And so from the safe platitudes of Sunday did the debate over England's Euro exit take a shocking turn on Monday. Firstly, Robbie Savage caused more of a stir than any trip to the referee's toilet ever could. Secondly, Michael Owen rocked the FA's boat for the first time ever!
What both past masters said was exactly the same: the FA had got it wrong from the grass roots and needed to radically overhaul its coaching systems for youngsters. It is the first time such high profile names have admitted this, which can only be described as a huge step forward. The next step lies in convincing the tweed-jacketed aristocrats at the FA who focus on football only when a break in their pheasant-shooting schedule permits.
Savage and Owen's intervention is of course much welcomed, but the big question remains: why didn't it happen sooner? Last month I posted about how, after England's catastrophic defeat to Croatia in 2007, ex-Liverpool midfielder Craig Johnston remained an ashen-faced lone voice calling for radical grass roots change and even explaining how it should be done. Where we're Savage and Owen then? Why did the top players not seek to back him up?
The failure of big names to embrace the debate five wasted years ago meant that the FA gladly shunned it in favor of appointing another expensive manager who had never worked with a team of technically-limited Englishmen. When ordinary football fans dared to question the ridiculous salary conferred upon Fabio Capello, even respected journalists arrogantly responded with: "well, he's better value than Chelsea's Avram Grant." With a nation's footballing pride at a threadbare minimum, was that the best our journalistic elite could come up with?
One notes with great interest how ageing or ex-players only speak out on grass roots overhauls when they are too old to achieve anything on the pitch and are desperately looking for coaching jobs themselves. But the FA should play to this, just as it should have done with Craig Johnston. Ex-players looking for glory will gladly take part in the grass roots coaching project, especially if it offers more job security than football management.
Time to assemble that new kids coaching team, Lancaster Gate.