Date: 11th September 2006 at 6:25pm
Written by:

Vital Arsenal member Professor Calculus believes negative football is killing the beautiful game. Is this a rant of fact or frustration at Arsenal’s apparent poor start to the season? Personally, I’d have to side with the Prof.

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I genuinely feel that at some stage the rules will have to be tweaked to deal with what I see as a serious problem in football. Football is entertainment, not any old rent a movie entertainment, it’s damn expensive, for the money we pay now I don’t think it is acceptable that one side is quite happy to position everyone in their own half and try to defend for a point, as long as this tactic works and is not discouraged then there will always be managers and teams who will exploit it.

Not so long back football introduced the rule which stopped keepers picking up pass backs, they did this because boring as fuck teams (including Arsenal) would simply give it to their keeper if they couldn’t see a way through or if they were under pressure, the keeper picked it up then launched it Bolton style.

When this positive no pass back rule was introduced everyone claimed it was a mistake and pointless, the usual argument about tinkering with the rules is bad etc, well the rule worked. If you actually watch recorded matches from before this rule was introduced, you can’t believe how often play was broken up by players going for the easy option of giving the ball to a pair of hands. My argument is that way too many teams are taking the easy option in the modern game of football, they are exploiting the generosity of footballs laws. Why should the most popular sport in the world be held hostage by negative teams and managers, the art of defending is of course very necessary but basing an entire game plan around stifling the opposition whilst having no ambition to go out and play is ruining the game.

If you give anyone the cheap and easy option then they will take it, that’s a fact of life and it applies to football as well. I’m saying the cheap and easy option should be discouraged by promoting and rewarding positive football. You know this country has never had a love of beautiful football, Brian Clough was the exception to the rule, he loved to play football the way it was so obviously meant to be played, but most in this country people value other attributes more so than technique and passing skills, no one in this country is going to voluntarily start playing good football but perhaps if the rules reward it, then they might be drawn towards the idea. I know that every league his it’s pros and cons, in the prem diving and cheating is considered a bad thing and not really tolerated, in Spain diving is part of the game, but no one can tell me that if Arsenal were in La Liga right now, that after three games we still would not have won, the Spanish culture demands good football, Arsenal would come up against a team who wants to out play them rather than stop them from playing.

I think the UK is a progressive place and they usually try new things first, I do think football needs some positive tweaking. Here’s a question, lets just say Arsene Wenger leaves, we’re in the post Wenger era, our new manager cares little for good football and cares only about results, we win the league George Graham / Jose Mourinho style, bore the pants off everyone and get slated by football legends who love the beautiful game, but more importantly we win the league by playing ugly stifling, sit back and hope for a set piece football. Would you care? I would, I do not under any circumstances want to go back to the George Graham days even if it means success, I would rather Arsenal remained a footballing side and stayed mid table than a boring anti-football side challenging for everything, surely at the end of the day we watch football for the love of football. If you love football then the Premiership is not the league to watch I’m afraid.


Article submitted by Professor Calculus.

Feel free to agree or counter the Prof’s argument on either the forum or via the article comments.