And so, dear readers, we reach that time of the year yet again! T’is the season to be jolly and all that unless, of course, you are the manager of a top English Premier League football club.

For those elite few t’is the season to have a moan about the amount of games there are in modern football and how it’s much harder than it used to be blah, blah, blah….and on and on and on.

If you think you have heard it all before that would be because you have, unless you are just coming up to your first birthday that is.

Managers, and only managers, seem to think that their players can’t handle playing two games of football in a week. We here at WSA have commented on this laughable state of affairs in the past and are, quite frankly, amazed that the complaints still arise.

Players never complain. Most of them would play every day if they could. Supporters never complain other than about the amount of money they have to shell out to watch their pampered heroes put in innocuous performances in games hundreds of miles from home.

But the managers? They complain. They don’t play the game but it is often the first excuse used when their players lose or just under perform.

So what’s different now than it was when we started watching the game back in the sixties? Well the first thing thrown in our face is that the game is faster nowadays. Of course it is. Premier League matches are now played on perfectly manicured carpets, the ball is lighter and the players wear slippers. So if they can’t run faster there is a much bigger problem than the amount of games played. Diet is also much more in tune with a professional athlete.


The staple diet of the British footballer in the not too distant past!

Back in the day, (our day anyway), running fast was almost impossible. Every time a foot was raised to begin a charge down the wing, it would be quickly sucked back in by the mud or it would be taken from under the player by the same mud but this time it would be frozen solid! On the rare days of near perfect conditions, (which would almost exclusively be the first day of the season in August), the heavy boots and even heavier ball would ensure that any player with intentions of running at pace would soon be brought down to earth with a bump, often literally.

The goalkeepers could not even reach the halfway line with a kick from their hands, never mind with the ball on the ground and if a player was unlucky enough to catch the laces of the ball when heading it he could look forward to a mild headache for a while afterwards.

The English first division, (the old equivalent to the Premier League), contained 22 teams meaning a season of 42 games, FOUR MORE than the current season. On top of this there was also the FA Cup, The League Cup, The European Cup, The European Cup Winners Cup and The Inter Cities Fairs Cup.

The dietary requirements of the players in the sixties appeared to include such delicacies as pie and chips or, in London, jellied eel. There was no such thing as treating them as professional athletes. In fact Dave Ewing, a former Manchester City player, was regularly seen exiting a pub near Main Road around an hour before kick-off on a Saturday.

So the players were a lot less fit, they ate rubbish, they played in all weathers on all types of surfaces, (most of them bad and most of which would see a modern day match postponed), they played more games but one thing was certainly a lot better back then………..the managers didn’t persistently moan about the amount of games!

Today’s players are considerably fitter than their counterparts from years gone by and are in much better shape to handle 180 minutes of football in a whole week. So how come the old managers never complained but the modern ones frequently do?

Excuses, nothing more than excuses, whatever the fitness experts say!


Have your say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.