Mike tries to work out what’s more important – style or substance?
Well, it’s nice to be back isn’t it? In my eyes, International football is no replacement for seeing the Hornets in action, even if we did see the National side beat the World Champions (Spain) and a country we haven’t had a win against for over 40 years (Sweden). Give me a home win against Portsmouth any day of the week…
The game against the all conquering Spanish was the game that attracted all the pre and post match headlines, and whilst England’s victory was a welcome one, the lukewarm reaction to it was interesting. England were widely tipped to be on the wrong end of a footballing lesson by a Spanish team quite rightly rated as the best in the world, but Fabio Capello masterminded a rearguard action that saw England win the game despite seeing little of the ball.
With a disastrous and depressing World Cup campaign still fresh in the mind, one could be excused for expecting a victory against a team of this calibre to be greeted with excitement and optimism. It wasn’t.
In the main, pundits and fans opted to focus not on the result, instead picking up on the apparently negative way in which it was achieved. Questions were asked in papers and pubs throughout the Country about whether England should be winning this way.
It’s not often you’ll find me sympathising with Fabio Capello, but on this occasion I’m struggling not to side with him and his fellow managers. How often are bosses dismissed from their role after a run of poor form, then told by all and sundry that their sacking was inevitable as football is “a results based business”. Fair enough perhaps, until those very same managers grind out results, only to be met with dissenting voices claiming that football is actually “an entertainment business”. Winning with style is apparently now the only way to avoid criticism.
As I absorbed the post Spain fallout, it struck me that the modern football fan may be expecting too much. Do we all have a right to expect free flowing, expansive football and results? Is anything less than a combination of these two aspects unacceptable?
I love overhead kicks, diving headers, back-heels and 20 pass moves that end with a sweetly struck volley into the top left hand corner. Do you know what I love more, though? Winning. As a football fan, nothing beats the feeling of leaving the ground knowing that 3 points are in the bag.
No matter how the victory is secured, it is the victory that counts. Nothing more, nothing less. If today ends in a scrappy one-nil win, secured after the ball bounces of Nyron Nosworthy’s backside and in, I’ll be as happy as it’s possible to be.
Style and tactics can be debated all day long. Results can’t. Let’s get behind the team and make sure we get one today.
Come on You Horns!
This article was first published in the Matchday programme for Watford vs Pompey on 19th November 2011.