With another ‘new dawn’ for England on the horizon Henry Francis suggests now is the time the FA ripped up the stale old blueprints and dared to dare.
After England’s atrocious World Cup showing, dire encounter against Norway and the forthcoming fixture against Switzerland, Three Lions fans will be asking themselves why they even bother.
England have been boring for the best part of the last few years, stimulating from the FA’s insistence on appointing managers without any history of playing fast flowing attacking football.
I can remember even up to the 2006 World Cup, where Sven Goran Eriksson’s men were valiantly backed by a patriotic faithful, screaming, chanting and drumming to the beat every game single game.
The trumpets and trombones came out in force, with England’s band ready to support a side blessed with world class players, from Michael Owen and Frank Lampard, to Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole.
The “Golden” generation were meant to be the icing on the cake, the team that brought glory back to England and write themselves into history – alongside Sir Alf Ramsey’s heros in 1966.
However, two fairly daft exits from the 2004 and 2006 competitions followed for Eriksson’s men, with the decline of the national team beginning the day he resigned.
Respected Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren came in and failed to get a side featuring the same world class players, into the 2008 European Championships.
Since, the same players aged – faded – and came back to qualify for the 2010 World Cup spectacularly, losing one game in the process.
However, once England actually faced a half-decent side in South Africa, they were trounced 4-1 and the country was left embarrassed, with smug Germans tagging the result as a comeback for the 1966 World Cup Final.
England, from that point on, were supposed to rebuild and come back a stronger side – blessed with young talent – at the 2012 European Championships.
However, John Terry’s racism scandal and Fabio Capello’s subsequent resignation left England in a bit of a limbo, leaving the FA to ignore popular choice Harry Redknapp to appoint sensible choice Roy Hodgson – given at the time there was a xenophobic obsession to appoint an English coach.
Nevertheless, Hodgson’s first squad comprised just three under 21 players, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. This, despite Germany’s relevant success with youngsters, completely ignoring any rebuilding philosophy.
England then crashed out to Italy, who were thrashed 4-0 in the Final by Spain.
A fairly mediocre Brazil qualifying campaign ensued, resulting in another dire World Cup with England crashing out of the tournament at the group stage for the first time in 56 years.
When are we going to learn?
England have been dull and boring for as long as I can remember now, and quite frankly, I’m fed up with failing against the big sides of world football.
England have spent £120m on infrastructure, with several clubs up and down the country possessing excellent academies. The facilities in England are much better than everywhere else, but why yet, do we still fail on the international front?
Where is this investment going?
For now though, England does have a promising set of youngsters coming through. Calum Chambers, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott at Arsenal are all still relatively young, whilst the likes of Eric Dier, Raheem Sterling, James Wilson and Ross Barkley look to be some with huge potential.
Yet, under a man with dinosaur tactics, things aren’t going to change.
Exciting talents like Sterling and Chamberlain won’t be able to prosper – and England will waste another generation of talent before we know it.
At the moment, England are tedious to watch. The days where the whole family gathered round to watch the Three Lions are long gone, with some households happy to watch The Great British Bake Off or Come Dine With Me instead.
What happened to the excitement for the national game? This is the end product of an incredibly boring national team and the FA’s conservative approach. Germany are succeeding, as are Spain – with new top class players being churned out on a yearly basis.
Yet for England, the fact that no one could displace Steven Gerrard for 14 years says it all really.
Now the game against Norway is expected to be the lowest attendance in England history, with the FA failing to look at possibilities to move the team up and down the country as they did up until 2007. Wembley is their money making scheme.
Fans are disenchanted and the football is dull. Come on FA, do something radical – for once.
This article originally appeared in Shift, a new online mag that takes in politics, celebrity, and hard-hitting truths. Check it out here
You can follow the author on Twitter here