Published on 22-03-2017 10:49 PM
The development of English footballers is something which is always under huge amounts of scrutiny. However as a result of England’s top division the Premier League becoming the global brand it is today, the success rate of English talent has slowly decreased. Teams all over the country have seen the amount of products from the youth team making it in their first team slowly decrease. The chances of the Steven Gerrard’s and Gary Neville’s the local heroes pulling on their teams shirt has dissolved and as a result fans are started to feel out of touch with the game.
A prime example of this is Queens Park Rangers, we are a club proud of our history and heritage and prime ourselves on being a community club. However the possibility of finding the next gem from abroad seems to outweigh sticking to your roots and doing what the club always has, which is becoming a very common theme all across the country.
As you look back over QPR’s teams throughout history, there is has always been a few of the ‘local heroes’ which the supporters can really connect with and can feel really part of what the club is achieving. You look back at the League cup winning team of 1967 and a vast majority of the first eleven were home grown, this includes: Ron Hunt, Frank Sibley, Tony Hazell, goal scorer Roger Morgan and captain of the club Mike Keen.
As time developed the QPR side of 75/76 which is recognised as one of the best teams to never have won the 1st division title. This side included local heroes: Dave Clement, Ian Gillard and Gerry Francis who famously went on to be England captain.
From the late 70’s and early 1980’s QPR had local boys in Clive Allen and Paul Goddard, who after establishing themselves at Rangers went on to have illustrious careers at Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United amongst others.
Myself, coming from a rich Rangers background, my family can regale many stories of the early 1980’s. In one instance my father stewarded a youth team parents coach to Villa Park, this home grown team included: Peter Hucker, Warren Neil, Ian Dawes, Gary Waddack, Wayne Fereday and of course the iconic Alan McDonald. All of whom went on to reach the first team and have lengthy careers at the club and highlights of their Rangers careers including reaching the FA Cup final and achieving promotion to the top division of English football.
More recently my own experiences of local Rangers heroes extend back to the likes of Kevin Gallen, Richard Langley and Nigel Quashie who came through our youth academy and all had long careers within QPR and the football league.
However more recently due to a change in thinking across British football, home grown success stories like this are becoming rarer as the influx of players from abroad is becoming more common ground for football league clubs.
As a result the supporters are willing for that one success story to happen and this may explain why everyone at QPR is so keen for players such as: Ryan Manning, Darnel Furlong and Olamide Shodipo to do so well for the club and allow us to be proud that we are back in touch with our roots and history.