England supporters' group slams release of players

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A leading England supporters' group today hit out at the way five key players were released from Fabio Capello's squad for tomorrow night's friendly against Ghana.

Captain John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Michael Dawson were all sent back to their clubs after Saturday's European Championship qualifying win in Wales, seemingly in an attempt to curry favour with their respective managers.

Tomorrow night's Ghana game at Wembley is a sell-out, with supporters having bought their tickets unaware they would end up having paid to watch a half-strength team.

One of them, LondonEnglandFans convenor Mark Perryman, today reacted angrily to the way the matter had been handled, claiming the Football Association should have reduced prices for the game.

He told Press Association Sport: "There are going to be some who haven't been to Wembley before and this is a big day out for them and their families maybe and they weren't aware that these kinds of things went on.

"Why doesn't the FA say that at the beginning of a qualifying campaign?

"'Please be aware in all likelihood that certain players won't be selected, it's likely that at half-time seven or eight of the players are likely to be substituted. It's an opportunity for the manager to look at some fresh faces'.

"The other thing I think they should do is, as a result, reduce the prices of the tickets for friendlies.

"Okay, it's going to be full up tomorrow night but it's for one reason and one reason alone that's got nothing to do with England.

"It's Ghana. They've sold 20,000 tickets at that's just in the away allocation. You could easily put another 10,000 on top of that.

"If we weren't playing Ghana, this would be the lowest attendance ever for an England friendly since we returned to Wembley.

"They nearly filled it for France by slashing the ticket prices and that went down very, very well with the fans.

"The FA need to be a bit more astute, a bit more honest with the fans, trust the fans.

"We're not surprised that these players have been released back to their clubs.

"It's fiction that they've been released because of the Champions League. It's nothing to do with the Champions League.

"Michael Dawson will start for Spurs against Wigan on Saturday - I bet you a fiver that he will.

"He's playing a game on Saturday, so will Wayne Rooney, so will Frank Lampard, so will John Terry.

"It's because Capello needs to keep well in with Harry (Redknapp), Sir Alex (Ferguson) and Carlo (Ancelotti). That's the only reason they're being released.

"Why can't he just be honest with us?"

Perryman nevertheless believes friendlies should be used to blood new players.

He said: "I really hope Andy Carroll starts the game and plays a good 70-80 minutes. I hope Scott Parker starts and plays 70-80 minutes. I want to see Jack Wilshere in an England shirt again.

"I'm not upset about the fact that it's a B team because actually we need to see the B team.

"Why don't we treat them effectively as B internationals and charge B international prices?"

Responding to the complaint, a Football Association spokesman told Press Association Sport ticket prices for friendlies were already significantly cheaper than those for competitive games.

They also claimed there had been almost no negative feedback on message boards to the absence of the likes of Terry and Rooney, pointing out most fans expected experimentation in such matches.

Comments