Belfast Telegraph

Steven Beacom: Football needs to go back to move forward

It's not like the good old days. There’s a phrase I never thought I’d say, but you know what, it’s not. Football, I mean.

At the highest level the game it’s all about money. Glory comes second. And fun a distant third. As well as ability, character and desire, the England team lacked laughs at the World Cup. They’ve slumped from a quarter-final sob story to a last 16 embarrassment. We can talk. Northern Ireland haven’t been to the World Cup finals since

1986. We’ve had our moments since, but Slovenia, with a similar sized population, have whizzed past us. Why? We’re standing still, that’s why.

Too often when children here go to a coaching session, any skill that they have is drummed out of them. Thank goodness Bestie was around in the 60s.

To be a football coach these days, you need a badge, not a natural affinity with the game.

From an early age, many kids in the UK are taught tactics, instead of letting their instincts flow. Do that in Holland or Spain, where passing, moving, shooting and enjoying is encouraged, and you would never coach a child again.

No wonder so many kids prefer to play football on their PlayStation. At least in their living rooms they are allowed to express themselves, try heroic moves and enjoy.

Belfast Telegraph

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