(ok, this entire post was purely an excuse to run a pic of Roland Rat)
Former BBC Director General turned Football Association chairman Greg Dyke believes the future success of England’s national side is dependent on nearly half the domestic top flight league’s rosters being filled by natives. Good luck convincing Premiership club owners to adapt Dyke’s patriotic fervor, or as the Guardian’s Greg Bakowski puts it, “with £5.1bn of TV coin heading their way and a product to sell around the world to keep their reservoir of cash at a level only marginally less than that of the GDP of a small country, Dyke will need to do some Jake the Snake-level arm-twisting.”
“My fear for the future of English football is the Premier League ends up being owned by foreigners, managed by foreigners and played by foreigners. And, I think, certainly in terms of the playing, we can make a difference,” tubthumped Dyke, as Jack Wilshere exploded with pride behind him.This is all very admirable. Mr Roy currently has a pool of English talent available to him as shallow as a conversation between Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. The desire to give scabby-kneed kids some hope that they may even have a slim chance of making it at the club they grew up supporting is something that even the Fiver can’t help but not sniff at either.
So on Thursday Dyke will take his huge bubble of optimism and place it on the table in front of 20 stern-looking Premier League suits representing the interests of wealthy people, many of whom couldn’t give a solitary one about the England team, and dare them to burst it. He may also need a tall tale too. Because getting a bunch of clubs, some of whom are being flogged for failing at Big Cup, and who regularly bundle managers aboard the good ship Do One after a just a handful of bad games to agree to persevere with less experienced – and in some cases – less talented English players throughout a season instead of buying in foreigners, will take more than a very good finger buffet. It’s like asking a scribe to use a stick of charcoal for a few months in the hope that it might turn into a beautiful quill. Good luck with that one.
But Dyke is a man who went into a room of stern-looking suits and persuaded them that breakfast TV needed Roland the Rat, Errol the Hamster and Kevin the Gerbil. Write him off at your peril.