In Addition..

The same line of thought as the previous post – I just wanted to ram home how reluctant/uninterested the English are when it comes to taking the kind of action that would produce international success.

  1. Would we be discussing our level of skill – or our need to improve it – if we weren’t falling behind? If we were ahead, would we be making urgent efforts to stay ahead or get even further ahead?
  2. List recent tactical and other innovations in English football that were brought about by an Englishman. I can think of two – Clive Woodward’s peripheral vision coach at Southampton and Simon Clifford’s (erm, Brazilian) Soccer Schools.
  3. List all of the truly great managers who have worked in England and not been either foreign, or from Scotland/the North-East of England. I think your list should have at least one league title acting as doorman.

I don’t mean any of this as criticism – just reflection on the real nature of our native football culture (admission: I’m more Scottish/Irish by blood than English, but I’ve lived my life in England and it’s important to me that England “win” in that sense). I’ve been writing this blog since late Spring ’05, and I’m coming to the conclusion that there’s no really deep unhappiness here at the state of our game – our failure to add gold stars to the three lions doesn’t cut as deeply as we’d like to think. If it did, things would be different, but then, we’d be different, too, so unless one supreme visionary/maverick obtains supreme power over the game, what we’ve got is what we’ve got.

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3 responses to “In Addition..

  1. Hebert Chapman Bill Nicolson Alf Ramsey. That took two seconds. Why did Sacchi copy Liverpool? What does that say about Italian football? Italy are world champions. Do you honestly think they were better than five other teams there? What innovation did they have? Mexico had the most interesting team and La Volpe has just lost Boca the championship and resigned. If you want to see two improving players watch Lennon and Huddlestone. Tottenham have a skills coach.

  2. In the context of Italy and this topic in general, I think the phrase is Settore Tecnico as much as it is catenaccio, the latter of course invented by an Argentine in Italy in the 1960s influenced by an Austrian coach working in Switzerland in the early 1930s who was looking for a way to outwit the Chapman/Buchan W-M, the last true English tactical innovation. That system led to Switzerland beating England 2-1 on 21st May 1938 with goals from Aeby and Abegglen, Bastin replying for England with a penalty.
    (Sorry, I know I’m being obnoxious).

    Your list of names is fine, but what about the last 30 years? If I break my North East rule, I can only add Robson, Revie, Clough and Paisley, which scarcely brings us up to date. If I then break my Scottish rule, Stein’s pretty much over at the same time as Bill Nich, Ferguson is coming to the end, George Graham hasn’t managed for five years and isn’t really on the same scale anyway.
    In terms of innovation, it might be better from the last World Cup to look at France and their Clarefontaine, our copycat version of which has been cancelled.

  3. According to Sandro Mazzola who was in the team the players came up with playing a sweeper which was adoped by the coach. Look at tghe Charlie Cooke/Carver schools in America. Carver influenced the Dutch enormosly. We need skill coaches. The players must practise. France have v.good players and an average coach like England. The clubs dont want a Clarefontaine. The FA are bankrupt. No billionaire will give an untried English coach his team to run. Terry Venables was an excellent coach so there may be some hope. How do you think Koeman or Rijkaard would do at Charlton? McLaren must identify who he is going to build the team around and then choose the tactics that suit their characteristics. (Sven again) Scotland only look better now because they were so abject before. I think Fifa should insist with clubs having to produce kids through their academies who are mative to the country and also should licence the coaches. it won’t happen)