The Chris Waddle Mystery

15 10 2010


There are articles, essays, dissertations and tomes out there dedicated to highlighting the folly of English football’s misguided attitude to the beautiful game. There’s little point me going too far down that road. I’m simply asking you to watch the footage above and consider the following:

  • Waddle played in the 1991 European Cup Final for Marseille.
  • He came 10th in the 1991 Ballon d’Or voting to decide the European Player of the Year.
  • He was also later voted Marseille’s 2nd greatest player of the century – behind Jean-Pierre Papin.

Even after his return from France, Waddle enjoyed success back in England:

  • Waddle scored in the 1993 FA Cup Final replay for Sheffield Wednesday.
  • He was voted the 1993 Football Writers’ Player of the Year.

None of these achievements were considered significant enough to warrant selection for Graham Taylor’s England team, despite the failings of the side at that time. He made his last England appearance in 1991.

There’s no real justification for discarding a talent as great as Waddle’s.

Well, ok, maybe there’s one:





5 responses

15 10 2010
Jude Ellery

Not doubting his quality, but that’s not exactly an amazing list of achievements is it? Obviously you can’t always judge a player by what he has won, but it’s strange you try to use this meagre list to justify his England place.

15 10 2010

Meagre list?! I completely disagree.
Ballon D’Or nominations, Footballer of the Year awards and European Finals are legitimate indicators of the quality the man had.
Not enough to justify selection ahead of Tony Daley and Andy Sinton in your eyes?

15 10 2010
Jude Ellery

I think Michael Owen was nominated for the Ballon D’Or (he might even have finished third?). Ronalidinho won it. Djimi Traore played in a European final. Doesn’t mean they’re at the top of their game now, does it. Are they playing international football?

My point was, as I read the list I wasn’t sure whether you were going to say he had achieved a lot or he had not realised his potential. A couple of them are not exactly personal achievements, for example playing in a final does not make someone a special player, that’s a team achievement isn’t it? The same goes for scoring in a final – Paul Konchesky scored against Liverpool in an FA Cup final, but I still don’t rate him.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that he was not a great player and yes, he probably should have been in the squad, but it’s just I don’t agree that your roll of honour is proof alone.

15 10 2010

Firstly, strange point regarding Owen and Ronaldinho – they were absolutely central to the hopes of England and Brazil respectively when they were nominated for those awards! The point is that the Waddle achievements listed were *after* his England career was cut short.

As for Djimi Traore, bit of a fatuous comment – Waddle was not only a key player for Marseille at the time but also one of their greatest ever players, which I tried to demonstrate by noting that he was voted their 2nd greatest ever player.

I acknowledge your point about Konchesky. Of course football is a team game but my intention was to come up with a few interesting titbits to accompany the video in the hope it would illustrate how odd it now looks to people that he was ignored by Graham Taylor.

Didn’t work for you clearly, but thanks for reading – comments help make the blog!

15 10 2010
Jude Ellery

Yes Owen and Ronaldinho were good when they received the nominations, I think I was just trying to say that it still doesn’t prove that a player should automatically be included in the England team just because he gets lauded by those who decide these kind of awards. I think sometimes people forget that managers (even international ones) have their own idea of the players they need in the team, and they might just not fit with the overall game plan.

For example, Michael Carrick has never been a favourite of Fabio Capello’s, but I’m sure I could drum up a list of his achievements that would make him look like a shoe-in over Gareth Barry. Likewise, Esteban Cambiasso had the season of his life but was not included in Maradona’s World Cup squad (actually I think this was a mistake, but that’s beside the point).

I’m not stubborn enough to argue my point when I can acknowledge where you are coming from though. I don’t know enough about this period of the England team to compare him with the players who were picked over him. I just know that Taylor was not that bad that he would have completely overlooked him – there must have been some reason for it.

I was watching England the other day and it’s amazing how people’s views differ – a friend was calling for Joe Cole’s inclusion instead of Ashley Young’s, while I am amazed that Cole is even in the squad due to his poor form and fitness over the past few years. The same goes for Rooney – I’m disappointed that he is continually picked for United and England despite him playing so poorly. I think sometimes players are picked on reputation alone – maybe Taylor was trying to be his own man and judge a player himself and how he would fit into his team?

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