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Institutionalised Fallacies

’41 crosses’

While it is true that we attempted 41 crosses as defined by Opta, 12 of those were from corners, another one was a free-kick took by Christian Eriksen following a foul on Nacer Chadli, a further 8 were not crosses at all but low passes across the face of the goal. We attempted 20 crosses from open play. Now consider that we had possession of the ball for 64.3% of the game, equating to 57 minutes and 52 seconds of the game. That means that, roughly, we attempted a cross every 3 minutes. Then remember that we have Adebayor in the middle who dwarfs Diego Lugano and Craig Dawson, only Jonas Olsson comes close to him. We also have Chadli who similarly tall and strong. Soldado also happens to be very good at dispatching anything that falls his way from a knock-down or a deflection.

You may call this tactically ineptitude, I call this utilising our assets

Chalkboard of Tottenham’s crosses versus West Brom

Public Enemy #1

‘Dawson isn’t even average, he’s shocking’

Nononononononononono.

Dawson was probably our third best player yesterday, behind Rose and Eriksen. Dawson completed 2 tackles, 4 interceptions and 10 clearances (out of 21). He even made a goal saving challenge and Chiriches gave the ball away to Matej Vydra. WhoScored gave him a rating of 8.02 only behind Eriksen.

Chiriches, on the other hand, was simply abysmal. Everything he touched turn into a flaming turd. He gave the ball away three of four times only to be rescued by Rose, Dawson and Eriksen among others. Chiriches lost Olsson at the free kick which the Swede equalised from.

You got the wrong man.

‘A Defensive Midfielder is imperative’

No, it’s not. While re-watching the match, I made a point to note how counter attacks West Brom had. Guess how many I times I note a counter-attack.

Once.

Even that counter-attack was stopped after a mazy run by Matej Vydra by Christian Eriksen about 40 yards from goal. Obviously, there were innumerable turnovers that looked like that they could turn into counter-attacks but were swiftly quelled by one of the front six, with Chadli and Sigurdsson featuring prominently. Stopping a counter-attack isn’t all too difficult, you don’t even need to win the ball back, all you need to do is harry the opponent until your defense gets back into a defensive shape.

Do you need a Sandro or Capoue to run near an opponent?

Not against West Brom who are playing with a bunkered 5 man defense. Against better opposition, a Newcastle or a Man City, you will definitely need a Sandro or Capoue, simply because the quality of player is better. You’ll need to respect them. Eriksen or Chadli will be able to stop someone like James Morrison long enough for the defense to get back into a proper defensive shape but they won’t be able to do this versus a Yoann Gouffran or Jesús Navas.

Much was made of the lack of defensive midfielder The decision to play without a defensive midfielder was the right decision in this case. A ballsy decision, but the right one.

‘We played a 4-4-2’

I’ve even seen Jonathan Wilson and other highly astute journalists/writers write that we play with a 4-4-2. Wilson is the zenith of football journalism and analysis and he thinks that we play with a 4-4-2, which is just plainly wrong. Forgive me if I get a bit exasperated.

This is the epitome of an ‘institutionalised fallacy.’ It’s been said so many times that people start to believe it. This works somehow, you need to look no further than the propaganda perpetuated by Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. People who were otherwise no anti-semitic, became so. It shouldn’t work but much like advertising, it does.

Anyway, back to why we don’t play a 4-4-2.

Exhibit A

These are the heat-maps from Tim Sherwood’s first two matches in charge of Tottenham. The most distinguishing factors between 4-4-2 and the formation we actually play with, 4-2-2-2, is the involvement of the full-backs and the position of the two widest midfielders.

As can be seen here, the full backs are immensely involved, they are the only players providing width.

Chadli and Sigurdsson or Lamela and Sigurdsson are both very narrow. If you didn’t know, you’d think that they were playing as attacking midfielders. Oh wait, they are.

4-4-2 as a formation is dead but they are some variants of it that are still being used. One of those is 4-2-2-2 and it’s one of the most progressive formations being used nowadays. Tottenham also happen to play with it.

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Bad Smells: Poor Implementation of Tactics

I’m not going to bore you with details about AVB’s tactics and why it works or doesn’t work, which I’m sure everyone has read all too much about. In this blog, I’m going to write about the implementation of these tactics.

Flexibility is good

In October, I wrote a blog about the first green shoots of AVB displaying tactically flexibility. I stand by that wholeheartedly. A manager should change small facets of their tactics from match-to-match. The game in question for the blog above is Aston Villa at Villa park. This was a great game to scrap the high line because Aston Villa are such a brilliant counter-attacking side and play with a deeper, bunkered defense as we did. I only noticed this slight change after I re-watched the match such was its subtlety.

Inflexibility is needed

Small changes like this to the outline of a team’s tactics are acceptable and I’d like to see them more often that not. For example against teams like Sunderland and Fulham, I’d have like to the tactics regarding shot-taking to be to shoot quite impetuously because Fulham concede lots of low quality chances (and a few high quality because Fulham). You know the next chance won’t be too far away. Against the likes of Liverpool, I’d like to see a pass-into-the-goal ethos because Liverpool concede few chances but high quality chances. Also, this would help to stop Suarez and co. from scoring or even creating chances because you can’t do that without the ball. Can ya?

The Ghost of Harry

Dare I say it but against in AVB’s last four games versus Sunderland, Fulham, Anzhi Makhachkala and finally Liverpool, the tactics the team employed was reminiscent of Harry Redknapp’s ‘fuckin’ run around a bit’ pseudo-tactics. Some times we’d counter-attack, sometimes we’d play the percentages, sometimes we’d play a bunkered defense, sometimes we’d play a high line, sometimes we’d play two inverted wingers in a search for key passes, sometimes we’d play two traditional wingers in search of crosses (with Defoe in the middle because yolo), sometimes we’d play with Sandro, Dembele and Paulinho with  high pressing, sometimes, even rarer still with the same players, we’d sit back and form a ‘christmas tree’ in order to force the opposition wide.

So basically, I have no idea what Villas-Boas’ tactics were in the last 4 games of his tenure with Tottenham Hotspur because from game-to-game or even in-game there was a massive variation between the tactics employed.

I do, however, know what Villas-Boas’ most desirable tactics were. High pressure, high line, possession-based, pot-shots from range (but let’s all blame Townsend for that), pragmatic, keep things tight, little emphasis on crossing. They’re just a few of the buzz-terms used to describe AVB’s tactics.

nota bene: This could have been the players. There was rumour that some players didn’t understand the phrase; ‘phase of play.’ If that’s the case, then we might as well liquidate all our assets. Andre may have had a clear vision for how we should play but the players were too dogmatic, docile or dumb to implement it.

Unfortunately, this tactically vision became all too dispensable during the last spasms of AVB’s tenure. AVB has a lot of reputations. Reputations as a number of things, the majority of them are fabricated by the media. One of these reputation is as an inexorable, inflexible manager unwilling to deviate from his tactics. One match in particular stood out and sticks in my mind.

It was Valencia-Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Champion’s League on 6 December. Chelsea started playing long-balls up to Drogba, to be fair, it worked out. A total of 41 long balls were played during this game. In terms of passing, long-passing/ball football is the antithesis of Andre Villas-Boas. When he was in charge, I can’t remember Hugo Lloris kicking it long with any frequency. 9 times out of 10, it was a short ball to one of the CB’s. Drogba had a great game. This isn’t to detract from the decision, just to point out that AVB isn’t the impenetrable cur the media branded him as and this is bad.

If you’re going to do something, do it right

Just to put a bow on this blog. Brendan Rodgers, to be fair to him, never deviated from his vision for Liverpool even when they were a laughing stock this time last season. It has always been possession based with a bunkered defense and a heavy, heavy emphasis on through balls. There was brief change in formation from 4-2-3-1 to 3-4-1-2 but the tactically outline stayed the same. This article here discusses the difference, or lack of difference between 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-1-2. 

The last month or so of Villas-Boas’ tenure at Spurs, his vision for us became all too dispensable in search of short-term benefit and results. Some of the blame here has to go on Daniel Levy here. He mustn’t have given AVB the security for him to feel like he could afford a run of 10/15 or so bad games. I’m not#LevyOut or #ProfitNotGlory even still Villas-Boas shouldn’t have dispensed with the basic outline of his system. The connotation of this is that the players are confused as to what their responsibilities are. This definitely showed every time we played because, my god, we were shambolic.

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How to get Spurs winning: Pt 1

In a series brazenly stolen from just about every newspaper and media outlet to ever exist, I diagnose a problem Spurs have and propose a solution.

Starsky and Hutch: The best attacks come in 2’s

I point blankly refuse to believe that a player can lose all his talent from one game to another or from one season to another. Roberto Soldado is a bloody good striker. He’s just being utilised wrongly. So there’s that but how do we utilise him properly.

About 6 years ago, the partnership of a no. 9 and no. 10 appeared. There’s a common misconception about this. I don’t mean a big-man-little-man partnership. I’d call that a partnership of two true no.9’s. It’s not a Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch partnership. What I mean is a creative forward and a clinical forward. It appeared, as luck would have it in, in a lilywhite jersey.

It was the partnership of Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov and it worked brilliantly.

Then it disappeared. never to be seen again…

Until January of last season. The creative forward and clinical forward partnership made its biblical return. The return of the prodigal partnership

Liverpool signed Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea. Suarez became the no.10 and Sturridge became the no.9. It’s been quite good since then.

Then over the summer it started its spread throughout the Premier League.

Manchester City started employing it. Manchester United stated to employ it. The three most potent attacks in the Premier League play using a no.9/no.10 partnership. This is hardly coincidence.

Red is the new black; False is the new true

While it true to say that the no.9 and the no.10 I am talking about here fall under the osposis of a no.9 and a no.10. They are not true no.10’s and true no.9’s

The partnership of a true no.10 behind a true no.9, holding strict tactical positions, is the partnerhship of Diego Forlan and Juan Roman Riquelme at Villareal.

Forlan tended not to get involved in the build-up.  He has  provided an assist every 12 games throughout his whole career.

Riquelme on the other hand was the artisan of build-up.

This was partnership of a true no.10 and true no.9.

False is the new true.

All the current partnerships of a 9 & a 10 swaps roles at a whim.

Van Perise is the 9 for United. His main job is to score goals but he often gets involved in the build-up and creation of chances.

Rooney is the no.10 for United. His main job is to create goal-scoring chances but he often gets involved in the scoring of goals.

The above is true for the partnerships of Alvaro Negredo, Sergio Aguero and the partnership of Sturridge and Suarez. Just swap the names around a bit.

That was just a dissertation about the development of striker partnerships from a big-man-little-man partnership or a true no.10 & a true no.9 partnership to the modern partnership of a false 10 and a false 9.

Don’t worry, be happy

We don’t score goals and the biggest reason for this is because Soldado, the striker brought into score loads of goals is extremely isolated. Soldado is receiving 20.9 passes per game. Which is pathetic but exactly what you’d expect from man who received an average of 19.8 passes last season.

Soldado doesn’t get involved in the build-up play and that needs to change. It gradually is as well. Much derision has made over this heat-map but I take positives from it. Soldado is gradually learning to get involved in the build-up. He has averaged 1.3 key passes per game from only 20.9 passes received. That translates into a key pass every 6.22 passes. I have no doubt that Soldado will grow into the false 9 role.

Now we just need the false 10. Lewis Holtby doesn’t fit the bill as this player. He drops way to deep and leaves Soldado so isolated that it’s simply for two CB’s to crowd him out, I don’t need stats to confirm this because it’s so blatantly obvious.

That leaves Christain Eriksen, who is injured for the time being, Gylfi Sigurdsson, who is appalling in tight spaces and unsuited to the role of a a false 10.

Eriksen is the perfect man for the job but he’s injured for the next month.

Once Soldado and Eriksen are partnered together and learn to interchange roles, I expect us to start scoring goals.

The mercurial Harry Kane

There is another player who’s perfectly suited for the role. Harry Kane.

Kane is strong and therefore good in tight spaces. Surprisingly elegant for someone you’d expect to be clumsy. He has a thunderous shot and has an eye for a key pass and assist.

Now I’m not for one minute suggesting that he’ll set the world alight immediately but the system, not those handling it, is more important  I mean Roma replaced the injured Francesco Totti with Marco Boriello and still continue to attack in a ruthlessly proficient manner. If that doesn’t prove my point, nothing will. 

The drop in quality from Totti to Boriello is much, much more than Eriksen to Kane. 

I certainly think that Kane can hold down the fort until Eriksen gets back and hey, you never know, he might produce a performance like he did against Hull in the Capital One Cup.

I’m confident that once Eriksen returns that Soldado and Eriksen will form a wicked partnership.

And this is all moot because AVB never plays a player lacking experience at senior level.

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Let’s Set the Record Straight

This is the interview that ensued meltdown.

 

If anybody finds anything controversial with the words he explicitly said in this interview, then they have to take a long look at themselves in the mirror. They’re the type of person who fears their own shadow because it follows them and finds an enemy in a 2 pound coin.

If you find anything wrong with what is implicitly stated in this interview, I’m about to debunk that.

What Defoe actually said

You can listen to the full interview above.  The non-stock quotes.

“Getting into a World Cup squad is based on merit and you have to play for your club”

“As a forward, if you are not getting the chances, it will be difficult.”

“Frank Lampard got it right when he said the other day that everyone is fighting [for places].”

“It’s important that everyone goes back to their clubs and plays games to try to impress the manager.”

“It’s a long way to go before the World Cup. There is a lot of football to be played and we will see what happens. You never know, I might play every game from now on.”

It took me 5 seconds to find a copy-and-paste of Defoe’s Sun interview on an Arabic website. Unfortunately some people are all too impetuous when succumbing to a pre-defined narrative.

Back on topic…

The Sun ran with the headline “Dewoe (lol). AVB Wrecking My World Cup Dream.”

As is evident, Defoe never explicitly said that AVB is wrecking his chances of making the World Cup squad.

The Sun only sensationalises the headline. A segment of Spurs fans took it a step further and fabricated a quote FROM THEIR OWN PLAYER. I mean, jesus.

For some hilarious reason, some-thing decided to fabricate a quote from their own player. This was obviously done to gain followers on Twitter. The reason Defoe was chosen, as opposed to the million other players who say they want playing time, was because he’s the archetypical Spurs scapegoat. A satirical post on what makes a Spurs scapegoat is in the pipeline.

Then other Spurs fans decided to believe whoever fabricated the quote and hey presto! we have stage 4 meltdown.

The Explicit/Implicit Pact

To take it a step further, suddenly every Spurs fan that doesn’t like Defoe is a qualified and chartered psychologist.

Anybody that thinks that Defoe took a stab at AVB in the quotes above, is delusional. He didn’t. Now he may have implicitly taken a stab at AVB. But who are we to know that? I wouldn’t imagine that there’s a probe burrowed inside Defoe’s head Eddie Murphy-style sending dossier’s about JD’s emotions to a man sitting in a cupboard.

Judging what a person is saying by the conformation of their face is ludicrous because there’s no way to tell for sure what a player’s thinking.

The journalist ask Defoe; “Do you feel it is important that you’re starting regularly?”

JD answered; “Getting into a World Cup squad is based on merit and you have to play for your club

Defoe thinks it’s important to start to get into the World Cup squad. What a disgrace.

Defoe could be a masochist. He could revel in the pain of not playing. In which case he’d show happiness

Defoe could be a sadistic axe murderer. He could only revel in chopping people in little chunks and be placid about not playing

Defoe could be a typical footballer. He could want to playing. In which case he’d be frustrated at not playing.

There you have three emotions evoked from the same thing. How can you draw a definitive conclusions from Defoe saying he doesn’t want to play if there are at least three viable options?

Trick question; you can’t.

‘But you can see it in his face!,’ they say

‘He’s saying that AVB is ruining his career,’

‘Look he twitched an eyebrow. AVB’s clearly holding his captive in cellar with only bread and water to drink.’

Yes.

Defoe has multiple faces, all interchangeably, he has a ‘Build-up play is for peasants’ face. He has a ‘AVB’s ruining my career’ face. He has ‘I won’t score this because I hate Tottenham Hotspur’ face.

 

 

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Glory

What is Glory?

The game is about glory. But what is Glory? Is Glory winning matches? Is Glory playing beautiful football, through victory and defeat? Is Glory playing 11 Dawson’s and Townsend’s, players who play with their heart in their sleeves? Is Glory scoring off a instinctive and superbly choreographed free-kick, corner or throw-in? Is Glory playing horrible and still winning? Is Glory playing beautiful and still losing?

Glory can manifest as anything, in truth. Glory is what you want it to be. I’ve asked this question to a number of people the question; “What is Glory about?” I have received all of the above answers. I know a person who would say it’s about winning matches. Another would say, actually, I would say it’s about playing beautiful, gung-ho football through thick and thin. Another person would say it’s about playing 11 players who play with their hearts in their sleeves. A person, a West Ham fan, would say it’s scoring off an superbly choreographed set piece.

Tottenham Hotspur has a philosophy and, call me an idealist, but I don’t want to lose that for anything. Not for money, not for trophies, not for success.

Glory.

Glory is whatever you make it. For me, glory is daring to do. For me, glory is playing beautiful football through thick and thin.

Winning Ugly or Losing Pretty:

Which match did you prefer? The 6-4 win in 2008 against Reading or either of the 3-1’s against Reading last season. Answering that question can go a very long to deciding what side of the debate you’re own.

One game was a professional performance. A game where Spurs went ruthlessly about eviscerating Reading.

One game was a bad performance. Plain and simply but the brilliance of Dimitar Berbatov saw us through.

I enjoyed one match and I didn’t enjoy the other.

I had seen the exact same match a number of times before. The set-up is always the same with Spurs. We control possession, get 11 men behind the ball when defending, never attempt the killer pass until it’s a certainty to work, shoot a lot from long range because we lack creativity and concede from a set piece. We play the percentages. It was exciting for a while.

I’ve seen it all before and it no longer excites me. It’s like watching a Verdi opera or a Coen movie for the fiftieth time. The first time you saw it, it was swashbuckling. The second time you saw it, it was brilliant. The tenth time you saw it, it was exciting. The sixty-ninth time you see it, it’s turgid.

A Club I used to know:

What we have now isn’t what I fell in love with as a child. Don’t get me wrong, I think the squad is very talented. Success has never gotten me very excited. In the search for success, we have lost track of our identity. I grew the team doing brilliant things but it never led to anything material.  Sure it wasn’t very successful, but it got me on the edge of my seat.

I was able to enjoy the 90 minutes because the team was so ramshackle. It was held together with masking tape, almost.  Those 90 minutes every Saturday and periodically every Wednesday. Those 90 minutes were exhilarating, I never knew what was going to happen. That’s what football is all about. It’s about excitement.

Especially, in the modern era of commercialization. The big clubs are only going to get bigger. They’ll stock-pile squads of incredibly talented players, some of whom can’t even get on the pitch. Their squads will be too big and strong for any other clubs to compete. They’ll win everything. Clubs that don’t have petro-dollars backing them will have to find solace with smaller, simpler things. Like playing with a certain philosophy.

Don’t Dare to Do:

Much has been made, entire arguments have been made on the perception that the turgid football Tottenham played against Hull (and have for a while) is just a stepping stone. It’s our time in purgatory until we reach heaven. A necessary evil. A trade-off for future success.

This is not not so. What we see here is what we get. Obviously, the performances will get better but the attitude, the pragmatism will stay the same. Here are a few excerpts from the foreword by Luís Freitas Lobo in Andre’s Villas-Boas’ biography ‘Special Too.’

In his ‘Ten Commandments’ of ball possession Villas-Boas prefers, as a ‘fundamental commandment’, that players hold on to the ball rather than the speculative attitude of waiting to recover the ball then breaking fast towards the opponents goal (the so-called quick transitions). Instead of four or five long passes, Villas-Boas doesn’t mind if his team take 14 or 15 short and squarer passes, until they reach the opponents area

Keep in mind, that Villas-Boas censored this.

Even if it means that to get the shape of the team right there is the need for a back-pass or to pass the ball around at the back.

Also, this is probably relevant.

Persuading fans to be patient – by nature they are intolerant of a tea, which seems slow in taking the initiative to attack. the opposing team – is I believe the greatest triumph for a manager other than achieving the right results.

The key quote is “players hold on to the ball rather than the speculative attitude.” Villas-Boas doesn’t play expansively. He keeps things tight at the back. He tries to control possession and the flow of the game and doesn’t allow anything as uncontrollable as individuality.

I never trust any reporter outright. A few anecdotes of my own. When we’re defending corners, Villas-Boas brings everyone back. 11 men are in the vicinity of the box. Freitas Lobo states in ‘Special Too’ that this is because counter-attacks are ‘uncontrollable.’ Villas-Boas is afraid that a player could get caught out of position on the counter-counter-attack. This exudes a philosophy of pragmatism. A-don’t-dare-to-do-anything-wrong philosophy.

We have lacked creativity against teams that park the bus since the beginning of time but Villas-Boas hasn’t changed anything to rectify that. Against Hull or any bus parking team, for that matter, it’d be so easy to play Holtby in his preferred position in the pivot and play Eriksen in the hole. This would give us two adept passers and those passing triangles that AVB loves so much. The trade-off is less defensive cover.  This is why Villas-Boas hasn’t played both Holtby and Eriksen. This, as well, exudes pragmatism and a don’t-dare-to-do-anything-wrong philosophy.

His philosophy is, I wouldn’t go as far to say the polar opposite but it’s certainly different from what I want to see. Not to beat around the bush, AVB isn’t the type of coach I want coaching my club.

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Player Development and its Fundamental Flaws

The precedent

Football is a profession. A footballer is like a carpenter, very like a carpenter, in fact. Replace the saw, gauge, a chisel & clamp with boots, socks, a ball & shin guards. The ability of a carpenter to build a house is the equivalent of a footballer to play football. When  a carpenter takes up the profession he learns the basics in school. There is an equivalent in football, a football academy. A school of football.

This is where the disparity enters.

At this stage a carpenter would take up an apprenticeship.

At this stage a carpenter would go out on loan to League 2 or 1 or the Championship.

Don’t tell me England doesn’t produce good footballers

In short, the player is being told how to play in a different way. The wrong way. This is why so much young English talent falls by the wayside. English talent at a very, very young age, before their talent gets tainted by the inept League 2 or 1 managers is as good as you can find.

3 years ago, England won the U-17 European Championship against Spain against a team that including Gerard Deulofeu, the player who continues to impress on loan at Everton, & Jesé Rodríguez, the player who Floretino Pérez was so unwilling to sell to Tottenham this summer, with Bale going the other way, showing just how good he is.

At this stage of their careers, English talent is just as good as anyone.

This is where player development in Britain becomes unbelievably stupid.

He’s doing it wrong!

The type of football in lower leagues is totally different to the type of football of the Premiership and of the modern teams today. Teams are comprised of hard-working, technically inept journey-men. For the most part the only thing going for a player in the lower leagues is that he runs a lot. This is reflected in the English, Scottish & Welsh national teams. They are comprised of 11 James Milner’s, Danny Welbeck’s and Charlie Adam’s.

The football academy is a school, a place where a footballer learns the basics of his game but when a player ‘goes on an apprenticeship’  i.e. goes on loan he is immediately told to forget everything he has learned in school, he starts to learn a new style of football. A reactive brand of football based on hard-work and lacking fluidity and offense. 

How can a player develop when he’s learning to separate styles of football? He can’t.

Am I doing it right?

A master worth his salt would teach his apprentice to perfect his trade. He teaches the tricks of the trade such using a shotgun shell filled with salt to artificially age a cabinet. The apprentice is actually benefitting from the apprentice. He is learning from it. He’s learning how to properly make a cabinet. He doesn’t learn something completely different to what he learned in school. He knows, in no uncertain terms, what is right and what is wrong.

A footballer is sent on loan to a lower league team and told to learn by himself. He’s told to use trial and error to find out how to perfect his trade. There is no master here. There is nobody to tell a young English player what he’s doing wrong. A young, aspiring footballer is expected to go to a strange environment, with people he doesn’t know, with a manager tactically inept manager and with hierarchies firmly embedded and develop as a player

How ludicrous is that? It’s very.

THE MEDIA

The media effects both good players and bad players in different ways. The end result is always the same. A player who never achieves his potential.

Bad players 

I will leave this to Neville Southall:

It’s like a half-finished Mona Lisa. If you walked in on Leonardo Da Vinci when he was in the middle of painting the Mona Lisa and you’d probably say ‘that’s shit’. But you need to wait until the end to see the finished product and suddenly it’s a masterpiece.

Joe Hart. When Manchester City left to the Westfallonstadion, Joe Hart was a world class goal-keeper. Since then his every mistake has been scrutinized to a nigh-on exploitive extent. A couple of bad games and all of a sudden we should play Fraser Forster, who is just as inconsistent in the Scottish League. A footballer is like a carpenter. If you shout in the ear of a carpenter while he’s making a cabinet, there is no he’ll make the cabinet right. His head won’t be in the right place. Thanks to the media, Joe Hart’s head is never in the right place. He won’t be able to goal-keep properly. He will never reach potential until the media stops badgering him.

Good Players

The same thing has happened with Jack Wilshere. I can say with absolute confidence that the same thing will happen with Ross Barkley, James Ward Prowse, Luke Shaw and  Saido Berahino. The pressure on the shoulders of these four 19/17 year olds is ridiculous. It’s too much for them and they will more than likely crack under it.

I couldn’t develop as a player if a country had it’s hopes pinned on me. Only very few could.

The starkest example here is Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. The welsh media hasn’t pinned it’s hopes on Ramsey but Wilshere has nearly been canonised as Saint Jack by the English media. Ramsey has developed to where he should be. Wilshere has not.

Of the squad that won the U-17 European Championship just one of them have went on to be regularly feature in the Premier League.

Don’t tell me that English players simply aren’t as talented as others. They simply are but the defunct, archaic model with which we develop our players from 17 onwards is stone-age compared to the Spanish  model.

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Yid

In which I break down why the FA banning the word Yid is stupid.

Framed:

It’s almost as if Tottenham have been framed for a crime they didn’t commit. A crime they were subject to, in fact. Blaming the murdered person for being killed. Laughable.

The objective of this is to alleviate anti-semitism in the stands. That is fair but Tottenham are the subjects of the anti-semitism. Banning the defense-mechanism that Spurs developed themselves, while the FA were frollicking about in their offices doing a grande-total of nix, is nonsensical. The FA are blaming Spurs fans for being associated with a club who is associated with Judaism. Quite a tenuous link, as you can see. The decision itself is stupid and somewhat morose, as it shows how backward and asinine the FA are.

Offensive

Really? It’s offensive to a group of fans who have inherited, made it their own, made chants about the word & the legends of their club using the word & who have fought ardently to defend it’s usage. Really?

There is an argument out there if it’s offensive to just one person, it shouldn’t be used. Idiot is a word derived from idiōtēs, which is a person who ‘lacks professional skill.’ The word idiot is offensive to millions of people, yet it’s a word of total normalcy. There isn’t a stigma around the word idiot, yet it’s offensive to millions of people.

It has never been done before because to ban every word that offensive to just one person is completely asinine.

Intent

One thing that the FA has failed to consider is intent. They have shoe-horned saying; “Jermain Defoe is a yid” (for example) and “f****** yids, I hope they die” (again, for example) under the same osposis. But they’re not the same. Saying the word black or chinese or caucasian or jewish isn’t inherently racist or derogatory. Saying “people are white,” isn’t racist in the slightest.

Tottenham chose the word for a reason. One of them was because they were being subjected to anti-semitism and derogatory use of the word. It was a defense mechanism. There was another reason. The nicknames of football clubs are almost synonymously based on something from the background of the club. West Ham are called the Hammers because there was a large Blacksmith guild located there. Stoke are called the Potters, because there are strong links to pottery in Stoke-on-Trent. Real Madrid are Los Blancos because they’ve had white shirts forever. the same motif goes for Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and many more teams. Tottenham are called the Yids because they have a strong Jewish following. We’re no different than any other teams.

Every club needs a nickname, and this is based on part of the clubs background. Potters for Stoke, Blacksmiths for West Ham, white jerseys for Real Madrid and Judaism for Tottenham. We’re no different than anyone else.

Yet the FA have decided that we chose the nickname Yids to spite Jewish people.

We didn’t.

One could argue it was chosen for us. 

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