Scanning the morning papers I stumbled across yet another story claiming there are too many foreign players in the English Premier League. Underneath it, was a story about how Cardiff will no longer have any fiscal issues due to the benefits of playing in the top flight of English football. I couldn't help but wonder if this had been done on purpose, perhaps for the more discerning reader to have a discrete smirk over, while others pass by in blissful apoplectic rage at what the game is coming to.
The fact that 20% of clubs next season, will be from outside the geographical area of the eponymously named league is seemingly ignored, as is of course, the fact that the clubs in the EPL are businesses, and are therefore in the habit of picking whom they employ based upon the services they can render said business in order to generate maximum income, rather than where they had the fortune/misfortune to be birthed by their mother. The concept of this seems oh-so-easy for disgruntled England fans to dismiss as irrelevant given the national team's somewhat dour recent history in tournament football, and so they round upon the clubs and indeed the league, and berate them for only doing what is, in point of fact, within the club's and the league's best interests. Let's not forget, to give preferential treatment regarding employment within a business, based upon where the potential employee was born, is only ever going to end up in court, quite possibly with a guest appearance from the Rev Jesse Jackson!
Amusingly, Cardiff only have one player on their first team squad who originates from Wales, (Craig Bellamy) out of the 33 players listed in their first team, something which I imagine doesn't detract one iota from their fans joy at promotion this week. Wales, much like Scotland, long ago reconciled themselves to the fact that, while they are competitive and often able combatants on the world stage, there simply isn't the infrastructure to develop a crop of players capable of sustaining a realistic chance of winning anything other than plaudits for performances. What the Welsh will like to see though, is two teams with a fan base within their country, taking on what is widely thought of as the most exciting league in national football, and providing an entertainment value which far supersedes any latent nationalism that might twinge when they read their own world ranking. But then, they don't have the issue of a fanatical national press, extolling and exaggerating their chances of winning the next world cup, filling the fans with unrealistic expectations, and are instead content to just sit back, revel in the experience, and enjoy watching them take part. An attitude others might like to adopt for themselves as it's surely more rewarding that way?