On 30 December 2009, the Barclays Premier League football match between Arsenal and Portsmouth made English football history as the first match not to include any British players. Arsenal’s team of multi-million pound foreign stars won the game comfortably, 4-1; some would argue this is all that matters, but those who are passionate about football – the real connoisseurs of the English game – will recognize a deep underlying issue.
Modern day football is unrecognizable compared to what has preceded it. In times past, teams were fashioned by nurturing young home-grown talent and bolstering the squad with a few lads from Scotland and Ireland. Now the common consensus is that to achieve any success it is necessary to catch the attention of an exceedingly wealthy oil tycoon who will buy the club and proceed to spend £200 million a year on overpriced talent from the four corners of the world. This ethos is destroying British football. For example in the Premier League there are 337 registered foreign players representing a total of 66 different countries. That equates to an average of 17 foreign players per squad; the averages in Italy, France and Spain are all around 10. On the first day of the inaugural Premier League season in 1992 just 22 non-British players started; on the first day of this season 124 started. It isn’t right that success should be based on finance, is it? In 2004 Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea F.C., a team which hadn’t won the league since 1954. He splashed an extravagant amount of money on the crème de la crème of foreign talent from around the globe. Three seasons later they experienced unprecedented success which, would never have happened without the cash injection. However, it was all achieved with just three regularly playing British players, who only made the squad because they were exceptional talents which money could not replace.
This set a new benchmark for all the top teams in the land, making a clear...
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