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Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics

Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics

Hardback

By (author) Jonathan Wilson

List price $29.75

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Paperback $11.17
  • Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • Format: Hardback | 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 216mm x 38mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 2 September 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0752889958
  • ISBN 13: 9780752889955
  • Illustrations note: 8
  • Sales rank: 138,464

Product description

Whether it's Terry Venables keeping his wife up late at night with diagrams on scraps of paper spread over the eiderdown, or the classic TV sitcom of moving the salt & pepper around the table top in the transport cafe, football tactics are now part of the fabric of everyday life. Steve McLaren's recent switch to an untried 3-5-2 against Croatia will probably go down as the moment he lost his slim credibility gained from dropping David Beckham; Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, is often brought to task for trying to smuggle the long ball game back into English football (his defence being his need to 'break the lines' of banks of defenders and midfielders). Jonathan Wilson is an erudite and detailed writer, but never loses a sense of the grand narrative sweep, and here he pulls apart the modern game, traces the world history of tactics back from modern pioneers such as Rinus Michels and Valeriy Lobanovskyi, the Swiss origins of Catenaccio and Herbert Chapman, right back to beginning where chaos reigned. Along the way he looks at the lives of great players and thinkers who shaped the game, and probes why the English, in particular, have 'proved themselves unwilling to grapple with the abstract'. This is a modern classic of football writing to rank with David Winner's 'Brilliant Orange' and Simon Kuper's 'Football Against the Enemy'.

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Author information

Jonathan Wilson has been the Football Correspondent of the Financial Times, and currently writes for The Independent and Independent on Sunday. Behind the Curtain was his (very well received) first book.

Review quote

'A masterful work, It's all deliciously nerdy - a cross between a coaching manual and a social history - and if its publication helps foster a flowering of interest in the tactical and analytical side of the game in this country, it could be the best thing to have happened to English football in years.****' TIME OUT - Book of the Week 'Facts and stats, plus anecdotes, interviews and Wilson's deft touch with football-speak, give colour to a subject that can be a little dry and all-too confusing for those watching (and often those picking the side).' GQ 'For a detailed analysis of how a single striker became the norm throughout football, you had better read Jonathan Wilson's excellent new book about tactics.' -- Patrick Barclay SUNDAY TELEGRAPH '[A] fascinating history of tactics, a book that is guaranteed to enhance your football watching; your team may still lose, but you'll have a far better idea why they did.' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'This must surely go down as one of the most revelatory sports books of the year, as well as one of the best, who would have thought that a book charting the history of football tactics and strategy, from the 1870s to the present day, could be so engrossing and entertaining.' SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY 'Absorbing and informative' GUARDIAN ON-LINE 'A gloriously readable, eccentric and informative trawl through the changing tactical mindsets and formations that have helped shape the beautiful game.' METRO 'You will never read a more entertaining or erudite history of tactics' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH - Christmas Books 'This is a masterful piece of research and lives up to the claim to be nothing less than "a history of football tactics"... Facinating' SCOTSMAN - Books of the Year 'a fascinating analysis of the way the game has evolved tactically from the 1970s until the last season... as a summary of the first 140 years of football tactical history, it is hard to imagine a more readable or thorough effort.' IRISH EXAMINER