Allaoleva artikkelini julkaistiin joulukuussa 2007 Sportingo-urheiluportaalissa, joka on nyttemmin jo kuollut ja kuopattu.
My article below was released in the late sports portal Sportingo in Dec 2007.
By Michael Perukangas, on 11th December 2007, 08:05 UTC
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When Celtic won the European Cup in 1967, the whole team was made up of home-grown boys. Now a club like Arsenal can field the whole starting XI with overseas imports.
As some traditionalists have suggested, there should be a limit to the amount of foreign players in British clubs, not only for nostalgic reasons but for the sake of the English game and the national side, whose recent performances give rise to scepticism about the level of performance.
I remember the old days before colour TV and then Sky when football was literally a black-and-white, long-ball and muddy-pitch sport. Now it has worldwide audiences.
Of course old rivalries still exist but clubs are now worldwide entertainment corporations. I am an active member of the Scandinavian Hammers and we are as loyal as any fan living near the Boleyn.
For a modern spectator, it is impossible to think Manchester United without Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel, Arsenal without Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp and Chelsea without Gianfranco Zola. They are trademark players and hall-of-fame legends for their respective clubs, just as Stanley Matthews was for Blackpool, Tom Finney for Preston or Bobby Moore for West Ham.
Arsene Wenger has transformed the boring-labelled Arsenal into a magnificent, title-winning entertainment machine and he has also introduced continental flair into English football, and such influences can only be good for the English game.
If a 'non-English' rule is to be introduced into the English game, then the price tags of the English players have to be reduced. You can hardly buy the left peg of a Championship non-entity these days and for a non-English supporter of an English club, this is a no-brainer. And anyway, why should different rules apply to football corporations than for any other corporations in the days of freedom of movement for workers?