But what abaht the workers?

The Bundesliga chief said it was “common sense” for his clubs to keep prices low, detailing how it was a key part of the strategy that helped German sides win the World Cup and Champions League.

“Welcome to the league where World Cup winners are made,” he said at the start of a presentation entitled “The German Way to Success”, which interspersed footage of Germany’s triumph in Brazil with their players starring in the Bundesliga.

Seifert suggested that the revolution in youth development begun in his country at the start of this century had helped keep wages low in the Bundesliga, describing academy players as “relatively cheap”.

He said clubs spent only 39 per cent of their revenues on wages, half the figure in the Premier League.

Aren’t we supposed to cheer when the workers can appropriate more of the value of their labour? Do we should be shouting down the Germans then, as they not only pay a lower potion of revenues to the workers they also deliberately restrict that revenue in the first place?

65 comments on “But what abaht the workers?

  1. Then why aren’t German footballers emigrating to the UK in search of significantly higher wages? Something doesn’t add up.

  2. Holtby, scherrle, ozil, gnabry, mertesacker, podolski.

    Theres more here at the moment than ever before

  3. I shared a pint with a couple of German car workers recently. They spend most of the session moaning about how little they’re paid, yet I sensed that equality is also an issue. As long as the lad next door is receiving the same crap wages as you then it is bearable.

  4. @rr I don’t follow football but are there 20 or 22 premiership sides, squads of 40 to 50 players? Should be more than that surely?

  5. Andrew M
    “Then why aren’t German footballers emigrating to the UK in search of significantly higher wages? ”

    The fact that wages are a lower share if revenues does not necessarily mean they are lower in absolute terms. (I have no idea if they are.)

    Aren’t most German clubs fan owned? One of those odd businesses where the customers own it. Worked for the Coop…

  6. Champions League? One German club has won it once in the past decade. English clubs have won it 3 times.

    People can talk about one system or another, but that’s pretty much the same system we had in the 1970s and we didn’t even qualify then.

    The fact that Germany has nearly twice the number of men is going to have an effect. The odds of finding a legendary striker in 40m men is higher than the odds of finding a legendary striker in 25m men.

  7. Andrew M: possibly the players in Germany also value the benefits of playing in a strong, quality league?

    Back to the Adam Smith point about total compensation equalising when considering every factor?

  8. “German sides win the World Cup and Champions League.” – err, they did not win the Champions League, Bayern got humiliated by Real Madrid in the semi-final. They’ve won it once in last ten years. The national team did win the world cup though.

  9. @Tim A

    I guess you must be right in the long run, but you only need one or two first team national strikers and I’d guess there’s a point at which any decent size population produces enough raw talent.

    Whether it reaches its potential may have more to do with participation levels, genetics, demographics and intelligence, tactics, training and attitude.

    Participation alone doesn’t explain it. England has a much bigger rugby playing population that New Zealand or Australia, and yet we consistently (enough) come off second best against those nations.

    Population size doesn’t in cricket explain the West Indies (from the 1960s to the 1990s) or India – who ought to have three Sachins every generation if numbers were the only issue.

    Why are China no good at almost any team sport? (if they are, I can’t think of any at which they excel.)

  10. Also, how many German players have won the champions league in the last decade, as opposed to teams, versus English players/teams? Wasn’t John Terry the only Englishman in Chelsea’s recent winning team? Or was Lampard in too? Anyway, I bet it’s not 3-1 in our favour!

  11. German clubs (plural) have won the Champions League have they?
    No: ONE German club has won it; Bayern. That club is free to make its own TV deal, leaving the other clubs out of it. It is also – surprise surprise – the biggest supporter of Financial Fair Play, the rules that allow it to spend twice as much on players as every other club. The other clubs turn up to play a very poor Man Utd side and get thrashed.

    The Champions League is a competition between Englsih clubs, two Spanish clubs, one German club and the occasional financially doped outsider – Dortmund, Athletico. It’s the same every season.

    The English Premier League produces tough competition right down to the relegation places. There are no easy games for the top sides, no wlakovers as they have in Germany. It is the best, it pays the best players the best money and its reward is to be sold around the world.

  12. @Tim Almond.

    Major difference today in comparison to the 1970s was that back in the 1970s there was a cap on the number of foreign players. Held illegal under the single market iirc. The rise of the English league is down to hiring many foreign mercenaries.

  13. Participation alone doesn’t explain it. England has a much bigger rugby playing population that New Zealand or Australia, and yet we consistently (enough) come off second best against those nations.

    I think it’s the participation *rate* per head of population that matters more than absolute numbers.

  14. Ironman>

    Spot on. The German system is a cartel, deliberately designed to create one superclub. It is also heavily subsidised by what are effectively taxes on local businesses – try not paying up when the local club demands ‘sponsorship’, see how long your business lasts – and so the claims made in England about it are very much more ‘grass is greener’ stuff than sensible analysis.

  15. Then why aren’t German footballers emigrating to the UK in search of significantly higher wages?

    Because they’re not good enough. The top-ranked German players either play for Bayern Munich or large foreign clubs, with the odd one or two playing for another Bundesliga club. The rest of the German players are going to struggle in the Premier League where they are up against mercenaries from all over the world, as well as English players who aren’t technically good but do well in a league played on their home turf.

    Germany has been good at producing one decent club full of highly-paid superstars (with the occasional flash-in-the-pan like Borrussia Dortmund who immediately lose their best players to Bayern Munich the next season) playing in a rather dull and predictable league (BM won by 19 points last year), and a consistently very good international squad. But there isn’t much evidence they’ve produced any quality further down the ranks.

    England has been good at producing an extremely exciting and marketable football league with reasonable quality even halfway down the table and four or five teams at the top each capable of beating the other. That the England team is shite doesn’t matter two hoots, and deep down this Kraut knows it.

  16. Interested>

    “Also, how many German players have won the champions league in the last decade, as opposed to teams, versus English players/teams?”

    Off the top of my head, Hargreaves, Rooney, Neville, Scholes, Ferdinand, Lampard, Terry, Cole, Gerrard, Carragher… I doubt I’ve remembered them all.

    OK, I checked. Add Cahill, Ryan Bertrand, and Sturridge and Turnbull for Chelsea, the latter two having been on the bench. Add Carrick and Wes Brown(!) for United. Oh, and Liverpool had Scott Carson on the bench in 2005…

    Bayern had Neuer, Boateng, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, and Muller on the pitch, Tom Starke and Mario Gomez on the bench.

  17. @Tim N

    “I think it’s the participation *rate* per head of population that matters more than absolute numbers.”

    I’m probably misunderstanding you, but are you saying that 50 per cent of 10,000 blokes will produce a better side than 25 per cent of 100,000 blokes?

  18. @Dave – As I said, I don’t follow football, but that is a surprise (to me). Still, it’s not 3-1 in our favour, though closer than I’d imagined.

  19. Interested>

    “you only need one or two first team national strikers and I’d guess there’s a point at which any decent size population produces enough raw talent.”

    In my view, that point is somewhere about the size of Germany or Brazil, if we’re talking about consistently producing players to fill all eleven positions.

    “Participation alone doesn’t explain [success]”

    It correlates very strongly with it, along with GDP. Of course, it’s still based on randomness, so some outliers are to be expected.

    I’m not sure about rugby and cricket, but I suspect they’re simply not competitive enough on a global scale – or at least, weren’t in the fairly recent past – for the luck of the draw to be reduced to only minor significance.

  20. @interested

    The regression for sports success includes not only population, but also wealth (proxied with GDP per capita). This explains India’s abysmal performance in the Olympics etc despite its size.

    China’s Womens Volleyball team was good. (OK its the only one I can think of at the moment)

    As in all statistical relationships, once in a while you get the outlier – I’d guess West Indies cricket team would be that outlier.

    The reason why NZ is so good at rugby is that everyone plays and they maximise the yield of their best players. In the UK many play, but many promising athletes are undiscovered (too poor to play) or play something else (football).

  21. Inty>

    “I don’t follow football, but that is a surprise (to me).”

    Entirely reasonable, given the crap our media pumps out – especially if it’s not a subject you pay much attention to.

    “Still, it’s not 3-1 in our favour”

    Close enough to be within the bounds of randomness, though. Make it fifteen years to include Man U’s 1999 win and Bayern’s 2001 win and the ratio shifts to more than 3:1, but mainly thanks to United’s bench.

  22. “It is the best, it pays the best players the best money”: you’re thinking of Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez, “James”, Bale, Robben, ……?

    On the subject of Krautball: 7-1! It made me laugh. Then they beat the Argies. Well done, Germany. Deserved it.

  23. German Bundesliga football these days is pretty exciting with lots of goals, but that’s because the defences are crap. Bayern has the best defence and doesn’t ship goals like the rest. It also has the financial muscle to suck in the decent players from its competitors.

    (West) Germany is successful at footie because the players all play the same way; in the old days it was the sweeper system with three up front. It is therefore easier to slot players into a position and there’s none of this chest beating about whether Rooney should play on the right etc etc. The 2014 German team was mostly Bayern or ex-Bayern and all read from the same hymn sheet.

    The stadia are always full and the ticket prices are half that of middling Premiership clubs. There is also a lot of excellent young talent ( we didn’t even see the best German team this year, due to some injuries ) coming through – paradoxically a result of being stuffed 5-1 by the Ericksson England team.They generally don’t have the extravagant skills of Ronaldo or Bale but they are good dependable players and are all of the same skill level. I also believe that Germany has a plentiful supply of barn doors for the players to hit ( Daniel Sturridge take note ).

  24. I’m probably misunderstanding you, but are you saying that 50 per cent of 10,000 blokes will produce a better side than 25 per cent of 100,000 blokes?

    Quite possibly, yes. This is purely my opinion, but I think Wales and New Zealand play rugby so well is because of the participation rate in any given town, village, or region. If the competition for team places is fierce, and substitutes benches strong, the overall quality rises. When it comes down to it, you only need 30 good players to make a squad, and if those 30 players have been picked from a small, intensively competitive environment they will probably do better than the 30 best naturally talented people plucked from a large population but not subject to the same level of competition. I think this applies more at the early stages in youth development, as obviously all professional rugby is intense these days. But it makes the youth breaking into the adult ranks a lot better than they should be compared to larger countries. This is what makes Wales competitive with England, but if England had the same participation rate as Wales, England would be unstoppable.

    It’s the same reason that tiny Lithuania is shit-hot at basketball (see here): everyone loves it, and everyone plays it. It’s also why Wigan produces dozens of great rugby league players whilst London doesn’t.

  25. “foreign mercenaries”

    Yep, that’s a phrase used quite a lot to describe 21-year-olds from the Ivory Coast with minimal educational qualifications who come over here to build a future for themselves, their families and whole communities back home.

    We also go on Newsnight to opine that footballers’ salaries are “obscene”.

    Well I say: pure snobbery. There is no other set of employees in this country, certainly not from low socio-economic backgrounds, who receive the same level of opprobrium for earning good money. I refer everyone right back to Tim’s original post.

  26. Yep, that’s a phrase used quite a lot to describe 21-year-olds from the Ivory Coast with minimal educational qualifications who come over here to build a future for themselves, their families and whole communities back home.

    Being somewhat of a foreign mercenary in my own industry, I was using it as a term of endearment!

  27. I was referring to another comment actually. But yeah, I suppose you are and good luck to you.

    I’m not sure whether ti’s the ‘foreign’ or ‘mercenary’ that attracts the disgust. After all, as Unclue Milt said “I’m a mercenary economist and you’re a mercenary general”.

  28. There’s a peculiar prevailing opinion about sports stars that they should play in a certain location for a certain club out of altruistic reasons, and those who behave in the same way as the rest of us, i.e. trying to find the best job they can, are viewed as unprincipled and greedy.

    I remember the furore over Sonny-Bill Williams’ switch from League to Union, with Aussies going nuts that he “has only gone for the money” and calling him “Money-Bill”. I can’t believe a single one of those criticising him would say no if somebody from their industry, or sister industry, rang them up and said “Hey fella, fancy working for us and tripling your money?” But normal people often go a bit weird when sport is involved, and not just on this issue.

  29. Tim Newman>

    I find it more plausible that high participation rates lead to fewer potentially elite players dropping out in their teens. If all your mates are playing rugby (or whatever) every Saturday afternoon, you’re a lot more likely to keep on playing rugby than if they’re all off doing ten different other things. Presumably the whole community’s leisure will be set up around the rugby, and so-on.

    Not sure you can really cite Wales and New Zealand, though. They’re both in the bottom dozen or so rugby playing nations…

  30. I find it more plausible that high participation rates lead to fewer potentially elite players dropping out in their teens.

    That, and the fact that your best athletes are all playing the same sport and are not shared between several competing sports.

    Not sure you can really cite Wales and New Zealand, though. They’re both in the bottom dozen or so rugby playing nations…

    You’ve lost me…

  31. Off the top of his head, Dave has recalled only players playing for teams from their own country, which I think biases his count towards English players.

    So add to that: Sami Khedira for Real this year, Dietmar Hamann who was playing for Liverpool when they beat AC Milan, and whatever others I haven’t thought of.

    And it’s a bit of a stretch to count Owen Hargreaves in favour of English football, given that he was born and brought up in Canada and first won the Champions League with Bayern, never having played in England.

  32. Tim

    Sonny-Bill is the perfect example of an athlete quite rightly maximising his talents and his earning potential. Good luck to him.

    N.B. I would feel happier about him though if he had a face like a RL forward rather than Magic Mike – bastard!

  33. PaulB>

    Oh yes, you’re quite right. I completely forgot about Germans playing for non-German sides.

    Tim N>

    “You’ve lost me”

    Well how many rugby-playing nations are there? Properly rugby-playing, I mean.

  34. “I can’t believe a single one of those criticising him would say no if somebody from their industry, or sister industry, rang them up and said “Hey fella, fancy working for us and tripling your money?””

    I don’t know about tripling my money, but I’ve certainly turned down work with a bitter rival of a company I had been working for because it just didn’t seem right.

  35. Dave

    Yes, because you’re a decent guy. Fair play to you.

    Most people don’t do that thought, particularly if they are being offered triple wages. Now factor in what they can earn as an international star in the UK compared with what their nobody contemporaries are earning back in Ghana and tell me that man shouldn’t have his price.

  36. Interested,

    “I guess you must be right in the long run, but you only need one or two first team national strikers and I’d guess there’s a point at which any decent size population produces enough raw talent.”

    But it’s not about having a couple of good strikers, it’s about whether the best 11 players in your country are better than the 11 best players in another country. Everyone from the top dozen teams are very good players.

    And if you discount things like GDP, training, etc and assume equal desire to participate in that sport then it’s more likely that a larger population will get those people.

    The problem with England is that people keep asking why we can’t repeat 1966, rather than understanding that 1966 was a freak event. Our available players were above average, we were playing at home, and we had a lot of luck.

  37. just to add – what’s the problem with raising ticket prices? It’s estimated that Arsenal have a waiting list of 45000 for season tickets. You’d have to be dumb as a pile of rocks not to raise the prices in that situation.

  38. Tim Newman
    August 14, 2014 at 11:15 am

    There’s a peculiar prevailing opinion about sports stars that they should play in a certain location for a certain club out of altruistic reasons, and those who behave in the same way as the rest of us, i.e. trying to find the best job they can, are viewed as unprincipled and greedy.

    I remember the furore over Sonny-Bill Williams’ switch from League to Union, with Aussies going nuts that he “has only gone for the money” and calling him “Money-Bill”. I can’t believe a single one of those criticising him would say no if somebody from their industry, or sister industry, rang them up and said “Hey fella, fancy working for us and tripling your money?” But normal people often go a bit weird when sport is involved, and not just on this issue.

    Its about tribalism which seems to affect mostly a country’s key sport.

    In England most die hard club fans would rather see their club do well instead of their country if it meant their star players weren’t risking injury or burn out at the national level.

    Same for rugby in Aus, I suspect, where its also about which part of the country plays which code. We had the same here when Union was still, allegedly, amateur when player went from Union to League.

  39. Well how many rugby-playing nations are there? Properly rugby-playing, I mean.

    8 or 9, depending on whether you count Italy. New Zealand are the best by some margin, taking into account consistency, but have a tiny population compared to France, England, and South Africa. Wales is also tiny, and can hold their own against England and regularly beat France, i.e. they punch above their expected weight. Otherwise, we’d play rugby like we do football…

  40. @TIm N

    I think that was Dave’s point – if there are 12 rugby playing nations then NZ are in the bottom 12 (as well as the top 12). Interesting point about fierceness of competition, though I’m not sure I buy it.

    I think the reason NZ are so good at rugby are many and varied.

    Firstly, they were effectively pro in attitude, and to some extent literally, while our leading players were still training on Tuesday nights after work.

    Secondly, they have a very healthy mix of genetics – big, quick south sea islanders and flinty Scots seem between them to produce good rugby players. I know Martin Johnson well, and I remember chatting to him years ago, when he was England captain. His view was that we in England needed to get more of our Afro Caribbean youngsters involved. certainly a few more Jason Robinsons and Staffon Armitages wouldn’t go amiss.

    Thirdly, almost all Kiwi men play to some standard. I’ve met stacks of them, and I only knew one who didn’t like rugby – a chap called Murray who supported Arsenal. His mates called it ‘puff ball’. He was a serious physical specimen, too – they seem in general to be in better shape than Brits.

    Fourthly, it’s basically their religion. They interrupt the nightly news to announce the AB Colts XV.

    Fifthly, at international level they play regularly against SA and the Wallabies which is self-fulfilling.

    Sixthly, there is still an aura to the AB jersey, though I think it’s slowly disappearing.

    Not all of that explains the strange overperformance of Wallaby rugby – it’s a real minority sport in Aus, but they consistently do well. I think in large part it’s been their innovative coaching, and the fact that having slender resources forces them to select players and stick with them; I suspect we have far more 1-5 cap wonders than them.

  41. I think that was Dave’s point – if there are 12 rugby playing nations then NZ are in the bottom 12 (as well as the top 12). Interesting point about fierceness of competition, though I’m not sure I buy it.

    Ah, okay. Now I get it, but it’s an odd way to make a point. It’s not really about a small country being good at a fairly obscure sport, it’s about how a small country can beat a much bigger country at a sport.

    And yes, there are other reasons why the Kiwis are good at rugby.

    Thirdly, almost all Kiwi men play to some standard.

    Which is what I meant by “participation rate”. 😉

  42. His view was that we in England needed to get more of our Afro Caribbean youngsters involved. certainly a few more Jason Robinsons and Staffon Armitages wouldn’t go amiss.

    Rugby league has done this for years. Ellery Hanley was Wigan captain in the mid-80s, and GB captain in 1988. For some reason which I think is nothing to do with racism, black fellas were prominent in RL much earlier than RU.

    Not all of that explains the strange overperformance of Wallaby rugby – it’s a real minority sport in Aus, but they consistently do well.

    Yup, and nothing pisses me off more. I put it down to a bias amongst referees, especially in the scrum area, to ensure they don’t get humiliated and the nation loses interest. But I may be wrong. 🙂

  43. @TN ‘Which is what I meant by “participation rate”.’

    Yep, I undertand the participation rate, it’s just that we have vastly more participants and I remain unconvinced re the rate argument. Maybe is it one of the many reasons.

    Re RL, it’s a strange one. Maybe a financial thing ‘back in the day’?

    You’re right re the Wobblies – I love England beating them more than anything else in sport, much as I actually generally like Aussies.

  44. “Most people don’t do that thought, particularly if they are being offered triple wages. Now factor in what they can earn as an international star in the UK compared with what their nobody contemporaries are earning back in Ghana and tell me that man shouldn’t have his price.”

    I think I’d have moved like a shot if they’d offered me triple money 🙂

    The point is that it depends on how much you’re being offered, and what level of going over to the enemy we’re talking about. Frank Lampard going to Man City for an insignificant amount of extra wodge in his pocket was poor form, Sagna moving there to double his career earnings wasn’t.

    The one which really pissed me off was the reaction to Carlos Tevez’s row with Man City. He was threatened with being left in the reserves, and everyone seemed to think that he ought to ‘want to play’. I mean, seriously? This guy comes from one of the worst slums on the planet, and he’s supposed to go home and tell people ‘I gave up more money than this whole slum makes in a year, just so I could play football’? Barking mad.

  45. “Not all of that explains the strange overperformance of Wallaby rugby – it’s a real minority sport in Aus, but they consistently do well.”

    Prob because all Aussies grow up (grew up?) playing a handling code – Rules, League or Union.

  46. TN>

    “It’s not really about a small country being good at a fairly obscure sport, it’s about how a small country can beat a much bigger country at a sport.”

    If we’re dealing with a population as small as the top rugby nations, though, then we’re not really looking at trends. We have a set of unique cases, and we can’t really generalise from them.

    We can suggest reasons why they might differ from one another, but we don’t really have a baseline to compare against.

    If you want reasons, I’d suggest one thing Wales, Australia, and New Zealand have in common is that there’s bugger all else to do but play sports.

  47. I’ve always seen this as two different conversations. The economics-based claim that this or that national team does better because we play our players less etc is just bollocks. The economics feeds through to the economic health of the league and its clubs. The Premier League wins hands down there.

    A more interesting conversation – and one that I think requires a little more thought – is why German footballers are currently so much better than ours. It can’t be simple statistics; the Germans were able to boast three or four players in certain positions who were better than the one guy we are able seriously to consider. The winning goal in the final was scored by a young substitute who doesn’t command a regular place in his club side either AND is kept out by fellow Germans. Draxler and Reus would also have walked into the England team.

    The same question could now be posed by the Brazilians as well; for such a populous nation their team was desparately short of talented individuals.

  48. The question of footballers and pay is always an amusing one.

    So often we hear the cry that footballers are paid so much more than nurses and perhaps their pay should be limited. As if this money once created will magically disappear if it doesn’t go to the players. I like to respond by asking

    “If we take the money off the players, please pick one of the following to give it to

    Advertising executives or investors
    Sponsor company executive or investors
    Football club executives or investors”

    Which of those deserves it more than the players?

  49. I’ve been watching the Women’s World Cup, (on France4 on the TV, if you’re interested) and wondering how they’d rate against a male XV.

    The default tactic is to kick it straight to the opposing full back or wing. This would be suicidal in top class rugger but works, because the catcher drops it and you get a scrum. This is the sort of thing we relied on in London SW Div 2 second team.

    Leaving aside the brawn element and judging purely on skill levels I’d reckon the girls wouldn’t make it to the finals of the Daily Mail schools rugby cup.

    And yet there are serious proposals for a professional circuit!

    Dave and DM are being mischievous. In fact there are some decent national outfits around who could compete with a premier or championship side, viz
    Canada, Japan, US, Uruguay, Georgia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Namibia.
    And a third tier including Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Kenya.
    Sure, by the time you get to the fifth tier, Switzerland or Nepal would struggle in London SW Div 2, but lots of countries do play.

  50. Inty>

    “why German footballers are currently so much better than ours. It can’t be simple statistics”

    That really can’t be ruled out. It’s perfectly plausible that the Germans currently have one of their better sides, and England currently have one of their worst, simply due to the luck of the draw.

    That said, I can believe that with the rise of the middle classes, the number of kids playing organised football decreased, and probably so did the chances of the kids who were playing actually going on to become professionals. That appears to have changed anyway, as football has become more respectable. It’s certainly possible that that explains why England had a dearth of talent for a while. Or it was just luck.

    This is, of course, a separate question to the ones about whether England underperforms at tournaments given the playing resources available.

  51. BiF>

    Not that mischievous. I said roughly the top dozen, and that includes the top associate nations. The rest really aren’t relevant in this context.

  52. “I’m probably misunderstanding you, but are you saying that 50 per cent of 10,000 blokes will produce a better side than 25 per cent of 100,000 blokes?”

    Quite possibly, because higher participation rate produces support, competition for places on teams and for individual success from a young age, a higher level required for top level participation, and a culture of the sport in the general population.

    Why is Japan so great at judo? Surely the whole rest of the world has more judo participants overall? The answer is about the judo density in Japan, what that does for the centres of judo excellence there, and the resulting experience of anyone trying to make it to the top in Japanese judo.

  53. Dave –>
    I’m not sure there’s much value in comparing how many English players have won CL compared to Germans as a lot of English club acadamies bring a lot of ‘foreign’ players through (Bale at Southampton, Giggs, Fletcher at ManU spring to mind). Surely a better comparison would be how many players who have come through the academies of each country and won the CL would be a better determinant of which system works best.

    TimN –> Wallabies are all about attitude, across the park England have better players, Strayans hate losing more which is what makes them so hard to beat. With the ABs, they’ve been dominant for a few years now but I still maintain this isn’t a great ABs side, they have been fortunate to coincide being very good while (the) other (11) nations seem to be in a synchronised slump.

  54. @BIF

    ‘I’ve been watching the Women’s World Cup, (on France4 on the TV, if you’re interested) and wondering how they’d rate against a male XV.’

    I remember watching Leicester play Rotherham in the cup (Tetley’s I assume) not long after the game went pro at the top end, when Rotherham were a good side two or three years off from their own visit to the Premiership.

    Leicester won about 90-0 and Martin Corry ran one in from his own half.

    Women’s sport is all pretty much rubbish, and in most cases a half decent amateur male or side would bat the very top women in most sports.

    But for some reason – well, we know the reason, and I’m not even a believer in the ‘feminazi’ bollocks like some are – we have to pretend it means something.

    In the States, this has led to College sides being created for women at vast cost where they then have to vrtually press-gang females to take an interest, and even then they end up with a collection of mal-co-ordinated arm flappers who run like ducks, plus two lesbians.

    Sport – not for girls. Play with dolls.

    (I like female tennis players and the beach volleyball etc obviously.)

    @tomsmith

    Re judo, I don’t know about the numbers, actually, but I expect it’s largely a cultural and traditional thing, and that the best coaches are probably in Japan.

    I still don’t buy this participation rate thing.

    My nephew, aged nine, plays for Market Harborough where they have several teams just for his age group, and lots of similar opposition to play against locally – it’s a rugby area, the Tigers breeds interest etc. Their facilities are very good, too.

    They still won’t turn out players of the quality rolling out of NZ junior clubs on an almost daily basis.

  55. “TimN –> Wallabies are all about attitude, across the park England have better players, Strayans hate losing more”: I think that’s bollocks on a par with the football commentator’s “he just wanted it more, Clive” rubbish.

    More likely it’s the habit of coaching games, and thinking about the game being coached. Aussies may be laughably incompetent at abstract thought, but give them a good practical problem and they’ll shine. Though you’d never guess it from the excitable, one-eyed rubbish you hear from their commentators (The Blessed Benaud apart), you can see it in, for instance, how play will improve after a chance (e.g. at half time, overnight) to think things through.

  56. Bloke in Lower Hutt (really?)>

    “I’m not sure there’s much value in comparing how many English players have won CL compared to Germans”

    Mmmhmm, I was treating it more like a pub quiz question, to be honest. I don’t think it tells us anything useful.

    Dearie>

    “I think that’s bollocks on a par with the football commentator’s “he just wanted it more, Clive” rubbish.”

    I think ‘he wanted it more’ is undoubtedly bollocks, because everyone wants to win, but I’m not sure about the opposite. I suspect a lot of close sporting matches are decided by which team is desperate not to lose.

  57. Dave –> Lower Hutt, really, really!

    I don’t think the ‘he wanted it more’ line is bollocks, the mental side of sport is what separates elite athletes when there is more or less equal ability between the competitors.

    Look at the difference between the England Rugby teams performance this year in NZ compared to the World Cup, one of the noticeable differences is that the team ‘wanted it more’ and they ran the ABs pretty close with hugely improved performances.

    Aussie sport is all about winning, they haven’t bought into the well-played, every child must have a prize for effort yet and that attitude continues throughout their careers. I’m quite certain that their attitude narrows the gap between them and better teams in all sports not just Rugby.

    They’ll still get dealt to this weekend though!

  58. @BIL Hutt

    ‘Look at the difference between the England Rugby teams performance this year in NZ compared to the World Cup, one of the noticeable differences is that the team ‘wanted it more’ and they ran the ABs pretty close with hugely improved performances.’

    Trouble with that analysis is that they were different teams containing different individuals at different stages of the season.

    That said, I agree with you that desire and will to win is very important, and exists.

    Not in the simple sense of simply asking any two top teams how much they wanted to win, because they would both say they wanted it a lot, and they would, but in the sense that, when the chips are down some peop,le find that extra something from somewhere.

    It’s the same thing that makes some people complete P Coy when ostensibly superior athletes, who have dreamed of finishing it for two years, drop out.

    On any given day, you may have it in spades or you may not – ask Roberto Duran.

  59. I suspect we can see the difference between the team ‘who wanted it more’ and their opposition at The Oval at the moment.

  60. Actually, part of the Australian success comes down to their habit of shopping around the Pacific Islands for talent (something the Kiwis do much less nowadays, almost all AB players were born in NZ). I have no objection to this in principle, but what pisses me off is the Aussies are happy to do this but when it comes to cricket start bagging England for fielding nationalized foreigners. Hypocritical pricks, Aussie sports fans.

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