West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has accused former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of destroying homegrown soccer talent in England. He says Thatcher's Tories "undermined the game" by stopping teachers' overtime for taking extra sports lessons after school and that the Tories' policy has produced "a lesser quality of players" and "unhealthy" kids.
"Thatcher killed football, no doubt about it," Allardyce said. "Since Margaret Thatcher stopped teachers being paid extra money for coaching sports after school, all sporting activities have diminished on a competitive basis.
"This was a working class game but it's only at private schools where the children get the sports opportunities I had -- and even then a lot of them don't play football, it's mainly rugby. Despite putting in place all sorts of advanced academy systems at clubs we are only producing half the players the school system used to.
"Our [West Ham] youth trainer, Tony Carr, is fighting to find the next Ferdinands and Lampards with one hand tied behind his back."