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Didi Hamann Has Done It Again With His Ruthless Dissection Of The State Of English Football

Mikey Traynor
By Mikey Traynor
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When Didi Hamann decided to speak his mind on RTÉ following England's pathetic performance against Iceland, it was a sight to behold.

The Irish fans who were watching at home nodded in agreement while the former Liverpool and Newcastle midfielder (and World Cup finalist) let loose on his frustrations with the set-up of English football, eventually leaving us with a quote for the ages.

The Premier League is a fraud.

But now he's at it again.

Henry Winter clearly saw Hamann's RTÉ performance last Monday and decided that The Times needed a fleshed out version of what was being said for their readers to digest, and that is exactly what has popped up today.

In an interview with Winter, Hamann expressed his belief that the players in English football have far too much power, not enough responsibilities, and that performance related pay structures were the way forward.

It started out with the statement that England, and the Premier League, are the laughing stock of Europe.


English football has become a laughing stock in continental Europe, not only England, but also the Premier League. People in Germany ask me ‘What’s happening with the Premier League?’ You see no teams in the Champions League final for all the money they’ve spent on players. The feeling in Germany is ‘Come on! At some stage you’ve got to realise something’s gone wrong, something needs to give.'

Before he expressed his disbelief at the wage structure in the Premier League and suggested that incentivising contracts, as is commonly done in Germany, would yield positive results.

There are wages being paid in the Premier League that can take the edge off players. Even if they don’t play well, they always get paid. The power has been taken away from clubs and managers. The power is with the players. The player’s above the law, they can do what they want, they have no responsibilities. If the players don’t change or if we let them get away with things or put them on a pedestal, how do you expect leadership if you haven’t got any responsibility?

They have to start giving players incentives because the wages can take the edge off players. In Germany, a young player would never be offered a guaranteed contract because it’s irresponsible. If he doesn’t perform, doesn’t improve, doesn’t develop as well as he should do, then he shouldn’t earn top dollar.

I do not worry only about England. I also worry for the Premier League clubs because these wages have given power to the players and led to a vacuum of leadership in English football. Louis van Gaal goes to Manchester United with a huge reputation and players say things, ‘The training’s not right.’ Hodgson goes to England and players say things. ‘Get on with it,’ I’d say.

Hamann then closed his argument by using Irish fans as an example of what football should be about, and labelling football in England a 'poisonous scenario'.


Many fans of most teams — well, maybe not Leicester fans — are pissed off because they can’t go to the games any more because they can’t afford the tickets. The only ones laughing are the players and the agents. It’s a poisonous scenario. Football should bring football together. You see the Ireland fans and Northern Ireland fans laughing with the French police and it’s heart-warming. This is what football should be about. In England, football divides.


Hamann has proven to be a popular pundit since popping up on RTÉ sometime around the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and although we wouldn't want him managing an U10 side anytime soon, he has been widely praised for his views on the state of English football, and rightly so as his points all provide interesting food for thought. What if the Premier League were to incentivise contracts, similar to the way the NFL treats their players, with a guarenteed base salary and then extras for appearances and performance?

Hamann himself welcomed feedback for this views on twitter:



And as risky as that may have been, the response has been largely positive:

Fair play to Hamann, a German pointing out all the things that England are doing wrong could very easily wind a lot of people up but instead, for the second time in less than a week, Didi has managed to get people thinking with his comments on the subject.

You can read the interview with Hamann in full over on TheTimes.co.uk


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