Each new day brings a fresh slant on nothing much

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My days, it’s not easy feeding a blog with so little food. I was away for a while, but I’ve hardly missed a bean. There’s plenty of tittle and a fair bit of tattle too, but none of it seems to be shedding much light on things, does it? Sorting the Nasri from the chaff is no easy task.

In the absence of anything fruitier, I’ve been thinking a bit about Blatter’s blatherings.

I must admit, I find the 6+5 discussion fascinating, not least because the political wind is clearly blowing in its favour (with the legal wind blowing in the other, which threatens an unsettled period – bring your brollies).

It’s also a tricky one. According to today’s Mail, the majority of London football fans are in favour – though crucially, and perhaps not really surprisingly, some 76% of Arsenal fans are opposed. Clearly, if it came in tomorrow Arsenal’s first team would be decimated. It would be calamitous.

I have always championed giving young English players a chance – and judging by the hysteria that greets Theo Walcott every time he comes on the pitch, I suspect the fans, deep down, would like to see more English players too – but only of course if they are good enough to compete in the first place. A 6+5 rule would almost certainly water down the overall quality of the Premier League, at least for a short while, as well as encourage an explosion in transfer fees for English players (and let’s face it, it’s not as if they’re cheap now).

To me, it shouldn’t be about forcing teams to play English players for the sake of it, but at the same time I would support a sensible initiative that gives promising English players a chance – but then, doesn’t that exist already? We can loan players out to give them experience, and we can recall them. That’s what happened to Cole, who became an excellent footballer, and it happened to Hoyte, who cannot be too unhappy with 40 starts over the last two seasons.

And away from the obvious – that Arsenal only really have two first team Englishmen, neither of whom are as yet first choices – Arsenal can hardly be accused of ignoring English talent completely. Wenger said it might take ten years for the fruits of the academy system to churn out decent English players, and while only one or two have come through as yet, we’re being told of a decent crop on the verge of first-team action – Randall, Gibbs, Lansbury, Gavin Hoyte.

True, Wenger rarely buys English players – though the purchases of Walcott and more recently, Gillingham’s youngest ever first-team starter Luke Freeman show we’re in the market. The trouble is, there just aren’t that many out there to choose from as all clubs are desperate for a share of what is basically a smallish pool of top-drawer English talent.

So overall – to me, the trick is not insisting that English teams must play English players, but to improve the opportunities and footballing education of those players – a long-term goal that will surely bear fruit (and which is already being done…)

And finally…

I can confirm that East Lower is not going to be relaunching this summer. A user group of Arsenal fans had this to say on the matter:

“The blog seems exactly the same – just the same old guff in the same old format, only less frequently updated. Genius”.

“I especially like the lack of changes”.

“If it ain’t fixed, why break it?”


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.