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Hugo Meisl and his opinion on goal-football
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-02-28 14:33:05
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This article was brought by Ottó Howarka, one of the Hungarian correspondents in old Vienna. In this article are comments by Hugo Meisl about the clashes between artistic football and result football — goal-football. Furthermore, Meisl comments on Herbert Chapman, Arsenal, the style of the team as a whole and questions about a metamorphosis of style to keep Central Europe at the top of football.
Ottó Howarka | 29/04/1935, Vienna
How does Hugo Meisl think about goal-football? — I promised to answer this question in my latest report and this time I will provide an interesting opinion. Meisl said:
» This is the latest term: goal-football. I think we can best understand its meaning by looking at what the opposite means? Obviously a game that is beautiful, likable, scientific, maybe even intelligent, but not expedient. The goal is to score in football.
» In fact, efforts to modernize the style of play are quite old. The German imperial coach, Nerz, began his study trips to England for 2-3 months a year in the post-war years. There, in the homeland of the game, he studied the coaching methods and playing style of the big clubs. he was the one who, despite growing in the breasts of South German football, a game system close to a Central European school, became a stubborn promoter of the English game system set for bodily action.
» He was not distracted by the heavy defeats of the German national team. (At the Amsterdam Olympics. 1:4 against Uruguay, 0:6 and 0:5 against Austria.) Although Nerz's theory was sparked by many of the great successes of the Austrian national team, especially in 3:4 against England, it must be acknowledged that Nerz did his work with great intelligence and thoroughness when he brought many of the good of what he saw in England and planted it in his leading players.
» Just like before Nerz, so before the Italians, Arsenal’s W-system was floating. So came the game of self-efficacy with tactics built in the spirit of the W-System.
» When I had a long conversation with Herbert Chapman, the creator of the W-System — a few weeks before his unfortunate death — and I expressed my sincere amazement at how his inside left Alex James, the greatest footballer of all-time, in nearly six months this season was only able to score a single league goal, which was also registered by the English press as something quite amazing, Chapman told me:
Whether we play in 'W' or 'M' or 'U' or even 'Y' doesn’t matter perfectly. The important thing is that there is no salvage rule alone, whether I play with three or five strikers in front. People talk what they want, my team plays according to a system that best suits my fellow players and is as appropriate to the opponent’s style as it can.
» It is a fact that Arsenal, under the direction of Chapman, introduced the mentality "safety first" after changing the offside rule. He started offensive play with three or up to four strikers, he set back three defenders. But as Arsenal played, it’s already a science that requires players with special abilities at certain points on the team. There were English and Scottish league teams that approached Arsenal in this safety style, but no team was able to implement Chapman’s idea as perfectly as Arsenal.
» Most teams only adopted the rigid theory without Chapman’s intellectual content. This is how the W-sect, which was exaggerated by the others, was formed.
» The truth is that the British, but also the Italians and the Germans, consider our short passing style, decorated with the individual skills of the players, as a style of the Middle Ages, which operates with five forwards, three halves and two defenders. And to keep them from being accused of mockery, they are said to be “orthodox” to our style. The English and Scots in particular look at us with incredible eyes, with what monotony we cling to old traditions. Personally, my opinion from the experience of the last years is that our school is more beautiful, witty and stylish, but it becomes pointless if the players are not perfect in technique and tactics — for example, Scottish game is forced.
» And it becomes pointless even if players exaggerate the game-like nature. I think in today’s conditions, the fourth flying half system is the most expedient of the tactical formations. You need a 100 percent football player for this role, of course.
» If we — including our Hungarian and Czechoslovak neighbors — no longer prevail in international competition today, and even have bitter experience in this direction, then this is mainly due to the fact that our opponents play with more appropriate tactics. And only secondly, it is more difficult to get real national team players into our teams today than before. The W-system also needs excellent wings and a gorgeous center, but the connectors also need to eat their minds, and they also need tremendous endurance. Smaller mental abilities, on the other hand, are adequate for middle cover playing in the third quarterback, but physical conditions are all the more important here.
» Undoubtedly, the fatigue of our players also plays a role in our decline, but every word has one end: if we want to survive in international competition, we have to deal with the game system and each team has to find the one that is most appropriate in terms of the ability of its players.
» In this, I see the essence of goal-football and I just want to add that the best system will be in vain if we do not have players with the right skills to support it.
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