Let’s go toworld Cup doing it our way!
Iam certain that Sir Alex Ferguson, Rafa Benitez, Arsene Wenger and Roberto Mancini will all share certain ideals and all disagree on certain fundamentals.Yet each man has produced a trophy-winning football team. We all know that there is more than one way to skin a cat.You can travel from London to Manchester by road, rail or air. You could walk, run or ride if you had the time. There are no right or wrong ways of achieving the same outcome.
So it annoys me when I hear people talking about playing football the ‘right way’. People said that Ian Holloway played football the ‘right way’ when his Blackpool team reached the Premier League. I wonder if Ian will go about his work any differently now that he has returned to the Premier League? First time around, doing things the ‘right way’ resulted in relegation.
This week I heard Gary Johnson saying that he would be continuing to play football the ‘Yeovil way’. He would not be changing his philosophies for anybody. He knew what his teams strengths were and he intended to focus on improving those but not on changing them.
I completely get where he is coming from.
It is my strong belief that we are too focused as a nation upon winning the ‘right way’ rather than just finding our own way to win.We don’t have to copy the Brazilians or the Spanish.We don’t have to be Germany or Italy. England have always had their own strengths and, too often, I believe that we underestimate the power of playing to our strengths.
Chelsea probably didn’t deserve to be crowned European Champions when they were. But they got there nonetheless. They found a way.
As we prepare for a World Cup next summer, let’s as a nation give up on worrying about pure ideals. Let’s work out our strengths and play to those strengths. I don’t believe anybody truly relishes playing against the English.
Sir Bobby Robson took us so close in 1990 when he built a spirit, a true Bulldog spirit, into our squad. That in itself can take you a very, very long way.Yes he had good players. But the thing that stood out for me was the confidence that came from the unity in passion and pride of his players.
Egos were put to one side. The team mattered most. The country mattered more. Let’s get to the finals however we can and let’s progress at the finals doing what we are very good at doing. Brazil are notorious for their flair; Italy for their defensive organisation; Germany for their ruthless efficiency.
In 1966, England won the World Cup. Let’s remember that. And let’s remember that we played like England to win it.
TEAM SPIRIT: Bobby Robson with his 1990 World Cup squad