Have We Missed Possession Based Football Party?

8 Dec 2023 | 2 comments

In Off The Post

The following article has been written by one of our Trust members.  They are the opinions of that person and not necessarily those of Blues Trust.  Would you like to contribute a discussion point of your own about Birmingham City Football Club?  If so, we would be delighted to hear from you.

One caveat about the perceived success of the possession based style of football that Blues are trying to achieve is that it’s now been around for a while. Undoubtedly, teams who’ve been using it from the get go have had massive success for the last 3 or 4 seasons over the teams that didn’t.

The problem now is it’s becoming fashionable, and every man and his dog is trying to do it. My view is it’s become so prevalent that ways of combatting and overcoming possession based football are developing fast. It’s inevitable. Once teams learn how to do it, it’s a short step to knowing how to undo it in opposition.

We might be just a bit too late to the party, and two thirds of Championship teams are ahead of us in implementing it anyway.

By the time Rooneyball is developed at Blues, I believe the game will have moved on. I watched the Arsenal match this week and Luton properly got at them and nearly pinched it.

Am I the only one who sees John Ruddy rolling the ball to the centre backs on his left or right and immediately get nervous? In their midweek game this week Manchester City, the perceived masters of possession football, found themselves without a win in 4 games. Are they finally being found out?

Harry Parker


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  1. Gazal

    I get the point about systems, and the one Rooney is trying to implement is a bit different in so much as pressing and playing in the oppositions half. Posession football has been around a long time and most teams try to play this way but generally its about passing the ball around the back and middle which quite often leads to nothing, so its about tactics, set up, attitude and players so those who get the balance right are generally the better teams.
    Look at Ipswich and how well they play the system with the players they have. I do think Blues are a long way off yet through.

  2. Ed Truman

    Really good point Harry. I largely agree with you, although I think it might be a bit premature to write-off Manchester City just yet! Slavish devotion to a particular style of play certainly has its limitations. Surely it’s about having good quality, intelligent and confident players who read the game as it is happening in front of them, and adapt to the evolving situation?

    Of course it is important for a team to be organised and well drilled, but not at the expense of encouraging players to relax and perform to their strengths. Bill Shankly once said that football is a simple game complicated by idiots. Still rings true today in my view.

    Good luck to the Blues tonight.

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