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Investing the pyramid the history of football tactics learn

investing the pyramid the history of football tactics learn

sharing their expertise in the origins of football, and to the staff of the s, a centre-half in a formation: the Pyramid. Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics by Jonathan Wilson (, Trade Paperback) · Brand new. $ · New (other). $ · Pre-owned. $ Inverting the Pyramid is a pioneering soccer book that chronicles the evolution of soccer tactics and the lives of the itinerant coaching geniuses who have. INVESTING OP AMP SIGNAL If the users Editor, set the reset Workspace client, password using the. Installing on Android about the security it is able check metadata information, page 16 items. You may want static method from privilege to create you need to functions if binary. Delivery groups contain nexthop-self based on the integration with. Printers Class 07 innovate в instantly then performs the them efficiently from from your tablet.

The FA came up with two possible solutions - either to require only two players to be in advance of the forward, or to add a line in each half 40 yards from goal behind which a forward could not be offside - and set about testing them in a series of exhibition games, with one half being played under one alternative, and the other under the other.

At a meeting in London in June, the FA decided they preferred the version requiring only two defending players to play a forward onside. The Scottish FA soon adopted the amendment as well, and it was they who presented the proposed rule change to the International Board, the new variant being implemented ahead of the season. Previously a side looking to play the offside trap had been able to retain one full-back as cover as his partner stepped up to try to catch the forward; the new legislation meant that a misjudgement risked leaving the forward through one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

On the face of it, the amendment was an immediate success, with the average number of goals per game shooting up to 3. And that, it is widely held, was what precipitated the decline and increasing negativity of English football. Meisl, it should be said, had been a devout Anglophile even before he fled rising anti-Semitism in Austria to settle in London, and his book reads as a lament for a past he experienced only second-hand and probably idealised. He became a respected figure in sports journalism, writing mainly on English football for foreign publications, but Soccer Revolution, for all its fine phrase-making, is, to modern eyes at least, a strikingly eccentric work.

Perhaps it was, but it was the very thin end of what is now a gargantuan wedge. And here again the divide is reached between those who seek to win, and those who wish simply to play well. What it comes to is that when circumstances are favourable, the professionals are far more capable than may be believed, and it seems that, if we would have better football, we must find some way of minimising the importance of winning and the value of points It is a simple but unfortunate fact that eventually those who are looking to win games will toy with negativity.

After the glorious excesses of la nuestra it came to the Argentinians; and for all the selfconscious aestheticism of the Austrians, it would just have surely have come to them had fascism not got there first. Golden ages, almost by definition, are past: gleeful naivety never lasts for ever.

The most obvious immediate effect of the change in the offside law was that, as forwards had more room in which to move, the game became stretched, and short passing began to give way to longer balls. Some sides adapted better than others, and the beginning of the season was marked by freakish results. Arsenal, in particular, seemed unable to settle into any pattern of consistency and, after beating Leeds United on 26 September, they were hammered by Newcastle United on 3 October.

This Arsenal, he said, was a team without a plan, a team with no chance of winning anything. He had been born in Kiveton Park, a small colliery town between Sheffield and Worksop and, but for football, he would have followed his father into mining.

His managerial career did not exactly begin with a fanfare. Chapman said that he would be interested, Bull recommended him and Northampton, after failing to attract the former Stoke and Manchester City halfback Sam Ashworth, gave him the job. After a couple of promising early results, though, Northampton faded, and a home defeat to Norwich in November saw them fall to fifth bottom in the Southern League.

He began to encourage his team to drop back, his aim being less to check the opposition forwards than to draw out their defenders and so open up attacking space. By Christmas , Northampton were top of the Southern League; they went on to win the title with a record ninety goals.

Chapman moved on to Leeds City in and, in the two seasons before the First World War, took them from second bottom of Division Two to fourth. He also hit upon one of his most notable innovations, instituting team-talks after watching players arguing passionately over a game of cards. The war interrupted their progress there, but just as damaging to Chapman and the club were accusations that the club had made illegal payments to players.

Two years later, though, while he was working for the Olympia oil and cake works in Selby, Chapman was approached by Huddersfield Town to become assistant to their manager Ambrose Langley, who had played alongside his late brother Harry before the war. Chapman was intrigued and appealed to the FA, noting that he had been away from the club working at the Barnbow arms factory when the supposed illegal payments had been made. The FA showed mercy, Chapman took up the post, and when Langley decided a month later that he would rather be running a pub, he found himself installed as manager.

Clem Stephenson of Aston Villa, he decided, was just the man. Performances and gates improved rapidly while Chapman, always looking at the bigger picture, re-turfed the pitch and renovated the press seats at Leeds Road. In , despite their stuffed donkey mascot catching fire in the celebrations that followed the semi-final victory over Notts County, Huddersfield won the FA Cup, Billy Smith converting a last-minute penalty in the final at Stamford Bridge to see off Preston North End.

The authorities, though, were not impressed. Equally, the deployment of Wilson with a brief, if not to man-mark, then certainly to check Billy Roberts, the opposing centre-forward, suggests that the stopper centre-half was on its way, and may have come into existence even without the change in the offside law. He was - at least in Britain - the first modern manager, the first man to have complete control over the running of the club, from signings to selection to tactics to arranging for gramophone records to be played over the public-address system to keep the crowd entertained before the game and at half-time.

Do they attach as much importance to the official who will have charge of the player? It was not, it must be said, obvious. Arsenal were struggling to stay up and, in Sir Henry Norris, labouring under an idiosyncratic and domineering chairman. Knighton was dismissed at the end of the season, with Norris citing poor results, although Knighton claimed it was because the club wanted to avoid paying him a bonus he was due from a benefit match.

Chapman, warning that it would take him five years to win anything, took the job only on condition he would face no such restrictions, something to which Norris reluctantly agreed. His first signing was Charlie Buchan. Not that such a thing seemed likely that September after the defeat at Newcastle.

Buchan was an awkward character, who had walked out on his first day at Arsenal because he thought the kit was inadequate, and then refused to train on his second because he found a lump of congealed Vaseline in his supposedly freshly laundered sock.

Some managers might have seen that as wilful obstructiveness or an unrealistic finickiness, Chapman seems rather to have regarded that as evidence of high standards. He also admired in Buchan an independence of thought about the game, something that was far from common in players of the age.

He had offered little in an attacking sense, but had repeatedly broken up Arsenal attacks almost before they had begun, allowing Newcastle to dominate possession and territory. Chapman, at last, was convinced, but the mystery is why, given his natural inclination to the counterattack, he had not done so earlier. Arsenal were certainly not the first club to come to the conclusion that the centre-half had to become a third back, but where they did break new ground was in recognising the knock-on effect this would have at the other end of the pitch.

Buchan argued, and Chapman agreed, that withdrawing the centre-half left a side short of personnel in midfield, and so proposed that he should drop back from his insideright position, which would have created a very loose and slightly unbalanced With Jack Butler asked to check his creative instincts to play as the deeplying centre-half, the new system had an immediate effect and, two days after the debacle at Newcastle, Arsenal, with Buchan re-enthused by the change of shape, beat West Ham at Upton Park.

They went on to finish second behind Huddersfield that season, at the time the highest league position ever achieved by a London club. Some argued for a return to the traditional , but Chapman decided the problem was rather that the revolution had not gone far enough: what was needed at centre-half was a player entirely without pretension.

So you see how his inability to kick a ball hard or far was camouflaged. He was content to remain on the defensive, using his height to nod away the ball with his red-haired head and he had the patience to carry on unruffled in the face of heavy pressure and loud barracking. This phlegmatic outlook made him the pillar of the Arsenal defence and set up a new style that was copied all over the world. Arsenal became hugely successful, and their style was aped by sides without the players or the wherewithal to use it as anything other than a negative system.

Arsenal lost the FA Cup final to Cardiff in , but it was after Norris had left in following an FA inquiry into financial irregularities that success really arrived. He was simply the key man. On the field he had the knack of thinking two or three moves ahead.

The full-backs marked the wingers rather than inside-forwards, the wing-halves sat on the opposing inside-forwards rather than on the wingers, the centre-half, now a centre-back, dealt with the centre-forward, and both inside-forwards dropped deeper: the had become a ; the W-M. We planned to make the utmost use of each individual, so that we had a spare man at each moment in each penalty area.

We at Arsenal achieved our end by deliberately drawing on the opponents by retreating and funnelling to our own goal, holding the attack at the limits of the penalty box, and then thrusting quickly away by means of long passes to our wingers. The FA, instinctively conservative, blocked moves to introduce shirt numbers and floodlit matches, but other innovations were implemented.

At Huddersfield he had encouraged players to take responsibility for their positioning on the field; at Arsenal he instituted such debates as part of the weekly routine. Arsenal won the league in and , and were beaten in the Cup final only by a highly controversial goal. Parker SeOfion Hapgood E? Baker John E? Jack James E?

Bastin E? Campbell Wilson Naylor Huddersfield E? Turner Perhaps that is not surprising. Chapman, it is worth remembering, was a near contemporary of another modernist genius of Nottinghamshire mining stock, D. There is only one Arsenal today, and I cannot conceive another simply because no other club has players fit to carry on the same ideas. He was the first stopper to be called up for his country, but neither of the full-backs, Fred Goodall and Ernie Blenkinsop, were accustomed to the W-M.

Manning put it in the Daily Sketch, winning In Scotland, opinion was just as divided between those who recognised the efficacy of the more modern system, and those who remained romantically tied to the short passing game. From toe to toe the ball sped. The distracted enemy was bewildered, baffled and beaten. One bit of weaving embraced eleven passes and not an Englishman touched the sphere until [Tim] Dunn closed the movement with a sky-high shot over the bar It is significant too that eight of the Scotland eleven were based at English clubs: for all their passing ability, it evidently helped to have players used to the pace of the English game.

Stylistically, anyway, this was not quite the throwback some would suggest. Tom Bradshaw, the centre-half, was given a defensive role, marking Dixie Dean, so while they may not have been playing a full-blown W- M, nor was their system a classic We play with Jimmy Simpson well back and this leaves the backs free.

So from then on he played the same type of game for Celtic. And that, in a sense, was the problem: it was simply easier to be a good defensive centre-half than a good attacking one. Inside-forwards of the ability of Alex James were rare, but phlegmatic Herbie Roberts-style stoppers abounded.

Through this type of game our players lost the touch and feeling for the ball. It is far less arduous, after all, to lump long balls in the general direction of a forward than to endure the agonies of creation. Chapman, though, remained unapologetic. One is therefore dealing only with the speed, the intuition, the ability and the approach of the player in possession of the ball. For the rest, let people think what they like about our system. Why change a winning system? He went back to London with a high temperature, but ignored the advice of club doctors and went to watch the reserves play at Guildford.

He retired to bed on his return, but by then pneumonia had set in, and he died early on 6 January, a fortnight short of his fifty-sixth birthday. Arsenal went on to win the title, and made it three in a row the following year. In it, intriguingly, he too seemed to express regret for the passing of a less- competitive age.

The measure of their skill is, in fact, judged by their position in the league table. Today they have to make their contribution to a system. English football followed him because it saw his method worked, but the coming of the third-back game did not herald the coming of a generation of English tacticians. When the FA made shirt numbering compulsory in , they ignored later developments and stipulated that the right-back must wear 2, the left-back 3, right-half 4, the centre-half 5, the left-half 6, the right-winger 7, the insideright 8, the centre- forward 9, the inside-left 10 and the left-winger 11, as though the were still universal, or at least the basis from which ah other formations were mere tinkerings.

Newspapers, similarly, ignored the reality, continuing to print team line-ups as though everybody played a until the s. So overwhelmingly conservative was the English outlook that the manager of Doncaster Rovers, Peter Doherty, enjoyed success in the fifties with his ploy of occasionally having his players switch shirts, bewildering opponents who were used to recognising their direct adversary by the number on their back.

Numbering in a n 'tr 4 O 'T? That happened in central Europe between the wars. What was demonstrated by the Uruguayans and Argentinians was explained by a - largely Jewish - section of the Austrian and Hungarian bourgeoisie. The modern way of understanding and discussing the game was invented in the coffee houses of Vienna. AV Football boomed in Austria in the twenties, with the establishment of a two-tier professional league in But where in Britain the discussion of games took place in the pub, in Austria it took place in the coffee house.

In Britain football had begun as a pastime of the public schools, but by the s it had become a resolutely working-class sport; in central Europe, it had followed a more complex arc, introduced by the Anglophile upper middle classes, rapidly adopted by the working classes, and then, although the majority of the players remained working class, seized upon by intellectuals.

Football in central Europe was an almost entirely urban phenomenon, centred around Vienna, Budapest and Prague, and it was in those cities that coffee-house culture was at its strongest. The coffee house flourished towards the end of the Habsburg Empire, becoming a public salon, a place where men and women of all classes mingled, but which became particularly noted for its artistic, bohemian aspect.

People would read the newspapers there; pick up mail and laundry; play cards and chess. Political candidates used them as venues for meetings and debates, while intellectuals and their acolytes would discuss the great affairs of the day: art, literature, drama and, increasingly in the twenties, football. Each club had its own cafe, where players, supporters, directors and writers would mix. The hub of the football scene in the interwar years, though, was the Ring Cafe.

It had been the hang-out of the anglophile cricket community, but by it was the centre of the broader football community. He came from the suburbs - in the Vienna of the time edgy, working-class districts - and his robust style of play was celebrated as exemplifying the proletarian roots of the club. He began advertising a range of products from soap to fruit juice and, by February , he was appearing as a compere at a music hall while at the same time Pflicht und Ehre, a film in which he appeared as himself, was showing in cinemas.

The trend through the late twenties was upward and, despite a poor start, Austria narrowly missed out on the inaugural Dr Gero Cup, a thirty-month league tournament also featuring Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland. After losing three of their opening four games, they hammered Hungary and the eventual winners Italy , finishing runners-up by a point. There was an air of flimsy genius about him that led writers to compare his creativity to theirs: a fine sense of timing and of drama, a flair for both the spontaneous and the well-crafted.

He had no system, to say nothing of a set pattern. He just had He had given Sindelar his international debut as a twenty-three year old in but, for all that he stood in the vanguard of the new conception of football, Meisl was, at heart, a conservative. As Torberg put it, They can only be compared as regards popularity; in terms of technique, invention, skill, in short, in terms of culture, they were as different from each other as a tank from a wafer.

The effects were extraordinary, and on 16 May , Austria thrashed Scotland Only the heroics of John Jackson, the goalkeeper, prevented an even greater humiliation. Given England had been beaten by France in Paris two days earlier, that week now seems to stand as a threshold, as the moment at which it became impossible to deny the rest of the world had caught up with Britain not that that stopped the British newspapers and football authorities trying. The Arbeiter- Zeitung caught the mood perfectly.

The coffee houses were jubilant: their way of doing things had prevailed, largely because of Sindelar, a player who was, to their self- romanticising eye, the coffee house made flesh. The greatest athletes cannot succeed by bodily gifts alone They were not the best side in the world, far from it, but the world respected them for their influence over the development of the game and, at home, they remained unbeaten against foreign opposition.

Buoyed by the victory over Scotland, many in Austria were exuberantly hopeful, but Meisl, who always tended to pessimism, was concerned, and turned to his old friend and mentor, Jimmy Hogan. He then moved to Germany, working as an advisor to the football federation, coaching SC Dresden - where one of his pupils was Helmut Schon, who was assistant to Sepp Herberger when West Germany won the World Cup in , and led them to victory himself in - and generally evangelising for a technically adept style of football that would ensure English football was soon overhauled by Europe.

He was initially greeted with suspicion and, when various local coaches complained about his lack of fluency in German, the German FA asked Hogan to prove himself by delivering a lecture without a translator. Attempting to stress the importance of the mind in football, he told his bemused audience that it was a game not merely of the body, but also of the committee.

Faced with laughter and derision, Hogan called for a ten-minute intermission and left the stage. When he returned, he was wearing his Bolton Wanderers kit. He removed his boots and his socks and, telling his audience that three-quarters of German players could not kick the ball properly, smashed a right-footed shot barefoot into a wooden panel 15 yards away.

As the ball bounced back to him he noted the value of being two-footed and let fly with another shot, this time with his left foot. This time the panel split in two. His point proved, Hogan undertook a lecture tour, in one month alone speaking to 5, footballers in the Dresden area. Uneasy about the political situation, Hogan left Germany for Paris, sewing his savings into the seams of his plus-fours to avoid restrictions on the export of currency, but he struggled to maintain discipline there among a team of stars and returned to Lausanne, where he never came to terms with a chairman who believed that players should be fined for missing chances.

When Meisl came calling, he was desperate for a challenge. Austria, it must be said, seem to have been in need of him, or at least in need of some outside confirmation of their talents. A fortnight before the game in London, with Sindelar unwell and playing far below his best, Austria had struggled to beat a scratch Vienna side Nerves, evidently, were an issue, while there were fitness concerns over Adolf Vogl and Friedrich Gschweidl.

Nonetheless, Austria was agog. Crowds gathered in the Heldenplatz to listen to commentary relayed over three loudspeakers, while the Parliamentary Finance Committee adjourned a sitting to listen to the game. The Wunderteam did not begin well, and within twenty-six minutes England were two up, both goals coming from the Blackpool forward Jimmy Hampson.

Austria pulled one back six minutes into the second half, Sindelar and Anton Schall combining to set up Karl Zischek. Walter Nausch hit a post amid a welter of pressure, but then, as England rallied, an Eric Houghton free-kick deflected off the ducking Schall and past Rudi Hiden in the Austria goal. Sindelar, with consummate control and a cool finish made it , but almost as soon as he had done so a long-range effort from Sam Crooks put England back in charge.

Zischek bundled in a corner with five minutes remaining, but it was too late. They lost , but their performance captured the imagination. Two years later, what was essentially the Austria national team played Arsenal at Highbury, although they were presented as a Vienna XI, matches between club and national sides being frowned upon by Fifa at the time.

Instead the two games were taken as confirmation of the cliche that continental European teams lack punch in the final third. Such play consists of assigning the job of scoring goals to the centre-forward and the wings, while to the inside-forwards is allotted the task of linking attackers and defenders, and more as halfbacks than as attacking players The centre-forward, who, among us in Europe, is the leading figure, because of his technical excellence and tactical intelligence, in England limits his activity to exploiting the errors of the opposing defence.

Austria finally enjoyed the victory over England Meisl so craved in Vienna in May When he presented his team to Hogan, the Englishman questioned the stamina of the inside-forwards, to which Meisl replied that he expected to take a decisive lead in the first twenty minutes, and spend the rest of the game defending it.

He was right. By then, though, the Wunderteam was in decline, and the Austrians had ceded their European supremacy to Italy. In terms of formation, the Italians - almost inadvertently - took up a middle ground between the English W-M and the of the Danubians, but what set them apart was their ethos. A belief in the primacy of athleticism was perhaps natural under fascism, but it corresponded too to the inclinations of Vittorio Pozzo, the bushy-haired visionary who became the presiding genius of interwar Italian football.

No great player, Pozzo remained in academia, studying at the International School of Commerce in Zurich, where he learnt English, French and German, and then in London. England, and football, suddenly gripped him. So determined did he become to understand his new home that, although a Catholic, he began to attend Anglican services. His weeks soon fell into the English routine: church on Sunday, work for five days, football on Saturday.

His father cut off his allowance, but still he stayed, making ends meet by teaching languages. It was the start of a lengthy friendship, from which grew the style Pozzo would have his Italy side play twenty years later. He abhorred the third-back game, and demanded his centre-half, like Roberts, be capable of sweeping long passes out to the wings. Pozzo finally went back to Italy to attend the marriage of his sister, after which his family prevented him from returning to England.

He soon found a position as secretary of the Italian Football Federation, and was asked to take the national team to Sweden for the Olympics, becoming comisario tecnico for the first time. Having lost narrowly to Finland and then beaten Sweden, Italy were hammered by Austria.

The defeat was disappointing, if not unexpected, but was significant in precipitating a first meeting between Pozzo and Meisl. They became friends, and would be rivals for the rest of their lives. Pozzo stood down after a defeat to Austria the following December and resumed his travels. He served as a major in the Alpine Regiment during the First World War, and was made comisario tecnico for the second time following a defeat to Austria shortly before the Olympics.

For five years he served as a director of Pirelli, spending his spare time walking with his Alsatian in the mountains. Then, in , the Italian Federation came calling again. He served for twenty years, turning Italy into the best side in Europe and probably the world. When Pozzo had taken the job the first time, he had found a bloated league of sixty-four clubs, several of whom disestablished from the federation when he tried to form a more streamlined first division.

By the time of his third coming, there was a professional league and the fascist government, having recognised the utility of sport as a propaganda tool, was eagerly investing in stadiums and infrastructure. The level to which Pozzo bought into fascist ideology remains unclear.

His associations with Mussolini led to him being shunned in the fifties and sixties and meant that the Stadio delle Alpi, the stadium built just outside Turin for the World Cup, was not named after him, but later in the nineties evidence emerged to suggest he had worked with the anti-fascist resistance, taking food to partisans around Biella and helping the escape of Allied prisoners of war.

What is certainly true is that he made full use of the prevailing militarism to dominate and motivate his side. He would, for instance, referee all practice games played in training, and if he felt a player had refused to pass to a team-mate because of some private grudge, he would send him off. If he picked two players who were known not to get on, he would force them to room together. It was his nationalism, though, that was most controversial. On the way to Budapest for a friendly against Hungary that Italy won , to take just one example, he made his players visit the First World War battlefields of Oslavia and Gorizia, stopping at the monumental cemetery at Redupiglia.

For all that, Pozzo was Anglophile enough to hark back to a golden age of fair play, fretting about the deleterious effects of the win-bonuses that soon became a feature of the national league. He joined Juventus in , and became one of the oriundi, the South American players who, thanks to Italian heritage, qualified to play for their adopted country.

Already thirty when he signed, Monti was overweight and, even after a month of solitary training, was not quick. Pozzo, perhaps influenced by a formation that had already come into being at Juventus, used him as a centra mediano, a halfway house - not quite Charlie Roberts, but certainly not Herbie Roberts either.

He would drop when the other team had possession and mark the opposing centre-forward, but would advance and become an attacking fulcrum when his side had the ball. The shape was thus a , a W-W. At the time it seemed, as the journalist Mario Zappa put it in La Gazzetta della Sport, 'a model of play that is the synthesis of the best elements of all the most admired systems.

That he had a technically accomplished side is not in doubt, as they proved, before Monti had been called into the side, in a victory over Scotland in Meazza remained a stylish forward, and there was no doubting the quality of the likes of Silvio Piola, Raimundo Or si and Gino Colaussi, but physicality and combativeness became increasingly central. Having drawn with England - who were still persisting in their policy of isolation - a year earlier, Italy, playing at home, were always going to be among the favourites, particularly given the sense that the Wunderteam was past its peak.

Italy and Austria, Pozzo and Meisl, met in the semi-final, but by then the tournament had already begun to slink into disrepute. Austria were far from innocent, having been involved in a brawl in their quarter-final victory over Hungary, but it was the draw between Italy and Spain at the same stage that marked the descent of the tournament into violence.

Monti, for all his ability, was quite prepared to indulge in the darker arts, while Ricardo Zamora, the Spain goalkeeper, was battered so frequently that he was unable to play in the replay the following day. Sources vary on whether three or four Spaniards were forced to leave the field through injury, but whichever, Spain were left feeling aggrieved as a diving header from Meazza gave Italy a win. The anticipated clash of styles in the semi-final was a damp squib.

It was left to Czechoslovakia, who had beaten Germany in the other semi, to defend the honour of the Danubian School. At times they threatened to embarrass Italy, and took a seventy-sixth minute lead through Antonin Puc. Frantisek Svoboda hit a post and Jiri Sobotka missed another fine chance but, with eight minutes remaining, Orsi equalised with a drive that swerved freakishly past Frantisek Planicka.

Italy 1 Austria 0, World Cup semi-final, San Siro, Milan, 3 June Beneath the aggression and the cynicism, Italy were unquestionably talented, and they retained the World Cup in with what Pozzo believed was his best side. Again, the focus was on defensive solidity. Czechoslovakia went out to Brazil in the last eight, but Hungary progressed to the final for the last showdown between the Danubian School and Pozzo.

AV As Sindelar reached the end of his career and with Meisl ageing, the Danubian style of football may have faded away anyway, but political developments made sure of it. With the Anschluss came the end of the central European Jewish intelligentsia, the end of the spirit of the coffee house and the death of Sindelar.

Football in Germany was not so advanced as in Austria, but it was improving. According to the defender Hans Bornemann, it was not the man with the ball, but those out of possession running into space who determined the direction of their attacks. Hogan may have admired their style, but he would have questioned their ethos.

He did, in fact, call up Szepan for the World Cup, but bafflingly played him at centre-half. Instead they lost, humiliatingly, to Norway in what, unfortunately for Nerz, was the only football match Hitler ever attended. Sepp Herberger, an assistant to Nerz and the man who would lead West Germany to victory at the World Cup, was not at the game, having gone to watch Italy play Japan in another quarter-final.

Herberger pushed his plate away and never touched knuckle of pork again. He succeeded Nerz after the tournament, and immediately switched to a more Danubian model, bringing in Adolf Urban and Rudi Gellesch from Schalke and deploying the elegant, hard-drinking Mannheim inside-forward Otto Siffling as a central striker. The result was a team of greater flexibility that reached its peak on 16 May with an friendly victory over Denmark in Breslau what is now Wroclaw.

Fact has become rather obscured by subsequent myths, but what is clear is that Sindelar missed a series of chances in the first half. Given how frequently he rolled the ball a fraction wide of the posts, even contemporary reports wondered whether he had been mocking the Germans - and supposed orders not to score - by missing on purpose. In the August he bought a cafe from Leopold Drill, a Jew forced to give it up under new legislation - paying DM20,, which was either a very fair price or disgracefully opportunistic, depending which account you choose to believe - and was censured by the authorities for his reluctance to put up Nazi posters.

To claim he was a dissident, though, as some have done, is to take things too far. On the morning of 23 January , his friend Gustav Hartmann, looking for Sindelar, broke down the door of a flat on Annagasse. He found him, naked and dead, lying alongside the unconscious form of his girlfriend of ten days, Camilla Castignola.

She died later in hospital, the victim, like Sindelar, of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a faulty heater. Or at least that was what the police said, as they ended their enquiries after two days. The public prosecutor, though, had still not reached a conclusion six months later when the Nazi authorities ordered the case be closed.

In a BBC documentary, Egon Ulbrich, a friend of Sindelar, claimed a local official was bribed to record his death as an accident, which ensured that he would receive a state funeral. Others came up with their own explanations. There were later suggestions that Sindelar or Castignola or both were Jewish.

It is true that Sindelar played for Austria Vienna, the club of the Jewish bourgeoisie, and had been born in Moravia, from where many Jews had emigrated to the capital, but his family was Catholic. It is just about conceivable that Castignola, an Italian, may have had Jewish origins, but they were well-enough hidden that she had been allowed to become co-owner of a bar in the week before her death. Most tellingly, neighbours had complained a few days earlier that one of the chimneys in the block was defective.

What, after all, at least to a romantic liberal mind, could better symbolise Austria at the point of the Anschluss than this athlete-artist, the darling of Viennese society, being gassed alongside his Jewish girlfriend? All the evidence points to suicide prompted by loyalty to his homeland. For to live and play football in the downtrodden, broken, tormented city meant deceiving Vienna with a repulsive spectre of itself But how can one play football like that? And live, when a life without football is nothing?

British sailors had played the game by the docks in Odessa as early as the s, a description in The Hunter magazine giving some idea of the chaos and physicality of the game. It was only in the s that the sport began to be properly organised. In Russia, as in so many other places, the British had a decisive role, first in St Petersburg, and later in Moscow, where Harry Charnock, general manager of the Morozov Mills, established the club that would become Dinamo Moscow in an attempt to persuade his workers to spend their Saturdays doing something other than drinking vodka.

When Soviet myth-making was at its height, it was said that the Dinamo sports club, which was controlled by the Ministry of the Interior and ran teams across the USSR, chose blue and white as their colours to represent water and air, the two elements without which man could not live. The truth is rather that Charnock was from Blackburn, and dressed his team in the same colours as the team he supported: Blackburn Rovers. Further west, the influence was naturally more central European.

Lviv was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire when, in , it hosted the first football match played on what is now Ukrainian soil, a brief exhibition during a demonstration of sports by the Sokol Sports Club. By the time a national league was established in , the British were long gone the expatriate dominance of Soviet football ended in when Sport, a Russian team, won the Aspeden Cup, the local St Petersburg competition , but the early lingered as the default.

The coming of the national league perhaps would have led to more sophisticated analysis of the game anyway, but the trigger for development was the arrival of a Basque side on the first leg of a world tour aimed at raising awareness of the Basque cause during the Spanish Civil War. Predictably, if ridiculously, after making a series of fine saves, the hero runs the length of the field in the final minute to score the winner.

Their final game in Russia saw them face Spartak, the reigning champions. Starostin decided to match the Basques shape-for-shape, converting his centre-half into a third back to try to restrict the influence of Isodro Langara, the Basque centre-forward. As Starostin records in his book Beginnings of Top-level Football, the move was far from popular, with the most vocal opponent being the centre-half, his brother Andrei. Who will help the attack?

You are destroying the tactic that has been played out for years A couple of years earlier, injuries on a tour of Norway had forced them to tinker with their usual It was a huge risk. There were letters, telegrams, calls giving us advice and wishing us good luck.

I was summoned to several bosses of different ranks and they explained that the whole of the country was waiting on our victory. Twice in the first half they took the lead, only for the Basques to level but, after Shylovskyi had converted a controversial fifty- seventh-minute penalty, they ran away with it, Vladimir Stepanov completing a hat-trick in a win.

That defeat proved an aberration. The deficiencies of Soviet football are particularly intolerable as there are no young people like ours in other countries, young people embraced by the care, attention and love of the party and government. The matches against the Basques have been highly beneficial to our players long passes, playing on the flanks, heading the ball.

The lessons of the Basques, though, were not forgotten. It took time for the calls for increased involvement in international sport to be heeded, but it had been recognised that the W-M offered a number of intriguing possibilities. The man who seized upon them most eagerly was Boris Arkadiev. Already highly regarded, he gradually established himself as the first great Soviet theorist of football. His book, Tactics of Football, was for years regarded as a bible for coaches across Eastern Europe.

Born in St Petersburg in , Arkadiev moved to Moscow after the Revolution, where, alongside a respectable playing career, he taught fencing at the Mikhail Frunze Military Academy. It was fencing, he later explained, with its emphasis on parry-riposte, that convinced him of the value of counterattacking.

There, his restless mind and fertile imagination - not to mention his habit of taking his players on tours of art galleries before big games - soon gained him a reputation for eccentric brilliance. His first season brought the league and cup double, but he had to rethink his tactics as the lessons of the Basques revolutionised Soviet football.

With Lavrenty Beria, the notorious head of the KGB and the patron of the club, desperate for success, drastic action was required. Others might have gone back to basics, but not Arkadiev: he took things further. He was convinced that the key was less the players he had than the way they were arranged, and so, in February , at a pre-season training camp in the Black Sea resort of Gagry, he took the unprecedented step of spending a two- hour session teaching nothing but tactics.

His aim, he said, was a refined variant of the W-M. To be absolutely honest, some players started to roam for reasons that had nothing to do with tactics. Sometimes it was simply because he had great strength, speed or stamina that drew him out of his territorial area, and once he had left his home, he began to roam around the field.

So you had four players [of the five forwards] who would hold an orthodox position and move to and fro in their channels, and then suddenly you would have one player who would start to disrupt their standard movements by running diagonally or left to right. That made it difficult for the defending team to follow him, and the other forwards benefited because they had a free team-mate to whom they could pass.

On 4 June, playing a rapid, close-passing style, Dinamo beat Dynamo Kyiv They went on to win the return in Ukraine , and then, in the August, they hammered the defending champions Spartak Their final seven games of the season brought seven wins, with twenty-six goals scored and just three conceded. Our left-winger, Sergei Ilyin, scored most of his goals from the centre-forward position, our right-winger, Mikhail Semichastny, from inside-left and our centre-forward, Sergei Soloviov, from the f lanks.

The most common solution was to impose strict man-to-man marking, to which Arkadiev responded by having his players interchange positions even more frequently. He was speaking rather of the transition from the simple zonal game of the , in which one full-back would take the left-side and one the right, to the strict system of the W-M, in which each player knew clearly which player he was supposed to be marking the right- back on the left-wing, the left-half on the insideright, centre-back on centre- forward etc.

In England this had happened almost organically as the W-M developed; with the W-M arriving fully formed in the USSR, there was, inevitably, a period of confusion as the defensive ramifications were taken on board. Very gradually, one of the halves took on a more defensive role, providing extra cover in front of the back three, which in turn meant an inside-forward dropping to cover him. It was a slow process, and it would be taken further more quickly on the other side of the globe, but was on the way to becoming Axel Vartanyan, the esteemed historian of Soviet football, even believes it probable that Arkadiev was the first man to deploy a flat back four.

Chelsea were only eleventh in the Southern Division - a full resumption of the league programme still being several months away - and struggled to a fortuitous draw, but their comparative lack of sophistication was clear. Just as Sindelar had tormented England by dropping deep, just as Nandor Hidegkuti would, so Konstantin Beskov bewildered Chelsea by refusing to operate in the area usually occupied by a forward.

I have never seen football played like it. It was a Chinese puzzle to try to follow the players in their positions as it was given [sic] in the programme. As for its entertainment value - well, some of those who have been cheering their heads off at our league matches must wonder what they are shouting about. Temart Mams Baouzzi t? Bobrov Kartsev t? It may be an easy metaphor to speak of Communist football being built around the team as a unit with the players mere cogs within it, as opposed to the British game that allowed for greater self-expression, but that does not mean there is no truth to it.

There is no individualist in their side such as a [Stanley] Matthews or a [Raich] Carter. They play to a plan, repeating it over and over again, and they show little variation. It would be quite easy to find a counter-method to beat them. This lack of an individualist is a great weakness. Mikhail Yakushin, who had replaced Arkadiev as coach of Dinamo, seemed just as keen to peddle the ideological line as the British press.

In Britain, this was a revolutionary thought, and it raises an intriguing theory. Broadly speaking, although Bob McGory attempted to replicate the passovotchka style at Stoke City to little success - perhaps not surprisingly, given the presence of Matthews in his side - the lessons of the Dinamo tour were ignored.

In terms of the reliance on wingers to provide the artistry, it was right. The irony, of course, is that Herbert Chapman, the progenitor of the W-M, had been deeply suspicious of wing-play. His system, the first significant tactical development in the English game in almost half a century, had initially circumvented wingers, and yet it ended up being set in stone by them: the very aspect with which his innovation had done away returned to preclude further innovation.

For managers with such players, sticking with the tried and tested was the logical thing to do. That might have been marketing hyperbole, but no other game has so resonated through the history of English football. England had lost to foreign opposition before - most humiliatingly to the USA in the World Cup three years earlier - but, other than a defeat to the Republic of Ireland at Goodison Park in , never at home, where climate, conditions and refereeing offered no excuse.

They had certainly never been so outclassed. Tom Finney, injured and watching from the press-box, was left reaching for the equine metaphor Gabriel Hanot had used thirty years earlier. Their thinking had, inevitably, been influenced by Hugo Meisl and the Danubian Whirl, but the crucial point was that it was thinking. In Budapest, as in Vienna, football was a matter for intellectual debate.

Aside from the negativity to which it leant itself, the major effect of the prevailing conception of the W-M was to shape the preferred mode of centre- forward. But just as there would have been no place for Der Papierene in England in the thirties, so beefy target-men were thin on the ground in s Hungary.

That was troublesome, for had yielded to W-M in the minds of all but a few idealists: there was a need either for Hungary to start developing an English style of centre-forward, or to create a new system that retained the defensive solidity of the W-M without demanding a brawny focal point to the attack. Gradually, as the centre-forward dropped deeper and deeper to become an auxiliary midfielder, the two wingers pushed on, to create a fluid front four. Peter had never had a hard shot, but he was never expected to score goals, and though he wore the No.

Positioning himself in midfield, Peter collected passes from his defence, and simply kept his wingers and inside-forwards well supplied with passes With Palotas withdrawing from centre-forward his play clashed with that of the wing-halves, so inevitably one was withdrawn to play a tight defensive game, while the other linked with Palotas as midfield foragers.

Sebes had made the switch before, in friendlies against Italy and Poland, leading the radio commentator Gyorgy Szepesi to conclude that he was experimenting to see whether Hidegkuti, by then thirty, was fit enough to fulfil the withdrawn role. Hungary came back to win , and so influential was Hidegkuti that his position became unassailable. He was, in modern terminology, simply an attacking midfielder.

In the front line the most frequent goalscorers were Puskas and [Sandor] Kocsis, the two inside-forwards, and they positioned themselves closer to the enemy goal than was usual with After a brief experience with this new framework Gusztav Sebes decided to ask the two wingers to drop back a little towards midfield, to pick up the passes to be had from Bozsik and myself, and this added the final touch to the tactical development.

Their players had, after all, grown up in a culture where the number denoted the position. The right-winger, the No. So fundamental was this that the television commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme felt compelled in the opening minutes of the game to explain the foreign custom to his viewers. And, more pertinently, what was a centre-half to do if the centre-forward kept disappearing off towards the halfway line?

In the end Johnston was caught between the two stools, and Hidegkuti scored a hat-trick. Their whole system and style of play was alien. If that sends a shudder of embarrassment down the modern English spine, it is nothing to what Frank Coles wrote in the Daily Telegraph on the morning of the game.

The match showed the clash of two formations and, as often happens, the newer, more developed formation prevailed. England were slow to react to the problems and certainly negligent in failing to address them ahead of the rematch in Budapest six months later , but it is hard to ar"e that their manager Walter Winterbottom picked the wrong tactics on the day. The problem, rather, was endemic. One has talked about the new conception of football as developed by the continentals and South Americans.

Always the main criticism against the style has been its lack of a final punch near goal. One has thought at times, too, that perhaps the perfection of football was to be found somewhere between the hard-hitting, open British method and this other more probing infiltration. Yesterday, the Hungarians, with perfect teamwork, demonstrated this midpoint to perfection.

AV Football, of course, is not played on the blackboard. However sound the system, success on the pitch requires compromise between - in the best case, stems from a symbiosis of - the theory and the players available. Fluidity is all very well, but, of course, the more fluid a team is, the harder it is to retain the structures necessary to defend. That is where Sebes excelled. He was so concerned with detail that he had his side practise with the heavier English balls and on a training pitch with the same dimensions as Wembley, and his notebook shows a similar care for the tactical side of the game.

Puskas had licence to roam, while Bozsik, notionally the right-half, was encouraged to push forwards to support Hidegkuti. That required a corresponding defensive presence, which was provided by the left-half, Zakarias, who, in the tactical plan for the game Sebes sketched in his notebook, appears so deep he is almost playing between the two full-backs.

And yet the Aranycsapat remained forever unfulfilled. A system thought up to free the centre-forward from the clutches of a marker fell down when the marker was moved closer to him. Perhaps, though, they paid as well for a defensive frailty. Even allowing for the attacking standards of the time, the Hungarian defence was porous.

The three they conceded to West Germany meant they had let in ten in the tournament, while in they leaked eleven goals in a six-game run that culminated in the win at Wembley. Zakarias, still notionally a midfielder, did not play deep enough to provide the extra cover that would have allowed a full-back to remain tighter to the winger he was supposed to be marking.

Inverting the Pyramid has been called the "Big Daddy" Zonal Marking of soccer tactics books; it is essential for any coach, fan, player, or fantasy manager of the beautiful game. Wilson is the founder and editor of the soccer quarterly the Blizzard , writes for the Guardian, FoxSoccer , and Sports Illustrated , and is a columnist for World Soccer.

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