Much of the football world was still marveling at the endless show reels of newly crowned FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Leo Messi. Some were mocking up pictures of Ryan Babel in the cells of the newly created “Twitter jail.” Others were signing deals with car manufacturers that will mean the players will be swapping their 4x4s and Ferrari’s for Vauxhall Nova’s
If that wasn’t nostalgic enough, England’s new sponsor have sparked up the age-old debate over the home internationals including the England team. The Carling Nations Cup is already slated to take place later this year, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Ireland taking part to see who’s the best of the rest. England doesn’t need the distraction right now.
As far as the FA is concerned, we’re still “challenging” for the World Cup every four years and in the past they haven’t even entertained the idea. Vauxhall’s sponsorship seems to be driving their opinion in the opposite direction though.
Who would have thought one of the companies who were badly affected by the credit crunch might well be the ones that the FA listens to!
Today, though, the FA have made it known that they are against the tournament taking place on a regular basis, instead using it to celebrate the FA’s 150th anniversary in 2013.
“We’re talking to the home nations about a possible one-off round of matches with them,” said FA General Secretary Alex Horne. “I think we’d be talking about a series of one-off matches in 2013 to mark our 150th anniversary.”
Spokesperson for bookmaker Stan James, Charlie McCann, would be surprised if the FA agreed to any of this, and said: “We at Stan James would be absolutely staggered if the FA agreed to England participating in a revamped Home International Championship.
“In a busy schedule we cannot imagine the Premier League managers agreeing to their star players taking part in a pre-historic tournament that will not prepare them for Poland & the Ukraine in 2012 or Brazil in 2014. England already play Wales in the group stages for qualification for Euro 2012 so what is the point?
“I know there are some reports suggesting the winners would represent the UK in the London 2012 Olympics but that’s equally mad and we offer 10/1 that England play in a four-country (England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland) Home International Championship during 2011.”
It might well be surprising if this ever comes to fruition, but to look back on a period of international underachievement by the home nations and not even have games between the countries to look back on would be a massive opportunity missed. The argument that England would win easily should also be discounted. Teams picked for England friendlies will probably by then include anyone who happens to be at the stadium wearing full international kit, not the best the nation has to offer.