Best thing about international breaks

Discussion in 'Prem talk, Those Other Leagues, and International' started by HatterDon, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    Well, if you're me anyhow. Since the championship is shut down over the weekend, you [or me] can watch Luton Town v. Barnet LIVE on ESPN3 on Saturday.

    And me without a LTFC shirt!

    Up the Town!
    SoCalJoe, nevzter and BarryWhite like this.
  2. nevzter

    nevzter Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    A City by a Bay
    ...I get older, they stay the same length.
    encorespanish and SoCalJoe like this.
  3. tim

    tim Active Member

    Nov 13, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Early front runner for post of the year
    SoCalJoe likes this.
  4. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    So, a very good Luton side overwhelmed a relegation certainty Barnet in the second 45 minutes. That was sort of expected, except for the fact that today's win was the first after four league draws and a single win. So complete was the Hatter's mastery that I had plenty of time in the second half to consider the changes that have happened since I first saw LTFC playing in the 4th tier.

    That would have been 1967 when Luton fought their way out of the old 4th division and began their move up to the old 1st division 6 seasons later.

    I think there are a couple of undeniable reasons why the football I saw then could not be compared to quality I saw today [Barnet's keeper is the exception here. He was horrid]. Players on both sides played the ball out of defense and one and two touch passing was the rule rather than the exception. As a matter of fact, the quality of the football I saw today was comparable to the quality I saw in the second tier in the early 70s.

    Reason 1: a simple rule change. That rule was not allowing the GK to pick up a back pass. That change revolutionized the sport. The old sweeper position [a 5th defender behind a back 4] disappeared as keepers actually became footballers. In the old days, you could go a half season without seeing a keeper out of the penalty area. This rule change made football more attacking, exciting, and technically more advanced.

    Reason 2: the ball. Today's ball is lighter and smaller. As late as the mid-70s, there were only 2 or 3 keepers in the top flight who could reach the half-way line on a goal kick. If you want an idea of how heavy the old ball used to be -- especially in the 75th minute of a rain-filled match -- get a friend to fire a basketball your way and head it back to him. It was incredibly difficult to get any kind of movement or spin on that ball. Today's ball allows for a lot more artistry, and of course, pace. Oh, and there was only one ball. I remember 5 minute delays when the match ball -- always donated by a corporate sponsor -- was hoofed over the stand into the street.

    Reason 3: the pitch. Every penalty area in the country -- with the exception of Wembley -- was a mess by December every season. So difficult was it for a defender to control the ball deep in his own half, that the immediate result of gaining possession was to hammer the ball upfield as soon as you got possession. If you hesitated for even a second, players and supporters alike would scream "GET RID OF IT." Today's pitches -- even in the 4th tier -- are significantly more playable than were Anfield, Old Trafford, and Highbury back in the day.

    Reason 4: immigration. In the 60s and 70s, 99% of the players in the English league came from the 4 "home counties" and the Irish Republic. Then as now, there weren't enough quality British players to fill the squads of 92 clubs. Today, the semi-talented sloggers and bullies who found jobs in the lower divisions have been replaced by reasonable talent from all over the globe -- even the US of A.

    So, yeah; 4th tier English football today is of a higher quality that what I routinely saw in the 2nd tier in the 70s. The Luton I saw today [and on three earlier occasions this season] could have been a competitive side in the Championship Fulham play in today.

    Thanks for letting me ramble.
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