Burton Abbey = World cup winners?

by Dexy Longshot

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Gone for a Burton

Some naysayers are suggesting that the game against Kazakhstan is a non-event not worthy of Lawro’s droning words of wisdom on a live Match of the Day broadcast. The expectation to win will be there as sure as minnows are minnows, but on the other hand, many are worried that we run the risk of hurling the same obscenities of disbelief in England players’ faces that came their way during the most unconvincing 3-0 victory in the history of football, against Andorra.

To strike a diplomatic balance between these two pretty bleak predictions, the game against Kazakhstan will be a much-needed compromise between a competitive game and a friendly; a chance for Capello to demonstrate much-needed experimentation while throwing caution to the wind for the fear of dropping three virtually guaranteed qualification points. Step forward Theo.

The need for mixing it up is still evident, as demonstrated in Fabio’s Ten Commandments. Capello seems still bound by the paradox of having to pick Gerrard and Lampard, on paper the two best midfielders, and keeping Goldenballs himself jinking more crosses in from the right. Gareth Barry’s huff and puff in getting his way out of Villa Park still doesn’t cement his place in the England starting XI, while players like Derbyshire, Bentley and Walcott are still not quite turning their young potential in to an explosive announcement of their arrival on the world stage.

The fanfare of the new facilities at Burton Abbey was a defining moment for the FA. This, at last, was all the bellyaching about developing new talent come good. Not just a place for the national team, but for everyone down to the Under 16 squad could come and have a kickabout here. Silly amounts of money have been thrown at developing the scientific, research, medical and theory side to the game. While Brazilian stars are born by a lad kicking a crushed can on Pepsi across a dusty street in Sao Paolo, we stand by with an open chequebook and hope for the best from our blood and bone.

Gone for a Burton?

The thing is, English and French football now run along a not-so-obvious parallel. Burton Abbey is to England to what the Clairefontaine training academy is to the frogs. Despite sounding like a pretentious beauty parlour, Clairefontaine makes exciting noises by boasting young player development and turning them in to world stars. And for all of France’s World Cup and Euro glory a decade ago, the squad is ageing and no new players have stepped up to fill the old masters’ shoes, with the squad slumping in to a shameful decline in recent tournaments. Remind you of another national team? Before Burton came about, Sven-Goran Eriksson said if England had the equivalent to France’s facilities, they would have already won a major championship. Funny that, I’m sure something happened in 1966.

French football academy

If Burton Abbey is going to fulfil the promises of all the feverish encouragements, we need to stop associating the word ‘grassroots’ with all our failures that stem up to the national team and work on making it a success.

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  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    I believe it when i see it to be honest. The FA have once again made a total balls up, over spent on Wembley leaving Burton sitting there in a heap.

    It won’t guarantee success but hopefully it’s a step forward. As Jamie rightly points out, the Brazilians don’t need an academy, they use tin cans!

  • http://aloadofcobblers.blogspot.com Danny Brothers

    We used to play football with bottle top lids at school and used the benches as goal posts…we couldn’t afford footballs in Northampton!

  • JazzyG

    we used to play with a cabbage but on the farm, ah, they were the days!!

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