I was reading this BBC article on the plight of the English football team manager, an Italian of course, who is facing lower and lower numbers of English players to choose from in the Premier League. You must realise that articles such as this will be all over the press in the coming months because England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and they have to have a sort of national navel-gazing contest until the tournament is over!
The table they included…
…shows just how bad the situation is with the “big four”, Man U, L’Arse, Chelski & Liverpool only averaging 2.64 (out of 11) English players per match. Hats off to Man U, winners of both the Premier and Champions Leagues this season as they did the best of that bunch with 4.28. Ya-boo-sucks to L’Arse with a pitiful 0.34 per game, which must be Theo Walcott playing the odd game when someone else in injured!
The club to keep the most faith with British talent with a whopping 6.61 is, of course, West Ham United. Such an English team in so many ways. Last team to win the FA Cup with an all English starting XI (1975), only 11 managers since 1901 and all English (well, apart from Lou Macari, a Scotsman, but that was only a very short-lived (1989-1990) mistake), the best football academy in the country turning out English talent year on year (many of whom played in the recent Champions League final), the team that provided most of the 1966 World Cup winning team….and so on. A big hurrah for the Hammers then! Not far behind are Aston Villa with 6.42 and then a big gap to the also-rans. Looking at those top two, one has to wonder if the colour of the teams strip, claret & blue in both cases, is having a sort of ‘Feng shui’ affect on the amount of English talent attracted to the clubs??