Why England Will Never Win Another Football Trophy

that their national team will not be attending Euro 2008 football tournament sink in. Instead of climbing onto planes and trains bound for Austria and Switzerland, English football fans will spend June of 2008 sitting in front of their television sets swigging imported lager and resentfully wondering where it all went wrong.

And that’s where the problem lies. Not in the agonizing over the game England could so easily have won, but in England’s reliance on all varieties of imports. Many English football supporters make the mistake of thinking the rude good health of the English Premiership in some way proves the rude good health of English football in general. After all, England boasts the world’s richest football league, and the richest club in the world in the form of Arsenal.

However the strength of the English premier league is probably the main source of the rot in English football. To prove this point all we need to do is turn back the clocks to the 1960s and investigate the state of English club football.

During the 1960s English clubs began participating regularly in an array of new European club competitions. England’s top clubs achieved excellent results in Europe, with West Ham United claiming the Cup Winners Cup whilst Arsenal, Leeds United and Newcastle United lifted the Inter Cities Fairs Cup. Then in 1968 Manchester United became the first English club to lift the European Cup.

During this golden age of English club football, Bobby Moore became the first Englishman to hold football’s greatest prize aloft as England won the 1966 FIFA World Cup. What is interesting to note is that whilst English clubs have gone from strength to strength in European club competition, the England football side has since failed to achieve any sort of success on the global or European stage.

The reasons for this become apparent when one takes a look at the makeup of the teams that won the various European trophies in the golden World Cup winning era. Without exception all of these teams featured a majority of English players, with the odd import from Ireland, Wales or Scotland. Manchester United’s European Cup winning team of 1968, for instance, featured 8 Englishmen, two Irishmen and a Scotsman.

The team structures of England’s biggest clubs today paints a strikingly different picture. Once again using Manchester United as an example, one finds only four Englishmen in the side that lifted the Champions League Trophy in 1999.