2007/8 was the season of Anti-Football – that awful, slow, grinding out of negative football with the hope of nicking a goal at the end. This wasn’t the only year of Anti-Football, but it was one of the worst.
Most infamous operators of the system were Chelsea under Grant, Greece and Glasgow Rangers. What is interesting is that while the system got them to a certain level within their competitions, it wasn’t enough. And while Rangers supporter have shown they will turn up no matter what the style their club play, Chelsea – for long associated with Rangers – have shown that there comes a point where only the most fanatical will keep watching.
The much more open approach devised by Arsenal under Wenger, and now played by Manchester United on occasion does not always manage to beat Anti-Football, but in the long term it looks like Anti-Football doesn’t win.
So, who will be trying it on next season?
Chelsea under Scholari will be a new team, with the much vaunted “break even within 3 years” now thrown out the window, as the manager is authorised to spend anything it takes. It would seem unlikely that Scholari – a Brazilian – will indulge in anti-football.
Rangers are still in shock, having talked for so long about the quadruple, ending up with trophies where they are able to play out finals against the likes of Queen of the South. They might stick with it one more time, but it would be a final throw of the dice if they do.
Greece were humiliated this time around in the Euros, and they will change. No one will talk about Greece – everyone talks about Holland who play the Arsenal way, positive, attacking, Perfect Football.
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