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Ignore Greg Dyke's pointless predictions - and buy this book, now!,
This review is from: The Way Forward: Solutions to England's Football Failings (Paperback)
Euro '96 was the last time I got excited about England. There was also, a brief moment, after Sol Campbell's `winner' against Argentina under Hoddle in 1998. Not a big return for a country that plays host to "The World's Greatest League', produced the "Golden Generation" and saw fit to ignore Brian Clough - the winner of two consecutive European Cups - when he applied for the national job. What has been the problem? And crucially, what are the solutions? Thankfully, Matthew Whitehouse has written a comprehensive analysis in this book, `The Way Forward - Solutions to England's Football Failings'.
I was a little sceptical and apprehensive when I first read it. Every time England fail to win a tournament (or reach the semi-final), the written press gloss over the detail of the failure, usually by mocking the manager, and then demand `root and branch' action. The action, usually, is a review of procedure or infrastructure and the resulting report outlines the future; then, we ignore it, because the next tournament arrives and we pretend to have a chance.
Matthew's book is different though; although like Greg Dyke and every other FA boss in recent history, there is a chapter looking at the impact of foreign imports and the lack of English players in the Premier League, it is by no means the sole focus. Instead, he delves down into the evidence, looking at a manager's remit, the transfer premium for the `better' English players and even the failings of the `home grown' quota system. Therefore, while the football press focus on cliché after cliché, this book digs deeper and looks at why managers prefer the overseas import; why England ignored or mistreated Hoddle and Scholes; the key ages for footballing development; the lack of practice and street football that would allow children to develop and `learn their trade' away from angry parents and agenda-driven coaches. Furthermore, that is, still, just the tip of the iceberg.
If anything is to change, everyone who cares about football needs to get involved, in whatever way possible. It's not as bad as some would suggest, especially with coaches like Matthew Whitehouse about, with the passion to study, research and put together a book that embarrasses any report ever published by the English FA.
So, I'll say it again: buy it, read it, take notes if you're interested in coaching, learn from it, then give it to someone else who cares about football. Please. This isn't about England winning a World Cup; it's about all the children who want to play - and enjoy - football, getting the right environment from which to learn and excel.