Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Is Wilshere Right?

At yesterday's press conference, Jack Wilshere stated his belief that only English people should play for England.

This comes amid the news that Manchester United's Belgium born winger Adnan Januzaj, could play for England in five years time under the residency rule. Asked about the possibility of this happening, Wilshere said: "If you live in England for five years, it doesn't make you English.
"If I went to Spain and lived there for five years I am not going to play for Spain.
"We have to remember what we are. We are English. We tackle hard, are tough on the pitch and are hard to beat".

Now this is all well and good but what the Arsenal man didn't make clear is on what grounds is someone English. So what does make someone English?. Lets take Raheem Sterling, the Liverpool winger was called up by England manager Roy Hodgson last year, however Sterling was born in Kingston, Jamaica and lived there for the first five years of his life. Going back a few years there was Owen Hargreaves. Although he had an English father, he was born in Canada and could have also represented Wales due to his mother.

Examples like these are littered all around British sport, particularly in the modern era. In July British sports fans were overjoyed as another Brit won the Tour de France. Chris Froome had triumphed in the name of Team Sky and Great Britain, but wait, Froome was born in Kenya and schooled in South Africa. Over the last few years England have had a number of Ashes winning cricketers including Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss, Matt Prior and Jonathan Trott, who were all born in South Africa. Even the man who kicked the ball into touch to confirm England's 2003 Rugby World Cup win Mike Catt, was born and bred in South Africa.

England are not the only country at it, other examples include the German football side who are often full of Polish born players. The Irish cricket team have contained a number of players from the southern hemisphere and even the New Zealand rugby team have produced line ups full of players from the likes of Tonga and Samoa.

Whilst Wilshere's idea of only English people representing England is understandable, how can you tell whether someone is English or not. Times have changed and there is now an unmistakable grey area as to whether someone are the nationality they claim. I suppose for the majority of sports fans, if they are successful, it  doesn't really matter.

Monday, 7 October 2013

The End of Hinckley United

Today on Monday October 7 2013, Hinckley United Football Club is no more after officially being liquidated.

This news comes as no surprise to anyone aware of United's financial problems over the last few years, however it is a sad day none the less. The club's unofficial twitter account simply wrote: "At 11:15 this morning Hinckley United FC have ceased to exist. "Thanks to all our players, fans and followers for all your support. "Thank you and goodbye".

The Knitters are not the first club to suffer this fate, the original  Chester FC were wound up in 2010, Scarborough FC went out of business in 2007 and most famously Wimbledon FC although saved from the brink, were forced to move to Milton Keynes and changed their name to MK Dons.

Since football has become big business, there has been plenty of positives that have followed and made some clubs very wealthy. On the other side of the coin however, there are some great historical clubs who have not been able to cope with the financial pressures of the modern day game and I for one think that's a shame. It appears that this is fast becoming the generation of greed, with certain clubs and it's supporters getting caught in the firing line. This is really sad for the game and the authorities need to look at the financial mess more closely if they want to prevent other clubs going the same way as Hinckley.

If the town needs to find any comfort from today's events, then they need only look to two of the clubs mentioned above. A now supporters run Chester FC have risen from the ashes and last season gained a third straight promotion to take them to the top tier of conference football. After losing their club to Milton Keynes, Wimbledon's supporters formed AFC Wimbledon who have risen to the heights of League 2.

This is a dark day for Hinckley United fans, however the people of Chester and Wimbledon have shown with determination, belief and a little financial backing. Anything is possible.