“The older you get, the more you realise that no one has a fucking clue what they’re doing. Everyone’s just winging it.” -Anonymous
What a line it is. What a wonder it is too that a person can half-jokingly fit so much truth in twenty-two words. Lord knows who said it, and if what he or she says is true, then they probably weren’t in any way famous or known for any great achievements. But whoever it was who knitted those two beautifully poetic sentences together, must have been watching football at the time.
The state of the Premier League at the moment is living proof of that claim, from the title challengers to the relegation fodder. While Manchester City’s new Amazon Prime documentary has stolen headlines nationwide in the last week, and has even got United boss Jose Mourinho watching, it shows that deep down we’re all prone to the most simplistic of thought processes.
Pep Guardiola on our The Front Three. ??? pic.twitter.com/amrBncQ3jN
— GW2 : #CRY 0-2 #LFC (@BetaKopites) August 17, 2018
I’ve heard non-league coaches endlessly wax lyrical about complex tactics and systems before. They seem to have an ever-flowing fountain of footballing wisdom at their disposal, far superior to even the most dedicated of fans’ understanding of the game. It makes you wonder and even marvel at how great the minds’ of the top bosses must be. There is a genuine debate as to whether or not anyone, dead or alive, has ever known more about how to win a football match than Pep Guardiola. Or at least there was until the above clip was released.
“The forwards for Liverpool are good, those three up front”
“Yes Pep, but it’s only them”
Stunning. It sounds like a chat in between two of those casual supporters at a water cooler. You know the type, the ones who don’t follow a specific team, and only watch football occasionally but still fully believe they are experts on the topic. Alternatively, imagine all the band-wagoners from the summer who were adamant that Jordan Henderson was the worst player to ever represent England at a World Cup, and that Fortnite celebrations were the most iconic feature of the tournament.
But no, that’s one of football’s greatest minds, if not the greatest. While he goes on to mention the possibility of Salah playing number nine, and the danger of Liverpool’s full-backs, there’s nothing there that even comes close to boggling the mind of Dave from Accounts whose favourite Facebook pages are Benchwarmers and LAD Bible.
Then there’s Tottenham. While Daniel Levy spends millions paying the lads in suits to run and develop the club to its ultimate potential, they go out and name their brand new ground “The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium”, which latest indications suggest might be ready in time for the start of the 2022/23 season. They also spent less money in the transfer window than the price of a Twix. And that’s not a joke, it’s a genuine statistic.
But what about Roy? While Guardiola’s tactics don’t leave anyone dumbfounded, the fact that Roy Hodgson is still a Premier League manager surely has to. Somehow the Croydon-born manager remains in a job, even if Euro 2016 looked nailed-on to be the end of an endless career and the final nail in the coffin for the now 71-year old. He’s coached 16 club sides since 1976 and has only lasted more than three years on two occasions. Both of which were in the eighties. But yet he manages to wing it and secure another paycheque again and again and again, after embarrassment and embarrassment. What a guy. In his pre-match press conference before Monday night’s loss against Liverpool, the Palace boss said this;
“But we hope we can keep them quiet enough for us to get enough of the ball and cause them enough problems to get a result in the game, it really isn’t more complicated than that.”
Here’s hoping Amazon will be sending some cameras down to Selhurst Park in the near future.
Or alternatively, head west to Cardiff.
Neil Warnock's inspiring half time team talk ?? pic.twitter.com/xf4w9VQbXq
— Sunday League Footy (@SundayChants) February 8, 2017
For some absurd reason, Jose Mourinho is now favourite to be the next Premier League boss to lose his job. I’m becoming a bit worried by just how much I’m beginning to leap to the defence of the man. But it’s a bad day for football in general when a manager of his stature can guide his team to 2nd place and 82 points in his second season, having delivered silverware in his first, and yet still face calls for the sack in mid-August.
Think of how much worse it could be. Imagine having that mad lad at Leeds managing your club. These are footballs’ Da Vinci’s and Mozart’s people! Get it in your head. They may be mugs, but aren’t we all?
You can believe Jose might be a bullshitter, but what evidence is there to suggest that Zinedine Zidane isn’t? Steve McClaren was once employed at Old Trafford, and he was assistant manager during the treble season. The ex-England boss even went abroad and won the bleeding Eredivisie with FC Twente.
⏱ #WBAQPR pic.twitter.com/KInA26zoyj
— QPR FC (@QPR) August 18, 2018
Think about all those who make predictions on football matches and on league tables, whether it be supporters, ex-managers, former players or journalists. Think about all those who get it right on a consistent basis. None. The greatest predictor in the history of the sport was a fucking octopus.
All the best.