question the motives of English players? Do they play for the love of the game and to be successful? Or do they play to just earn the money and stay home? I’m pretty sure someone like Defoe could move to a top club in Germany, France, Greece or wherever and win titles and make a name for himself, but if he was given the option he would choose to stay still instead of going for something new.

The other thing that also makes English players moving abroad such a rare sight is their prices. English players are way too overpriced. When a young player has half a decent season like Jordan Henderson, or like Phil Jones, and then both command fees of above 16 million pounds to move clubs, it makes you wonder what the true value of some of these players is. It’s a strange one, because this is only the case with English players. You never find unproven talent being shelled out for such large fees amongst clubs from the same league elsewhere. It feels like these good English players are such a rare breed, that teams would pay anything to have them. Like with any marketable product, the rarer it is, the more expensive it gets. That’s why at times I sympathize with managers who take gambles on unknown international players for cheap, because when we think of how overpriced English players have become (and sometimes even overrated) it is fairly understandable if the gamble on an international is the safer bet. I can’t seem to recall any top European clubs, or actually any European clubs at all, being linked with English players over the past few years. By linked, I mean heavily linked to the point that a bid was actually done. It’s not a coincidence. Clubs know the value of players, and English players don’t offer that.

When we see how other European footballers embrace playing abroad and gaining the experience of a different football culture, we tend to notice that their game matures and they’re able to mould into different situations to become more complete footballers. Players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Mathieu Flamini, Xavi Alonso, Samuel Eto’o, Arjen Robben…have all shown that they can pull it off in different leagues and that demonstrates the true quality of a Footballer. Being able to turn their backs on their home culture, getting out of their comfort zone and taking on the challenge of a whole new way of playing the game – and succeeding. That’s the sign of a good Footballer. That’s something that English players rarely do, and even if they did, they would probably end up complaining and returning back home. But there is always hope for English players and maybe they’re beginning to see the light now. Micheal Mancienne (21) and Dale Jennings (19) have both joined Hamburg SV and Bayern Munich respectively, and I get the feeling that it could be the start of something different to break the trend of English player sticking to home. New times on the horizon maybe…

Monday, July 25, 2011

Join Our Fantasy Football League!

Join The Football Supernova's fantasy football league for the upcoming Premier League season.

Go to http://fantasy.premierleague.c​om/ and follow the simple steps to create your team.

Once you've joined, the code of the league is: 293636-86215.

If you need help about the rules, or anything else, just ask.. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bring back Football!

The Football season is about to begin and with that, I’m glad to be back writing again as these past 2 months of hell are almost over. I haven’t written on a regular basis lately because it’s not our season. Summer is usually a time for relaxation, beaches, partying and a whole bunch of other activities which take up the bulk of our time; but for Football fans it’s a time of reflection, emptiness and rumors that have no end. This summer has been even more painful to bear for Football fans, because it’s a year that ends with an odd number, meaning we didn’t really have a major international tournament to keep us at the very least entertained. Three events did try their best to keep us gulping at the prospect of Football – The Copa America, The Women’s World Cup and The transfer rumors.

For some, maybe the Copa America was good enough entertainment, but I think that the tournament, like all other international tournaments as well, is losing its charm. When once upon a time it was viewed as a stepping stone for many of Latin America’s footballers, now it’s seen as just a prolongation of an already tiring season for the players that are based in Europe. More and more players (and fans) are demonstrating more commitment and pride supporting their Clubs than their countries is the evidence in point. This tournament, in my opinion, despite the quality players that play in it, is boring, lacks attractiveness (unless you’re from South America) and doesn’t really provide us with much entertainment (Paraguay reaching the final without even winning a match – ha!). It’s also a tournament that proves how some players (Messi…) aren’t capable of lifting their national teams on their shoulders and that their club form is actually thanks to their team-mates and not the individual brilliance which is supposedly portrayed. Verdict: Not good enough.

The Women’s World cup, for all its highs, positivity and supposed entertainment, will never be near the men’s World Cup in terms of entertainment, quality or atmosphere. This year the crowds were larger than ever and so was the following on Live television – I believe that’s mainly got to be thanks to the incredible German stadiums (didn’t feel like writing Stadia this time). But despite that, it doesn’t get our blood pumping and screaming at our screens. One thing I did notice though during the WWC is that some of the ladies out there have proven to be tougher than their male counterparts when they’re being pushed or kicked; at least they don’t go down pretending to be shot at every possible chance (Sergio Busquets, I’m looking at you). Verdict: Fun, maybe for some, but definitely not good enough to catch all our attention.

The bloody transfer window. The reason this period frustrates me more than any other period is that not only are we stuck without Football during this specific phase but also, we have to listen to, read and wonder about stories which 90% of the time never come true (can someone please tell me when was the last time in Football history a SWAP deal was performed successfully?) and are most probably created by people are in dire need just need to sell a story. This imaginary window in which all the clubs seem to look through in order to destabilize players and to try and poach players from one another is one that I find sometimes truly annoying. New signings are very exciting for all teams involved, but I for one cannot be bothered to read another story about Fabregas crying about wanting to join Barca (every year, really?), or Man United’s apparent desperation for a central midfielder, or Tevez wanting to be with his family, or Arsenal not signing anyone (and that’s just English related news). All will be sorted out in the coming weeks, so there’s no need for the load of nonsense that the media are trying to feed us with. Verdict: Doesn’t matter, the window is about as fun as watching paint dry. I hate it.

This article is to vent and to show just how annoying the off-season is for Football fans (or just me). We just want the leagues to start again, the chants, the rivalries, the goals, the tackles, the passes, the red cards, the yellow cards, the fights, the controversy…it’s only a few weeks away and I can’t bloody wait! Bring back Football!