The English Football Hoax theory

There’s a lot of controversy regarding the Moon Hoax theory till date. But this is one hoax theory that has finally been discovered – the theory that England ever had a “golden generation”. Worse, you might have been coaxed into believing that they were actually capable of winning a trophy. The fact is, England never had a golden generation; they just had a bunch of over hyped and overpaid superstars, who got exactly what they deserved.

Golden Generation ?

On what basis are England’s present bunch called the “golden generation”? Did they win a trophy at the youth level? Did they ever play a memorable game in a big tournament? The answer to both questions is a big NO. Portugal’s Golden Generation won two back to back world cups at the youth level. Romania’s lot helped the team qualify for three back to back world cups in the 90’s. England’s golden generation couldn’t even qualify for Euro 2008.

First, let’s get things clear. England still would have lost to Germany even if Lampard’s goal was given; the Germans were better in every single department, and the young German players looked like giving a footballing lesson to English “superstars”. England were never in that game; a lucky case of ball hitting the head and a hoof ball doesn’t mean they deserved the match.

Lets blame the coaches:

The English players showed absolutely no passion or motivation,but let’s not blame the coaches here.

Sven Goran Eriksson is one of the most respected Swedish coaches in the world. He had a sparkling career in various countries. He has reached the UEFA Cup final with three different clubs, reached a European Cup final, and won Cup Winners cup. He was too good a coach for the England team. England at least qualified for all tournaments under him, and went as far as the quarter final in the 2006 World Cup. Progressing to the quarterfinals with this bunch of English players is a herculean task.

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Recurrent scene #1: World class English goalkeeping

Steva McClaren? He led Middlesborough to a League Cup win, and took them to a European competition for the first time in their 128-year history. After leaving the England national team, he won an unprecedented league title with Dutch club Twente – their first league title in history.

Fabio Capello? He has won eight league titles in the last thirteen seasons. He has won titles in Rome, Milan, Turin and Madrid. He has won a Champions’ League. He has won a league title in his very first season in every single club he ever managed.

What connects these otherwise successful managers? Simple – they all failed as the ringmaster of the three lions. If three otherwise successful coaches fail with the same bunch of players, then the problem is with the players.

Good old Harry Redknapp thinks only an English manager can remedy this situation. Good ploy for throwing your name up eh, ‘arry? He needs to be reminded about the track record of English managers in the last two decades. Graham Taylor failed to qualify for USA ’94. Terry Venables reached the semi-final of Euro ’96, where the only good game England played was a 4-1 thrashing of a Dutch squad plagued by infighting; every host nation, barring the last year’s hosts, have reached a Euro semi-final, so that is no unique feat. Glen Hoddle’s contributions were a last-16 exit in the World Cup. His successor, Kevin Keegan, mustered a first round exit in Euro 2000. Ericsson at least took teams to the quarter final, while Capello’s boys managed to qualify after topping the group.

Over hyped players:

The English Premier League is supposed to be the best league in the world. Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney are supposed to be the best in their positions; but in reality, they are not. English players, usually technically very limited, are made to look good because they share the stage with players from other nations. Remove the skillful French, Spanish, Scottish or African players, and suddenly they look like Conference Club players. On their own, English players are extremely limited, and their tactics are pretty lopsided.

Germany's Mesut Ozil (L) fights for the ball with England's Glen Johnson during a 2010 World Cup second round soccer match at Free State stadium in Bloemfontein June 27, 2010. REUTERS/Darren Staples (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

Recurrent scene #2: A fast skillful player skips past a limited, overpaid English player

Skilled players like Matt Le Tissier have always been looked upon as luxury players by English managers. This has resulted in an entire generation of route one football players, which has contributed to England’s terrible performances in last twenty (or is it forty four?) years. In England, if you are six feet and above, and you can head the ball from thirty yards, then you are good enough to be a footballer; good technique or close control are secondary.

The nation’s top teams are coached by foreigners, the clubs are financed by foreigners, and each of the top teams have foreign goalkeepers. So it’s hardly a surprise that they can’t find a competent native coach. Or a goalkeeper. [Insert your favourite Green joke here] is a perfect example of world class English ‘keeping.

Let’s not forget the world class English defending by the world class defender Upson, or the world class midfield link up play between potential world champions Gerrard, Lampard & Barry. Also, take in account the world class defending by the 20-million-pound-worth “defender” Johnson.


Why was Barry even picked? He was unfit, and was strictly mediocre at Manchester City. Why wasn’t Huddlestone considered? How could John Terry come out bashing Capello in the middle of the world cup? Did he put his bitterness of losing his captaincy before his team? Why did Capello insist on playing Gerrard out of position? Why didn’t Capello dare to bench a hapless Frank Lampard? Why wasn’t Dawson given a nod ahead of Upson? Why did Capello switch back to an archaic 4-4-2 from the 4-2-3-1 that served England well in qualifiers? These are some questions the coach and the players need to answer.

The English media did their bit perfectly – they just had to blow up a story on Terry before the World Cup. You could suddenly see moral police brigades picking up pens in the media houses. Capello never got involved with off-field matters in Serie A, and he had to deal with Cassano and Giorgio Lentini, men who make John Terry look like a padre. In the face of media pressure, Capello relented. The team spirit was destroyed then and there. Did that affect Terry’s performance in an adverse way? Highly probable.

Free State Stadium Bloemfontein World Cup 2010 Germany v England (4-1) Match 51 27/06/10 They think it's all over, Wayne Rooney is down and out as England crash out Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Recurrent scene #3: An English striker fails to live upto the hype

Heskey was Capello’s English version of Emerson or Zebina, two players who got picked in all clubs Capello set foot in; too bad they didn’t have English nationality. But Heskey’s replacements were hardly encouraging; Defoe was awful in the second half of the season, Crouch can only score against Azerbaijan & Trinidad, and Bent doesn’t have enough quality. A lot depended on Rooney, but he was such a dripping damp squib that defenders marking him slipped and fell down at times. Did Rooney even play in this World Cup?

The bottom-line is – England never, ever had a “golden generation”. They just had a bunch of players who combined well with foreigners at the club level; the players were never capable of doing anything on their own.

England has never managed to produce consistently good teams like Brazil, Germany, Argentina or Italy. They haven’t even managed to conjure up a decent once-in-a-generation squad like France or Spain; all they can deliver are duds. Unless they host another World Cup and get enough goodies from the referees, they won’t win the coveted trophy; an African team will win it before England does.

70 Responses to “The English Football Hoax theory”

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  1. Blue fan says:

    Maannn…dis is some serious English-bashing

  2. Howard Roark says:

    It comes from a person who supports Italian football, so no surprises here.

  3. ojogo says:

    haha…loved this piece. down with the english ! oh wait, they already hit rock bottom.

  4. VV says:

    Nice one !!!

  5. aamir says:

    an African team will win it before England does.

    Spot on 😀

  6. Everything bunrns says:

    Very valid point that the english players need to combine with foreigners to get anything right. And their performances are not going to change any time soon. Their youngsters are sub standard when compared to germans , italians and spanish.
    And trust me english fans if capello cant do it pretty much no other coach can.
    Your league may currently occupy the top spot in uefa rankings but trust me its not because of home grown players or coaches.

  7. Neyaz Shafi says:

    couldn’t have summed it up better myself.

  8. sounak says:

    The final verdict of the bashing is understandable but some of the reasons provided in it not acceptable to me. I am no fan of English football. There was no Arsenal player in the line-up, so I didn’t even have that academic interest in the team.

    Some of the statements like “Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney are supposed to be the best in their positions; but in reality, they are not. English players, usually technically very limited, are made to look good because they share the stage with players from other nations. Remove the skillful French, Spanish, Scottish or African players, and suddenly they look like Conference Club players.” are outright blasphemous.

    The most important point missed in this article is the ‘ego’ and the ‘English Media’ surrounding the ‘big egos’ of the English footballers. I still consider Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney fantastic footballers. They have brilliant technique. Lampard and Gerrard have the most amazing side-volley hitting technique I have seen in this generation of mine. I know of probably Zidane, Ronaldo (El Pheno) and Rivaldo who had such excellent side-volley technique along with Frankie and Stevie G. Rooney has an unmeasurable understanding of the game of football, of positional sense and of sleak and important movements.

    The area these 3 mentioned footballers suffer is the inability to gel as a team, inability to perform at the International level, inability to throw that ‘big ego’ out of the window and come to ground-zero level and perform with each other (like, say the Germans do).

    I absolutely REFUSE to agree that countries like Algeria, Slovenia are difficult opponents compared to the Arsenals and the ManUniteds considering that the Gerrards and the Lampards fail to score against these lesser countries but ships in goals for fun against big teams in the league.

    Son, the problem is not with their ‘technique’. It’s with their ‘ego’.

  9. Luis says:

    rightly pointed out sounak. ur comment is like a well written counter-article.

  10. Somnath says:

    Simple, lets remove the Drogbas & Torreses from the teams in which Gerrard & Lampard play & then lets see how good they really are. Oh wait, that has already been done for last 10 years 😀

  11. Somnath says:

    Lampard & Gerrard might have some isolated good techniques. Marco Materazzi was amazing in air & he is the most prolific goal-scoring defender I have ever seen , that doesnt necessarily make him a “good” defender. Just like Gerrard’s good side volley doesnt make him a world beater.

    Ego ? The Dutch & Spanish players have even larger egos & less discipline. That didnt stop their teams from doing well in patches.

  12. Sounak says:

    @Somnath: If you benchmark is Materazzi as a good goal-scoring defender, then I shud say thats really sad for Italian football. He has 18 goals for Inter Milan and 2 goals for italy. Well??

    Dutch players and Spanish players are really good, but they don’t have a media which makes them feel better than what they actually are! I hope you get what I mean. From there, rises the ‘big ego’.

  13. Somnath Sengupta says:

    Dutch players & Spanish players have been historically plagued by in-figthing & ego clashes. That was the point, if the Castillians & Catalans can get together for once atleast why cant the English egos ? Answer is, it wont make a difference even if they do.

    Materazzi holds the Serie A record for being the top scoring defender in a season. Italian defenders can defend so they are not so adept in goal scoring. Sad, I know :D.

  14. Rohit says:

    There is an obvious over dependence on foreign players in the English league. Take a look at the comparitive pie charts in this article
    But this is from 3 years back. My sense is that more and more big European club teams(even non english ones) are moving towards this model. Also because the English league is so popular, the English players have far greater visibilty than others and hence the hype.

  15. Interesting article… Thank you for the info!

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  17. Wow, I really loved this post, never thought about it like that. Thanks for the insight.

  18. numbnuts says:

    I largely agree with the article. the players have flattered to decieve, but 2 -3 points to nitpick
    1. For every Matt le Tissier, England had such skillful players like Glen Hoddle, Chris Waddle and Gazza. I think managers never figured out how to play Le Tiss in their formations. I mean Graham Taylor!
    2. you do Hoddle a lot of disservice in the 1 sentence you write about his England managerial career. One of the best managers England had, until his silly statements about karma. I think one of England’s best results 0-0 v an Italy side at their peak in the ’98 WC quals is one of their best results of the decade. The tournament proper was not too shabby either with only penalties eliminating England after a 2-2 against a superb Argentina. Not seen England attack with so much vim and vigor since, not even in the 5-1 in Munich

  19. Venkat says:

    This should be posted in the london times :) Respect!!! :)

  20. Somnath Sengupta says:

    I totally agree with you on Le Tissier, Matt le God was criminally underused by English managers. This because of the inherent problem in mentality. Flair players have rarely been encouraged in the English system. If England had focused on players like Le Tissier & Gazza, they would have done much better now. Atleast they would have taken better penalties…

    About Hoddle, I partially agree. He was the best “English” manager since Sir Bobby. But England didn’t face toughest opponents in WC98. Tunisia, was playing in their first WC for a long time & they played like rank outsiders. Colombia’s golden generation of early 90s had aged & were a shadow of their past. England did lose to a brilliant Romania team in ’98. They played well against Argies though.