(this had been sat in my drafts for too long!)
In 1992/3 I spent a year living in Aix-en-Provence for college and upon returning would often get a hard time for starting too many anecdotes with “when I was living in France…”, like a pretentious student version of Uncle Albert in Only Fools and Horses. The truth is that it was a magical time and it still has a profound influence on who I am and how my life has been shaped.
Chris Waddle had just left Marseille and there was graffiti about the stadium demanding that “Chris! Revient!”. Kids were still walking about with that mullet hairdo of his. It made me very proud.
I taught English for a while after college and have all the understanding of what it feels like to get to a place for the first time and understand nothing.
Angered since the summer I have wanted to write about English players not playing abroad for a wee while. It’s been interesting watching folks go on and on about our national team but not enough noise is made about the fact that English players travel terribly at present.
There are a few thoughts which have come to mind… Last time England played in a semi final at the world cup there were 4 Rangers players and one Marseille player. The best they’ve done for yonks.
Euro 96 and Ince was at Inter and Gazza at Rangers.
Not massive differences to the 2014 squad which had one Celtic player (keeper Fraser Forster).
Same when Lineker was at Barca, Beckham at Madrid and so on…
Alan Shearer recently admitted in some TV show that he would probably have been improved by a move abroad. Ashley Cole has come out saying that English players are too afraid to go abroad. I think he’s right,. But it’s sweet coming from him, nipping over to Rome in the twilight of his career.
I was so disappointed when Campbell went to Arsenal instead of to a big EU club. (And he goes on like he’s a big wordly bloke too!)
When Wilshire is touted as having the possibility of a move to Juve, you just *know* that he’s not going to go.
Since living in France (did I tell you I’ve spent some time there?) I am a subscriber to l’Equipe – their sporting magazine. It’s so impressive how supportive they are, of their exports. They’ve a weekly roundup of who’s done well in the English, Spanish, or Italian leagues. They’re rightly very proud of how well their lads do, around the place. And look how well their national team does. Think of Germany, Holland, Argentina, Brazil, Italy and Spain. And think of where a good % of their players play. ABROAD.