“Football Philosophy“, What comes to your mind when you hear this phrase? For some of us, it would be pretentious nonsense that is needlessly attached to a game of kicking a ball in a net. Understandable though, the rationale behind such a thought, it is an unjust simplification of the beautiful game. Football is blessed with such amazing subjectivity that anyone who chooses to put their heart in it, adds his own personality and customizes the very nature of it, according to his thought processes, morals, and world view. This subjectivity is what captivates every lover of this game for may it be a player, a manager, the coaching staff, the ground staff even the tea lady. Everybody is in it for the love and the direction they feel they can impart to this constant flowing concept of football.
This concept like everything else can be changed according to our own understanding and capacity of imagination. You can be a kindergarten pass out in the thought of football and think, “what’s the fuss? Kick it long to the big man. He’ll either hold it up or score “. You may have completed school and think, “Fast? Counter, Slow? Possession”. There is nothing wrong in being limited in ability and thought. The fault comes when the school pass out thinks that the graduates, professors, and doctors of the game are just muddying the water and his concepts are sufficient and complete. This can be equated to someone who uses equalizer presets and says that the music cannot be modified in any other way. This is just the start, the true artist never sticks to a preset, he/she never wants to be limited by a preconceived idea that puts barriers on where their thoughts can roam.
Football Philosophy is your method of creating art, an art that is so personal, that no other art renders the artist as naked as watching his football does. It may be Guardiola‘s perfectionist approach to not let a single movement go waste. The legendary Marcelo Bielsa‘s verticality (a method that prescribes fast rapid forward passes whilst keeping possession, such that no pass is mindlessly risky to gift the opposition, the possession but neither sideways or backward, fast possession), rapid pressing and respecting the value of passes. Nobody though lived this concept as much as Cesar Luis Menotti. A man with the vision of a perfect footballing ideal. A man whose football was supposed to be whimsical, brilliant and enchanting. His philosophy and systems provided freedom, he rejected the so-called ‘Right-Wing’ football of hardship and sacrifices. He made the football ‘his’. The football matches he played were already won in his head, the process of the ball hitting the back of the net was a formality. The fruit of this mulling, the joy of football wasn’t the goal, the elation that the audience experienced transporting them away from their daily mundane grind, Is what it is all about.
This last line sums up Philosophy in football, it is all the things that you can change, imagine, wonder and think of till the ball hits the back of the net. It is like a machine with infinite controls, it is up to you to choose how many controls you use. There are infinite parameters at your disposal, it is your job, how you use them, how you hit the back of the net with them. Once you have given the spectators, a part of you, given them something that is yours, they will appreciate it; Buy into it. Suspend their disbelief, forget the job that they have to go next morning, ignore the bills they might have to pay, their landlord’s screams to pay up might subside a bit in their head. You will have transported them into a fanciful wonderland, a moment of joy that is temporary, yet permanent in their psyche. It is all up to you, football philosophers, If you choose to give your audience the bliss of ignorance from their reality or bore them to death.
The Europa League today is filled with some excitement. It’s match day 4 and the Aqu…