One thing you realise after reporting and commentating on thousands of football matches over a 40 year period is that you can’t please all the people all the time. Whatever system or formation a team plays there will always be those fans who didn’t like it or wanted something different.
However one thing every fan loves is winning! That can be winning with or without style and that seems to be the case for most genuine football fans. I suppose it’s true that the clubs clients or customers might prefer style over winning but thankfully the majority are concerned about winning.
I just don’t get turned on by “ the passing game” especially when its passing for passing’s sake which is the way some clubs play particular Reading whose goalkeeper must have had the best passing stats of the night when they recently played at St Andrews.
However while winning is the aim from the minute the game starts I also want to be excited by the play with lots of goalmouth action etc. In other words lots of chances, shots, goalmouth scrambles in an end to end open game. To be honest hitting the woodwork and goal-line clearances also add to the drama and theatre of the game.
Even bad decisions by the referee can add to the overall excitement of any game although can also make you angry if they go against your team and ultimately cost you points.
Managers and coaches are always very critical if their team is involved in a high scoring game and yet the fans love it.
As a fan I would rather watch a 4-3 game but the manager would prefer a 1-0 but what we would all agree on is that we prefer a win.
It’s the drama that gives us the emotional buzz and so much to talk about. For example like coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2 or snatching the winning or equaliser in stoppage time. Or winning a penalty shootout.
I suppose what I am saying is that it is a mix of everything that leaves us so emotionally drained when the final whistle blows.
Having 80% possession without the excitement is just a waste of time in my opinion and yet so many modern coaches are turned on by it and also hide behind it when they lose. Passing has to have an end product and not just be passing for passing’s sake or as one academy coach once told me “when defenders pass the ball between each other they are resting on the ball”.
I am all for passing in the opponents half and passing with a purpose and that is to create a goal scoring opportunity.
It’s not passing or possession that we will talk about down the pub but winning, goals, chances and all that went on in both penalty areas.
It won’t be far away before a modern day coach will be releasing a video of 100 technically perfect thrown in’s. Of course I am joking but seriously we want to be excited. I am sure that lots of managers actually manage by fear of losing and that has a lot to do with how they approach the game.
Blues against Fulham last Saturday is a typical example of what I was saying earlier. Not only did they win but the fans were treated to lots of attacking football with wing backs sending in crosses, plenty of goalmouth action, lots of chances (Lukas Jutkiewicz was unlucky not to notch a hat-trick) they hit the crossbar, a player was sent off, and even had a heart in the mouth moment at the end when the Londoners had a great chance but thankfully missed. Lots to debate and discuss. However having all that without the three points would not have been quite so palatable.