The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
This week’s Run of Play at Pitch Invasion feature looks at Fabio Capello’s imminent appointment as England manager and asks whether he’ll be able to give the England team an identity apart from its air of constant crisis:
Giving a team a personality is one of the least-well-defined skills in football management. You can talk about melding individual talents into a coherent whole, but most of the time talking about melding is just a distracting way to promise that you don’t know what you mean. It’s hard to talk about giving a team an identity because what’s an identity for a team? You know one when you see it—Italy has one; Switzerland doesn’t, quite—and you know it has to do with a team meaning something, so that when you think about the team, some distinct connotation arises in your mind, over and above personnel or kit colors or tactics. But how the connotation gets there is to some extent a mystery.
To encourage Capello in the effort, I list five managers whose appointments did succeed in changing the characters of their teams, and issue a call for more examples. Read the full post here, and be sure to check out the always-excellent Pitch Invasion while you’re at it.
by Brian Phillips · December 14, 2007