Was football better?

Chat about football that isn't Everton in here
blueToffee
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wepull wrote: Wed Jan 10, 2024 8:24 pm Pep would go down as one of the best managers of all times but he has definitely played a big part in making football more mechanical. A lot of times it feels like a game of chess than free flowing football. I know a lot of people will hate me saying this but the current Liverpool side is very agressive and quite direct in terms of creating chances which makes their game more watchable that city's or Arsenal's games.
Man City and last season Arsenal could be a great watch in fairness.

However, this year I feel I could watch an Arsenal game in particular whilst reading a book or something because you don't have to look up to know what they're doing half the time.

I think their game the other day against West Ham it felt like they had no invention on the pitch it was just the same thing again and again and seeing as West Ham had no reason to change it all felt so predictable.
biziclop
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My theory is that It all comes down to free flow of information.

Older fans will still remember what it was like when you had these legendary players who you'd only see in international tournaments or the odd televised European Cup game. Now you can see their every game all year round. (And they're playing a heck of a lot more games.)

Similarly, sports and fitness science has become much more accessible to everyone, which made players significantly fitter, but that resulted in turning football much more into a physical contest, rarely leaving any space for players who used to survive on their wits, skills or agility alone. Can you imagine Le Tissier playing these days anywhere higher than League One? Even someone like Arjen Robben would probably struggle. You've got to be almost a Messi-level talent to make it. (This is one reason I really like top-level women's football, as that transition hasn't happened there yet.)

Next, we have scouting data. In the past a new signing would often be an almost completely unknown quantity, certainly to us fans, but often to the coaches as well, they'd go with their gut instincts and the reports the scouts would write up after seeing a handful of games. Of course managers still fuck up signings but we can easily see hour-long youtube compilations of anyone linked with us.

And lastly there is all the match and training data. The amount of data collected and distributed about a single match today would've sounded insane twenty years ago. And it should come as no surprise that performance analysts working with the same data and largely similar algorithms tend to reach similar conclusions, making the game (at least on the top level) far more uniform. It's unlikely we'll ever see someone like Rehhagel do what he did with Greece in 2004, bringing back two obsolete concepts (man-marking and sweepers) and making them work again, although admittedly in this case that's probably a good thing as they were dull as fuck to watch. But the point is, there's much less space for a manager to try out something revolutionary and shock the world with it.
MayorFarnham
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Agree with all of the above. One thing that I feel also dulls competition is that scouting and information systems are so sophisticated these days that the best players are identified earlier so end up at the big clubs before their career has started.
Once they are at big clubs they are beyond the reach of about 95% of all clubs because of the contracts they are on.
Jamokachi
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Bluedylan1 wrote: Tue Jan 09, 2024 8:16 pm I think the overwhelmingly biggest factor is money. As with wider society in the UK, the rich-poor divide has grown massively, and football as an industry is subject to the same forces that other industries are.

Under capitalism, the purpose and the goal of an entity is to make the most money, always keep growing, eradicate all opposition, remove competition and remove risk. Football clubs behave that way now, because they are such big business. The richest clubs would've happily left for the Super League and ended all competition for ever in a closed shop. There is no concern for the ''health of the game'' or a sustainable football pyramid. Under hyper capitalism, those corporations are really behaving as they should - maximising profit, eradicate the opposition and any sense of competition.

And in a different way, they actually already have a closed shop anyway. If a football club innovates and challenges the power structure with huge overachievement (Dortmund, Monaco, Brighton) they quickly get cannibalised by the richest clubs and they eventually return to the pack.

So yeah, football was better in the past, in the most important areas - the sport, the competition and the meritocracy aspect of it.

We've had a lot of improvements and innovations that have made the game better (less racism, less homophobia, more opportunities for women, less hooliganism etc etc), but the corporatisation of the sport has damaged it beyond compare.

Kids all over the country (and the world) aren't that bothered about following their local team, unless their local team is one of the giants. The entire point of football was that your local club was the representation of your local community, and then you pit your skills against other teams and communities. The club was an embodiment of certain values and was shaped by historical, geographical and political factors. Now the club is Starbucks or McDonalds.

And your can't put the toothpaste back in the tube now.
Utterly depressing, but excellently put 👏
blueforyou
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Everton was better
4evablu
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"was football better"
Depends on the context your looking at it from. Was it faster? was it more skillfull? were the players better? where there too many rules ? was there no pressure on players to perform? was football a sport or a business? where managers bigger than the players and clubs? where there too many or not enough competitions being played? was there not enuff or too much financial incentives to win things? where the pitches crap as opposed to be like snooker tables so they couldn't show their skills off? Were the refs better or worse?
Like any sport it has to develop however, football was doing fine for over 100 years until a) The premier league came into force B) the revenue from TV rights came in. For me now it's too complicated by rules, regulations, finances and cheats.
WBFBTPL
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