Personal
Football's failure
Leeds, Chester, Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth... The list goes on and on. Football is dying.
The Football authorities - Football Association and Football League have consistently failed football fans. It is true that the end of the wage cap started the decline, but without this you could argue that the 1966 World Cup win would not have been possible. An internationally policed wage cap would help
all of football, but is unlikely to get passed.
In 1966 the lowly side, Accrington Stanley went bust. They were one of the founding clubs of the football industry we now know. It wasn't the first, and as we have seen, it isn't the last. Unfortunately, the authorities did nothing.
The prizes on offer are immense, whether you are talking about promotion to the next division or a spot in Europe, or the ultimate prize - a Champions League place. These prizes on offer are the reason many clubs bet their futures.
So when, in 1992, the Football Association decided that it wanted to keep more of the TV and sponsorship revenues for themselves. The premiership clubs in their greed welcomed this with open arms, although many of the clubs that have since fallen down the pyramid may regret what they did.
The FA, in taking a larger cut of the profits cut off the supply of funding to the lower leagues, including the non-league or semi-professional/amatuer leagues. This has in the last 18 years also helped cut off the development of new English footballers. The FA wanted the new Premiership to help support the efforts of the national team in wining the World Cup again. Their actions have, however, probably led to the opposite occurring.
Portsmouth are now the first top-level club to go bust. They have had numerous owners in this fateful year, despite the FA supposedly vetting club owners. But it doesn't stop there.
One of the world's most successful clubs - Manchester United was sold seven years ago to the American Glazier family who bough the club with huge amounts of debt with which he lumbered the club. Supporters now want to buy it off the family, but they are unlikely to sell their cash cow! But with the debt still in place, the club are in peril, despite success on the pitch.
Where to now? Well I think that we will see many more clubs going busy whilst the football Lords sitting in their ivory towers in Soho Square continue to ignore the problems. Grassroots football is being strangled, and top levels are producing young footballers who are over paid, uncontrollable and bankrupting their clubs.
Many of your favourite clubs will undoubtedly die before anything happens, but too little and too late. And as for the World Cup - we will have to continue to wait. When the greed leaves football, and we focus on the sport, we may stand a chance.
Pity really, seeing as we invented the game!
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More football rants
With the start of the football season upon us now, I thought about our summer of football with the World Cup and its associated disappointments.

The thing that everyone was talking about was the play-acting by nearly every team. The diving was an absolute disgrace, and I heard and read commentators in England, Germany and Switzerland all deploring it. You may say with the German voice included, that this was a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but to be fair their team were at least aggressive and played attractive, offensive football - in fact the best game I saw was between Germany and Italy!

So, how do we sort this out? I would refer the Football Association to a case in Germany about 8 or 9 years ago, where Andreas Möller dived for a penalty for his club Borussia Dortmund. The dive outraged the German public in such a way that the German Football Association viewed the video evidence and fined the player heavily and banned him for about 6 games. I would suggest that the Football Association, UFEA and FIFA employ a similar process to stamp out diving at the top level, because even though we do not have our games videoed on the village green, the players are influenced by the actions of the top professionals.

Just image how a José Morinho or Arsené Wenger or Sir Alex Ferguson would react to half of their stars out of action for league or cup matches if they were suspended because of diving - the play-acting would go the way of the Dodo very quickly.

I would also like to bemoan the standard of footballing brain many of our players seem to have. We all know that they generally lack brains in terms of vocabulary and their social behaviour, but on the pitch, I see many of the players running into crowded spaces, hiding behind opposing players whilst awaiting a pass. Any schoolchild knows that you can't pass solid objects through other solid objects, and yet these multi-millionaires are trying to do just that, or expecting others to do it.

Whatever happened to footballers playing the ball into space? And players running onto the ball - everything seems to have to played to feet, slowing the game down and allowing defenders to get behind the ball. The direct game as, famously played by Watford and Wimbledon, worked very well because it gave the defenders no time to think. It is normally seen as a less professional and less skilful way of playing football - but I would disagree - you need to think far faster and a few moves ahead of the current play to perform in this way.

I suppose it does come back to the fact that modern footballers are not the brightest, and need extra thinking time. It is certainly the case with the large number of players, worldwide, who are ridiculously one-footed - you will always have stronger side, but you should be able to put a half-decent pass together. Only using one foot is obviously another way of limiting the neural load on these 'stars'.

Having had my rant, I must say that I am looking forward to the new season, both for professional and local football. Players such as Ballack and
Shevchenko at Chelsea, and the fact that clubs such as Liverpool are likely to provide more competition for Chelsea this season make for a mouth-watering Premiership. Locally, we are celebrating our centenary this year, and are very confident that the season will be successful for both teams, and the new teams we are planning.
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