Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Goodbye Danny Green and good luck


The worst kept secret is finally out, Danny Green is no longer a Dagger but a Charlton player. Sold for a record fee the club cannot be disappointed with the fee and I'm sure all of us wish him well for the future. Now all I have to do is tell my daughter her favourite player has gone, a job that if any of you wish to accept I'll gladly pass on.

Signed from Bishop Stortford in 2009 I've enjoyed watching Danny play. Like all of you I'm sure you have favourite memories of goals scored and such forth so i would like to share a few of mine with you all.

Chesterfield Away 2010

My first ever away game with the Daggers and worth the journey for the free kick he scored to put us 2-0 up. Taken from the right hand side in front of the home support he placed the ball, looked at the keeper and unleashed a screamer into top left hand side of the net. I stood there jaw open turning to the bloke standing next to me and saying 'What a goal that was' then going nuts. Unfortunately we couldn't hold on and win the game eventually drawing 2-2 but like I said it was worth the trip for the goal.

Port Vale Home 2009

This one stands out because firstly my Dad didn't come to this game as he wasn't well so I stood on the terrace behind the goal, a rare treat for me, and watched Danny take the left back too absolute pieces that afternoon. Danny tormented him, pushing the ball through his legs and beating him for pace, knocking it past him, giving him a five yard start and still beating him. The one I remember the most though was standing directly behind the full back on the terraces, watching as Danny ran towards him with a smile on his face and then knocking it through the defenders legs once again. That is how football should be played, with skill and more importantly a smile.

Wembley 2010

For no other reason than he was on fire this day, the size of the pitch suited him, the occasion suited him and he scored at Wembley just when we needed it the most. He was, in my opinion unplayable that day. He had his chance and took it and deserved it for his efforts throughout the season. How many players can say they have scored at Wembley, let alone played there?

Meeting the man himself.

It was a real privilege to spend some time with the players after the game against Burton in our promotion season. I sat in the bar a little awe struck if I'm honest I hadn't met players I watched every week since I was a kid. My youngest son wandered over to Tony Roberts and asked who he was (the little git), to be fair to Tony Roberts he laughed it off and posed for a photo no problem. My eldest daughter suddenly went all red and I couldn't work out why then I saw Danny had entered the bar and got my answer. His mum saw what had happened and invited us over to say hello, all I can say is what a genuinely nice bloke and I hope he doesn't change the way that he made my daughter feel special that day when he signed her shirt and posed for a photo. That he always makes sure he has time for us fans, wherever he may end up. Having met him briefly I cannot see this changing.

So once again the club sticks to is promise of allowing a player to move on and further his career. I'll miss him, as I'm sure others will, but mostly good luck to him it's a great opportunity for him to further his career and I wish him all the best. Perhaps one day we may see him wear the red and blue of Dagenham and Redbridge, until then good luck, all the best and thank you for the memories.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Champions League Is Killing English Football Part 1

The Champions League is killing football in this country. There Ive said it. Someone had to so I guess its going to be me. Before you all start ranting and raving hear me out because at the end of this two part blog you may agree with me. Firstly I will start by telling you why I think its killing football in this country and in the next part I will explain what I think needs to be done to change it before its too late.

The Champions League is seen as the absolute pinnacle of club football. The best teams around Europe compete each season for the title and its damaging football in this country and the FA don't care, the clubs don't care and more importantly the fans don't care anymore. Oh they may make the right noises but deep down they only care about their clubs and then moan about the way the England team perform at major championships every two years.

I was brought up on skill full players as a kid. I loved watching them, in my humble opinion the Brazil team of 1982 was the best team never to win a World Cup, Zico and Falco were the names I used in the playground, before them Ardiles and Villia of Spurs as well as Hoddle. I coached boys teams many years ago when they all wanted to be Zola's and Bergkamps, or Beckhams and Giggs when they first started. 

Where are these type of players now? Where are the next generation of English players coming from? I watched Jack Wilshere today and I could have cried for him. This is an exceptional talent who has to play with players he is far superior too knowing that he faces heartbreak at international level for at least the next ten years.

As a kid I remember my Dad saying it was a shame that Rush, Dalgleish, Giggs, Best, Hughes and Southall were wasted playing for their countries as most of them didn't have a hope in hell of winning a World Cup or European Championship. Do you know what I can see the same thing being said about Jack Wiltshire by other countries in the next few years.

Paul Scholes has just retired this week, the best passer of a ball we've had in years. Respected around the world by some of the greatest players who ever played the game and what did we do with him? Did we build a team around him? No we stuck him on the left wing and were surprised when he retired from International football. Will he be remembered for his passing and his skill? Not in this country he wont be, he will be remembered for not being able to tackle. Says it all really doesn't it.

The problem is the lack of talent being produced in this country, its easier to go and buy cheap imports than it is to take a chance on a young English player who may one day make the grade. There are those of you who will say that the cream will always rise to the top but you show me where that is happening in any of the teams that finished in the top 5 this year?. 

The odd player makes it through but not in the quantity that they do in other countries, young players now  have to leave their parent clubs and go on loan to clubs lower down the Premier League or the Championship to get a game. Yes they may be playing but where are they getting the European experience from? They aren't are they. 

Ask any fan of the top four clubs who is there favourite player and I guarantee that they will say a forgein player. Arsene Wenger is often touted as bringing through young players, this he does do but are they English? No they aren't. Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott (who he bought from Southampton by the way) are the exception here aren't they. After watching the England game today, the first time Ive watched England in a long time, it struck me how different and technically weak we are compared to Spain, Germany and Italy.

We cant pass the ball more than three times, take Rooney out of attack and who is there? No one. Spain have eight first teamers that come from the same club, Barcelona, do their players want to play in this country? No. How many German players that play for their country want to play in the Premier League? Hardly any. The same goes for Italy as well. Then we go further afield. How many Brazilians who play for Brazil do we have in the Premier League? Or Argentina's? Dutch? French? I could go on but I wont.

The reason for this is that we play a style of football that suits a certain player, a physical player, a strong player who will run all day and tackle hard but, and this is the really important bit, if you like to pass the ball about then please don't come here as we don't want you. I hear the Arsenal fans talk about Fabregas, yes he is a talented player but would he play regularly for Barcelona? No. Pique was let go by Manchester Utd because he wasn't suited to the Premier League but has now grown into one of the best centre half's in the world.

The problem is the Premier League generates money, more money than most of the owners in this country could spend or need, and what does the FA do about it? Nothing. The fans of these clubs will take success however it comes, if that means that there club is filled with players who's names they would struggle to spell let alone say then that is the price they are prepared to pay. The effect of this is that the England team is 20 years behind everyone else and will stay there until something is done about it.

You will buy into the fact that we should win every tournament that we enter, that we can compete with the likes of Brazil and Spain and then blame the manager when it all goes wrong or turn on the players. Yet the one thing you wont do is look at YOUR club and see the reason why we fail on a regular basis is because they don't harness and treasure the young gifted players that cant get a game in this country.

The game is run by managers who put physical stature above skill, who put technique below the fact a player can run for 90 minutes non stop. Who buy gifted cheap imports instead of developing the talent they have within their own grounds. So how do we change this? What needs to be done? Its not going to be easy and it will be painful but oh the rewards will be enormous, why may even get a team that could win the odd tournament one day.

Ill reveal my blue print of how I think the game needs to be changed in the next part of this blog in a few days time. Thank you for reading and please don't pass judgement until you have heard what I have to say. You never know you may even agree with me. Yes Ricky B that includes you as well.