Petition for grassroots overhaul for the FA

by Michael Somerville

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Let’s stop this England failure from happening again

As another World Cup comes and goes, it’s another disappointment for the ever passionate and loyal England fans.

We’ve heard the excuses from the FA and Fabio Capello. “The players were tired” the manager said. Funny that, because against Germany, England players ran further on average than their opposition who still managed to rattle four goals past us.

We all know what the problems were on the pitch. Poor teamwork, not enough dynamism and a team lacking in individuality made England’s football far too predictable for their opponents. But where did this frustrating and unsuccessful brand of football come from?

Here’s the solution.

The FA needs to realise that the grassroots of the game need a major overhaul.  World Cup finalists and Euro Champions Spain have 23,995 UEFA coaching badges (B, A & Pro) and England slayers and 3rd placed team Germany have 34,790. England have just over a pathetic 2000.

The FA started work on Burton Abbey, recently renamed St Georges Park, nine years ago- a national football centre that was designed to galvanise the game and bring England success. £25m later, it is still not finished, although the FA promises it will be finished in time for the 2012 Olympics. By then its cost will have rocketed to £100m.

The FA has shown time and time again that they languish on the drawing board when it matters most. UK Football Finder has been a great crusader for much needed money in grassroots football. The website brings players of all standards together to compete in ProStar Leagues – boosting young English players’ chances of making it in the big leagues. Also supporting the petition is Goalrun who have been supporting grass roots football for 11 years.

For this worthy cause to be any use, the FA needs to listen, and change the way they coach players.

I know a young footballer who has played for the youth teams at Chelsea, Charlton and Fulham and he can firmly say that all youth team coaching places strong emphasis on strength and pace. There is so much more to football than strength and pace. This young footballer eventually became so frustrated with this type of coaching, that he left football for good six months ago to pursue another career.

If talented young players are being subjected to this constrained way of playing football by under qualified coaches, then their priceless flair and uniqueness is clearly going to suffer.

Only 2,769 coaches in England possess the UEFA coaching badges that are so prominent in Germany and Spain.

In clear black and white, that is why we have done so badly this tournament, and will continue to do so if this problem is not addressed.

It’s time for a top to toe revolution in the English game.

Our aim is to see a complete overhaul of football coaching in this country, starting at grassroots level

Sign the petition to get the FA to put more emphasis and importance in our grassroots game and to stop this failure from happening again.

UK Football Finder is part of the Grassroots Football Alliance. The GFA aims to represent the interests, concerns and aspirations of each and everyone involved with the grass roots game. Football Mittoo/Goalrun, Non League News Ltd, & Soccer Sixes seek to offer a wealth of combined experience, understanding and direct access to key organisations’

As featured on the Non League Football Show

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  • John

    I agree with this petition


  • Dave

    One of the biggest problems is all the second rate foreigners that take the place of english talent in nearly all premiership clubs.

    look at arsenal for starters

  • Freddi

    To Dave

    Dave, this is not the problem in UK, the problem is all is so conservative, they don’t want changes, only the old traditional way.
    To get English football back in the top, they need to play as they do in Europe and behaive like they do in proof leagues in Europe. You never seen a proof footballer on a pub, they have there job and are a good raw model for youngsters.
    If you look at it, the only manager with success in UK, for the national team is Sven G Erikson, he took them to Euro and Worldcup, he did it, because he was different and was not afreid to play a new sytem.
    The British clubs, need more managers from abroad, it is what it takes.

  • Dave

    I see your point but there is a serious lack of english talent playing in the top teams in england and europe.

  • Darren

    to be fair, we’ve never been the greatest nation for exporting players have we?

    The only player that springs to mind is Steve McManaman, he won a Champions League with Real, Beckham was just for marketing purposes.

    Gazza did ok, as did Lineker. Hargreaves was a success at Bayern, apart from that there haven’t been many.

  • Freddi

    The reason to lack of English playres in Europe is very simple, the players in UK are broad up, in a complete different way and attitude, to the game.
    Without the players from all over the world in Premier League, it would go very bad for English football, they are the reason too the high standard in the league.
    What we have to do, is to take it all the way down, in the leagues, from age 10 and up, change there attitude to the game, let them play football, not system’s. I am now going back to managesment in football, in a UK club and I look forward to work on this. The last club I managed was Marbella FC and even a club in 2nd Division in Spain, have a line, all through the club, so all is playing after same system’s and they give the players the possibility, to use there skills and brain.
    I am Danish, come from a country with 5.5 mill in popurlation, half of London, but we have players all over the world and we have a team, there qualify to the big turnements, every time. The thing there is different, between UK and DK, is the players in DK get the same salary a year, as UK players get a week. They are not hungry enough, because they have the lifestyle and money now. They are a bunch off spoiled kids.

  • Darren

    I see where you’re coming from Freddi. Problem is, the world class players in the Prem make our average players look good

    The Premier League has a lot to answer for. They’ve already started advertising for the new season, all the players that under performed in the World have star billing, as if they are some kind of gods, no wonder they actually believe their own hype!!

  • Freddi

    Yes, right.
    Now you see, what I am talking about, to get it right, you have to start with the roods.
    Money in Premier League has gone crazy, and there is only us to pay for it.

  • David

    With the wrong squad selection, the wrong tactics (both the managers responsibility), a group of ‘old boys’ running it (the FA), and a pervasive anti-football culture spawned by the likes of Allerdyce, Pulis, McGrath etc. the outlook is bleak.
    We will be having the same post-mortem after the 2012 Euros.

  • Mike

    Really great discussion going with this blog/petition. Exciting to hear Freddie wants to make a difference from the inside in football management. To get real lasting change however, we need to get more and more signatures and bring this petition to the FA themselves.

  • Darren

    totally agree Mike, spread the word people. We need at least 500!!

    One thing I will say though, and it’s a point that some one else mentioned in this blog. If, and it’s a big if, if England played the best 11 as a team and in the correct positions, and not the best 11 players in the wrong positions, then I really do believe we would have beaten the Germans.

    It’s a simple step forward which I hope Sven McClaren has learnt from the World Cup.

  • Dave

    We didnt export Hargreaves though, he was a product of the bayern youth academy hence why he is one of the best english players about its just a shame he is injured alot.

    Id rate him higher than ‘no pace’ Barry

  • Ivan

    I support this movement.

    Lim Zhi Guang Ivan from Singapore

    Currently looking for a job.

  • David

    Sorry Darren, I really disagree. England really does not have a team of top quality players. I cannot believe that we played the likes of Heskey (a striker that cannot) Barry (my gran is faster) Carragher at least he had the insight into his own abilities such that he retired from international fotball befor Capello resurrected him. I could go on but tell me just one English player who could be in a world eleven?
    PS I though Hargreaves was Canadian!!

  • THFC6061

    Capello, for all his qualifications and previous excellent record – must learn that he has to start players based on their form, not their reputations.
    I don’t think anyone in the England squad covered themselves in glody during the World Cup but special attention should be made of Wayne Rooney who has now failed to score in his last 9 England internationals.
    Indeed, he has failed to score in any of his World Cup Finals appearances (5 in 2006 and 4 in 2010).
    Just when will Capello consider dropping him and how many other ‘Top’ Nations would still be playing a striker with so very little return?

  • Darren

    I didn’t say that a team of top quality players, but, I do say if they were put together as a team and not a group of ego’s then we might have beaten the Germans. The Germans and the Spanish are team, not stars! That’s our problem

  • Neil

    You have my support – sign me up.

    A couple of extra thoughts…

    – Out with the old pre-madonnas and in with young football hungry players
    – Out with and Italian manager and in with an English national
    – Deal with the press and inspire the public by letting the football do the talking
    – Introduce salary caps
    – Introduce futsal to more centers up and down the country
    – Give the foreigners a run for their money with intelligent English football players (not tough nuts like Terry & co).



    ps: can you set up a proper petition form for this?

  • mickeymarbles

    Some stats against Germany. When you look at the stats below, we had the edge over The Germans in every department apart from goals. I know this obviously doesn’t reflect what a shambles we were but just thought i’d share it with you. Mickey MArbles. Part time blogger and professional moansmith.

    Germany Stat England
    17 Shots 19
    7 Shots on goal 9
    4 Goals Scored 1
    7 Fouls Committed 6
    6 Fouls Suffered 7
    4 Corner kicks 6
    3 Free kicks Shots (scored) 5
    0 / 0 Penalty Kicks (Goals/Shots) 0 / 0
    4 Offsides 2
    0 Own Goals 0
    1 Yellow cards 1
    0 Second yellow card and red card 0
    0 Red Cards 0
    32 Actual playing time 34
    48% Possession (%) 52%

  • David

    I must live in la la land!!
    I find out from Sky sports that Beckham blaims the players!! There was not one squad player who played at a top level. So clearly there was a global factor at play–tiredness? Give me strength–Barry had not played for a month, Cole about the same, Heskey rarely starts. Does anyone have the stats on just how many starts each player had during the last season? So what global factors were at play?—-The manager? The FA?–please name others.
    Then I hear Allerdyce wants the job. God!! the inventor of anti-football himself. God help us, with the FA in charge, he might just get the job!!!!
    Then Heskey announces his retirement from international football–surely an unnecessary announcement.
    Then finally Brooking is going to help Capello. Rather like asking Laurel to help Hardy!! Brooking has been in charge of player development yet we have not the slightest inkling of an English player likely to have an impact on the world.
    The world is surreal.

  • David

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but were not the managers of the last four of the World cup all nationals? I. e. the manager of Holland Dutch, Spain Spanish etc.

    There really is a lesson here. Culture is complex and you cannot penetrate it or understand it in just a year or so. We need an Englishman to manage England.

  • Matt

    I support this whole heartedly. There is so many areas we must improve in, we need to evolve, seriously. I’m dismayed by our top English pro’s not being able to use both feet and hang on to the ball under pressure. We really are bad at retaining the ball at times on the International stage. Its embarrassing. You can see this problem in all its glory in our lack of a quality left sided midfielder. You have to go back to Waddle and Italia 90 to see a properly balanced midfield. 20years ago, thats rediculous. If a football mad country of 50+million can’t produce a decent left mid something is wrong, something is very wrong. EPL formed in 92, Hmmmmm……. English players in top flight ever decreasing since, Hmmmm……..

    The FA are useless – I mostly agree.
    The EPL and English clubs (especially top4) want quick fix, which generally means foreign import over young english player – I agree.
    Perhaps we are not the most gifted of nations, weather and all that but our top pro’s should be able to use both feet and shield the ball properly…. am I right or am I right?

    If you always do what you always did, you will get what you always got…..

  • David

    So now maybe we have it!. The Capello index–what a morale sapping event. Am I correct but I hear the FA want to appoint Lord Triesman as Capello’s English coach. God pass me the brandy.

  • Steve Cavey

    Great idea and keep spreading the word.

    Steve Cavey – Worplesdon Phoenix FC

  • Marti Hawkins

    The main problem with the English Grassroots is that the best coaches, coach the adults. Level 1 is all thats required to coach kids!! We need to reverse that quickly and get the best coaches paid more through a grassroots initiative to go out into communities, to youth clubs and teams, and actually coach the kids properly. The problem is also that teams are still results based. Parents only want “little Johnny” playing for a team that wins. I dont know who wants winners more, kids or parents. We have to change to whole pyschology of thinking within the youth game or it will only get worse. By the way I have coached a team from under 9’s through to under 15’s, I am as disilllusioned as most cos alot of what I have been saying has happened to me, players leaving, parents moaning. I have decided this year to hang up my whistle, I no longer have the desire to coach players who only believe that winning now is the most important thing.

    Good luck in the quest for change, I for one wont hold my breath

  • stevie

    read this excellent blog from the Yahoo website. Some surprising facts!

  • David

    It is clear that nothing will change with the FA. It is too cozy–an ‘old boys’ network whose major interest is to stay on. Thus the only answer the punters have is to take direct action.—–boycott all future England games unil real changes are made.

  • Captain

    The FA need a big change, and the number of non-english playing in our top league needs to change too.


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