Kolarov - "Football fans know nothing about football..."

VorZakone

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"Not understand football"

It's a sport where 22 guys chase a ball and usually (not always) the most talented guys win.
 

amolbhatia50k

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The thing is, perhaps I’m just underlining my cluelessness - but I hear so many ex-footballers speak who seem to be totally clueless themselves. Especially on MUTV. The likes of Lou Macari and co sound like what I’d expect a 10 year old to sound like talking about football. Same with Paul Scholes. ‘Just kick the ball in the net’ seems to be the extent of their analysis.
I posted on this topic some time back but I believe it's about articulation and interest in airing ones thoughts. Scholes clearly has an absurdly advanced football brain. Much moreso than someone like Gary Neville. But he probably doesn't articulate his thoughts as well or have as much of a fan like passion in dissecting the obvious (to people like him) details.

Same with Keane. As a player he was tactically magnificent. But even Jermain Jenas speaks better than him in a studio.
 

amolbhatia50k

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Just bumping this as I was watching a podcast with Andre Gray today and he stated that ‘95% of fans don’t understand football’. As we can see, he’s not the first player to say this, and I wonder what percentage of them actually have this point of view.

He is saying that until you are playing against these people at close quarters and seeing the nuts and bolts of the game you don’t realise how good they are. I posted his comments about Pogba specifically in the/a Pogba thread because those quotes are floating around - but his point started with him referencing Busquets. He was talking about how you can’t get near him on the pitch (not because he will fall over!) and the way he starts the play off is second to none.

Couldn’t find the excerpt, but the whole interview with threesixtytv is on YouTube if anyone wants to watch.
I don't think football fans know nothing but there are definitely things you get only when you're on the pitch or actively involved in the game. There's a reason why so many players felt similar to those quotes on Busquets - that you just couldn't get close to him. Whereas many fans do focus on things that filter through to them i.e major events and highlights.
 

Pep's Suit

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"Not understand football"

It's a sport where 22 guys chase a ball and usually (not always) the most talented guys win.
Yeah but it's that bubble most people have "you don't understand what I'm doing, how hard it is".
 

11101

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Just bumping this as I was watching a podcast with Andre Gray today and he stated that ‘95% of fans don’t understand football’. As we can see, he’s not the first player to say this, and I wonder what percentage of them actually have this point of view.

He is saying that until you are playing against these people at close quarters and seeing the nuts and bolts of the game you don’t realise how good they are. I posted his comments about Pogba specifically in the/a Pogba thread because those quotes are floating around - but his point started with him referencing Busquets. He was talking about how you can’t get near him on the pitch (not because he will fall over!) and the way he starts the play off is second to none.

Couldn’t find the excerpt, but the whole interview with threesixtytv is on YouTube if anyone wants to watch.
It's true and goes across more than just professionals vs. fans. A League 2 player couldn't grasp how good somebody like Messi is, even though both are professionals. The HK national team striker once said this after playing against him "You see him on TV and think you could tackle him, but no chance." It's kind of the same thing.

It applies to lower levels too. I played in two teams, one at a decent level and then one with mates. The latter were all about long balls, crosses and headers and couldn't understand why anybody would want to try and bring the ball down under pressure. They had a totally different understanding of how the game was supposed to go.


The opinion is right. Most fans don't understand football to a deep degree, however I also think footballers don't necessarily understand football deeply either, more so they just understand the roles of their position much better than others. If you want to hear deep insight into football you have to hear experts or managers.
I think a lot of pros don't realise this themselves. They had a natural ability to do what they did, but they never understood how they did it and are definitely not able to articulate it. Look at players like Scholes and Souness.
 

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Broadly true, football fans think they know a lot more than they actually do.
 

limerickcitykid

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Yeah every season and every game teams lose match because of attitude or not wanting it as much as the other guys. When a team is doing bad "they have downed tools"/"they are not playing for the manager".

I once saw an ex NBA player call out a basketball pundit on this type of boring analysis. He ended up explaining why they lost at a tactical level. Which left the pundit looking dumb and silly after he was spouting they wanted it more.
It was Mark Cuban who called him out, a team owner not a former player. And the person he called out, Skip Bayless, never played the sport beyond being a terrible high school player. So he wasn’t a former player either.
 

Andersonson

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Kolarov is spot on. Most of fans have no clue how top sports works.

It always irks me when fans blame for instance Carrick or Phelan for their work on the training ground. Without anything about the setup or the actual work being done.
 

Rozay

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Kolarov is spot on. Most of fans have no clue how top sports works.

It always irks me when fans blame for instance Carrick or Phelan for their work on the training ground. Without anything about the setup or the actual work being done.
This is part of what irks me in the great Director of Football/Ed Woodward debate. I’m one of the fans that think I know a thing or two about the game, but even I stop short on trying to give a detailed critique on how the men in business suits and shell suits should be doing their jobs. It’s utterly ridiculous how many fans think they can structure an entire mammoth football club from top to bottom. I mean, this isn’t even an informed opinion, we’re talking about the stuff we largely DON’T see.
 

Andersonson

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This is part of what irks me in the great Director of Football/Ed Woodward debate. I’m one of the fans that think I know a thing or two about the game, but even I stop short on trying to give a detailed critique on how the men in business suits and shell suits should be doing their jobs. It’s utterly ridiculous how many fans think they can structure an entire mammoth football club from top to bottom. I mean, this isn’t even an informed opinion, we’re talking about the stuff we largely DON’T see.
Totally agree!
 

Baneofthegame

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I agree to some extent, from playing football for a long time, not at a professional level, I’m sure their are many things that a pro would have extensive knowledge about that the general fan wouldn’t. This could be said of a lot of sports/industries/professions.

It should also be a given that they wouldn’t care for our opinions, otherwise players would be mentally broken all the time.
 

Shamana

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Football isnt rocket science. Does not mean that coaches and the managers who see's the players in training probably don't have a better understanding of their players and tactics than we do.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Ultimately it boils down to education. Some of that can come from playing the game but the majority of it comes from learning theory and then applying it.

There’s a reason you need badges and there is a big gulf between playing and coaching that often people don’t seem to get.

I know I can never claim to fully understand the experiences of a top flight footballer but understanding tactically etc is entirely possible but that required training and many hours of work. The difference is though that it have a similar level understanding to an ex pro it absolutely makes sense for them to have the edge due to infield experience and the nuance that comes with it.

If you do your coaching badges you soon realise how little the average person knows but will confidently spout forth about how things should be. You also learn very quickly how little you know and it’s quite humbling.

So coaching/footballing theory can be learnt by more people than just ex pros but it’s then putting it into practice.
 

Synco

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I think it's obvious, and it'll be like that with all highly specialized professions. Pro players and coaches dedicate decades to making things work in an environment that's insanely competitive on all levels.
 

arnie_ni

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Just bumping this as I was watching a podcast with Andre Gray today and he stated that ‘95% of fans don’t understand football’. As we can see, he’s not the first player to say this, and I wonder what percentage of them actually have this point of view.

He is saying that until you are playing against these people at close quarters and seeing the nuts and bolts of the game you don’t realise how good they are. I posted his comments about Pogba specifically in the/a Pogba thread because those quotes are floating around - but his point started with him referencing Busquets. He was talking about how you can’t get near him on the pitch (not because he will fall over!) and the way he starts the play off is second to none.

Couldn’t find the excerpt, but the whole interview with threesixtytv is on YouTube if anyone wants to watch.
Is he trying to say we fans dont realise how good busquets is?

Of course we do, we just hate him
 

horsechoker

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Like most things, the majority of fans have a surface level understanding. If a player doesn't contribute to goals or assists then many football fans can't actually gage how good they are.

I would put most on the caf at the next level, they have more than a surface level understanding but it doesn't get much deeper than that.
 

fps

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I posted on this topic some time back but I believe it's about articulation and interest in airing ones thoughts. Scholes clearly has an absurdly advanced football brain. Much moreso than someone like Gary Neville. But he probably doesn't articulate his thoughts as well or have as much of a fan like passion in dissecting the obvious (to people like him) details.

Same with Keane. As a player he was tactically magnificent. But even Jermain Jenas speaks better than him in a studio.
Remember that the punditry is simplified and broken down to engage the average football fan. They know much, much more about the game, an absurd amount, but the average fan doesn't want that, and they certainly don't want to be shown how ignorant they are either. Sports channels package the game in a way that is accessible to everyone, including flattering fans to think they know a lot, when they don't. The average fan doesn't actually want all that analysis. They want to have a pint in their hand and shout at the telly about the referee clearly being biased because their team didn't win.

As for fans thinking they're experts, it's simply Dunning Kruger for the most part.
 

Rozay

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Is he trying to say we fans dont realise how good busquets is?

Of course we do, we just hate him
To what extent do you realise it though?

Maybe to pro footballers, his name comes up far more frequently when discussing the very best midfielders in the game. For the fans, I think there’s certainly a profile of fan that seems to ‘appreciate’ him - but I’m not sure it’s unanimous that he’s one of the best midfielders.
 

arnie_ni

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To what extent do you realise it though?

Maybe to pro footballers, his name comes up far more frequently when discussing the very best midfielders in the game. For the fans, I think there’s certainly a profile of fan that seems to ‘appreciate’ him - but I’m not sure it’s unanimous that he’s one of the best midfielders.
I would definitely put him and his type of player up there.

I think they are pivotal to playing good football and its what utd are missing massively.
 

VP89

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I disagee wholeheartedly with Kolarov, with respect of course as he's a professional football player so I'm sure there is an angle he's seeing that we aren't.

There is a lot to be picked up from coaching material, public breakdowns of tactics and just watching how a team is set out. A big part of managerial coaching is motivation which isn't down to the knowledge of the sport but a judgement of character, and knowing what to say to hype up certain profiles versus others (just see Ferguson for an example of this masterclass).

Moreover there are examples of managers with mindboggling decisions and zero tactical nous in the sport. For example I read Bilic bought Snodgrass and before subbing him on he had no clue where to play him: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/robert-snodgrass-slaven-bilic-did-not-know-my-position-6mpqr65t7

He actually asked Snodgrass where he would like to play, mid-game?! I mean, come on.
 

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Ultimately, what someone says on a forum/pub/TV show should be judged on merit. The range in terms of insight is just as vast as you get from professionals.

Having said all that, where even your most simple-minded professional would shit on the most insightful layman would be in coaching technique and the intricacies of the position they played on the pitch. This is where the cumulative knowledge of pre-teen into a full-fledged professional would show itself and make for night and day, as it should do.
Good points. That's probably the biggest difference I've seen in knowledge between the pro and non-pro environments - the level of understanding of technique, body shape, positioning, etc.
 

Fortitude

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Good points. That's probably the biggest difference I've seen in knowledge between the pro and non-pro environments - the level of understanding of technique, body shape, positioning, etc.
Yeah, they can’t convey what’s in their head to a studio etc. but get them on the pitch, and there’s light years between their perception and awareness and a layman’s.

One seminar with Scholes would blow the mind, but him trying to say anything meaningful or insightful on TV just isn’t happening.

PS do you remember that World Cup with Cruyff I referred to? I think it was ‘98, but can’t find any footage thus far.
 

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I don’t think people understand how good the top level players actually are.

The speed in which the game is played is frightening.
 

Rozay

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I disagee wholeheartedly with Kolarov, with respect of course as he's a professional football player so I'm sure there is an angle he's seeing that we aren't.

There is a lot to be picked up from coaching material, public breakdowns of tactics and just watching how a team is set out. A big part of managerial coaching is motivation which isn't down to the knowledge of the sport but a judgement of character, and knowing what to say to hype up certain profiles versus others (just see Ferguson for an example of this masterclass).

Moreover there are examples of managers with mindboggling decisions and zero tactical nous in the sport. For example I read Bilic bought Snodgrass and before subbing him on he had no clue where to play him: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/robert-snodgrass-slaven-bilic-did-not-know-my-position-6mpqr65t7

He actually asked Snodgrass where he would like to play, mid-game?! I mean, come on.
I doubt Kolarov and Andre Gray were referring to tactics. At least not Gray. More about individual abilities. Fans criticise and want to almost PlayStation control players. ‘Make that pass there’, ‘pick him up there’, ‘use the outside of your foot’. I think he’s saying that we don’t get the pressure cooker and speed of the top flight game, and is also expressing his appreciation for certain players he thinks are underrated or under appreciated due to their abilities in these situations. That doesn’t really have anything to do with coaching badges. It’s about understanding the environment of a top level pitch.

As has been mentioned, simple things like the way a player moves/shuffles across short distances could make it hard for opponents to ever really get near him, in the midst of a tight midfield. Other players may have a greater appreciation for it than a fan at home. How he always receives the ball so you never feel you have a chance at a tackle, or maybe simply the sheer strength that you don’t appreciate if you haven’t gone shoulder to shoulder with a man yourself - the fact that you could be scratching your head thinking players can’t usually keep control of the ball if I lean into them in this way, but this guy can seems to be able to hold me off, and manipulate the ball closely at the same time. It may not be a highlight, but on the field it may warm great respect from a fellow pro.
 

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I don’t think people understand how good the top level players actually are.

The speed in which the game is played is frightening.
Agree. I also believe they don’t appreciate the physicality involved.
 

Maluco

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You can compare it to filmmaking or any other endeavor with a lot of moving parts and preparation.

You could have 10 people watching a film and the experience will range from just “good” or “bad” for some, while others will have complaints about the story and plot holes, while others will talk about lighting problems in certain scenes, narrative and go in depth about characters and storyarchs.

It doesn’t mean any of those people would know how to fix the lighting, or how to adjust the narrative to make more sense, but it is something you can study, formally or informally and gain a greater understanding and appreciation for.

It’s complex, but it’s not rocket science, and while many fans opinions won’t stretch behind a basic understanding, it’s unfair to declare that everyone who doesn’t watch the game doesn’t understand it.

Understanding it and being able to produce it, are two very different things though.
 

RooneyLegend

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Honestly if football was that complex that it was well beyond mere mortals then the likes of Sacchi, Mourinho, Nagelsmann and Sarri would have never made it to the top level. It's all about acquiring the knowledge.

Also if they were so good then changes wouldn't need to be made every second, second in football.

Also ask pros to make a world 11 and ask fans to make the same, the result will be very similar.
 

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“I don’t have to promise anything to anybody, only to myself in terms of working hard and giving everything, and that’s what I’ve always done since I started playing football. The fans have the right to be annoyed, we respect that, but they must be conscious of the fact they know nothing about football. I like tennis and basketball, I have played both since I was a kid, and I get angry when my team loses, but I would never offer tactical advice because I have no idea about it. It’s a general problem, fans of every team should understand that.”

True or False?
Is it realistic, or fair to propose that fans should have no opinion on how the team plays? No, of course it isn't.

Fans know nothing about being an elite footballer. Actually knowing the game and how tactics works from our vantage point far up, is quite easy.

You know, when you follow a sport intensely for 30+ years, it's a bit rich to somehow imagine that you don't know anything about the sport or it's tactics, when following the game is literally your hobby.
 

Rozay

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Is it realistic, or fair to propose that fans should have no opinion on how the team plays? No, of course it isn't.

Fans know nothing about being an elite footballer. Actually knowing the game and how tactics works from our vantage point far up, is quite easy.

You know, when you follow a sport intensely for 30+ years, it's a bit rich to somehow imagine that you don't know anything about the sport or it's tactics, when following the game is literally your hobby.
There are levels to it I guess.

The other day, Wayne Rooney, for example, came out and said the club should have kept Van Gaal and that he was a brilliant coach. I saw a couple of journos come out in response and say ‘you’re wrong Wayne, Van Gaal had to go’. They probably had some version of Opta interpretation to support their view.

Who do you think is wrong/more qualified to make the call in that scenario?
 

Tom Cato

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There are levels to it I guess.

The other day, Wayne Rooney, for example, came out and said the club should have kept Van Gaal and that he was a brilliant coach. I saw a couple of journos come out in response and say ‘you’re wrong Wayne, Van Gaal had to go’. They probably had some version of Opta interpretation to support their view.

Who do you think is wrong/more qualified to make the call in that scenario?
That's the distinction elite footballer and the actual game comes into play.

I'm well qualified to have an opinion on set pieces, who has the better scoring chance on a penalty or if Angel Gomes should man mark Giroud on a corner. I'm not qualified to make a qualified opinion on who the right coaches are ince we don't know how they actually interact with the team. But I can criticize a tactic after the fact. Because that is the luxury of being a fan: You get to be wise, after the fact. Its all a part of the experience.

And quite honestly, if you're being polite about it, criticizing footballers, is entirely ok.
 

He'sRaldo

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At the highest level almost no one "knows" the entirety of football. That's why football clubs work in teams, with there being experts in every field. For instance there are fitness coaches, tactical coaches, motivational coaches, developmental, a manager overseeing everything, scouts, physios, etc. All with different types of expertise brought to the table.

I think it's possible for a fan to have a decent amount of insight in one field of football while being clueless in another, the same as any other person in a football club. The real money comes from being an expert in a particular field, which usually comes with study.

The staff who have extensive knowledge in multiple fields (usually managers) tend to be the ones with the most attention to detail, and thus are the most highly regarded. But that's not a common occurrence.
 

Zuggie

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Me having a very close relative involved in first team action, i dont agree with Kolarov. Ive seen first hand how it works, trains 3 4 times a week for about 2 3 hours each session, play in that weeks matches. If its a home match, sleeps in own bed then we drive him to the game. Comes home, rinse and repeat every week. Does not complain about much, lives life doing something he loves. Him doing this stuff is exactly as a fan would picture.

Maybe kolarov is thinking of tactics and strategy on the field, that aspect i dont really know much, but if i cared to learn then it wouldnt be that hard in my opinion.
 

Rozay

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Me having a very close relative involved in first team action, i dont agree with Kolarov. Ive seen first hand how it works, trains 3 4 times a week for about 2 3 hours each session, play in that weeks matches. If its a home match, sleeps in own bed then we drive him to the game. Comes home, rinse and repeat every week. Does not complain about much, lives life doing something he loves. Him doing this stuff is exactly as a fan would picture.

Maybe kolarov is thinking of tactics and strategy on the field, that aspect i dont really know much, but if i cared to learn then it wouldnt be that hard in my opinion.
I doubt Kolarov or Gray mean that fans can’t fathom their routine of training, sleeping and travelling to matches!

They are talking about the game of football itself.
 

Bobski

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I don’t think people understand how good the top level players actually are.

The speed in which the game is played is frightening.
This is a real issue. Football has the deepest pool of players of any sport in the world, accessible for a wide range of physiques. Not just even the top players, the best players at below league level in England, or any of the major footballing countries are far better than people realize. Anyone who has played to a decent amateur level will have come up against players who are shockingly good, but washed out at the pro level.
 

Demyanenko_square_jaw

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Learning a lot about football tactics should not be beyond the average intellect. You also don't need to necessarily go through official systems to do so in terms of the theory, just as most people - if the interest is there - should be intellectually capable of teaching themselves classical music theory or jazz harmony from various resources and eventually getting to a very good standard as musician, without needing to go to a prestigious conservatory. It might be tougher, or less efficient learning process but if you put in the work it can be done for most, and the tactics used in football or any sport really is a lot simpler than that. we're not talking about complex physics that will be beyond the intellect of a significant percentage of the population here.

If the sport were impenetrable to the point only seasoned practioners could understand what was going on, then it would never have gained worldwide popularity.

In that sense Kolarov is talking nonsense and i'd imagine there is an element of self-serving arrogance in there. It's also obviously true that someone that actually played to a high standard will have a more in-depth perspective on the nuances of many things than a mere spectator/lifelong fan, and that becoming well versed in the tactics or technical aspects of football doesn't mean you can make it as a manager or coach.
 

VorZakone

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This is a real issue. Football has the deepest pool of players of any sport in the world, accessible for a wide range of physiques. Not just even the top players, the best players at below league level in England, or any of the major footballing countries are far better than people realize. Anyone who has played to a decent amateur level will have come up against players who are shockingly good, but washed out at the pro level.
If only I could have experienced playing a pro team. Just to witness the sheer difference in quality with my own eyes.

Elite players are really, really fecking good and television doesn't translate that well I think.