Graham fears multi-national squads will undermine England

George Graham, the last manager to win a league championship without the aid of foreign players, said he feared for the future of the England team after watching his former club deploy an entirely foreign squad.

George Graham, the last manager to win a league championship without the aid of foreign players, said he feared for the future of the England team after watching his former club deploy an entirely foreign squad.

Graham, a Scot who had 15 Englishmen and two Irishmen in his 1989 title-winning Arsenal squad , said: "I think it's very sad that a club of the quality of Arsenal did not have a domestic player playing or on the bench. It's really going to affect the English international team in the near future. Look at how Scotland [where Rangers and Celtic field few native players] have suffered. It could happen to England.

"Arsenal have a very good youth policy but it is a worldwide policy. They have some great kids but most of them are foreigners. And if your up-and-coming kids are foreign as well it does not look good for England or UK players. It could get to the stage where Sven Goran Eriksson is struggling to find a game to watch.

"It is an unbelievable transformation in 16 years. Let's not kid ourselves. The main reason they are here is because the money is here and they will remain here as long as the money does. That said, you have to give credit to the likes of Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. They have committed themselves to Arsenal for a number of years. They haven't just grabbed the money and moved on. But not many foreign players have stayed that long and I do think Arsenal miss a major captain, a John Terry or Tony Adams figure who has come through the ranks.

"What I would love to see at Arsenal is a combination: world-class foreign players and a few more Englishmen - they do have Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell but I'd like to see some more.

"All English clubs, not just the big ones, have to work a lot harder at their youth policies. We have to learn from the Dutch. How is it a nation of 15 million people can produce so many world-class individuals and teams? They take the game to the kids. They get them at a very young age and teach them the fundamentals. The FA have done some great work in the last five to 10 years but there is a lot more we can learn, and need to learn, for the sake of the national team."

Overseas and over here

Landmark dates in the history of overseas players in English football

1892 Walter Bowman, born and raised in Canada, of Swiss heritage, becomes the first foreign player in Football League history, for Accrington.

1908 Max Seeburg, born in Germany, becomes the first European-born foreigner in the League, for Tottenham.

1911 Hussein Hegazi, an Egyptian forward, becomes the first African international in the League, with Fulham.

1913 The Denmark captain Nils Middleboe becomes the first foreign international captain to play in the League, for Chelsea.

1922 International defender Eugene Langenove becomes the first Frenchman to play in the League, for Walsall. France has supplied more foreigners to English football than any other country.

1930 Arsenal try to sign an Austrian goalkeeper, Rudy Hiden, but his work permit application is declined because he is foreign. The FA and PFA adopt an anti-foreigner stance. Arsenal ignore them and sign Gerry Keizer, the League's first Dutchman.

1931 Enraged by Arsenal's approach, the FA introduces a two-year residency rule to thwart foreign professional imports. This effective ban on foreign professionals remains in place until 1978.

1951-56 Six consecutive FA Cup finals graced with foreign players: George Robledo (Chile international, 1951, with Newcastle); George and Ted Robledo (Chile, 1952, with Newcastle); Bill Perry (South African, 1953, scores winning goal for Blackpool in Matthews final); Joe Marston (Australian international, 1954, with Preston); Bert Trautmann (German, 1955 & 1956, with Manchester City).

1956 Trautmann becomes the first foreigner to win the Footballer of the Year award. He is one of numerous foreigners in the ban period (1931-78) allowed to play in England after satisfying long-time residency requirements and/or playing as an amateur for two years before signing professional terms.

1978 The European Community in Brussels decides on 23 February that football associations cannot deny access to players on the basis of their nationality. At its summer AGM, the Football League lifts its 47-year effective ban on foreigners. A "new wave" of imports, including Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa, Ivan Golac and Kazimierz Deyna, starts to arrive.

1988-89 Arsenal win the League title without using a single foreign player. They were the last club to do so.

1996 Manchester United's Eric Cantona becomes the first foreign national to captain an FA Cup-winning team. Edward Parry, Canada-born but a British citizen, had captained the Old Carthusians to success in 1881.

1997 Ruud Gullit becomes the first foreign manager to win the FA Cup, with Chelsea.

1998 Arsène Wenger becomes the first foreign manager to win the Double, with Arsenal.

1999 Chelsea, under the Italian manager, Gianluca Vialli, become the first club to start a match with 11 foreign players, against Southampton on Boxing Day. They have four English players on the bench.

2005 Arsenal, under Frenchman Wenger, become the first club in League history to field an all-foreign squad with 16 non-British players.

Nick Harris

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor