Tag Archives: Spurs

The International Makeup of the Premier and Non League

The Premier League has been famed for the international stars it attracts as a league for a long time. Since the dawn of the Premier League era, players have flocked from all over the world to come in play what the English media certainly believe to be ‘the best league in the world.’

The introduction of so many foreign players into the domestic English game (223 with an average of 11 per club) has often been blamed for poor performances by the Three Lions at major tournaments.

But where do these so called international stars come from? And how come other countries are able to flourish with almost as many foreign players in their leagues and with many of their players playing overseas anyway, frequently, in the Premier League?

We took a look at the makeup of the Premier League’s different nationalities by seeing which countries are most frequently attracted to often a much colder and wetter climate in the search of football stardom.

Most Common Nationalities in EPL
Most of the chart above probably wouldn’t surprise most readers. The combined effect of both Arsene Wenger and Alan Pardew’s (at Newcastle) liking for French and francophone players has significantly boosted the contingent of players from across the channel playing in the EPL; the same can be said for the reasonably high number of Ivorian and Senegalese players. But the number of Dutch, Spanish and Argentine players may come as surprise, especially when everyone is always saying how many Belgians there seem to be in England’s top tier. The breakdown of foreign player by club makes more interesting reading:
Foreign Players by Club

  It would seem that Chelsea’s success in winning the league at a canter this year has come at the expense of blooding young English talent, or English players of any age for that matter with Gary Cahill and John Terry the only regulars and senior domestic names of note in the whole squad. The same approach hasn’t worked quite the same wonders for John Carver’s Newcastle who are flirting dangerously with relegation. Likewise already relegated Burnley look to have paid for backing homegrown players. West Ham and Spurs also are no longer the bastions of young Englishmen that they have been in years gone by with Sam Allardyce and Mauricio Pochettino seemingly favouring the foreign approach to the game. Perhaps the best way to paint the picture of an arguable surplus of foreign players in the top flight, is to look at the situation at the other end of the scale, in the Conference Premier.

Conference Nationalities

Again France leads the way, with Australia in a close second – but even from the evidence of internationals simply playing in the basement before the promised land of League 2 and the Football League, shows that there are significantly less foreign players plying their trade at the lower level.

Conference Foreign Players
Again, by casting one’s eye over the breakdown of foreign players by club, it is again clear that local and domestic players are the favoured choice of lower league managers. Even if Lincoln look like the Chelsea of the Conference way out in front on the chart, they still only have four players from outside of the UK.

 

Compared to other domestic leagues in Europe, the level of domestic players playing in the Premier League and even in the Championship is much lower, and the results of the national teams at the Euros and World Cups really bears out the point that while plucking talent from across the globe ensures an exciting and vibrant league each season, it can only damage the growth of homegrown talent.

Napoli to make move for Tottenham’s Lamela

@awinehouse1 According to Carlo Laudisa of La Gazetta dello Sport, Napoli are set to make a move for Erik Lamela of Spurs in the summer. Lamela has largely disappointed since signing for Spurs, failing to make much of an impact under either Andres Villas Boas or Tim Sherwood. Sherwood barely used Lamela after his initial disappointing displays. Despite his position as the player responsible for Spurs’s largest ever transfer outlay, it seems likely that he will depart the club this summer. Napoli are offering him a route away from England, with Rafael Benitez keen to bring him to the club on loan ahead of their upcoming Champions League campaign. It is not known whether Mauricio Pochettino sees a future for Lamela at Spurs, but his future may rely on the whims of Director of Football Franco Baldini, who brought him to the club. Baldini may seek to save face by insisting that Pochettino give the £30m man an opportunity next season.

Leeds United: Why Spurs success cannot be a one-off

I am not afraid to admit that on Sunday afternoon, I almost cried. In fact, I had to stop myself doing so.

Before I explain why, it is worth saying that during the summer I was lucky enough to attend El Clasico at the Camp Nou. We entered the stadium, and given the blazing heat and my plasticy Barcelona shirt, water was a necessary purchase. As we queued behind those purchasing their sausages in bread, something happened. I heard a noise unlike any other I’d ever heard. The Real Madrid side had clearly just come onto the pitch for their pre-match warm-up, and the boos were incredible. As we walked out onto the stand, we were greeted by the site of the Barcelona team exiting the tunnel, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta et al,. That noise, the flags, the sight of a full Camp Nou – that will live with me forever.

Sunday, therefore…why did I nearly cry? Obviously there was the result, and the fact that we managed to deservedly beat a Premier League side. From my perch in the Kop, all seats (apart from a handful in the West Stand) seemed covered by fans. Then there was the reaction when we scored, both times. The atmosphere, in all honesty, wasn’t as good as the Chelsea game, but combined, all of those aspects meant that I was affected emotionally. As someone who feels we are currently at the lowest point in our recent history, despite the league standing when compared to the League One days, the Spurs game brought about a feeling inside. The same sort of feeling I got at the Camp Nou, a purely emotional response. How can I describe the feeling? The thought that possibly, we were on the first step to having our Leeds back.

It’s a bit of an overreaction, but Sunday felt like it could be the beginning of a slow climb, if we build up a head of steam on the back of this fuse-lighting moment. Yes, given that I’ve said that, we’ll probably get destroyed by Cardiff at the weekend. But when David Haigh and Salem Patel looked out on Elland Road, they will possibly have been able to understand truly for the first time what they have bought into, what potential their new purchase has. They’ll have looked at the figures and thought about the raw numbers, but when it is displayed before them, the potential becomes all the more clear. They’ll have been disappointed that they didn’t sell out, but victories like that are the first step to bringing fans back onside. We no longer trust in Leeds United as a city, after 8 years of lies and failure under a tyrannous rule, but after Sunday, 10,000 fans will be thinking a hell of a lot more about Leeds United.

This is why Sunday cannot just be a one-off. It cannot just be seen as a successful event that occurred, and that we just move on casually from it, back into the doldrums of mediocrity. We played better football than we have in what seems like eons. Keep it up on the pitch, and success will surely come. This is what is imperative to filling out Elland Road weekly – a belief that we’re driving towards something. I remember a game against Norwich (at that juncture, who were they?) when we were pushing for automatic promotion from the Championship in the ultimately unsuccessful season of 2010/11, Elland Road seemingly as full as Sunday. It turns out it was more so – 31,601 (2,000 more than Sunday) turning up during snowy conditions for a game against a fellow Championship side, at ticket prices higher than that for the Champions League challengers. A basically full Elland Road (considering the East Stand Upper was closed at this point), the last time Leeds truly felt like Leeds to me. The image that I hold in my head when I think of Leeds.

It is probably a symbol of how bad the last 8 years have been that one of the highlights was a 2-2 draw against Norwich, purely because Elland Road felt real. Some may try to point to it as a one-off. Yet 2 weeks prior, we brought 27,033 in for a game against Coventry City. 26,289 for a game against Barnsley on a Tuesday night. 27,027 for a game against Doncaster Rovers. Success on the pitch breeds success in the stands, and success in the stands breeds more success, because the entire experience is enjoyable. Sarcasm does not descend and even the worst gets encouraged. Think of the contrasting treatment of Paynter and Varney.

So Sunday cannot be a one-off, because without a continuation, there’ll be no long run benefits. I think of the number of fans in the stands because it impacts how I enjoy Elland Road. No one goes “fucking mental” when there’s swathes of rows empty beside you. Sunday was a success. Today plans need to be afoot to sustain the success. We need our Leeds back.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).