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Talking Point: Should Managers Feel Obligated To Play ‘Attractive’ Football?

By Chris Wright

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - West Ham United v Newcastle United - Upton Park

“I’m the king of the world!”

Serial bus-parker Jose Mourinho’s slightly hypocritical, passive-aggressive post-match spat with serial bus-parker Sam Allardyce over the requisite aesthetics of ‘bus parking’ after West Ham held Chelsea at bay last night last night made a little red LED start flashing in our heads and we thought it’d serve as good jump-off point for a new, perhaps weekly opinion thingy we’re thinking about running on Pies.

Basically, we pose a question to you, the good people of Pies, and a thoroughly enjoyable, lively debate is had by all – at least that’s the idea.

In the maiden instalment of the series, we’re asking whether or not manager’s should feel obligated to play attractive football?

Of course fans feel entitled to a decent spectacle given the exorbitant amounts of money they pay to attend such games, along with the innate assumption that these handsomely-paid professionals should probably be doing their utmost to not bore you into complete submission inside the first 20 minutes – all of which we find a tad self-entitled, if we’re completely honest.

Looking at it from the supporter’s perspective, the age old bone of contention is always going to be that if you’re paying £40-90 for a ticket, you should be able to demand that your side at least attempt to be pro-active in some regard and not go in hoping for a 0-0 draw or accepting an insurmountable defeat before kick-off.

Britain Soccer FA Cup

“Stand back, this vehicle is reversing” – Jose helps back up the Chelsea bus

Sadly, however, a football match is not “sports entertainment” as Sky Sports and their ilk would have you believe, but rather a legitimate, competitive sporting encounter.

Fans, as central as they are to the financial structuring, marketing and atmosphere of the game, really are secondary components in the whole deal – after all, any given game would still go ahead, even if no-one turned up to watch it.

The problem being, of course, that football – especially top tier and European/international football – is divvied out, packaged up and sold as a gleaming commodity for vast amounts of money so ever televised game is hyped as some kind of biblically epic gladiatorial encounter. It’s little wonder that Crystal Palace vs Stoke fails to live up to its ridiculous, bombastic billing.

And that’s where the disparity lies. Most managers couldn’t care less about the hype; their focus is solely on picking up the points where possible, by any means possible. Why mither over something as subjective as ‘attractive’ football?

In reality, the majority of teams are merely trying to get by, hell-bent on merely scavenging the minimum amount of points from 38 games to stay in the increasingly uncompetitive and fractious Premier League so the club can suckle on the big league’s teat again next year in order to repeat the whole, boring, Sisyphean process ad infinitum.

That’s the goal, that’s the length and breadth of the ambition and, like it or not, it’s also the primary priority for the managers of Sunderland, West Ham, Swansea, Cardiff, Norwich, Villa, Fulham, Southampton, Hull, Stoke, West Brom and Crystal Palace – a full 60% of the teams in the Premier League. They know it; the fans aren’t quite so ready to accept it.

If Big Sam can eke a point out of Chelsea, then he’s winning – despite Jose’s and the watching audience’s grumbling. As the man himself said, he “doesn’t give a shite” about anything other than the point on the board and if you’re paying £70 for a ticket to watch that, then more fool you.

Pray tell, what be your thoughts on the matter?

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By Chris on January 30th, 2014 in Featured, Managers, Newsnow, Opinion, West Ham Utd. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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12 Responses to “Talking Point: Should Managers Feel Obligated To Play ‘Attractive’ Football?”

  1. footballs says:

    Mourinho is a hypocritical cunt. Wonder if he remembers his remarks about a home side no scoring goals being boring after the arsenal game at the Emirates. Hope the pompous cunt arse likes the taste of humble pie.
    The beautiful part of the west ham game for me was Chelsea’ 39 shots and no goals. Kind of undermines their credibility for a title shot no? Can’t see anyone topping city this year.
    Managers need to stop dignifying Jose the cunt with responses to his ham handed attempts at amateur psychology and lame mind games. They give him way too much purchase.

  2. footballs says:

    Mourinho is a hypocritical cunt. Wonder if he remembers his remarks about a home side not scoring goals being boring after the arsenal game at the Emirates. Hope the pompous cunt arse likes the taste of humble pie.
    The beautiful part of the west ham game for me was Chelsea’ 39 shots and no goals. Kind of undermines their credibility for a title shot no? Can’t see anyone topping city this year.
    Managers need to stop dignifying Jose the cunt with responses to his ham handed attempts at amateur psychology and lame mind games. They give him way too much purchase.

  3. iffy says:

    mourinho went to OT at the start of the season and played without a striker, he then criticized arsene wenger of all people of not having the skils to score in front of your home crowd when chelsea parked the bus at the emirates, 19th century football? i think mourinho is more annoyed with being tactiaclly outclassed by BIG SAM.

  4. Jason says:

    Mourinho’s beef with West Ham was NOT that they played defensive – it was that they were time wasting from the first minute til the last. Feigning injuries, keeper slow to release the ball. Everyone needs to stop taking his words out of context and look at his message in full.

    Everyone still falls right into his lap.. Instead of comparisons between recently departed Mata and Oscar, or criticism of Hazard, we’re all here talking about his little sound bite. Jose plays the media like a fiddle and everyone that hates him so much as to make noise about it is ultimately dancing along to his tune.

  5. porcelain sandwich says:

    In general though, I think that entertainment should be at the heart of it. ‘Entertainment’ is the only reason I do anything recreational – I don’t watch a “legitimate sports encounter” for any other reason than my own personal benefit. If a game’s not fun to watch, I’ll turn it off, as simple as that. I can guarantee that Mourinho planting however many (36?) into the hands of Jaaskeleinen would not have enthralled me as much as a genuine battle of two evenly matched teams, or better, one team and one underdog that was giving it a real go. Obviously that’s not how the actual game works but hey ho, there’s my two cents.

    • Chris says:

      @Porcelain Sandwich: Oh, absolutely. Football wouldn’t be as pan-globally popular as it is if it weren’t entertaining in some respect. Just feel that the nature of actual sport itself gets increasingly overlooked in the bombastic soap opera that it is gradually morphing into.

      There’s no shame in doing what Big Sam did: He stood up to Chelsea the only way he could.

  6. Markell says:

    Of course managers should not feel like they have to play attractive football. Their mandate is to win points, not hearts and minds. While its better if the results come on the back of champagne stuff, the bottom line is results. To quote a brilliant manager, if some people don’t like the fact that managers need to gather points, “Some people can fuck off.”

  7. Joe says:

    Any football fan who has been unfortunate enough to have had their team managed by Sam Allardyce knows exactly what Jose was saying. Yes, Mourinho has been culpable of ‘defensive tactics’, but always manages to keep his club happy with trophies. Besides, it’s only when Jose’s teams meet their match that this tactic is employed.
    As a Newcastle supporter, I recall many fans of other clubs telling us that we would’ve avoided relegation had we not jettisoned Allardyce early. Well, I have to admit that, no matter what else has befallen my club (and that’s a constant), I could not have stood/sat for another match with ‘Big’ Sam in charge. It was that dire. His removal almost softened the blow.

  8. Jamie says:

    With owners sacking managers the way they do, there’s no chance in hell that they’re all gonna play attractive football at the cost of results.

  9. AC says:

    It doesn’t matter what league you play in, if you want to be the champions, you must perform week in week out and under any conditions. Chelsea weren’t good enough to score, boo hoo. If West Ham employed the same tactics at the Etihad, I can guarantee you that Man City would still find a way to score.

    Mourinho needs to suck it up and accept the fact he dropped 2 points at home.

  10. Rob says:

    Does anyone seriously take any notice of Mourinho any more?

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