|An inspiring tale of adversity|
and ultimately, Redemption
|Beckham's England career - the ultimate|
footballing redemption story
How can it be with a constant turnover of personnel involved there is no significant change in the relentless cycle each of our major international teams follow? It's like a Bond movie, the characters are different each time and the events vary slightly but ultimately the same basic things happen. The only difference is Bond always come out winning.
|We've all known a bit too |
much of this in the last 25 years
Let's look at the football team and our endless pattern of:
a) promising major tournament qualification campaign with new players involved and a building sense of hope and expectation
b) a few poor performances & results in friendlies against major nations to keep our feet on the ground
c) some kind of drama / media storm in the months before the tournament itself
d) an ultimately disappointing tournament with "wholesale changes needed"
e) back to the start, rebuilding, getting rid of dead wood and bringing in new faces to refresh the whole cycle
The truth is that our young players, initially showing so much promise and excitement, rarely become anything spectacular. Over the last 20 years there has been 13 English winners of the Young Player of the Year award but just 7 Player of the Year awards. Only Gerrard and Rooney have won the Young Player and gone onto win the main one. Even worse, the Football Writers award has gone to just 5 Englishmen in 20 years. The issue of an increasing influx of foreigners is for another time, but the lack of development from promising youngster to world-class talent is sadly reflected by our national team never quite making the step up.
The table shows our FIFA world ranking since 1992. I nearly used the word "progress" but evidently that's not really suitable. What it does show is that with all the ups and downs in rankings, we should have done better than one semi-final in the last 25 years.
I can't bring myself to write about the cricket team at the moment, and I don't think series against New Zealand and Australia this summer are going to help much.