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Is winning a prerequisite for 'beautiful football'?

Discussion in 'General Worldwide Football Discussion' started by A Gooner, Oct 8, 2014.

  1. A Gooner

    A Gooner Registered User

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    Was having a discussion with a fellow member on here and a little side argument came up involving Arsenal. The long and short of it was, can 'beautiful football' be just that when you don't win any trophies.

    I immediately thought of 2 teams known for years as teams that played 'beautiful football', Holland in the 70s and the Brazil side of the early 80s. Both didn't win a thing.

    Do you HAVE to win trophies for your football to be considered good to watch, or 'beautiful'? Or can it be appreciated for what it is without the need for silverware?
     
    #1 A Gooner, Oct 8, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2014
  2. Osgood

    Osgood American/Plazzy fan type

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    Let me make my case.

    Football is a great sport for many reasons. The key word in there though, is Sport. When you play sport competitively, let alone at the highest level of the game, winning is what it's all about. It's a fundamental. If you're not trying to win, then you're not playing competitively.

    When we get to terms such as "Beautiful Football", we're dealing with intangibles. What is beautiful to me, may not be beautiful to you. Example - The last time Chelsea played Barcelona we were on our way to winning the Champions League. Winning the CL was beautiful, trust me. At the time Barcelona were being heralded as perhaps the best team there had ever been at club football. They have a player who is still today said to be the best player ever. We went into the game with key injuries, and after a stupid moment, we lost our Captain at a key moment. Now, in both games - home and away - Chelsea didn't look to play free-flowing football. We'd of been beaten if we did. Doing so is to play to the strengths of the opponent. We played defensively. Some called it "parking the bus". The thing is though, it worked. We won the tie, and Barcelona didn't beat us in either leg.

    Truly - anyone who can't see our performances in those two games as something of beauty is missing out, imo. Yes Chelsea are my team - but the way our team, to a man, thwarted the best team in club football was a miracle. It wasn't luck. We had a plan, and we executed the plan. We frustrated Barca, we threw our bodies on the line, bribed the Gods and got missed penalties and got balls off the line. In short, defending is every bit as beautiful as attacking. We're conditioned these days to only look at the glory, so goals get the congratulations for the most part. But defending, and defending well, takes players of great skill, toughness, and determination as a unit.

    So for me, those games displayed the Beautiful Game. A mammoth juggernaut of Barca, against a team with suspensions, injuries, and a part-time manager. Fantastic.

    The thing about football is, there is no right way of playing it. You have to play to your teams strengths, and to your opponents weaknesses. No team can impose itself for 90 minutes. So you have to plan, come up with tactical approaches for each and every opponent. Not only that, but things can change within a game with clock management, substitutions, injuries to players, yellow and red cards etc. Again, the Beautiful game isn't about 90 minutes, it's about the game moment by moment. Even the weakest of teams can surprise you and score the greatest goal.

    One thing that doesn't change though - it's a competitive sport, so winning is everything. When you get to the top six clubs in the Premier League, winning means much more than anything else. Would Burnley fans prefer they play so called Beautiful Football, if it guarantees they'll be in the Championship next season? Or must they find a more pragmatic way of playing?

    Who goes to games to applaud a mazzy dribble through the defense, or a fantastic run down the wing, or a great save - but not care about the result?

    The Beautiful Game, for me, is the complete game. It's attacking, it's defending, it's getting the subs right, it's tactical changes throughout the game. And it's the result. Because I don't care how pretty your triangles are, if using this style of play means always finishing below others, then it's a bankrupt system. Beautiful is learning the play the game in all it's guises - meaning playing ugly, parking the bus when needed, and seeing out games.

    And as a competitive sport - winning has to be in there.
     
  3. Erasmus Boogles

    Erasmus Boogles Registered User

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    Good football is about a style of play. It's not about winning trophies.

    Would anyone say, after the latest Arsenal defeat to Stoke, that Stoke play the better football, as they won?

    It seems to come down to people saying they only find football enjoyable if their team wins.
     
  4. saint_clark

    saint_clark Up the Saints

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    I knew instinctively when i saw this thread title that it was started by an Arsenal fan.
     
  5. Osgood

    Osgood American/Plazzy fan type

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    If you only played yourself, I'd agree with this. But since it's a competitive league, and the entire point of it is to win more than you lose so you can stay in it, then saying winning isn't a fundamental of playing it beautifully rings a bit hollow. Yes a team can play well and lose - yes a team can be easy on the eye and lose. But a team that takes in all of football as a sport, and wins. Well that's beautiful. Take say - Barcelona. Heralded as playing the Beautiful Game. If they hadn't won anything for ten seasons and slumped into the lower ends of their countries leagues - would we have heard a word about them? Nope. Because winning is a fundamental.

    The Stoke thing you mention - it really depends on how Stoke played. The argument is about whether winning something is a part of the Beautiful Game, and whether you can claim to play a Beautiful Game yet win nothing.
     
  6. A Gooner

    A Gooner Registered User

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    :laugh:

    Just to clear up, I don't think we've played what could be defined (barring a nice goal here or there) as beautiful football since late 2010.

    This is the 1st time I've heard anyone claim winning as a condition to define if football is good to watch, or beautiful. And I don't agree with it.
     
  7. Osgood

    Osgood American/Plazzy fan type

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    As a fan it's not like you get a choice, is it? There were games last year where Chelsea looked so superior you wondered how anyone could do anything against them.

    And then there were those to frequent other times. :laugh:
     
  8. Erasmus Boogles

    Erasmus Boogles Registered User

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    The difference is the "beautiful" aspect is about how good it is to watch. You don't judge it by the final score. You judge it during the game.

    It's daft to suggest you can't judge how attractive a team's style is before you know the final score, but that's effectively what you are saying when you are saying winning is fundamental to football being "good football".

    Yeah, I've seen my team "park the bus" and nick 1-0 wins with our only shot on target, and that's great, and enjoyable, but it'd be something else to say I enjoyed that style of play.

    Wimbledon in the 80s were an awful thuggish team, who had gamesmanship down to an art form, and played a style of football roundly condemned - yet they were effective. Nobody at all thought they played good football.

    If you are talking about "beautiful" football, you are talking about the style, not the end result.
     
  9. BB

    BB Registered User

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    You'd rather see your own team win but a team can play beautiful football without winning anything.
     
  10. Osgood

    Osgood American/Plazzy fan type

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    But how good it is to watch is subjective. A Chelsea fan would likely have found different things beautiful about last weekends games from say, an Arsenal fan, let alone a neutral. I'm not aware of any commonly understood and accepted definitions of what constitutes "The Beautiful Game". For me it must include winning something - because games aren't played in a vacuum, you're only out there to beat the other guy.

    I say, with complete conviction, watching the so called best a couple years ago, Barca? I found their games very very boring. Same old thing over and over and over. Thrilling? Not for me. They passed it well, they dominated, and they even won. But damn, I didn't find it Beautiful at all. They reduced the game to a knock about.

    Style, with no result, isn't beautiful in a competitve sport, imo. For me it's an excuse that losers use to appease their ego's having just lost........ again.

    What is the point of trying to play "Beautiful Football" is there's nothing you get out of it but consolation? It's a competitive sport, it's a game where the league standings are what we all remember and that go down in history. :shrug
     
  11. Leivapool

    Leivapool Arrogantly inferior.

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    That's because, quite simply, Osgood's wrong (well I never).

    Suggesting football can only be beautiful/entertaining and enjoyable when winning is a clear red flag for a gloryhunter.
     
  12. Gal_P

    Gal_P The Special One

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    Is it all just another excuse for teams that don't win silverware?

    We have several academy players in our squad.

    We have a low net spend.

    We play "beautiful" football.

    We have no silverware.


    At the end of the day they're all just pointless boasts. Will people look back in 20 years and say X team (that finished 5/6th had a low net spend) or X team (who never won anything) played "beautiful" football?

    No.
     
  13. A Gooner

    A Gooner Registered User

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    They say it about the Holland and Brazil teams...

    Keep in mind, this isn't a slanging match at teams who win at all costs or a judging contest on what teams will remembered throughout history. It's simply a case of did they play nice football and does silverware need to be needed to make that judgement.
     
    #13 A Gooner, Oct 8, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2014
  14. Gal_P

    Gal_P The Special One

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    They're both examples of international football teams to be fair and I'm not sure that in this day and age the same would be said for another international team. There's too much televised football these days, and the standard is a lot higher (IMO), so there's normally several good sides that haven't won anything rather than 1 or 2.

    I get you weren't having a go at the win at all costs teams but I still can't help as seeing the "we play beautiful football" argument as anything more than a runner-up prize.

    It's a consolation prize for a lack of silverware when a team can't brag about success.
     
  15. footballfan3024

    footballfan3024 Registered User

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    Weren't Chelsea proof this wasn't the case?
     
  16. Erasmus Boogles

    Erasmus Boogles Registered User

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    You are confusing excitement with good football.

    Saying "we won, and I enjoyed winning, therefore it is good football" is far too simplistic, and it misses the point entirely.

    Are you really saying you have no concept of how one style of football can be more attractive to watch than another, and it's just about winning?

    Brazil 1982 are perhaps the classic example. They were a great team, great to watch, and thought at the time to be the best team in the world - and looked it throughout the tournament. They then played Italy, who'd been pretty dour and defensive up until then, and played out one of the world cup games, that could have gone either way, and Italy edged it 3-2.

    By your reckoning they can't have been playing good football as they didn't win, yet Greece in 2004 did play good football as they won.

    In short good is not the same as "effective" when talking about a style of play.

    That assumes that all teams that claim to play good football are losers, or that they only go on about playing good football when they lose, which is nonsense.
     
  17. LEF

    LEF Skinflint

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    Winning has nothing to do with beautiful football.

    The best footballing side I have seen from my team was under John Gorman around 2005/2006. Great team, such beautiful football we played. We missed out on promotion that season, but I've never enjoyed watching Wycombe so much.

    One game in particular we lost 4-5 at home to Macclesfield - being 0-3 down inside 15 mins, going on to lead 4-3, then throwing it away to lose 4-5 in the dying minutes :laugh:

    One of the best games I've ever seen. Great memories.
     
  18. prolifik

    prolifik Daniel James >>>

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    It's one thing to hold this view with regards to your own team, but how does it apply to games in which you're a neutral? Does the team who won the game automatically become more entertaining to you in hindsight?
     
  19. AB2002

    AB2002 That guy from that thing

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    That's a key difference to me. When it's your own team, you'll generally take a win by whatever method. If you play an attractive exciting game to go with it, that's a bonus but I think we'll all take a scrappy 1-0 win to a performance where we're pleasing on the eye but lose 2-1.

    When watching a match as a neutral I generally just want to see an exciting game.
     
  20. JackSUFC

    JackSUFC Registered User

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    This, definitely.

    And regarding Osgood's point about Chelsea's CL semi-final with Barcelona, that second leg was horrendous to watch. Great defending yes, 'attractive' football, no.

    For me, 'attractive' football is when a team are expansive, quick, use width and score a lot of goals. The Dortmund team in full-flow a couple of years ago were great to watch. Whereas I hated the Spain team with their dull and boring 'tiki-taka' a few years ago, despite the large consensus that they were the greatest team of all time.
     

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