The time has come for a change in the way tea is served in England. For centuries, tea has been the number one drink in Britain (non-alcoholic, we all know how much the British love our friends Ale and Lager). Yet, like all good things in our contemporary technological era, tea needs an update. I propose: tea with Belgian waffles and French aged cheese, from this point forward. Why matching the soothing, sometimes almost spiritual experience of drinking tea, with something as self-indulgent as waffles and aged cheese? Well, the answer to such proposition lies in the feet competing each week for the Barclay’s Premier League (BPL).
It has been well documented in the media, including this site, of the Spanish born players’ influx to the BPL in recent years; more so with the continuing success achieved by the Spanish National team at all levels. From the current season, 70 percent of the teams have at least one Spaniard in its ranks, with Swansea and Manchester City resembling many La Liga’s teams by taking 4+ players from the Iberian country. However, there is a more potent foreign contingent driving the chase for the English Title: the Francophone nation (FRAN).
Every single team within the BPL has at least a French speaking player in its roster. From the unknown lands of Benin to the metropolitan lights of Paris, the FRAN is omnipresent around the league. Thus, the FRAN’ scope includes mainly African nations plus Belgium and France. These last two countries are the flag bearers for the FRAN in the Premier League.
On one hand, the French have always played a major part in the BPL, even further since the arrival of Arsène Werner and his early success with Arsenal (what non-Arsenal fan doesn’t hate the insufferable 2003-04 undefeated season with a sublime Thierry Henry), who has brought every single Frenchman that he could bring during his tenure with the Londoner team. Yet, nobody can stand toe to toe in bringing French men to Britain when we bring Alan Pardew to the conversation. His version of Newcastle includes enough French players to assemble a France national team (a field player would have to don the keeper’s gloves but still); maybe one of the reasons the Magpies were almost relegated last season is that the French platoon wanted more time to enjoy cheese.
On the other hand, the Belgians are the new wave coming from the Francophone nation. Waffle-land’s national team consists of mostly BPL players; the majority playing as undisputed starters in England’s title contenders. With outstanding goalkeepers in Courtois, Mignolet, colossal defenders like Vincent Kompany and Vertonghen; dutiful and tricky midfielders in Fellaini, Dembélé, Hazard; and powerful strikers in Benteke, Lukaku, there is a promising future for the Belgians beyond the Premier League.
Hence, is it unquestionable that the FRAN has more weight in the English game than the so called “Spanish invasion”, how many points would have many of the BPL’s teams at this point, without for instance, the saves of Mignolet, and the performances of Belgians from the Chelsea, Tottenham, and Aston Villa Headquarters? Even more, can Manchester City or Newcastle survive without any francophone? I doubt it. So, the time has come to make room in our teams and our stomachs for the invasion of the Francophone Nation
PD: The beautiful goal scored on Wednesday, plus the two bagged against Arsenal last Saturday by Benteke should have more than one manager wondering: Why we did not pursue him harder or made a better offer? I think the young Belgian is going to cement his name this season as a prolific goal scorer and Aston Villa will sell him for three times the price of the once coveted Darren Bent.