Aitor Karanka, Oscar Garcia and the Globalisation of the Football League

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TFN Editor Hugo Greenhalgh argues that the globalisation of the Football League can only be a good thing for the national game…

“This is a real change for our club but football is global now…and we were searching for a first-class coach”

In a year when the future of English football has been debated as intensely as ever, Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson’s comments last week made for interesting reading. Gibson was speaking to the media as he unveiled former Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka as Boro’s new manager. By his own admission, he was breaking out of the mould of the “little Englander” in appointing the first non-British manager to the Teesside club.  Gibson carried on, “Greg Dyke’s got his self-interest which is the FA and I’ve got my self-interest which is Middlesbrough Football Club”, referring to Dyke’s recent speech bemoaning the lack of English coaches as a contributing factor in the decline of the national game.

The FA Chairman may have had a point that the presence of foreign players and managers can stifle the progress of their English counterparts. However, if handled responsibly, a foreign influence can surely only bring benefits to England’s archaic football convention. Not only is Karanka an exciting appointment for Boro fans, it is a move that hints at a developing symbiotic relationship in Europe’s football landscape. Whilst the English leagues have much to gain from continental involvement, it would appear that European managers themselves are keen to coach in this country. Continue reading

TFN’s Pre-Season Picks

Huddersfield Town pre-season training at Canalside.

It’s that time of year again. Players are returning to their clubs to start training and pre-season has begun. The False Nine have scoured the schedules of clubs up and down the country and picked out some of our favourite pre-season friendlies…

1. Whitehawk vs. Brighton and Hove Albion – 6th July, The Enclosed Ground

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Brighton won many plaudits last season for the attractive football played under Gus Poyet and new manager Oscar Garcia has promised to maintain this style. As a former Barcelona player and youth manager, Garcia is no stranger to attacking, free-flowing play. In his first friendly at the helm, Brighton take on Whitehawk, a local non-league side who won promotion to the Conference South last season. Recently, a plan was floated to change their name to ‘Brighton City’ in order to put them on the map but for now they remain as Whitehawk. Does this represent something of a local ‘Brighton Derby’ then? Ties between the clubs are not uncommon and Whitehawk are managed by former Brighton winger Darren Freeman. Continue reading