Four years ago this week, we started The False Nine in the hope of creating an alternative platform for football writing.
There were several blogs out there already proposing a similar purpose – sites like In Bed With Maradona, The Inside Left and A Football Report were doing interesting things and we took inspiration from them.
Four years on though, it’s fair to say that the football writing landscape has changed significantly. There’s been a greater demand for quality, long-form writing that goes beyond the bread and butter of match reports and transfer rumours.
Publications like the Blizzard have gone from strength to strength, and have even published work by writers from this very site.
We’ve also seen greater recognition for tactical writing and statistical analysis, with sites like Squawka and WhoScored boasting coverage to rival the football supplements of broadsheets and tabloids alike.
With these trends in mind, we’ll be revisiting some of our old articles from over the years and looking at where we got it right – and wrong. What do our observations since 2012 tell us about the direction the game is taking?
Named as we are after the tactical trend that saw Spain soar to a third successive tournament triumph, the overwhelmingly possession-based dogma of that summer has become outdated and largely given way with counter-attacking again on the rise.
A promising but unproven young French midfielder left Manchester United for Juventus that summer, and has returned to Old Trafford four years on as the most expensive footballer in world football. The biggest deal of that transfer window saw Robin van Persie trade Arsenal for United, and with it inspire Sir Alex Ferguson to his final Premier League title in his 27 years at the helm.
This summer the Premier League’s window spending has surpassed £1b for the first time. Much has changed, and yet we endeavour to carry on.
As well as this, we’ll be dishing out our usual share of TFN nostalgia and looking back at some of the key events in our footballing memories, while keeping a watchful eye over the current trends in the modern game.