FA’ing Us Over, Again.

Another meaningless International friendly, another absurdly expensive kit and no doubt further embarrassment to follow, a day in the life of an FA executive.

Congratulations once again to the Football Association for sweeping under the carpet last years abysmal failings in France by binning the £60 away shirt. We royally capitulated in… If we can’t see it anymore, it didn’t happen in the first place, did it?

Welcome to the table a new shirt unveiled this morning that should be made of Velcro, at least then you know it’s a rip off.

Tactical Nous or Typical Nonsense.

Maybe this is all a ploy to lure the Germans into a false sense of security and the new midnight navy blue trim will form some kind of stealthy barrier for us to sneak a 1-0 win under.

Or, more likely, is it another way for the FA to rinse the English football fan of their hard earned money… Yeah, that’ll be it of course, no brainer, right?

Value for money in 2017, impossible?

Well, on the scale of one to Paul Pogba… No, it’s still a rip off.

The last kit – £101RRP all in, for shirt, shorts and socks, god forbid you wanted ‘Chamberlain’ or ‘Henderson’ plastered on the back that’ll set you back closer to £125.

But, to be fair, we did lift the European Championshi… Nope, that didn’t happen.

We did put in some memorable performances in the previous kit, it must be haggered with all that blood, sweat and tears in… Again, with the exception of the tears, the kit is still hanging on the washing line clean as a whistle.

The classic white home kit was worn a heroic NINE times that’s roughly £11.20 per game if you’d been out and bought the entire strip. Someone give David Dickinson a bell, I’ve found the real deal he’s always on about.

Granted the white kit is still in use and we may see it a few more times but the FA love a few quid in their sky rocket so don’t bank on it lasting too long.

The flarey (now redundant) red away kit was debuted in the 3-2 away win in Germany prior to Euro 2016 (even now, looking back at that night it pains me how optimistic I was for France) and with a further four games in the lively rouge, as a kit, our record stands strong. Three wins, two draws and zero defeats… Read that again, ZERO defeats, in an England kit, that’s unheard of!

That is just FIVE games in the away kit. I’m no Rachel Riley but with the help of a calculator that’s just over £20 per outing! Imagine when you were a kid wearing a kit five times and then saying you wanted a new one, nah mate, get some use out of that and keep playing.

It’s All About The Money

I’m not prehistoric, I understand that football is driven by money and, in this country especially, football fans are milked like cows for every bean they’ve got, but for our governing body to lead that movement, is sickening.

Football kits change year in, year out and for a Premier League side, it’s almost accepted. Manchester United for example, their home shirt will have you shell out £60 at the start of the season but for that you get (at least) 19 home league games, a Europa League campaign, EFL cup games and an FA Cup run, it’s still hardly a dream but in 2017 that’s as close to value as your going to see.

Your country is a different matter. If a kit was released at the beginning of every qualifying campaign or ahead of a tournament, you’d understand that, generate revenue and build hype ahead of the tournament. But to drop kits out whenever they fancy to earn a few more quid just leaves a poor taste.

Our rose is Red, our kit is blue, It’s probably not Wayne Rooney who will score against you…

Let’s talk about more encouraging matters, the squad.

Another snoozefest of an International break to contend with now (fantastic). It’s the only week of the year DIY and a big food shop seems appealing but we’ll get through it hopefully without a pasting from the Germans.

It’s of course a new error era for the national team with a new man in the dugout and a few fresh faces in the squad, so it’s not all doom and gloom… Unless he digs out a brolly in Dortmund on Wednesday night, then we’re all in trouble.

Initially I thought hiring Gareth Southgate to lead our bright and prosperous future was like decorating your man cave with a deep luscious shade of magnolia but I’ve been proved wrong already, it seems.

His prior experience as U21 gaffer has given his first (proper) squad a real youthful exuberance to the team sheet and he’s handing out caps like a TK Maxx clearance sale.

WBA’s Jake Livermore gets then nod in the holding role, veteran goal machine Jermaine Defoe is the only one old enough to remember Southgate’s penalty and Southampton trio Redmond, Ward-Prowse & Bertrand all included after impressing in the league.

Gutting for Michael Antonio who looks set to miss out after a slight knock at the weekend but pleasing to see his form rewarded with another call-up.

All in all, it’s a pretty exciting squad… Which probably says more about the recent state of national football than it does about those included in it but without Kane, Rooney, Sturridge and Walcott we’ve a chance for some new blood to step up to the plate.

Adam Lallana, recently named England’s player of the year (considering the 12 months we’ve had that’s about the equivalent of winning some pork from the Sunday meat raffle at your local Conservative Club) is one of a cluster of attacking options for Southgate as we await his tactical decision.

Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard and Ward-Prowse all, once again, on form at the weekend etching their names onto the scoresheet so guessing the starting XI is about as tough as predicting Lingard’s next celebration.

Ross Barkley has been welcomed back into the fold too, after a few months in the Merseyside wilderness, but his flamboyant form for his club has seen him force his way back into the gaffers plans.

For once, I’m pretty optimistic in the side. The fact we’ve actually backed our younger players for a change is very pleasing. It’s an opportunity to rid the dead wood who’ve been living on reputation and with 14 of the 23 man squad 25 or under it’s a good opportunity to build on some blossoming talents breaking through.

Aside from all the threaded negativity above, if anyone wants to buy me the new strip, I bloody love midnight blue.

Thanks for reading,

Take it easy.

 

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