On Sunday's 606 we took Greg Dyke's lead and decided to tackle the problem of the England national side. In 90 minutes. From the response you gave us we needed 900 minutes. For a nation that is supposedly out of love with the National side you care an awful lot about it.
So how exactly would you, the 606 listeners "turn the tanker" and make sure Greg Dyke hits his target of winning the Wold Cup in Qatar in 2022?
The show started with calls focusing on the current squad and the power of the Premier League. Paul in Doncaster suggested clubs just do not have the interest of the national side at their core. And as Wrighty said on the show, he's even heard managers ask their players if they really need to go on international duty.
But we soon got to the root of it, the grass root in fact and you told us it’s all about young players and getting in early.
You wanted more coaches - there are currently 203 English coaches with a pro license. Spain have 2140, while Germany have over one thousand.
Russell in Ormskirk was a call which certainly got our attention. An under 10s coach for Southport Trinity, he told us isn’t about a lack of talent or players - it is a lack of facilites. For example, his team share council pitches but the council had recently cut the grass... and left it three inches long. As a coach he really wanted to implement a passing ethic. No tiki taka in Southport then…
Facilities were something that came up throughout the show. Russell wanted 3G pitches and suggested there were 100 teams trying to play on just one pitch. The Premier League have given £200m to grass roots football since 2000 ( and you can probably multiply that by five due to partnership funding that the League has leveraged) and the FA puts £38m into grass roots a year (so £494m since 2000). On that evidence the money is there, but our callers wanted to know exactly where the money is going.
Quotas were another solution which came up during the show - Bob in Seaford felt the Premier League should follow the lead of County cricket and introduce quotas on overseas players. He asked Wrighty if his progress would have been hindered had Palace had the number of foreigners they do in the squad now. Ian said yes. Bob suggested a 50/50 quota of British players versus foreign players. What are your thoughts on that?
John from South London wanted professional players to spend more time out in the communities using their influence to inspire young people. He suggested more players should coach young kids like he had when he was younger, which was funded by the council.
And then there was the radical suggestion from James in Birmingham who wanted an Under-21's England side to compete in the Championship the year before a World Cup. This, he said would help the players gel and stop them warming the benches at the top four clubs. The top eleven of the squad could then go on and play in the World Cup the following yaer.
So, from the 90 minute show we present you the 606 mandate to save the national side and help England win the World Cup in 2022:
Get in early with young players
Give them the best coaches who are incentivised
Provide better pitches and facilities
Encourage scouts to watch more homegrown players
Get professional players in to inspire the young players and coach them in their communities
Do you agree with these? What would you add? Would you like to see an England Under-21’s team in the championship?