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The ‘Dark ages football’ myth
This mornings mail from Leon, and the general mood surrounding Big Sam’s imminent announcement have excited me so much, I have been lured to compose my first contribution to this mailbox.
The mood seems to be that the tactics and style of football Sam will introduce are outdated. It’ll never work as teams have figured it out 50 years ago.
Let’s have a think (google) back 50 years ago, and see which styles of play won the 1966 World Cup.
Sir Alf tinkered with the first XI and formation, switching between a lopsided 4-3-3 and a 4-1-3-2. He used wingers against easier opposition that he expected to beat and reserved his curious 4-1-3-2 for tougher tests. A 4-3-3? Isn’t this the formation that Barcelona invented in the late 00s to become the greatest club side ever? Or the 4-1-3-2 which Manchester City used to bring modern football to the Premier League?
The further you go back through history, the more attacking formations were used. The very first World Cup winners in 1930, Uruguay, played with a 2-3-5 formation. The first FA Cup final back in the dark ages of 1872 saw both teams line up with 8 (eight) forwards.
Parking the bus is modern football, Portugal have just won the Euros by being tight at the back and win by the odd goal. Leicester City win the Premier League by sitting deep and winning by the odd goal. In Spain, the ultra defensive Alethico Madrid have reached two Champions Leage finals and won LaLiga in the last two years.
All this leads me to the conclusion that Big Sam is going to revolutionise the national team with MODERN football.
(Please excuse any grammar or spelling mistakes, I’m a Brexit voter)
Well, we’ve tried everything else
What is wrong with you people?
Sam Allardyce is the ONLY choice out there (if we’re so determined to go English). Big Sam’s potential appointment as head of the England football team is not exactly inspiring, nor is it something that should evoke any sort of animosity.
There’s not really an alternative, unless your alternatives involve and absolute sh*tbrick of a man: Pardrew, or fairly likable Big Sam-lite: Bruce.
That’s it. There is no one else. And you know what, the more I think about, the more it makes sense. We’ve tried everything else, and have done nothing but stagnate and regress on the international stage:
A left field foreign manager: Sven
A supposed tactical genius European big name: Capello
A old fashioned seasoned English manager with European experience: Hodgson
A glorified chair leader with lots of PASSION: Keegan
And a young up and coming manager who progressed up the ranks: McClaren
What we haven’t tried for quite some time is a seasoned English premiership manager with the arrogance and cahoonas to make a team play his way. That man is Big Sam.
What you get with Sam is a manager who has a clear method of how he wants to work. The team is set up in banks, and each section of the team is well drilled and know exactly where and what they should be doing. He’s also brilliant at sorting out set piece routines. He’s not going to give you free flowing, expansive football, but will allow enough space and license in his team for 1, maybe 1 and 1/2 flair players to express themselves.
We’ve tried to emulate the technical successful teams, we can’t do it. We have technically good players, they just don’t know what they’re doing half the time.
Time for England to knuckle down and play like an underdog. A team of well drilled, well organised players all dancing to Big Sam’s trumpet.
Besides, when it all inevitably goes to sh*t, at least we’ll be entertained along the way.
Why not copy a successful English side?
So there’s all this talk about which country’s blueprint should be followed (or not). People seem to forget that quite recently there was a successful English side at a major tournament. Why not copy them?
This team had a cocky goalkeeper, a pair of rugged, agricultural centre backs, a tough ball player in midfield, a gifted attacking midfielder and a robust, energetic striker (plus a dribbling genius on the bench). The football was efficient and ruthless, and saw them lauded for coming third in the world cup.
For Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton and Laura Bassett, Fara Williams, Karen Carney and Jodie Taylor (and Fran Kirby) you could read Joe Hart, Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane (and Raheem Sterling).
Now it’s just the rest you need to worry about. 😉
It us interesting reading the complaints about the poor Euro 2016 show and the prospect of Big Sam as manager.
Personally I think the 2 issues are largely linked. The best way to make football more exciting and eliminate the need for Big Sam’s tactics is to increase the size of football pitches. I think Poch mentioned this a while back although he may have been complaining after a defeat but his point is valid.
The increase in fitness and size of professional footballers and the pressing style of football means that space is closed down far quicker than ever before and technical players do not have time to work their magic. Sadly not everyone has Messi skills. Even where teams try and create space the presses are so aggressive and the level of fitness so high that the time created for the flair players is minimal and most professional footballers can keep going for the full 90 at this pace.
Similarly if teams try and sit back the wider pitches will make it more difficult to play negative football. Killing off the Big Sam flat back 9.
It doesn’t necessarily bother me if teams want to play negatively. I am sure every team has done it at some stage during a game or tournament but shouldn’t we stack the deck slightly in favour of attacking football?
H (some finish from the boy Woodburn)
Worrying about future options
I’m not happy about this future options lark, not at all. It looks to me like it will exacerbate your classic Neo-liberalist trickle-down theory (yes I did just go there).
Let’s say United buy options on ten players at a cost of £1.5m each and have a £10m option on each player. For ease let’s say the players have an average value of £5m and therefore the total United have to pay if they want them all at once is £50m. If after 3 years each player is good enough to play for United they would have to pay £100m for all of them. That’s almost a whole team for £100m (= 1 Paul Pogba). The current first 11 is probably closer to £300m.
Now it’s very unlikely that all ten players are going to be good enough, but United don’t have to put any effort in to developing the players and they’re getting such a good price at the end of it that they could afford to buy options on 20, 30, 40+ players. This may be good in the short term for a number of smaller clubs as there’s lots of small fees being paid out to many clubs. But remember that there’s no guarantee they will sell the player at the end. Imagine if United had bought an option on Bebe for £1.5m – £5.5m saved already! So you could have a player on your hands that a club is currently willing to pay £10m for but in five years that player is no longer worth that much for whatever reason. The small club may get the benefit of keeping the player for longer and that player may well be spurred on by knowing he’s going to play at Old Trafford in 3 years but the player may also not be particularly pleased that his future has been set. The savvy ones will know that if they’re good enough, they’ll be able to command the wages they want from wherever they want to go (within reason obviously).
In the long term this system would allow big clubs to freshen their squads much more cheaply than now, ultimately taking money out of the lower echelons of the game and creating a much bigger divide than the gaping void between top and bottom we see now. Bigger clubs like United could afford to effectively corner the market, even more effectively and cheaply than they do now by buying billions of 16 year olds and loaning them out. This would cause a greater reduction in competition across the leagues. Big teams may also be less inclined to invest in their youth academies as they know they can make the same investment in future options and have a conveyor belt of players coming through in a different way. And with more money floating about that’s only going to mean more money spent on wages and agents fees. And maybe extravagant headrests.
Basically trickle-down doesn’t work in real life (see EU, UK, USA) – its effects have done absolutely nothing for the game over he last 40 years and introducing a future options system into football will make it a hell of a lot worse. Interesting idea? Maybe. End of the game as we know it? Possibly.
Ashley (Could have done it with Bebe, Zaha, Tosic etc though) Metcalfe
The Rulli transfer seems a good bit of business, guaranteeing city a good price for a potential star, but does have a couple of pitfalls.
First could come this Summer, with Sociedad seizing the opportunity for a quick quid and selling him at market value (say €7m) and pocketing the money from City, properly pulling the wool over their eyes.
Situation 2 is in the year 2018, Rulli is a great keeper making strides in the national team.
City decide it’s a good time to exercise this clause and Rulli says “I’m fine thank you very much,” or worse, Arsenal get him for £13m as Sociedad don’t give a toss who he goes to and know City have capped his value.
Of course both these scenarios would damage Sociedad-City relations, but they’re not exactly Vitesse-Chelsea are they?
KC (expect these sort of deals for 16/17 year olds en masse soon)
One story that didn’t seem to get much coverage is the Spurs Champions League ticketing announcement for next season. In an era where fans are being bled dry, it was refreshing to see some sensible pricing. When I first read it, I assumed they meant prices would range from £70 – £150 per match, which would not have surprised me in the slightest. But I had to re-read it several times to realise these prices are actually for the 3 home group games combined.
I know the cynics will say we’d have no hope of filling Wembley without lowering the prices, and the multi-game ticket means that they guarantee revenue for potentially unglamorous opposition, but the club could just as easily have taken a position to hike prices, blackmail the fans and make up the numbers with a load of tourists.
Well played Mr. Levy.
Rohit (different story if we make it out of the group stages …) Essex
De Bruyne > Ozil
Brilliant idea from KC. And absolutely an amazing deal – if you’re an Arsenal fan. As a Man City fan I’ve just picked myself up off the floor having laughed myself there. If he is representative of Arsenal fans then I must say it’s a pretty f***ing special planet they all live on.
De Bruyne proved himself, in such a short period of time, the best player in the PL last season. I personally think we’ve seen peak Ozil and let’s face it it’s pretty darned good. However we haven’t yet seen peak KDB. This lad could be an absolute worldy (and he’s not far off it now).
I wouldn’t swap him for a night with Rihanna and a bucket of jelly.