Like the rest of the nation no doubt, I have reached the point where sticking my head in the oven with the gas turned full on seems a preferable option to thinking Brexit again. I exaggerate, of course, but you get the gist. Sadly, it seems the obsessive discussion – and near mania that goes with it – is about to hit the beautiful game. Is there no escape at all!?
Various reports have explained that Premier League clubs are expected to prepare for our departure from the EU by ensuring that half of the players in their first-team squads are ‘home-grown’. The FA has reportedly drawn up measures designed to deal with the situation and have already put the plan to Premier League chairmen which was greeted with the usual ‘we need to investigate this’ from our co chairman David Gold.
Apparently the FA plan will see the maximum number of overseas players in each 25-man squad slashed from 17 to 12. West Ham currently has 17 foreign nationals on its books and like many other clubs is facing some extraordinarily difficult decisions. However, with the breakthrough of the likes of Declan Rice and Grady Diangana and high hopes surrounding several others we are in a healthier position than many to cope. Their emergence under the admirable guidance of chief, Terry Westley, could hardly have come at a more timely moment.
There are others on their way through and Nathan Holland is probably going to be the next to burst onto the scene. Conor Coventry, Joe Powell and Josh Pask along with goalkeeper Nathan Trott are other highly rated young stars for whom Brexit could come as a blessing in disguise depending on your political point of view.
Whilst results have been less than we may have expected so far this season, the growth of the academy has been an amazing development. That it comes at a critical political time is an even bigger bonus given the uncertainties surrounding our departure from the EU.