Football: Graham wants radical change

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The Independent Online
GEORGE GRAHAM has revealed his blueprint for the future of English football - and called for the introduction of a winter break. The Tottenham manager admitted he had thought hard about the state of the game, and concluded it was time for change.

Graham's ideas include: a mid-season break, having off the month of January; starting the season two weeks earlier and finishing two weeks later; no reduction in the size of the Premiership; no transfers during the season except during the month's break and a ruling that managers could not be sacked during the season.

Graham said: "I think it would be great to have a break mid-season. I would like to see us start the season two weeks earlier and finish two weeks later and I would like to have off the month of January. The first half of the season would finish on 31 December and the League Cup would be over by then. The second half of the season would start on 1 February and would comprise the FA Cup and the second half of the League. By starting two weeks earlier and finishing two weeks later, that is where you pick up your month for a break."

Graham said there would be no need to reduce the size of the Premiership if his proposed schedule was introduced. He said: "I would have a shorter break in the summer because in the modern game that break is too long. We could span the games out longer. You could play the majority of games on Saturdays.

"With the pace and commitment of today's game I think it would be good for everybody to have that month off. The players can have two-and-a-half weeks off and then start training 10 days before the season re-starts. There would be no friendly matches, which means no lucrative games in say the Middle or Far East - the FA have the power to veto those.

"I don't think we need two months off in the summer. Instead we need to give the players a month off to recharge their batteries. The game already spans 10 months so let's use that time and spread it out so there is not such a great pressure on the players. We are one of the few countries not to have a break at this time of year. I hope the football authorities take the opportunity to improve the quality of the game."

Meanwhile, Spurs have loaned Neale Fenn and Peter Gain to Lincoln City for a month.