Whoa! Hold the bus - there’s some good news this week from the wider world of footie.
Oh yes, as you probably know, the Under 17 England team beat Spain 5-2 to win the World Cup – and what a performance it was.
That means England now have the current U17 World Cup holders, the U19 European Cup winners and the U20 World Cup holders – and if that doesn’t convince people just what can be achieved without a bloody band in the ground dragging the mood down to the level of a dysfunctional, depressive Prozac junky, then I don’t know what will.
In fact in the last five months, the Football Association’s various youth teams have lost only twice – both on penalties - in 34 tournament matches. Maybe we need to focus on practicing penalties.
And of course the way things are at the moment, you’re just waiting for someone to burst the bubble with inside tales of exploitation, abuse, drugs, sex and whatever, so lets feel good about something whilst it lasts – or at least try to.
For already the question’s being asked:
Will they make it?
One assumes to the top level of their profession as opposed to the nativity candle-holder from coat-hangers on Blue Peter, but if you were to ask me, I’d say that they already have.
Seventeen year old kids earning more than most of us with a World Cup winner’s medal? It narrowly beats the first aid badge at scouts I’d achieved by the time I was their age – so I think they’re doing pretty well all told.
But it’s a valid question for all that. The issue being that so much is at stake to succeed in the Premier League, that managers won’t risk playing their youngsters over buying-in ready made talent from abroad.
Consequently, the youth never get the chance to develop at a higher level.
The answer seems to be to loan the youngsters out, so that they get first team experience. And if you’ve watched Tami Abraham on loan from Chelsea scoring freely for Bristol City, or Kieran Dowell doing likewise on loan from Everton at Forest, you can see how beneficial the system can be. And a few loan spells never did Harry Kane any harm either.
Another line of thought is that playing in the more physically demanding, and less skillful lower leagues is not what the elite youth need and won't hasten their development.
Well, I’m no expert, but anyone who watched Jonny Evans come into the Sunderland side in the Championship, oozing class from Day one, was a joy to behold and I’m pretty sure he learnt plenty playing alongside Nyron Nosworthy week-in, week-out.
However there is a new option developing, where the youngsters are tempted to play their first team football overseas, and already one of the U17 squad - Jadon Sancho - has left Manchester City to play for Borussia Dortmund, and Howard Wilkinson is worried that more will follow.
Quite right too - who wouldn’t leave the country to get away from Howard Wilkinson?
Personally, I think that they should all go and play in Germany - they might learn how to take penalties.
Antonio Conte has no doubt about the future of English football:
I think football in England is growing in an incredible way.
And he’s pretty well placed to take advantage of that, with Chelsea providing no less than 19 of the players in current successful youth squads, including five of the u17s.
Unfortunately, he may not be around to take advantage, as speculation is rife that Carlo Ancelotti is being lined up to replace him.
After all, he's only won 41 of his 55 games in charge and won the League in his first season, so his job obviously hangs by a thread. He should come up to the SOL, we're a lot more tolerant of stats like that.
Only time will tell, but for now lets start to feel good about the future of the national side, and give credit where it’s due, because apparently it’s all down to the long-sightedness and investment of the FA. I never thought I’d hear myself say that....
Whereas the contribution of the EFL - and I really have no idea what the difference is or why we need two of them - is pretty much as expected when it comes to the administration of The Carabao Cup.
First off, the shameless marketing of the competition to the East Asian market totally devalued any prestige it may have had left – and there wasn’t much.
Then, the ongoing efforts to produce a live draw on Twitter have been a total laughing stock, culminating in the conspiracy theorists dream of a draw recorded off camera, keeping the big four teams apart for the quarter finals. Donald Trump has more credibility.
Elsewhere, Barry Davis turned 80 - and is still working I think - commentating at Wimbledon. I always preferred him to Motson, who always seems like a bit of a bore. Davis on the other hand is a qualified dentist - something that’s always useful for a football commentator, I feel.
I’ve been trying to watch the Championship to try and drum up some enthusiasm - hell, they've got some scary managers in there, haven't they?
I wouldn't want to see a fight between Slutsky of Hull and Daniel Farke of Norwich. And I did think Nuno Espirito Santo looked pretty cool, possibly because his name sounds like a catholic priest administering the last rights to a dying man.
It was reported today that he'd turned down the Everton job, maybe because he found out that Ross Barkley was due to return from injury soon, but also possibly because they don't have the required ratio of Portuguese players and staff - i.e. all of them.
And Neil Warnock has morphed into one of the goblins from Gringotts in the Harry Potter films - which, if you haven't seen it, is well worth watching... if only just for that.
Meanwhile back at Hull, the fans were throwing tennis balls on the pitch. What was all that about? It was supposed to be a protest against the owners, the Allam family - personally I think it was retrospective outrage against Anna Sharapova getting a wildcard for the US Open.
I mean if you're going to make a protest, make it understandable!
On the other hand, when we get the hump, we just sack managers, and that got me to thinking - what happens to all the ex-managers personalised kit with their initials on?
I mean there's so much of it out there it could probably replace the Bitcoin as an alternative currency.
Do you think there's a thriving black market and one day a training top with the initials 'RS" will surface on Antiques Roadshow?
We're so short of money we should stop personalising it - then we can pass it on to the new manager. After all, most of it gets hardly used.