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I personally think he's spot on, the top leagues are just getting worse, as a spectacle I mean. They have to find a way of injecting the entertainment back into the game but of course there's too much money involved. I don't watch too much PL these days, it's crap. Too few games are entertaining. Who wants to watch the multi millionaire squad attacking 2 rows of 5 in front of a goalkeeper.

This of course could be good for lower league football, we want to watch proper matches don't we? Well I do anyway. Just from a personal point of view, where you've all been on about Mainoo, TAA, Foden, Saka, Bellingham etc during the Euros I have little knowledge of them. Of course I've heard of them all and watched some of them play, but I'm not as schooled as you lot are with them as I consider the product they produce as tripe. I don't mean to detract from their skill and abilities individually, it isn't the players faults.

Anyway, here it is.

 

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It’s interesting in that, there are many schools of thought about ‘entertainment’ and football. 
Like the England game tonight, there were elements that weren’t entertaining but there were bits that were. I could appreciate the organisation of the Swiss side, well drilled, good teamwork. 

England I thought were better than recently, but again struggled to break through that organisation of the Swiss. 

More a game for the purist, maybe?

But, this entertainment thing, is it symptomatic of the seeming need for instant gratification by many these days?  Messi, Ronaldo, both VERY good players. No doubt world class. But the focus is on those goals, bits of skill, etc etc for the TikTok generation…. Not necessarily the appreciation of the hard yards they’ve had to put in to het to the levels they’re at

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Football in the purest sense of the game has never been about entertainment. It's about trying to beat the opposition. No school team goes out to entertain. You never put your boots on, on a Sunday morning, to entertain some bloke and his dog on the touchline. Unless you were piss poor and he got a bit of a chuckle out of it. 

I don't coach entertainers. I coach a group game with a group ethic where the object is to score more than the opposition, if you can. 

None of us walked through the turnstiles, as kids, wanting to watch free flowing football. I've stood through some truly shit games but come away with a smile on my face when we've won and that's the feeling every England fan is having this tournament. Similarly I've been in the Camp Nou when Barca have lost and heard none of the locals say yea we lost but the football was good. 

You often hear of oh but you have to play the game the right way. Wenger constantly moaning about teams like Stoke but conveniently forgetting the likes of Keown and Parlour kicking seven sorts out of opposition flair players. Pep's Barcelona weren't free flowing purists either and constantly mixed it when the needed to. 

Even if you have the money to buy the best players in the world you still have to gell that team to get it right. Madrid's Galacticos proved that point. 

Football as sports entertainment has grown with the rise of globalised media output putting out to a wider audience. We can sit back and watch a game between two teams we've never heard without having an emotional attachment but those two teams are still trying to win and that's the very essence of the game. 

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Interesting debate and if Wednesday play shit but we win my mood is somewhat better than play ok but lose. 

At the same time there needs to be a degree of action. I have started watching many of the games at these Euros but frankly 15 minutes in I am looking at stuff on my phone, fell asleep a couple of times. 

Watching England has been akin to watching most of the Wednesday games over the last few years (pre Rohl). I remember sitting at games under Monk in particular when it got to HT and nothing had happened. The highlight a 10 yard wide header or summat. 

So it is a balance and if football becomes like a chess match that coaching and analytics dominate then part of the appeal is lost. 

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Posted (edited)

Its not a new thing but is, I think, increasingly pertinent. I am with the OP on this but possibly at odds with the majority maybe. I want Wednesday to be succesful but not at the total expense of 'entertainment' (italicised because it's subjective). We were succesful ultimately under Moore but christ it was painful to watch most of the time despite the records blah, blah. It felt like a season's entertainment was saved up and then redeemed on one fabulous night.

Of course there has to be balance and as a paying 'customer'/ fan I can accept an element of pragmatic football. Ultimately though if the entertainment and excitement continues to be relentless ground out of the game then, as Bielsa suggests, more and more might well question whether there are better ways of spending their time and money.

Edited by Teddy Nickelarse
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There's always better ways to spend your money. In the middle 70s Wednesday's football was dire and the results weren't there so people voted with their feet. You could say the same for Chelsea, Manchester Utd, and any other now successful club that went through a period of shite. But Fergie's and Mourinho's teams weren't 'entertaining' in that sense of the word. They were effective and with results and trophies comes a wider fanbase and football tourism. 

When you watch a game on Sky that's not your team then you're watching in the expectation it'll be a good game. If it's not then you switch off. If you're watching your team (taking internationals out of the equation) then you stay with it in the hope you get a result. That's the difference between wanting to be entertained and having a vested interest. They're two entirely different games. 

The games are crap at tournament level because there's so much at stake. If you want to watch football for pure entertainment then you have to take the jeopardy out of it and welcome in a US style of no relegation and drafts to try and create level squads. 

 

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Those comments by Bielsa were made at a press conference before their quarter final game against Brazil. He was bemoaning the fact that Brazil have become more pragmatic and 'lost their identity' He was having a dig because if Brazil went free flowing then his Uruguay team would rip them apart and it won't be so easy the way Brazil will set up for this. 

And don't forget this is the same Bielsa who sent spies to opposition training grounds, whilst managing Leeds, so he could gather info to nullify the opposition. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Tylluan said:

Those comments by Bielsa were made at a press conference before their quarter final game against Brazil. He was bemoaning the fact that Brazil have become more pragmatic and 'lost their identity' He was having a dig because if Brazil went free flowing then his Uruguay team would rip them apart and it won't be so easy the way Brazil will set up for this. 

And don't forget this is the same Bielsa who sent spies to opposition training grounds, whilst managing Leeds, so he could gather info to nullify the opposition. 

 

Fair comments. I think, Bielsa mind games etc aside though, that Alan Finney has opened up/reopened a reasonable debate.

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18 minutes ago, Tylluan said:

............

That's the difference between wanting to be entertained and having a vested interest. They're two entirely different games. 

The games are crap at tournament level because there's so much at stake. If you want to watch football for pure entertainment then you have to take the jeopardy out of it and welcome in a US style of no relegation and drafts to try and create level squads. 

 

Can't fundamentally argue with that. For me though balance is key but that's admittedly just personal opinion.

Entertainment edges other factors for me; certainly in the longer term. Jeopardy adds to the excitement for me and I embrace this as part of the deal of being a fan. Likely this is not a majority fan view and fully recognise the stakes factor for clubs/national teams.

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8 hours ago, mkowl said:

Watching England has been akin to watching most of the Wednesday games over the last few years (pre Rohl). I remember sitting at games under Monk in particular when it got to HT and nothing had happened. The highlight a 10 yard wide header or summat. 

For whatever reason, I was never bored watching us under Monk. Top away goalscorers in the Championship, third at Christmas and playing with two wingers in most games.

Alan Irvine on the other hand. That was fucking depressing!

6 hours ago, Tylluan said:

Fergie's and Mourinho's teams weren't 'entertaining' in that sense of the word. They were effective and with results and trophies comes a wider fanbase and football tourism. 

When you watch a game on Sky that's not your team then you're watching in the expectation it'll be a good game. If it's not then you switch off. If you're watching your team (taking internationals out of the equation) then you stay with it in the hope you get a result. That's the difference between wanting to be entertained and having a vested interest. They're two entirely different games. 

I always wanted ManU to lose, simply because they always won. However, I wouldn't say they weren't entertaining to watch. Giggs, Kanchelskis, etc., flying down the wing, Keane and Ince booting fuck out of anything that moved. Their performances, especially at home, basically steamrollered the opposition into submission with constant bombardments on their goal. Continuing my obsession with 'two wingers', Chelsea had Robben and Cole. It was almost as much a joy as a relief to see another team challenging at the top.

Your ssecond paragraph is exactly where I am with televised fixtures. Not my team? Give it 15 minutes then chuck it. Otherwise, keep watching.

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I remember watching the full rerun of the 1966 World Cup final during Covid and the football was so different. One team got the ball and just went forward, then the other. The idea being that you get the ball nearer the goal and create a chance.

The issue with modern football is the slow build up. Some of the passing may be ‘nicer’ but ultimately what gets fans excited is goalmouth action, shots, chances and goals. Big Sam may have been criticised for the style of football but at the end of the day he worked on the basis that if you got the ball nearer the goal you were more likely to score.

That”s what saved England against Slovakia basically. It may sound crude but ‘getting it in the mixer’ invariably creates a more exciting match. And the odd shot from outside the area helps as well. 

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It's an age old debate, I remember being handed football books from the late 60s and 70s and the journos of the time criticising the modern game. 

I was a Kevin Keegan fan and my old man took me to the Sty and frankly he said three of the least entertaining games ever.

But there was a reason the back pass rule was changed, offside similar and the intro of 3 points for a win. 

 

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What surprised me going into this tournament was how few of the other national teams players I could name, many used to be houshold names or become so on the back of tournaments, has anyone really stood out in Euro 24?

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1 hour ago, 80s Owl said:

What surprised me going into this tournament was how few of the other national teams players I could name, many used to be houshold names or become so on the back of tournaments, has anyone really stood out in Euro 24?

Musiala, Kvaratskhelia, Yamal, Williams. I think you’re right though in that the success stories of the tournament have been more sides that play effectively as a team - Turkey, Austria and Georgia have come out with a lot of credit. 

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