|Jamie Vardy non league to Premier League top scorer|
So it seems that the can of worms opened at Fifa has turned into a hidden cave of worms. So, whilst our own FA makes clear its disassociation from the deep deceit for personal gain, I wanted to pose them questions about TalentID. I’m certain that as they promote honesty, integrity and transparency the key people there will welcome the concept that we should continue to review and take care of our own house first and do what’s good for football.
They have a new Talent ID department delivering courses to professionalise recruitment of players. Like most things delivered by the FA, some we will agree with, some we won’t. Introducing overlapping coaching courses like Youth Modules for example could be deemed overkill by a sceptic but actually, having been on them I have found them to be excellent and would highly recommend coaches of any qualifications complete them. It’s good to always think, consider, and reconsider how you do things. I’ve now seem some of the results of the new Talent ID filter into my inbox. Again, a lot of it is really well structured and important. As pro clubs they are all now talking DNA and key features or pillars that players must display in order to be ‘scouted’. However, all the documents, PowerPoint, flipcharts aside, I think there are bigger and much more important issues to address when it comes to ‘Talent ID’
1. Has England lost out on potential talent that was released from Academies for reasons other than their football ability?
2. Our football culture has changed to include great facilities in hard up areas, but a pay to play situation which rules out heaps of children that can’t afford to take part.
The hottest player in the country today is Jamie Vardy. Yet another player that has come back into the game via non-league. Something I truly admire. In fact many players in the football league have come via that route. Some could argue development is more real post 16 when games become more realistic than the 21’s governed by the Premier League. There has been all sorts written over the last few days about clubs interested in Vardy but I couldn’t help tracing back his pathways. Surely Sheffield Wednesday must be kicking themselves. Surely someone in that club made a huge mistake. Had they not made that mistake that great club could now be sitting on a winning lottery ticket as QPR found when Sterling moved from Liverpool to Man City. So why did a club, who spent years of investment and effort let that lottery ticket blow out of the window? Mistakes happen, sometimes we get it wrong and I’ve seen high profile people very humbled when proven wrong, but with no malice either side. It was just an opinion and one that got away. That happens. But was this the case with Vardy? I genuinely don’t know the exact ins and outs but I was left scratching my head, how? Really? A future England player, Premier League top scorer? Really? That player was let go? Considering some players I see get signed, surely this lad should have been locked tightly under contract at Sheffield Wednesday. So, as Talent ID I really want to know, how and why was this player allowed to drift out of the game. Yes, he’s done the unthinkable but let’s be honest, the vast majority don’t. They are destroyed and in some cases out of the game at all levels forever. Ok, so, most will be the right decision, but are their more Jamie Vardys?
To repeat, I DONT KNOW what happened to Jamie Vardy at Sheffield Wednesday. It could be a very genuine mistake in judgment. But it's his recent rise to the top that alerted me to the problem and I think it makes it worth investigating.
Iv’e seen players signed and released from clubs for what I believe to be the wrong reasons. This can be to hit performance targets. This can be to achieve a perceived success in recruitment for signing quotas. To show a success story to EPPP inspectors & club owners. But perhaps the most alarming question asked by many people in football is. Are players getting released and new ones signed to assist in scouts and middle management achieving bonus commissions? Many of the recruitment team will be on individual bonus schemes and also the middle and senior management. So there is an incentive to move players on and bring new ones in. This may seem cynical. Many good scouts out there and management of academies have been rewarded financially on success. Most of this is rightly earned as they are mostly underpaid and this justifies the miles put in. The problem is, like money does it can also bring out the worst in people. I believe there are now people going into clubs on a short term strategy to take as much money out as possible. Like all money grabbing leaches they turn in into drug hungry self-centred blinkered crusaders that will trample over everyone in their path for a pound note. If that means getting rid of players regardless of ability so be it. That includes any staff that might be on to them or challenge the strategy. The reality is it benefits no one other than a short term financial gain for the scout/staff. The player going out could be a Jamie Vardy and the player coming in might not be at that level giving up on alternative education and career. But people move jobs before anything is highlighted taking with them their bonus payments. This has to stop. Actually club owners put their trust in people but they need to dig down to look for this phenomenon and fix it. It’s costing them money.
Together with our new ‘play to pay’ culture I detailed here http://tonymccool.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/exclusive-football.html I fear that we can be missing out on talent who come from difficult backgrounds. These players who can’t afford to join clubs due to travel and subs. The FA have introduced all these wonderful new 3G pitches but in many cases they remain locked and empty at low peak times. Primarily these have been funded by outside organisations that promote inclusion in sport so these should be made available to local communities in a subsidised way.
The vast majority of people in football are good souls who care about the game and the lives they affect. That includes within the FA. Actually includes the current department set up. Those will be reading this nodding their heads. Others however with be boiling. Reading through each line to look for something liable. Maybe its fear of exposure? Maybe you have your own hidden cave? Those will be the ones checking their shoulders. But you see, what goes around comes around, just like we have seen at Fifa. Too many people in this country accept the words “that’s football”. If we truly want the game cleared up then it starts with honesty and openness. The prize for that integrity is that we might even improve our national team through better selection mixed with better development and pathways.