This book takes an informal and entertaining look at some of the most influential football coaches and teams in the game’s history as well as exploring some of the origins of football’s more well known formations and the players who were an integral part of them. By taking an informative yet informal and entertaining look at the history and evolution of football formations and tactics, the author identifies just a few of some of the pioneering figures in the early years of the game, people like Jack Hunter, the visionary coach of Blackburn Olympic who prepared his team for a crucial match by taking them to the seaside for a few days of “.hard running on the towns famous sands as well as a regular diet of oysters, and, very strictly, no beer” and the players of Queens Park FC who conceived and played tiki-taka football over a century before Pep Guardiola and his all-conquering Barcelona players were even born.
Mapping The Pitch also looks at some of the great international sides in the games history, including the Hungary team which so astonished and captivated the sporting world in the 1950’s, not least because of the role played by and exceptional ability of a player very few people will have heard of today, Nándor Hidegkuti, one of the forerunners of the position that made players like Pelé, Cruyff and Maradona so revered in the modern game. It also explores the contemporary theme within the game that sees teams enter matches with a mentality of looking not to lose rather than to win, a telling but subtle difference between football today and how it was half a century and more ago, one typified by an emphasis on midfield domination and possession–one that is not so dissimilar to the priorities teams adopted in mob football in the middle ages.
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