In the last 30 years the total Asian population of the United Kingdom has not produced 10 professional footballers never mind those with the ability to play at the highest level for the country of their birth at full level…writes YZ Patel
Uruguay , Bosnia Herzegovina , Slovenia , Latvia , Jamaica , Northern Ireland , Trinidad and Tobago and Iceland. Reading the above you’re wondering that’s a disparate list of countries what does it all mean? Why are they listed? Are they somehow linked to how much taxpayers aid they’re receiving from the UK?
The Asian population as listed by the 2011 census in the United Kingdom was 4,373,339. These are people from either Sri Lanka, India , Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and those who class their heritage from the Asian Subcontinent. All the countries listed above have a population of between 3 to 4 million as a country with the exception of Iceland whose population numbers 317,593.
The thread that interlinks these countries together is that everyone of them except Iceland have in the last thirty years qualified for a major Uefa or a FIFA tournament. This is either the European Championships or the World Cup in the last 30 years.
Iceland with a population less than Manchester were 90 minutes away from qualifying for Brazil 2014 and after beating Holland yesterday will more than likely qualify for Euro 2016 in France. A country with the smallest population ever to do so if they do it.
So how do countries with a population with less and round about the same as the Asian population of the UK not only produce 20 international standard footballers and coaches but those that are good enough to qualify their country for a major tournament?
In the last 30 years the total Asian population of the United Kingdom has not produced 10 professional footballers never mind those with the ability to play at the highest level for the country of their birth at full level. Whether that be Scotland, England, Northern Ireland or Wales. It’s a damning indictment .. But on who is the question?
Are the bodies that govern the national game within the British isles the Football Association saying that there is not even 10 of Asian origin out of nearly 4,373,339 good enough to play professional football at any of the 92 clubs currently in the football pyramid? I just find that very hard to believe considering what I’ve just written above. And the fact there is hardly any Asian coaching but one in the entire football pyramid is hardly a revelation. We didn’t need a report to tell us that today.
In fact I refuse to accept and the only reason we are unable to even get 10 in the professional leagues is plain and simply we are not given a chance, the Asians in this country are not given a opportunity. Paul Fairclough will attest to that. Local Asian teams that win tournaments that include descendants of our empirical masters will also.
I refute any argument that says we are not good enough, we are not talented, any nonsense about our physicality or make up are just excuses to pander to those who hold those views yet be the first to tell us we always pull out that card to keep us out and stop asking the question.
More than them I hold the majority of the Asian population to account as we do not have one person within the ranks of the media that fights our corner and counters these obvious prejudices. We may not be playing the game but there are plenty of those within the written press, radio and broadcast that actively promote and engage in this by their acquiescence.
Let me just rattle off a few .. Piara Power of kick it out, Manish Bhasin presenter of the Football League Show, Dharmesh Sheth of Sky Sports, in the written press Matthew Syed (does he count? he of a Pakistani father and a Welsh mother) Mihir Bose of ex-BBC these are just off the top of my head but there will be a few more undoubtedly.
Things get constantly written why we are not playing professional football and now why there’s hardly any coaching. It’s the perennial question but I never hear them saying anything otherwise. These are people with influence that can raise awareness at the very top.
The case in point being a article widely published in most of the UK Media by the ‘secret footballer’ widely purported to be either the former Fulham and Blackburn player Danny Murphy or Dave Kitson ex Stoke and Reading. This piece specifically discusses, explores and gives reasons why there is a lack of Asian participants in the national game but none of the above mentioned who are supposed to be batting our corner have to my knowledge countered any of the arguments that have been offered.
Firstly it states all the Asian kids at school either supported Liverpool or Manchester United so none of the English kids supported any other successful team? They all had Chester or Dave’s local teams’ top on underneath their uniforms everyday? And their dream was to play for their local team ? That will be Chester in whatever the conference is called now or what Kitson’s local team is. If you believe that you’ll probably believe the Daily Mail loves Muslims and UKIP immigrants.
All kids wherever they are support a more successful team. There will be more Barcelona and Real Madrid supporters in Chester than probably Chester and the northwest giants combined. That is the way of the world and is not a trait unique in Asians.
It then goes onto peddle and reinforce further stereotypes how the Asians were kept away from the pernicious English kids but were quite happy to sell them alcohol from their shops even though it was against their religion and how the Asian kids all did their homework and were focused on achieving in school to prepare for their working life after school whilst this was a total misnomer to the English kids.
Now the reason Asian kids particularly those high achieving ones from Indian heritage are focused on education is because of the generally held belief is a good education is the key to a successful career that pays financially thus having a better life than the one their fathers or grandfathers had before them, where they were in low paid employment after coming over. Is that so difficult to understand? And if it is in a profession either in education the legal and health industry , the scientific fields or the financial industry that’s what the families encourage their children to do because it will reward them financially whilst making them a worthwhile and productive member of society.
But let’s take the points made at face value, It also says in the piece that they were made to go to work for family businesses not here but often in the motherland, their future was already decided it states. Must be unique these Asians up in Cheshire or Hertfordshire. Leave a business yet send the kids back to work in it, strange. However despite all of us having to go back or try to get employment somehow we do have great Asian sportsmen born in these isles albeit not in the national game and one of the greatest in my opinion undoubtedly is one Amir Khan.
Now he could be one of these Asian kids that the article is talking about. His father Shah had maybe still has his own business in Bolton but Amir had a talent. His dad like every other father told him to take his education seriously but he knew his son was onto greatness.
Shah was born in Pakistan and emigrated to the UK to better himself and his family quite like the parents of the Asians that the secret footballer allegedly grew up with. Shah must have been told how good Amir was with the bundles of trophies he was winning from the age of 11, he was there most probably to witness him winning them. Did Shah suddenly turn round to Amir and one day say look at the age of 17 you are going to win a Olympic silver medal, the whole nation is going to be talking about you. After you’ve won this medal you’re going to be a professional boxer win world titles become a multi multi multi millionaire financially secure the Khan family for generations retire at the age of 30.. But son who needs all that? Why don’t you toil with me in my business in Greater Manchester till you’re 60 for the minimum wage. Who needs fame? And millions of pounds and all the trappings of all that .. It’s all over rated son.
And these are the myths that are promoted that every Asian wants to go to university work till his 60 now 70 in either the family business or their chosen field, contend with barriers to employment opposed to kicking a pigs bladder about for 90 or zero minutes for a minimum of £50k a week becoming a multi millionaire and retiring at 30 with nobody in the family having to ever worry about paying any bill ever again for generations. We don’t want to be doing that. No.
Mr hiding behind a pseudonym ends with ‘every now and again somebody wants to ask the question, even though I suspect they already know the answer.'(sic) I’m asking the question all the time but i don’t know the answer none of the 4,373,339 do that’s why we keep asking it and we are still yet to get the right answer.