The Need For Style

Paul Grech Monday, July 22, 2013 , ,
Given that he had a team that contained the talents of David de Gea, Thiago Alcantara, Iker Muniain and Isco, it is tempting to assume that Julen Lopetegui's job as the Spanish Under 21 manager is a fairly easy one.  Yet there was more to Spain as they won their second consecutive European title then a collection of talented players; their typical play based on short passing and intense pressure placed those talents in a position to excel.

Again, the temptation is there to generalise and assume that a Spanish national team playing that kind of football is a given; that it is automatic.  Yet it is not.  Players spend only a fraction of their time with the national team and during such restricted time-frames it is practically impossible for them to 'learn' a method of playing.

So how do Spain manage to play in that manner?  An explanation was provided in part by Lopetegui himself who said "We have a crystal clear philosophy on how to play football...ultimately for all Spanish national team football  we want to have many players near the ball, and we want players with great technical repertoire. That is why we include players with these qualities."

The rest of the article can be found on Blueprint for Football.

Sports Book Chat: Paul Brown

Every day, professional writers and amateur bloggers (as well as amateur writers and professional bloggers) write tens of thousands of words analysing every aspect of every level of the game of football.  Sadly, most of this writing deals with utterly predictable and uninteresting transfer chatter (which is often the work of an overactive imagination) where the only aim is to rack up hits. 

Indeed, the most provocative and stimulating stuff is normally that which deals with topics that aren’t mainstream; articles about or interviews with people who don’t normally attract the spotlight.

In that respect, it is unlikely that anyone will accuse Paul Brown of looking for easy hits.  His last two books deal with football in the Victorian era and in some instances they appear to deal with a completely different ball game.

Yet it is definitely the same game, and it is equally unquestionable that these books make for a surprisingly excellent and entertaining read.  For proof, just read the following interview to see how Liverpool’s birth was reported and why the club’s name could have been so different.

Don’t Make Work-Life Balance Your Goal

Work-life balance.  

I hate that phrase and all that it implies.  

When you're trying to balance something against another, what you're doing is trying to fight off gravity's pull on those two things.  Is that really how we want to view things?  Is there anything that, when put on the other side of the scale can act as a counter-weight to your family?

More than the semantics of it all, I hate how we’ve been fooled into allowing the ‘work-life balance’ myth to gain credibility; how there are those who push it as though it were the goal which all parents should strive to achieve.  For me, there is no such thing as work-life balance; there is work and there is life.  Thinking that you can ever get to a point where the former does not impinge on the latter is an illusion.
Copyright 2010 Paul Grech: Writer