Should Clubs Like Tottenham, West Ham & Blackburn Be Sacrificing Results For Patriotism?

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Two Chairmen today paused for a second in their busy champagne quaffing lives to give their thoughts on why British is best. Do you care what nationality your new teams signing is? Would you prefer them to be molten-blooded Englishmen, or do you subscribe to the Arsene Wenger school of transfers a-la Champ Manager (speed:20, technique:20, heading:0, nationality:foreign)?

Blackburn Chairman John Williams feels that good English players are not only thin on the ground but also overpriced. Williams said :

“There is a shortage of English talent and you have to pay premium prices for those out there. I’m afraid that we have to shop where the market is right, where the players are right and where the price is right….We want to support the England national team but the price of English players can be very off-putting.”

West Ham Chairman Eggert Magnusson understands why British players cost more and still thinks Buying British is the best route to success. Magnusson said:

“You buy players who may have had a lot of success in the Dutch league or French league, for example, but doesn’t mean they are going to be successful in the Premier League. There is a bit of a gamble to take. You have to pay a little bit more for players who have a proven track record in the Premiership and that’s fully understandable — and that goes whether you are talking about foreign players who have proved themselves in the Premier League or English players.”

Magnusson likes to waltz into the Boleyn Ground and chirp “Fe-fi-fo-fum I smell the blood of an Englishman” , something he can’t do if he has lots of foreigners around. The very foreign Magnusson is also of the opinion that his club should do their utmost to support the English national team by fielding as many Englishmen as possible.

“Sir Trevor [Brooking, English soccer’s director of development] can have no problem with West Ham because we want to have a strong England team and we believe it is important to support that and have English players at the club.”

Clubs like West Ham, Tottenham and others are very proud of fielding so many British or English players, but are they sacrificing success?

All field lots of English players, but bring back very few trophies. The opposite is true at the top end of the table for Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. England U-21 coach Stuart Pearce doesn’t even bother going to “Big 4” premiership games as he knows that he wont see any of his potential squad playing. And if the English National teams are such an abysmal brigade of uninterested, underachieving players, why do you want your team to be filled with them anyway?