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Soccer-1966 World Cup win was bad for England - Hudson

Reuters

By Tony Jimenez

LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) - The 1966 World Cup triumph was one of the worst things to happen to English football and the national team have been suffering ever since, according to former Chelsea, Arsenal and Stoke City playmaker Alan Hudson.

Hudson's international profile was typical of the 1960s and 1970s, a flair player mistrusted by England manager Alf Ramsey, and a meagre total of two caps was scant reward for one of the most gifted footballers of his generation.

The 62-year-old, who now hobbles down the street on crutches after suffering life-threatening injuries when he was hit by a car in 1997, looked on with frustration when England this month lost two home games in a row - to Germany and Chile - for the first time since 1977.

"Sometimes winning is the worst thing that can happen," Hudson told Reuters in an interview. "Winning in 1966 is an example.

"England had the best inside forward in George Eastham and the best striker in the world in Jimmy Greaves both watching from the bench.

"It was a case of winning with lesser players. Roger Hunt up front for example, Jack Charlton at centre half and right back George Cohen who I watched a lot as a youngster following Fulham," said Hudson.

"They were very average players but they fitted into the system Alf Ramsey wanted. That was a bad thing for English football because the club managers all went out and did the same thing, it rubbed off on them too."

Hudson, who now spends much of his time writing books, offered a radical solution to the problem.

"I'd get rid of the FA," said the straight-talking Londoner. "I'd clean the whole place out and build it up again with former players.

"That's the only way to do it. Look at the German club system, most of their boards are run by former players," said Hudson, who has signed copies of his new book available via his Facebook page, Alan Hudson - Working Man's Ballet, or Twitter account (@alanhudson28).

"Those players know the game inside out because they've all played at the top level. At our FA we've got absolutely no one... and I think you can see that from our performances."

DIRECT STYLE

Hudson, who oozed class when he was in the Chelsea squad that won the 1970 FA Cup and 1971 European Cup Winners' Cup, cannot understand why England under Roy Hodgson continue to employ a one-dimensional direct style of play.

"It's all about hitting the front man with the ball and then everyone joining in but that's not the way football should be played," he said.

"Brazil don't play like that nor do Spain, Italy or Germany. They all try to pass their way through teams.

"We in England don't embrace the Glenn Hoddles, the Tony Curries or, dare I say it, the Alan Hudsons. For years England have been using midfield players like Carlton Palmer, David Batty and Scott Parker - people who just run around.

"It's been going on for decades now but these type of players are just like robots."

The black shoulder-length wavy locks Hudson sported in his footballing prime have given way to a shock of grey but he pulls his hair out at the lack of imagination he sees from England internationals.

"Corners are a case in point," he said. "They never miss the first defender at the near post these days.

"When I was playing if I hit the first defender for two on the trot I would go for a short one for the third corner to try and drag some defenders out of the box and create some space.

"Players today don't do that, they're not encouraged to do that either, not encouraged to use their brains," said Hudson.

"In my era players like Tony Currie and Alan Ball, and for that matter the Barcelona midfield now, they play one touch or two-touch football and England haven't got anyone like that now," said Hudson.

The former Chelsea youth product said England were run ragged in their 1-0 friendly defeat by Germany at Wembley on Tuesday.

"Germany totally outplayed us on our own ground," said Hudson. "If it had been in Germany you could maybe say 'fair enough'.

"But when you are playing at home and every time you get the ball you give it back to the opposition, it's really frustrating to watch." (Editing by Ken Ferris)

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