Valdano the Vandal

Geebo responds to former Real Madrid and Argentinian star Jorge Valdano’s comments in the press today:

SEEMS to me pretty adapt that the man spewing verbal diarrhea on Liverpool and Chesea for ‘œvandalising’ European football, is the one with the apt name: Valdano: Vandalo: Vandal! The word vandalism derives from an ancient tribe that was famed for plundering. As the ex-Argentinian player vandalises English football, let’s haver a look at what he said, and, and, in turn, ‘œvandalise’ what he says? Well, maybe I wont, but I will remove his Euro-jealousy glasses, prod him, and tell the story as it really is. So let’s start with his verbal diarrhea.

Chelsea and Liverpool are the clearest, most exaggerated example of the way football is going: very intense, very collective, very tactical, very physical, and very direct,” he added. “But, a short pass? Noooo. A feint? Noooo. A change of pace? Noooo. A one-two? A nutmeg? A backheel? Don’t be ridiculous. None of that. The extreme control and seriousness with which both teams played the semi-final neutralised any creative licence, any moments of exquisite skill.

“If Didier Drogba was the best player in the first match it was purely because he was the one who ran the fastest, jumped the highest and crashed into people the hardest. Such extreme intensity wipes away talent, even leaving a player of Joe Cole’s class disoriented. If football is going the way Chelsea and Liverpool are taking it, we had better be ready to wave goodbye to any expression of the cleverness and talent we have enjoyed for a century.”

Okay, now for the truth.

1.Liverpool and Chelsea played each other in the charity shield, twice in the league, four times in the Champions league. I make the last meeting the seventh time we have met this season. I state here and now that any two top teams from anywhere in the world who played each other seven times, and conclude it with two legs of a knockout competition that would decide who goes in the record books and who not, they would have played as it the same. NO other teams under the same conditions would have played any differently. European finals were always famed for years for being dull affairs. Who was it who destroyed this monotony? Yes! Liverpool in Istanbul!

It is a fundemental fact in football that when two teams meet so often in a season, the games get closer and closer and more boring. Vandano has either no idea how often Chelsea and Liverpool have met (in which case he is very ill prepared to throw insults at us) or he knows how often they have met and ignored it or didn’t think it relevant which makes him a brainless moron who has no idea of football.

2. A quick look at the history of European football over the last 30 years shows more mistakes in his outburst:

Firstly, the league that dominates in Europe attracts the top players and they often cancel each other out and make games more tactical than exciting. Look at Italy in the 80’s and 90’s. It was the top league and the most boring of all time! There games always ended 1-0 or 0-0. England is now the top European league, and the games are closer, but nowhere near as boring as Italian football STILL is! But then again, jealousy of English football was always prevalent in Europe.

Secondly, It was Liverpool revolutionary style of playing with midfield trained centre halves, and top fit players that changed European football in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Liverpool, arguably, led the way in skillful football.

3. Speed

Football has got massively faster. Players used to have two seconds on the ball, then one, then a half second. Over thrity years the time has reduced to the nothing of now. Ponder your next move for more than 0.1 seconds and it will be taken away by the opposition. Now, since the hard and fast English game has been combined with Europes top managers and trainers, the players have 0.1 seconds on the ball. They have no time at all. This is NOT a feature of English football, it is English football, again, leading the way in the development of world football.

The Premiership is the hardest league with the most competitive matches in the world. Everyone loves watching Stanley Mathews on the ball, Ian Callaghan, Steve Heighway, Kenny Dalglish. But these players had TIME. They had time to do all the fancy things that Valdano thinks should still be a part of football. They had time to think about doing them, and carry them out. Someone like Luis Garcia, or Steven Gerrard, or Harry Kewell DOESN’T have this time anymore. Watching Garcia execute his moves it like watching a gymnast on the parallel bars, singing god save the queen, balancing a plate of beans on a snooker cue and hopping!

These players move, think, twist, sway in the blink of an eye. It is the nearest think to perpetual motion. What they do is continually mobile football. They are in the air, or mobile when they get the ball, they change speed, direction, juggle around with the ball whilst moving and pass it perfectly to the next: But all within the flash of an eye. Not the two seconds that Valdano had. Football today, in England has the most skillful players EVER to grace football fields. We curse a lot when passes go astray, but these passes and made under intense pressure from defenders, in a split second. The passes are extremely risky. All the skill Valdano talks about (nutmegs etc) are all still carried out in British football, they are done so fast, that people like Valdano can be forgiven for blinking and missing them. But the Anfield faithful see them, which makes the next comments all the more insulting:

“Shit on a stick”

“Football is made up of subjective feeling, of suggestion – and, in that, Anfield is unbeatable. Put a shit hanging from a stick in the middle of this passionate, crazy stadium and there are people who will tell you it’s a work of art. It’s not: it’s a shit hanging from a stick.’

So all the people of Anfield and every Liverpool fan watching are deluded? Can’t tell good football from crap football? Let me tell you sonny’¦We invented good football!

It is rather sad when a famous footballer degrades by resorting to insults. A sure sign that he has no arguments, but unlike him, I will keep my comments to the facts of the matter and not do the same to him. But surely such comments don’t belong in football.

Tactics and brains

Remember the big clumbersome centre halfs. The last dinosaur who died out twenty years after the rest was Adams. Do you remember Owen duping him in the FA cup final?

Everybody knows the story of Liverpool either putting midfielders in central defence (Thompson) or training central defenders in midfield (Jack Hobbs, our reserve captain is a centre half but played most of the season in midfield). Liverpool led the way in making football MORE skillful. Finnan, Riise, Carragher and Agger may be hard, but they all have more footballing skills that most players did 20 years ago, and that is in no small part to the role Liverpool played in the 70’s and 80’s.

Rafa’s tactical finess means that brains replace brawl in the modern game, whlist preserving toughness and desire to win.

“The lives of Mourinho and Benítez ‘¦ have two things in common: a previously denied, hitherto unsatisfied hunger for glory, and a desire to have everything under control. Both of those things stem from one key factor: neither Mourinho nor Benítez made it as a player.”

Utter bollocks

Wenger? Ferguson? Crap players and successful managers. Shankly and Paisley, whilst being excellent players, excelled more as trainers. Dalglish- successful player and successful trainer. Keegan? Excellent player: Crap trainer! It has nothing to do with whether a trainer has played football or not. A person who has played has arguably more inside knowledge of the game, someone not so successful can also gain a lot of knowledge. Someone coming from outside may have more time to study and learn (as Rafa did) and every trainer needs the right mentality. Every player wants to win things and are dissapointed when not, but most people, including Rafa Benitez get over this. Noone can be successful if they carry around the baggage of unsatisfied desires from a past life. That is an insult to the intelligence of Rafa. He studied, he learned about football and football psychology. He worked with Madrid youth and reserve teams. He discovered and trained top players. He developed a system of management that combined his studies, man- management, top physical training methods, computer analysed tactics and methods, database player control. He has taken football management on to a new level.

The irony is. Half the premiership are so shit scared of our team that they spend 90 minutes standing in their own penalty area refusing to play football. They know if they leave the safety of there half, we will tear them apart with flowing,precise, breath taking football.

As for Rafa having a ‘œcontrol’ problem. That is just a amateur dabaling with psychological terminology, like a monkey on a computer. He had better leave his ‘œo’ level psychology course remarks for people who know the hell what they are talking about. Rafa’s man management is the hallmark of someone who has a degree in sports psychology and man management. It would be pretty much below his level to answer such comments.

And Valdano? Only won the league as manager of Real Madrid and was quickly shifted on. And his success came on the rise of the Galactico team: One of the worst adverts football has ever had, which reminds me: Pot calling the kettle black. Or, ex-Real Madrid player and coach insults the team that is slowly catching them up in European cup winning terms and leads the way in European success this century so far with the display of the century in Istanbul’¦.
To quote psychologist, Henry Havelock Eliss, if football were love:

‘œJealousy, that dragon which slays love under the pretence of keeping it alive.’