Monday, January 24, 2011

The game gone global

Gone are the days when having an Irishman in the team lent an air of exoticism to English top-flight football.
I thought about those long-gone days yesterday, while watching BLACKBURN ROVERS defeat WEST BROMWICH ALBION, 2-0, in a PREMIER LEAGUE match live on television.

The match was notable when Rovers' Jason Roberts entered as a 64th-minute substitute. Roberts, who represents Grenada in international football, marked the record 22nd different nationality to take the field.

Football has become a truly global game, I thought, as the team lists were announced.

Visiting West Brom (my favorite club when I was a kid) had a starting XI with 11 different nationalities, and the two substitutes they used were different nationalities as well.

Blackburn's team included nine nationalities outside the 13 representing West Brom, including an American and a Canadian.

Only three Englishmen took the field, and ironically there were no players from the Republic of Ireland.

Here are the teams and the 22 different nationalities (with duplicates in parentheses).


1. Paul Robinson - England

2. Michel Salgado - Spain

3. Christopher Samba - Congo

4. Gael Givet - France

5. Martin Olsson - Sweden

(David Dunn - England)

6. Jermaine Jones - United States

7. Morten Gamst Pedersen - Norway

8. David "Junior" Hoilett - Canada

9. Nikola Kalinic - Croatia

10. Roque Santa Cruz - Paraguay

With substitutes:

11. Jason Roberts - Grenada

(Steven N'Zonzi - France)

12. Grant Hanley - Scotland

West Bromwich:

13. Boaz Myhill - Wales
(born in California)
14. Gonzalo Jara - Chile

15. Gabriel Tamas - Romania

(Jonas Olsson - Sweden)

16. Marek Cech - Slovakia

17. Chris Brunt - Northern Ireland

18. Youssuf Mulumbu - the Democratic Rep. of Congo

(Jerome Thomas - England)

19. Paul Scharner - Austria

(James Morrison - Scotland)

20. Peter Odemwingie - Nigeria (born in Uzbekistan)

With substitutes:

21. Somen Tchoyi - Cameroon

22. Roman Bednar - Czech Rep.
It truly has become the global game, with this meeting a truly global match.


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