Google+ Blueprint for Football: Book Review: Inverting the Pyramid

Monday, December 14, 2015

Book Review: Inverting the Pyramid

The biggest revolution in football writing came about in the eighties when fanzine culture got hold of the game and, suddenly, people were writing about it like never before.  Whereas the establishment considered it to be a diseased sport and the media threated it likewise, fans started showing that there could be studied, intelligent debate about what was going on.

Eventually this way of seeing things took over the mainstream.  Despite this, however, any talk of tactics was frowned up and people who did so were viewed as pretentious.  It took even more time for those ideas to start gaining a foothold.

One of those who worked to make such conversations more acceptable was Jonathan Wilson.  It was his fervour for the topic – as well as his knowledge – that helped kick it all off.

Wilson eventually took this knowledge and packed it all into Inverting the Pyramid, a book that talks about the history of football tactics and how these were shaped by different eras.  

Given that Wilson is a fine writer who can pick up any topic and make it interesting, it goes without saying that this is a great read that will be enjoyed by anyone who follows the sport regardless of their interest in coaching (although the latter will probably have more reason to pay closer attention). 

What is particularly masterful is the way that Wilson has managed to link together various footballing schools of thoughts, identifying how different modes of viewing the game influenced each other.  Throughout the history of the game there have been few ideas that have been completely original and most of the changes are the fruit of evolution; they are the result of managers carrying out the tweaks needed for a system to work better.

This means that there is little that managers can do in the future that hasn’t been done in the past.  It is why they have to know how tactics have evolved since in that knowledge lie the seeds for any future evolution.

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