Looking at the weekend's results you might be forgiven for thinking that all is rosy in football's garden (apart from the fact that your Dad keeps worrying about the windows getting smashed and if you keep whacking it over next-door the big fuck-off Alsatian will marmalise your casey with its canines.)
Andros (surely a brand of household bleach and not a name) Townsend, Daniel Sturridge, Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere... well they're all pretty handy, aren't they? But nevertheless only 1 in every 3 first team starters in the Premier League are English. Which is a problem, apparently. (In Qatar there's a problem that only 8 in every 11 starters are Brazilian and this could have a terrible effect on the national team's chances in 2022.)
So Greg Dyke, in that bustling no-nonsense way of his, comes stomping in with this FA commission to investigate why English players are so poorly represented. It sounds great. Greg, so much a man of the people that he can get someone to stuff his hand up a rat's backside and save a whole TV station, has really copped hold of a genuine concern for football fans in this country. Hasn't he?
Well, to start with, ermm... No, not really. Most fans I know don't give a toss what's on a footballer's passport so long as the player concerned has an instep that meets the ball more often than his shin.(Or, to put it another way, as long as it's not Titus Bramble). Me, I like the idea of a club whose playing staff represents its local community and principal supporters, but even I can concede that those days are long gone.
Much like our national cuisine, which we once cherished but now realise was stodgy, predictable and not much good for us, our football has been enhanced by spicy imports. Twenty years ago the presence of an Ivorian in your midfield was as unlikely as a pot of Thai fish sauce on your supermarket shelf. And these Thai meals and Ivorian midfielders have improved my life immeasurably.
The only time this issue becomes thorny is when the national team, as it has done many times in recent years, comes up woefully short on international duty. Then we all seek to blame them blinking foreigners who come over and take our jobs (and, at the risk of straying into Adrian Chiles territory, in the case of Poles and plumbing, for example, they tend to do it better and cheaper).
Now the commission's remit is to look at:
"1. The pathway from schools into academies;
2. The progress of those young English players in club academies
(ages nine to 16);
3. The development of those young academy players into first team
Premier League players."
(That's the first time I've ever cut and pasted from a David Bond blog. My punctuation is better.)
The original eight people who were going to explore this are Greg Dyke, Danny Mills, Glenn Hoddle, Howard Wilkinson, Richie Humphries, Dario Gradi, someone else at the FA, someone at the Football League.
They've now been joined by the England football manager and a black man called Rio Ferdinand. Had the FA Commission already had a minority ethnic person in its ranks, we might well be considering how much Ferdinand might have to offer. But for now it looks like the most blatant bit of tokenism since David Cameron allowed a grammar schoolboy into a cabinet meeting (actually that might be yet to happen).
Heather Rabatts was right to be so blazingly angry about this issue. As is Sol Campbell. It's a bleeding long time since Viv Anderson stuck his telescopic legs through a pair of England shorts. One only has to look at the England squad last Tuesday to realise just how important black players are to the national team.
And yet Dyke assembles a clump of horribly familiar and pasty establishment figures to his commission. All right Dario Gradi sounds like he might be a bit Italian or summat but you know what I mean. If there is a problem with the promotion of young Englishmen in the game, then half of these blokes have been overseeing it!
As for the ladies, well thank you very much dears but the last one of you to make a significant contribution to the well-being or otherwise of the FA was Faria Alam. Women have to be on this commission too.
Just as bad, there appears to be no true representation from people working with the youngsters at grass roots level. Obviously they'll be consulted but in a top-down, rather patronising way. Suited grandees sliding out of the back of Lexuses and shaking hands with kids doing keepy-uppies on a basketball court - that sort of thing.
Meanwhile the Premier League are outside the tent pissing in, which is pretty much their default position these days.
Dyke has rushed this through with well-intentioned zeal but I don't know anyone who doesn't see this gathering of minds as a talking shop for tedious duffers, most of whom spend none of their time with the young people whose needs they claim to be promoting. It's truly laughable.
I mean what's Hoddle going to say, exactly? The ones who can't make the grade at Premier League level probably did something bad in a past life? Wilkinson is just some past-it old chunterer. Only Gradi has any track record in converting potential into success.
The three objectives of this commission amount to pretty much the same thing. Better young players come from better coaches and yes, an infrastructure that keeps these players learning and developing. So who's going to coach the coaches? And can they have better facilities please?
When it come to clubs that doesn't even have to mean that the players or coaches are English. Hell, look at the players that have come through Ajax's system: Suarez and Erikson are just recent examples. They don't have to be Dutch. It's just a shame that they're never English.
I'd have been tempted to put Gradi in charge, pay him properly, give him a couple of community-based assistants and send him on a two-year mission. What the other nine blokes there will contribute is difficult to guess. And why so many?
I mean I wouldn't mind sitting around a table with Rio and Danny having a good old chinwag about the state of the game either. I just wouldn't make it a flagship policy for my organisation.
What does FA stand for? I think we all know. And it's not Faria Alam.