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Can the Internet spark a tactical revolution?

20 Jun 2011 By Alastair Moncrieff

 

A look at whether a new breed of tactically aware football fan can use the Internet to spread the tactical gospel.

 

Can the internet spark a tactical revolution?

 

Football fans on the internet get a hard time from the mainstream media and people within the game itself. Isolated comments and forum threads are pounced upon and used as evidence of a sinister and socially retarded community. Now, there is no denying there are some strange characters who are in possession of a warped sense of reality, amongst the on-line footballing community, if you think this problem is exclusive to football I urge you to check the comments section of almost any article posted on the web (be prepared for a potent combination of hatred and sub-standard grammar). If you are prepared to ignore the vitriol and the bitching though, there is evidence of a new breed of football fan, one who may be of great benefit to the game in this country. This new fan is informed, tactically aware and willing to embrace new ideas.

 

During the build up to the Champions League final between Manchester United and FC Barcelona it became obvious that the most interesting and valid discussions were taking place not on the pages of the tabloid press or in the ITV/Sky studios but on fan sites and forums. Should United play with three at the back to counter the “false no.9” role performed by Messi? Would it be a good idea to use “inverted full backs” against Barca’s “inverted wingers”? Is the best way to disrupt the rhythm of “Tiki-Taka” to put someone on Busquets all the time? These were all questions posed and debated in great detail on various, much derided forums.

 

Now whether or not these would have had any impact on the outcome of the game is irrelevant, in a country where tactics is a still seen by many as a dirty word there is a lively tactical debate going on, albeit separately from the mainstream media’s coverage. Football in this country, depending on your point of view is either in danger of being left behind, or has already been left staring forlornly at the Spanish, Dutch and Germans disappearing over the horizon. Whenever a team from these shores, either club or international, suffers a defeat at the hands of some stylish foreigners the inquest inevitably begins. Questions are asked about the teams desire, their passion and occasionally their technical expertise. Do the players like the manager? Can he motivate the team? The closest our newspapers and TV stations get to a discussion on tactics is usually a denouncement of the current formation and very little in the way of alternatives.

 

For a genuinely wide ranging and intriguing debate you really have to venture on-line. Football fans in other countries have in general, always been more tactically aware, and in-depth discussions regarding tactics are the norm in mainstream media outlets, Italy being a good example of this. With the game in general becoming more technical and with the tightening of rules regarding tackling, the traditional British style of “getting stuck in” is becoming less and less viable. Talking about tactics doesn’t make you soft. Passion and desire are important but will only get you so far. You cannot take a team to a major summer tournament tell them to play at a high tempo and then be surprised when they run out of steam.

 

As a nation we need to become more aware of tactics, and embrace tactical innovations as an intriguing way to enhance the game, not something to be viewed with suspicion. The debate will not take place on the back page or editorial of the Sun or the Mirror, they will continue to be more interested in hair transplants, super injunctions and borderline xenophobic headlines. The modern day football fan is not an idiot, their appreciation (and I believe enjoyment) of the game is being stunted by a sub-standard media. The really interesting opinions are coming from fans, and the internet is the perfect platform to express and debate these opinions. Increased tactical awareness can only be good for the development of the game in this country, and the often lamented internet football fan is the key to a more enlightened footballing future. Don’t allow yourself to be “dumbed down” by sensationalist headlines and stories with no substance, there is a world of knowledge out there that has the potential to increase your appreciation and enjoyment of “the beautiful game”.

 

Who knows, in years to come instead of the usual pub debates regarding “bottle” and “heart” we may find ourselves discussing the merits of the advanced libero. And the game will be all the better for it.

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interesting.

 

Personally, although players essentially win you games, team selections and tactics obviously are part of it, not OTT chessboard type tactics, the top teams all have a couple of players who can produce moments of inspiration which is the key, but they have defensive discipline and respect each others strengths and weaknesses and play to them.

 

Anyway.

 

It pisses me off when a professional goes off saying that he knows better than those who have not played the game. People who have watched the game for decades can also "know the game". I realise that we may not see or understand the small professional way of going about some things, or situations on the pitch sometimes, or even the speed of the game, but to say we don't understand the merits of players and how to get the best out of them, where to play them, how to deploy substitutes, who is having a poor game, who is "hiding", when someone is the wrong side of an attacker etc etc, if you have watched the game for a long time is an insult.

 

You only need to look at some decisions made by managers to realise this, some of whom are from our own recent history and decisions they have made concerning players ie Kinnear, Souness to realise that. Although he {Souness, who also played in Italy] talks a great game on TV, what a pity he didn't have a clue how to manage men. Same as Kinnear and N'Zogbia. Ruud Gullit said once "why do English managers wait until 60 minutes or so to substitute someone having a poor game and make changes to the team if something isn't working". Good question, despite what he did here to Shearer, Hamman and Rob Lee, that is right. If something isn't working, and it is obvious early on, make the change.

 

In the book I've talked about in the other thread, it draws the stat that England run out of steam in games, they scored 22 out of their last 35 goals at the time of print, in the first half of games, whereas Italy knocked out Australia and Germany with goals in the last 3 minutes. For instance. If you can get into this sort of thing, and it is heavy going, there are lots of things like this ie Arrigo Sacchi importing the Dutch/Ajax/Cryuff possessesion football into Milan, and the "new" Spain currently doing the same thing, and how Arsene Wenger watched Borussian Monchengladbach when he was a kid, then took a coaching course which was also modelled on the Dutch team.

Edited by LeazesMag

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Canny article.

 

Brian Clough used to say "I don't care about bloody tactics, we're going to play Juventus in the same style as we're playing in the First Division week in week out."

 

As much as I've admired Clough, you can't concentrate on your own strengths nowadays, neither can you play the same style of football and the same tactical formation 50 games a season (apart from Barcelona). Still, tactics are a novercal treated topic in this country. I have to say though, Alan Smith does a decent weekly "Talking Tactics" column in the Telegraph.

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The modern day football fan is not an idiot, their appreciation (and I believe enjoyment) of the game is being stunted by a sub-standard media. .

 

that! that a thousand times over.

 

for a long time there has been practically no pundit, commentator or anything like that who I've had any time for, beyond the likes of stelling and Kamara (and thats not really for their football insight) I used to think it was just because they were all dinosaurs but the new school are no better frankly, ray wilkins isn't bad on that front he just needs to cut out being so damn biased but he clearly knows his stuff when it comes to the tactical minutia of the game, I don't think any of the rest really do. none that I can think of anyway.

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Canny article.

 

Brian Clough used to say "I don't care about bloody tactics, we're going to play Juventus in the same style as we're playing in the First Division week in week out."

 

As much as I've admired Clough, you can't concentrate on your own strengths nowadays, neither can you play the same style of football and the same tactical formation 50 games a season (apart from Barcelona). Still, tactics are a novercal treated topic in this country. I have to say though, Alan Smith does a decent weekly "Talking Tactics" column in the Telegraph.

 

it's a cross between the two tbh. Clough paid attention to tactical things which he thought were important, but the motivational technique was to concentrate on your own game and be positive. Don Revie went the other way and despite the success Leeds had, there is a case for saying if not for his dossiers and their over the top thuggery sometimes, they could have won more because they had some great, great players.

 

I would say its more of a "possession football" approach is what is meant here, because at any level of football, you get the ball, keep it and you are in control. Confidence is massive in football too, you have to believe in what you are doing.

 

I suppose this is the point of the article, it's getting us mere mortals talking.....

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Canny article.

 

Brian Clough used to say "I don't care about bloody tactics, we're going to play Juventus in the same style as we're playing in the First Division week in week out."

 

As much as I've admired Clough, you can't concentrate on your own strengths nowadays, neither can you play the same style of football and the same tactical formation 50 games a season (apart from Barcelona). Still, tactics are a novercal treated topic in this country. I have to say though, Alan Smith does a decent weekly "Talking Tactics" column in the Telegraph.

 

it's a cross between the two tbh. Clough paid attention to tactical things which he thought were important, but the motivational technique was to concentrate on your own game and be positive. Don Revie went the other way and despite the success Leeds had, there is a case for saying if not for his dossiers and their over the top thuggery sometimes, they could have won more because they had some great, great players.

 

I would say its more of a "possession football" approach is what is meant here, because at any level of football, you get the ball, keep it and you are in control. Confidence is massive in football too, you have to believe in what you are doing.

 

I suppose this is the point of the article, it's getting us mere mortals talking.....

Agree, Clough's quote was probably a bit over the top, but you knew you wouldn't get any "dossiers" at Derby/Forest at that time.

 

Speaking of Revie, I'm reading "The Unforgiven" atm. He was years ahead with his dossiers, attention to detail and match preparation, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it cost him even more titles at Leeds. It most certainly cost him some sort of success in the England role. He thought he could replicate what he had done at Leeds (tactics, his "family" atmosphere, carpet bowl and the like) and it would automatically lead to success.

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The modern day football fan is not an idiot, their appreciation (and I believe enjoyment) of the game is being stunted by a sub-standard media. .

 

that! that a thousand times over.

 

for a long time there has been practically no pundit, commentator or anything like that who I've had any time for, beyond the likes of stelling and Kamara (and thats not really for their football insight) I used to think it was just because they were all dinosaurs but the new school are no better frankly, ray wilkins isn't bad on that front he just needs to cut out being so damn biased but he clearly knows his stuff when it comes to the tactical minutia of the game, I don't think any of the rest really do. none that I can think of anyway.

 

Very few journos/pundits etc i don't think is a cretin.

 

Gabriel Marcotti is one of the exceptions

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there is no denying there are some strange characters who are in possession of a warped sense of reality, amongst the on-line footballing community

 

:lol:

 

:icon_lol:

 

:icon_lol:

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Haven't seen UK TV for 4 years now but the punditry was piss poor then and the written media isn't much better now from what I see. I'm amazed at how little insight former pros offer and how they're happy to trot out the same cliches and soundbites time after time. They're either thick and don't understand the game in any depth or scared to offer an opinion or upset their former colleagues. Compare that to Sky's cricket pundits who are worth every penny they're paid imo.

 

For me, TV pundits should be both entertaining and informative. When I was in the UK we had the likes of Andy Townsend (Mr Say What You See), The banal MOTD team, Garth Crooks, out of work managers like Souness, Allardyce etc who just cruise by peddling the same old trite crap. I think the pundits let the viewing public down, and the written media either has an agenda which gets in the way of objective comment, or poorly written and researched articles pushed out by lazy journos to get a rise. There are honourable exceptions of course and the boradsheets are better than the tabloids in that respect imo.

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Haven't seen UK TV for 4 years now but the punditry was piss poor then and the written media isn't much better now from what I see. I'm amazed at how little insight former pros offer and how they're happy to trot out the same cliches and soundbites time after time. They're either thick and don't understand the game in any depth or scared to offer an opinion or upset their former colleagues. Compare that to Sky's cricket pundits who are worth every penny they're paid imo.

 

For me, TV pundits should be both entertaining and informative. When I was in the UK we had the likes of Andy Townsend (Mr Say What You See), The banal MOTD team, Garth Crooks, out of work managers like Souness, Allardyce etc who just cruise by peddling the same old trite crap. I think the pundits let the viewing public down, and the written media either has an agenda which gets in the way of objective comment, or poorly written and researched articles pushed out by lazy journos to get a rise. There are honourable exceptions of course and the boradsheets are better than the tabloids in that respect imo.

 

Garth Crooks is the biggest dickhead "pundit" in the entire history of football.

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Tim Vickery is an excellent pundit as with a few of the world football guys that appear on the BBC and Talksport from time to time. Why don't these guys ever debate English football?

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Haven't seen UK TV for 4 years now but the punditry was piss poor then and the written media isn't much better now from what I see. I'm amazed at how little insight former pros offer and how they're happy to trot out the same cliches and soundbites time after time. They're either thick and don't understand the game in any depth or scared to offer an opinion or upset their former colleagues. Compare that to Sky's cricket pundits who are worth every penny they're paid imo.

 

For me, TV pundits should be both entertaining and informative. When I was in the UK we had the likes of Andy Townsend (Mr Say What You See), The banal MOTD team, Garth Crooks, out of work managers like Souness, Allardyce etc who just cruise by peddling the same old trite crap. I think the pundits let the viewing public down, and the written media either has an agenda which gets in the way of objective comment, or poorly written and researched articles pushed out by lazy journos to get a rise. There are honourable exceptions of course and the boradsheets are better than the tabloids in that respect imo.

 

Garth Crooks is the biggest dickhead "pundit" in the entire history of football.

 

+ billions. Cannot stand him. Such a smug, self-important twat of a man.

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Souness is a good pundit when he's doing the Champions League stuff for Sky.

Odd, when he seemed to know fuck all when he was managing.

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Souness is a good pundit when he's doing the Champions League stuff for Sky.

Odd, when he seemed to know fuck all when he was managing.

 

Maybe he's like fat Sam and needs to be siting in the stand to see what is really going on.

Or maybe when his personality isn't rubbing the players up the wrong way and vice versa, he can see the ability of certain players.

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Guest alex

Think it's definitely a case of man-management skills or the lack of them. I've heard it said he was so complete a player that he can't accept deficiencies in others. A bit like Hoddle. I tend to think they're both twats.

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Think it's definitely a case of man-management skills or the lack of them. I've heard it said he was so complete a player that he can't accept deficiencies in others. A bit like Hoddle. I tend to think they're both twats.

add Roy Keane to that list too I reckon

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Think it's definitely a case of man-management skills or the lack of them. I've heard it said he was so complete a player that he can't accept deficiencies in others. A bit like Hoddle. I tend to think they're both twats.

 

I get the feeling about Hoddle - that he would be a smartarse smug twat, with favourites and not much flexibility in his management style.

 

He's also a whining cockney bastard.

 

Having said that, tactically, he seemed switched on - and maybe made it all too complicated - and was growing into the England job.

 

Shame he was a nutcase job.

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Think it's definitely a case of man-management skills or the lack of them. I've heard it said he was so complete a player that he can't accept deficiencies in others. A bit like Hoddle. I tend to think they're both twats.

 

I get the feeling about Hoddle - that he would be a smartarse smug twat, with favourites and not much flexibility in his management style.

 

He's also a whining cockney bastard.

 

Having said that, tactically, he seemed switched on - and maybe made it all too complicated - and was growing into the England job.

 

Shame he was a nutcase job.

Aye I think he'd make an excellent FA policy maker and an excellent coach. Just think his favourites and insanity would stop him being a top flight manager

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Guest alex
Think it's definitely a case of man-management skills or the lack of them. I've heard it said he was so complete a player that he can't accept deficiencies in others. A bit like Hoddle. I tend to think they're both twats.

 

I get the feeling about Hoddle - that he would be a smartarse smug twat, with favourites and not much flexibility in his management style.

 

He's also a whining cockney bastard.

 

Having said that, tactically, he seemed switched on - and maybe made it all too complicated - and was growing into the England job.

 

Shame he was a nutcase job.

Aye I think he'd make an excellent FA policy maker and an excellent coach. Just think his favourites and insanity would stop him being a top flight manager

Actually thought he'd lost the plot a bit rather than he was growing into the England role. His fall from grace seems to have made him a bit more humble though.

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The Eileen Drewery episode and the disabled thing was very damaging and lingers in the memory in a David Icke kind of way. Probably difficult to get a top job in football administration after that. Surprised he hasn't got back into management in the last few years though.

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