Sunday, December 21, 2008

Football II

And furthermore... I was crap at football as a kid so I never played it with pleasure, and never learned the technicalities. I still don't get it. What I see on a football pitch is 11 blokes trying to kick a ball into a goal despite 11 other blokes trying to stop them and do the same thing into another goal... I can't ever detect any particular differences in their overall methodology for doing so.

It's obviously the case that a manager can make a big difference to a team. But that's surely more to do with his power to select the team, and improve the players' confidence, than in giving them actual strategy and tactics to use on the playing field? Or something?

In the end, it's the big drama of it that's got me hooked. If you choose a league to focus on, say the English Premier, you can get to know the characters involved: add up all the players, the managers, owners, pundits, journalists, and your mates who talk about football, and you've got about 700 people - a small village.

And Newcastle this season! We were plunged in despair when Keegan left. And it got worse: Ashley's put the club for sale, and we get lumbered with the only manager who would take the job. But, slowly, slowly, the wheel turns.

This is shaping up as a hell of a season for all concerned. I'm loving it.