Thursday, September 07, 2006

AKA "The Boot(htroyd) 'n Scoot"

Boothroyd defends style of play

Now, I know that Boothroyd, like all managers in all sports, is required to defend his team against all comers, to present an united front, the better to improve team spirit, etc. etc. and that in doing so, it is perfectly expected to say that black is white, that the sun is made out of ice and that there really is a point to interviewing sports figures.

However, to compare Watford and their, shall we say, less than scintillating game to that played by Brazil or even Chelsea (who deserve all of the stick that they get for being an overly physical and essentially mind-numbing side) is well, pull the other one, it's got bells on.

There's a difference between a 70-yard cross-pass from fullback to fullback and lumping ball after ball upfield in the hopes that somebody with an overactive pituary gland might be able to knock somebody over and bloop the ball to somebody to thump in the general direction of goal. One is the use of playing the ball through the air to take advantage of open space. The other is a confession to being unable to pull off basic football skills in the face of superior competiton and is the usual fallback for teams that are outmatched by their opposition.

Such as, say, Manchester United. I wonder if you showed the recent match between the Red Devils and Watford to 100 people, even people who have absolutely no experience with the sport, how many of them would say that the two teams played the same style.

I'm guessing that it wouldn't be that many.

Note to Boothroyd: your team plays crappy football. It's nothing to be particularly ashamed of, because it got you up and it's not like you'd last very long trying to play like Arsenal with your current squad. Just don't feed us 1980s English Route One direct play (or "Drilloball", if you prefer references to eccentrically boring Norwegians) and tell us that it's The Beautiful Game.

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