Since Inverting The Pyramid was published there’s been an increase in the number of football tactics blogs. For a while, and perhaps to an extent it’s still the case, talking about formations and strategies was a mark of the well-informed football fan.
In football writing, though, not only does every action have its reaction but every reaction has its angry and unreasonable backlash. Sure enough, no sooner had tactics become vogue than they became the hollow preserve of the elitist, the soulless and the pretentious. Then those uninterested in tactical analysis became, in turn, mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers with nothing to say about football beyond “I liked the bit when the ball went in the goal”. In the centre of it all lies the idea that someone is losing sight of what football is really about.
So what is football really about? Is it entertainment? Art? Is it drama, science, comedy, narrative or romance? It’s all of these things, and it’s none of them. There are a billion different sides to football and a million angles from which to survey each of them. That’s what football blogging is for. One aspect may, however briefly, become more popular than the others, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only aspect, or that anyone would wish it to be so. Yes, it’s unfair for tactics bloggers to view others as gormless Neanderthals (though I’ve yet to encounter one who does), but it’s equally unfair to paint anyone as sterile and aloof just because their chosen interest involves more chalkboards than highlights reels (or whatever).
It’s a shame, anyway, that the breadth and diversity that can make the football blogging experience - and if I ever describe it as a “rich tapestry” you have my permission to forcibly remove me from the Internet – so interesting and progressive is often drowned out by sniping and sneering over who’s taking football too seriously, and who isn’t taking it seriously enough.
We'll never lose sight of what football is really about, because football is about everything.