The Football Tactics Paradigm

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In defence of the Alan’s and their punditry, The False Nine debutant, Elko Born, tackles the myth of the football manager… 

These days, whoever is tired of hearing Alan Shearer and Alan Hansen repeat chewed down, romantic cliché’s every Saturday and Sunday night needs not to worry.

It’s 2013, and only a few clicks or swipes separate the modern football fan from a vast array of carefully thought out football theory. From hypotheses about the advent of the ‘false nine’ to discussions  on the merits of high pressing; on the internet, it’s all out there in abundance, nicely laid out in articles written by amateurs and professionals alike. Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #11 – Soviet Union

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Andy Shenk provides a modern day Soviet Union XI…

It’s been over 20 years since the Soviet Union splintered into 15 independent nations, but memories of the socialist state’s military might and vast expanse linger in the region’s consciousness. Links between Moscow and Belarus, Eastern Ukraine, Transdniestria and the controversial Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia remain strong, while anti-Russian sentiment in cities such as Lviv, Tallinn and Tbilisi may never abate.

Football, much like the other Olympic sports, the arts, science and technology, magnified the achievements and the failures of the Soviet state. From an empire struggling to rebuild following forty years of unrelenting war, famine and violent repression, the Soviet national team emerged in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics as one of the most dominant squads in the world, winning that tournament as well as the 1960 European Championships, advancing to the Euro finals in 1964 and 1972, and finishing 4th at the 1966 World Cup. Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #10 – The Premier League in Turkey

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Paddy Spicer Ward offers up an XI of footballers currently in Turkey, who have also played in England…

This team has a number of players that have headed East during the twilight of their careers – no doubt attracted by the stacks of cash – but in the same way it oozes with experience. Along with their Premier League experience, a number have competed at the highest level, played in Champions League finals and even the World Cup Final. Whilst the line up may lack that yard of pace, the old heads in the team and wealth of experience will provide a match for anyone. Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #9 – The Hipsters

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Kyle Hulme brings the latest craze, the hipster footballers XI…

In recent weeks one particular phrase that has been popping up in football journalism and podcasts is the notion of a “football hipster”, someone who doesn’t conform to traditional football fan behaviour by supporting obscure teams in leagues you’ve never heard of. Well, we here at The False Nine have gone a step further and have compiled an XI of footballers who themselves are worthy of “hipster” status for one reason for another.  Continue reading

The Quadruple Gervinho

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John Guillem investigates the delight and infuriation of Arsenal forward Gervinho…

I’ve always liked Gervinho – that is, since I first noticed him on football manager. That was back when he and Eljero Elia were the go-to speedy wingmen to be had for about 12 mill; unfortunately, I had to settle for the cheaper option of Arda Turan, who actually turned out rather well. At that, in the “real” world Turan is clearly the best of those three at this point in time – what the hell happened to Elia after his promising appearances in the 2010 World Cup? I guess Juventus did, whilst they were still cursed1 – this in spite of the promise Gervinho was showing between 2009-11.

‘What went wrong?’ I don’t like these kinds of questions, as within them they contain a huge amount of reduction and misdirection (which is another way of saying that they’re bloody stupid), but perhaps this article will get somewhere on that score. Continue reading

Utility and Versatility – What’s the difference?

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After his exploration of the role of the utility manDavid Wild looks to establish the difference between utility and versatility…

What makes a utility man and what makes a versatile player? At first glance it is easy to confuse the two. If we look at a utility man he is capable of playing in several different positions. So he must be versatile.

To borrow a philosophical thought experiment, let’s look at the two terms in a syllogism. Is a utility player always versatile? Yes. Can we infer therefore that all versatile players are utility men? This doesn’t seem to work as well. Continue reading

Hypothetical XI #8 – Spain in the Premier League

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Joe Bookbinder brings us a Hypothetical XI comprised of Premier League Spaniards…

There is nothing new in the fact that this generation of Spanish footballers represents a decent bunch of players. In fact, some may go as far as to argue they are a “Golden generation”. Best in Europe? Yes. Best in the World? Probably. The general rule, tried, tested and accepted is that if you do not play for Barcelona or Real Madrid you have very little chance of representing your country. If you play outside of Spain altogether your chances are further diminished.

So spare a thought for the just-above-average motley crew of Spanish players who lighten up the Premier League every weekend. Playing the in vogue 4-2-3-1 this team would a force to be reckoned with come every other June/July.  Continue reading