Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ballad of Cable Hogue

That was a decent enough start for England last night, and they played as anyone who has ever watched  a Hodgson team thought they would. At the time, I was reasonably happy, but as night has turned to morning and I've listened to phone ins and read and heard reports, I am wearying of it all. The consensus, especially from ex players and the professional pundits, is that it was a superbly disciplined performance and we did brilliantly to keep France at bay. Where people have dissented, and said that it was bloody tedious to watch, they have been ridiculed……….the wise ones say, hah, how idiotic, play more openly and you will get ripped apart, As is often the case with football debates, people can only entertain extremes. It is shit, or it is bust.

The style didn't surprise me, and, given that we all knew what was coming, it didn't disappoint me. If that's the way we are going to play,we may as well do it well, and we did do it well, especially as it was Hodgson's first competitive game. As was the case when Eck managed Blues, I live in hope that as the players become more attuned to each other and the system, the relationships between defenders, midfielders and forwards will become more fluid and cohesive. I live in hope that we will play on our toes, rather than our heels. My dreams never came true with Eck, but Hodgson has much better players at his disposal; I would hope that their own sense of dignity and self worth will compel them to offer more of a threat.

I have nothing against teams playing to their strengths, whatever they are, and I have nothing against managers analysing the opposition and working out ways in which to nullify the threats they pose, but, there has to come a point when you pose a threat of your own. These are games being played at the highest level, you cannot just play for set pieces, you have to be able to offer a surprise, to work out how to unsettle the opposition. France didn't look all that good last night, perhaps because we didn't let them, but the thought nags with me that if we had attacked with just a bit more purpose, or cohesion, we may have won.

Playing defensively is no guarantee of success. Just because Chelsea pulled off a bit of a coup doesn't mean that England will. Big media is being very kind towards Hodgson this morning, but if we go out having achieved 3 dogged draws the tide will turn….. it's OK to be defensive when you are the underdog, as we were perceived to be last night,  I recall some heroic 0-0 draws under Eck, but, if that style is your default position whatever the opposition, and you fail, life becomes uncomfortable. Just ask Big Fucking Eck.

People are commenting on Alan Shearer's new found desire to gurn idiotically every time a camera is pointed at him. Someone needs to tell him to desist……..it's the scariest grin since Jack Nicholson in The Shining. It's one thing being allowed to travel the world at licence payers expense, saying not very much at all; it's quite another to induce nightmares in the children of the nation.

Reactive football can be thrilling

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