Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fergie's verbal volley at Wenger and Benitez...we need compromise, not point scoring...

Fergie is at it again, he's stirring it up with rival managers Arsene Wenger of Arsenal and Liverpool's Rafa Benitez, and once again I find myself agreeing with the Knight of the Realm, who says that in principle, Sepp Blatter's proposal to introduce a player quota system is a good thing. Perhaps not surprisingly, few big names from the world of football and those in the media appear to publicly agree with Fergie and Blatter.

The fact of the matter is that anyone and everyone who has a view on the game has allegencies to one club or another, we are all fans of football. So it came as no surprise that many pundits responded negatively towards Blatter's latest big idea. Yet these are the very same people who go looking for answers when our national team fails.

Fergie says that Arsenal will shout the loudest on this thorny issue and he's right, they will. Wenger is a great manager, of that there's no doubt, without his brilliance, no way would the Gunners be playing at the gleaming Emirates stadium, which in the view of some United fans is now the very best in all the land.

The Frenchman is not only brilliant when it comes to finding new players, but he's also no fool when it comes to signing cheques and agreeing to pay over inflated transfer fees.

The Arsenal manager has few weaknesses, save for perhaps his record when it comes to developing young British stars.

Granted the Gunners do have a few former English players that are plying their trade in the Premier League, so it isn't all bad, but the feeling is that a club such as Arsenal should have more home grown English players.

On Benitez, well he's not been at Liverpool for as long as the Frenchman has been at Arsenal and so personally I think Fergie is being a tad harsh on the Spaniard. Fergie could have singled out Harry Redknapp or Sam Allardyce, but they are his mates...

My own view is that United, Arsenal and Liverpool need to do more when it comes to finding and developing young English or British players. Carping on and slagging each other off doesn't solve the problem.

In principle though, both Fergie and Blatter are right in what they are saying about the need to introduce a quota system.

The devil should be in the detail though, and in my view, clubs should be expected to field a minimum of at least three to four home grown stars. United suffered badly due to the old quota system when the manager had to leave out Cantona, Schmeichel and Kanchelskis in a game in which we were trounced by Barcelona 4-0 in 1994-'95. That was before the Bosman case which in part led to the current system.

Back in 1994 by definition a foreigner was anyone who is not eligible to play for the international side of the country in which the club team plays.

Five foreigners could be named on the teamsheet, so long as at least two of them are "assimilated".

An assimilated player would be a foreigner who has played club football in the country of the club iquestion for 5 years. At least three of those years must have been spent playing youth football.

What I'm proposing here would be a compromise whereby at least three to four home grown English players would have to be named on the teamsheet, there's a big difference to the old system which saw United destroyed in the Nou Camp in 1994-'95.

26 comments:

  1. you should be careful what you wish for. united need foreiners just as much as anyone. Blatters proposals are for 6 English players. united have 6 now but what if 3 were injured? then in come Eagles etc. quality would drop overnight but you'd still be paying top ticket prices.
    Arsenal do have a plethora of young English players about to come of age. they have 6 or 7 17/18 year olds who, like the beckham/scholes era could take the premier league by storm. Dont think about Arsenal, but worry about football and the quality of the premier league overall.

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  2. why didnt england win anything before the foriegn legion turned up? its only the last 10 years that the influx has started what were doing england doing beofre that? i dont see no world cups or euro champs not even one final appearence.
    its a stupid argument, there just isnt enough talent in the UK u cant turn a mini into a rolls royce no matter how hard u try.

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  3. Like I say, we should see three to four home-grown players. That isn't a lot, and it may help to satisfy the likes of Blatter and importantly it would help to ensure that England continue to benefit from stars playing at the top clubs which in turn will hopefully lead to improvements in player development. Because Wenger wont have bad players in his side.

    You cannot ignore what Wenger and others are doing, that is the whole point of the debate. If there wasn't an issue, there would be need for a debate.

    They will hopefully find a compromise and like it or not Wenger will have to comply.

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  4. The only reason you have the English players you do is because you paid ridiculous amounts of money for them which saw you going £750mil into the red.

    Then you yourself were bought by a foreigner.

    Which in turn allowed you to spend over the odds for Hargreaves and Carrick.

    Spending so much money on these players effectively stopped smaller clubs than you buying them, so only the foreign owned clubs like you and Chelsea can afford top English players.

    Finally your manager is a foreigner isn't he?

    Please explain the difference between all the above and Arsene Wenger buying young talent for tiny amounts of money and at very young ages.

    At least Arsenal are still owned by Englishmen.

    Ferguson speaks out of both sides of his mouth I'm afraid.

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  5. Good blog, and there is something in what you say (Arsenal fan, who would like to see more English players PROVIDED quality is not compromised). But there is a real problem under European law (now part of UK law), restriction would be a restraint of trade affecting EU nationals and therefore unlawful. Poor Blatter has no idea. And anyway, why, in fairness, discriminate against a player like Fabregas, who has learnt his craft as an Arsenal youngster. It is a free market - if English youngsters are good enough, there is nothing to stop them from signing for Man Utd, Barcelona or Dinamo Bucharest. The world has changed and this home grown mentality that some people have needs to change with it.

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  6. england only has a small amount of quality players- who would find their way to the top teams- increasin the already gapping gap at the top. The premier league is regarded as one of the best if not the best league in the world- how much would this suffer with just english players. Imagine no cantona, bergkamp, zola to chance the league. Arsenal are helpin the english game more- young english players are over-rated and over-priced. The ones at arsenal get groomed to play football the arsenal way and if they can't cut it they take that quality elsewhere- plus the idea is utterly against the rights of the european union. freedom to work anywere! blatter= cock!

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  7. Professional football is business. Footballers are employees. There are international rules and principles which are based on freedom of choice for companies, in this case clubs, to choose whoever is best regardless of their nationality, race, etc... It's a ridiculous and naive idea and it will never materialize without altering major international sanctions. As for Ferguson's support for it, he's just mad over the Arsenal draw and wants to stir some s**t up to piss people off.

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  8. Where the manager comes from isn't really the point. Talking about the size of the fees misses the point too. But for what it's worth I agree with you about the fees too high for domestic stars. All the more reason to develop your own as City are doing right now.

    Wenger is the best at finding talent and at the right price.

    But that too misses the point which is about the possible introduction of the quota system.

    Blatter wants this in place to protect the longer term interests of the nations concerned.

    I have already stated that the old quota system wasn't perfect and what I'm proposing is a compromise which is a better and sensible option.

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  9. Utter nonesense from SAF/Blatter once again. England are at least as good as they were before the influx of foreign players.

    Where is the logic? Where is the evidence foreign players are hurting the national side?

    English teams have always had a backbone of foreign players, it's just they used to come from Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Now they come from a bit further afield.

    Provide some logic/evidence, then there might be a debate.

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  10. Ferdinand £30m
    Rooney £28m
    Hargeaves £16m
    Carrick £17m

    Yes, Man United's development of young players is something all clubs should emulate.

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  11. What a nonsense post by Geoff. Does he honestly believe that the United debt has anything to do with player purchases ? If so, God help rational argument.
    I also believe that Arsenal have a huge debt due to the costs of the new stadium - or, using his own thought processes, was it due to buying Walcott ?
    Two of Arsenal's major 'English' shareholders are from the USA & Russia, but that rather spoils his argument.

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  12. agreed^^^hole in 1!!!

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  13. also man u rely on their international fan base for a lot of their revenue. If the english premier league is not attractive anymore to overseas markets then quite simply man u will be a lot poorer. It is in man u's interests to make sure the league is as strong and attractive as possible. If they rely on gate receipts alone, what with Glazers huge debts over the club they could find themselves becoming the poor relation to both Arsenal and chelsea.

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  14. Simon,

    Evidence. Can you recall the Old Firm derby when not a single Scot was on duty? It wasn't that long ago. Yet, now both Rangers and Celtic have more Scots in their teams and the national side is doing a lot better. Both clubs were going too far in the wrong direction, things have changed for the better, but it's by no means perfect.

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  15. The real issue within English football regarding the lack of English talent is the fact that the footballing education & coaching of young & potential players is very poor, and has been for generations.

    If I were a young school kid today, I wouldn't want to be taught how to play the game by any British coaches at all...unless they were working for Arsene Wenger.

    Technique, technique & more technique is what has been missing from the footballing education of players in this Country for too long.

    In addition, people need to realise that globalisation is here, and it's here to stay.

    That means that English potential players cannot expect to become professional footballers, or to obtain a place at a top football club, simply because of their nationality, and irrespective of their quality.

    If they are good enough, they'll make it within the game somewhere.

    If they're not good enough,well there's no universal law that says they have to play professional football - they can simply get a job in another field, like most of the working population have to do.

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  16. Actually Ambrose it doesn't. Arsenal's debt will be paid in 2 years time once the properties in the old stadium are sold.

    We have never spent more than £13mil for a player and that was 8 years ago on Wiltord.

    ManU spend money that only clubs that are foreign owned can spend.

    English owned clubs can't compete, that's why we buy good foreign youngsters.

    We may have foreign shareholders but the club is English owned.

    And remember it's your manager who started the foreign argument not ours.

    That's why it's so amusing as he is foreign himself, why doesn't he go and manage Aberdeen again, we don't have enough young English managers.

    See my point his argument is floored, as is yours.

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  17. James, The Old Firm can cope with having so many average 'home grown' players in their ranks because they play in an average league. When they come up against decent teams in the champions league they're obviously lacking in class. Anyway, I couldn't give a shit whether England suffer or not, international football is generally of a crap standard compared to top club football, I know which I'd rather watch. England were average before the influx of foreign players and they're average now, how is imposing a quota system going to change that?

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  18. Is the reason that Rangers and Celtic had no scots in their teams maby that they were not good enough at the time or those on offer where far more exspensive than compareble foraign players at the time.

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  19. I am somewhat suprised with the arguments being made here. A number of points need to be addressed here,
    firstly Wenger does not make players, he gives them the environment to succeeed and it is up to them to take it
    Secondly, one of the reasons Wenger does not have a large pool to pick from is a local version of the quota system that you are suggestion, basically a team cannot sign an english kid provining he lives within a 20mile radius of the club, now that puts arsenal within conflict with a few teams there
    thirdly, wenger owes no duty to the FA, he's sole responsility is to AFC and the interest of AFC, case in point Owen get injured on int Newcastle pay he'e wages, for 2 yrs, if Newcastle get relegated, everyone including the press will expect him to leave the club, now who is then responsible for the plight of newcastle?
    in summary, these statements are just political titilation, with no real hope of solving the problem.
    BTW, one thing that needs to be addressed is the attitude of english players, they get bigger than their boots too quickly, even when arsenal had Ashley cole, he sought to leave for more money, Pennant had nemerous chances, bently thought he was too big for his boots, Bothroyd threw his shirt on the floor, Ricketts left for suprs because he wanted to play (not sure where he is) remember stephen hughes who left for everton for more money? and the list goes on, if england had a player of the mould of Fabregas aho is level headed and willing to improve withoout beleiving his hype just maybe things can start to get better for us

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  20. I am somewhat suprised with the arguments being made here. A number of points need to be addressed here,
    firstly Wenger does not make players, he gives them the environment to succeeed and it is up to them to take it
    Secondly, one of the reasons Wenger does not have a large pool to pick from is a local version of the quota system that you are suggestion, basically a team cannot sign an english kid provining he lives within a 20mile radius of the club, now that puts arsenal within conflict with a few teams there
    thirdly, wenger owes no duty to the FA, he's sole responsility is to AFC and the interest of AFC, case in point Owen get injured on int Newcastle pay he'e wages, for 2 yrs, if Newcastle get relegated, everyone including the press will expect him to leave the club, now who is then responsible for the plight of newcastle?
    in summary, these statements are just political titilation, with no real hope of solving the problem.
    BTW, one thing that needs to be addressed is the attitude of english players, they get bigger than their boots too quickly, even when arsenal had Ashley cole, he sought to leave for more money, Pennant had nemerous chances, bently thought he was too big for his boots, Bothroyd threw his shirt on the floor, Ricketts left for suprs because he wanted to play (not sure where he is) remember stephen hughes who left for everton for more money? and the list goes on, if england had a player of the mould of Fabregas aho is level headed and willing to improve withoout beleiving his hype just maybe things can start to get better for us

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  21. . Yes, there was a time when United was a factory for the England side, but Paul Scholes and Gary Neville were developed at a time when all English clubs were developing English talent. Today, United’s only contribution to the England side is Wes Brown, and any time he wears an England shirt it is more an indictment of how few options an England manager has than anything else. CALM DOWN. The other 4 English players of any note at United were not developed at United. When you pay the kind of money United paid for these players, it means they were already developed at the time of purchase. So let’s all give a collective thank you to West Ham, Everton, and Bayern Munich for developing Rio Ferdinand (£18 million), Wayne Rooney (£20 million), Michael Carrick (£17 million), and Owen Hargreaves (£17 million), respectively.

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  22. Surely it's about developing players, not spending money on them. Why does spending money on a player make that player any better?

    So ManU should get no credit at all for Hargreaves, Carrick or Ferdinand. Maybe some for Rooney since excellent as he already was, he was very young when he arrived at Old Trafford.

    Meanwhile, Arsenal should get the most of the credit for Liverpool's Pennant, and all for Chelsea's Cole (and some for Sidwell). (We'll give Sp*rs the credit for Campbell but only his bad performances ;0)).

    And the points made re cost of players are quite right (although not sure this links with the respective debt points). This system would destroy all but the richest teams in the prem. At present, even the weaker teams in the league can afford to play with a number of established internationals in their ranks. But when there is a v small pool of players who must make up the majority of every team, prices for these will shoot up beyond belief (at least treble, is my guess, so we're talking around £100m for a Ferdinand).
    I think Arsenal would survive the ruthless competition here, ultimately, as would United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Villa and some others. But a lot would go to the wall. We'd lose the competitive edge which means that (bar current runs by United and Arsenal) a trip to a relegation threatened rival can really spike a successful title campaign - the genuine quality which makes the EPL relatively exciting.

    But to return to the main point, it's patently clear the key issue is developing players, not whether they are kept in the squad or sold or played regularly or even at all. If you want to require the clubs to improve the national game (and, to be honest, I don't), you should be requiring academies to devote more resources to young English talent. That's all.

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  23. Where will this argument stop? Are too many clubs owned by foriegners and should they now revert back to english ownership? Are there too many foriegn managers (including scots, welsh etc) and therefore we should limit the number of foriegn coaches? Or are there too many coaches with purple noses and therefore we should restrict them?

    Restricting european players from playing in England does not make any sense at all

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  24. when english clubs were readmitted to europe a limit on the number of foreign players in your team was in place. Fergie was v angry about this as most of his players were not english. Now that he has bought a few english players he is in favour of it. very one eyed from red nose as always

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  25. Geoff, are you an Arsenal fan by any chance. You seem to be missing the point that has been made in the article and along with every other non united fan you seem to be using this article as an opportunity to have a dig at Ferguson. As a United fan I am more then I am more than used to this and I find it quite amusing.

    Basically if Arsenal were to win the Champions League it would be very hard to take it away from the french. Although it would be held by a british team, there is only 1 Englishman in the entire squad and that is not a fair representation for this country.

    Foreigners are an integral part of this countries leagues and should remain, but, if there was a quota then every club would be forced to find and develop the English youth.

    And finally to say that there are not enough good players in this country is complete rubbish. This country is just as passionate about football (if not more so) then any other country and kids everywhere play it from the moment the sun comes up until the moment it sets. All that is required is guidance and development and of course ala Ferguson & Wenger, a good manager.

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  26. Totally agree with anon 12:35, England havent won a thing since 1966 and its only been the last decade that foreign players have come to the Premiership. Up till then most clubs had 11 ENGLISH players in the starting line up and still England didnt win anything!!! If an English player is good enough then he would get in the side, its just obvious that most arent! As for Fergie stating that this rule would be good for football, I suggest that he is just trying to stir things around Arsenal. He has proved again that he has no class and is jeaous of Wenger and Arsenal getting rave reviews! Wrighty7

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