West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has accused former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of destroying homegrown football talent. The Hammers' manager says Thatcher's Tories "undermined the game" by stopping teachers' overtime for taking extra sports lessons after school. "Since Margaret Thatcher stopped teachers being paid extra money for coaching sports after school, all sporting activities have diminished on a competitive basis. Thatcher killed football, no doubt about it."
Allardyce said the Tories' policy has produced "a lesser quality of players" and "unhealthy" kids. "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."