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End of season
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Who Is To Blame For The Football Crisis?

By: Graham Howes
Date: 22/10/2002

IT is difficult and complex to see who is at fault as to why the game seems to be spiralling to disaster. However if things do not change, the game in this country will be destroyed forever in ten years.

So who is to blame or what is the cause in some degree ITV Digital collapse has cause major implications and financial hardship for many. Yet some premier clubs are financially in a mess also and ITV Digital collapse did not affect premier clubs finances.

A number of factors in some ways have been a small contribution to the way the game is heading. For the first you have to go back several years when the FA decided the game needed modernising. The FA championed the Blueprint for Football as a result the premier league was born. Other changes were at youth level where premier clubs would only play other academy sides. The decision has cost clubs like us valuable quality youth competition. A major factor why English talent is not flourishing, its better to have 92 clubs and god knows how many youth coaches developing talent than a handful of premier/academy sides.

One major factor could be from the blueprint, which has had, significant bearing was the FA actually upgrading their image from looking like a boarding school. You might be surprised to how much an impact this can cause. Under the old boys stuffy image under people like Bert Millichip(spelling), where if clubs stepped out of line they were severely punished to the modern day equivalent of Adam Crozier reign. However who is to blame why discipline is now soft, Alan Sugar former Chairman of Spurs has to accept the blame here when he won a legal challenge for demotion in the courts. At the time I thought this had massive consequences to the game if a club would not accept its medicine for breach of rules.

Today most clubs can just about get away with any breach of rules and often use this to there advantage to gain the upper hand on rivals, Man Utd seem to do this with quite regularity. So is the reason the FA have gone soft is because they run the premier league and clubs would threaten to breakaway again if the FA heavily punished clubs. Does not seem to be considering how Wimbledon have been given the green light to breach FA regulations to move to Milton Keynes.

So the FA can hang there heads in shame for playing a part in what is happening to the game. The Blueprint for Football has been a disaster for our game. However the players, clubs and their chairman cannot be totally blameless.

Firstly the players, it was not long ago when players was getting on they put some loyalty back into the game that had served them well and gave them financial rewards. Players nearing their career end would drop down the leagues to pass on there valuable skills to others. The Mariners have down the years have had players like Trevor Whymark, Steve Sherwood, Gary Birtles and Chris Nichol to name some. Today players are quite prepared to wallow in the reserves until they retire or the premier league even still play some of them like Seaman at Arsenal. It is a crying shame that this is happening and the attitude of the modern player is appalling. The demand huge salaries then when the game wants something in return they stick two fingers to the game and walk away.

The clubs cannot be blameless particularly top-flight clubs. These clubs have incurred huge squads and have got themselves in an attitude if the player has foreign name he is a good player to detriment to England national side. Also their attitude to not buy from the football league has had major financial implications to Football League sides. The argument they are not good enough does not seem to hold water today as sides relegated seem to struggle in the Football League.

Finally we take a look at the chairman of clubs. Up and down the country clubs are badly run over stretching the clubs financial status. You might think this is only happening in the Football League with the demise of ITV Digital. Yet some premier clubs are so much in debt that they make Football League clubs financial troubles a drop in the ocean.

So it is quite clear if all these factors put together the game is looking at a time bomb waiting to explode. The FA has time to defuse the bomb. Over to you, Adam Crozier.

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