Speaking from the year 2006, West Ham manager Alan Pardew launched an blistering broadside at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger over the amount of foreign players in his side.
Speaking in the wake of a 1-0 Champions League victory for Wenger’s foreign mercenaries over Real Madrid, a game where not a single English player was fielded for Arsenal (though Madrid had two, Jonathan Woodgate and David Beckham), Pardew fumed:
“I saw a headline saying Arsenal are flying the flag for Britain, I kind of wondered where that British involvement actually was when I looked at their team. It’s important clubs, especially top clubs, don’t lose sight of the that. It’s the English Premier League and English players should be involved.”
While Pardew acknowledged the contribution foreign players have made to the Premiership, he feared that things were now getting out of hand, adding:
“Foreign players have been fantastic. We have learned from them and from foreign coaches. But, to some extent, we could lose the soul of British football – the English player. We have a young team at West Ham and we are proud we have so many Englishmen.
“The soul of this team will remain with at least three or four English players as long as I am West Ham. I think that’s important, I really do.”
Thanks to NUFC Blog user “Sir Jason Toon” for reminding me about this one 🙂