The world of football tactics is much like a prostitute’s underwear drawer: thrilling, colourful, and with frequent change absolutely necessary. Imagine a world without Alf Ramsey’s wingless wonders, catenaccio or total football. How much would we have lost had we not experienced false nines, genuine tens or spunky elevens?
Coaches the world over are constantly seeking new ways of utilising players to offer any advantage possible. With that, here is an exciting glimpse into the near future, with an introduction to some of the new roles and positions that we can pretend to be knowledgeable about in dull conversations in the coming years.
Deep-lying goalkeeper – A goalkeeper that spends the match standing behind the goal-line, confusing attackers by appearing slightly smaller than he really is. The deep-lying ‘keeper will make the move to his goal-line at the last possible second, causing opposing strikers to go ‘Ooh, blimey’ in a flustered manner just as they prepare to shoot. Lenticular fabric technology is currently being developed so that D-LGK’s can soon augment their game with the threat of further penalty-box optical illusions. Plans are in place for Fulham’s Maarten Stekelenburg to wear a shirt next season that appears to be a normal kit at first glance, but, when in sudden motion, creates the image of Hollywood’s whitest-haired man, Steve Martin.
Double-inverted winger – A right-footed winger playing on the left wing, inverted again to create a right-footed left-winger playing on the right-wing. Has the effect of flipping the very feet of the winger inside out, giving his running a strangely anarchic motion, making it harder for defenders to get near him. NOTE: does not work for left-footed wingers playing on the right-wing inverted back onto the left wing.
The Git’s Satellite – A physically deficient striker with a limited range of motion plays up front with his physical polar opposite – lithe, fast, rangy of limb. The immobile striker stands largely motionless up top while his team-mates are invited to bounce long balls off his lazy frame. Meanwhile, his strike partner – the Git’s Satellite – continues to encircle him for 90 minutes, running around repeatedly as if orbiting the ‘git’ like a ‘satellite’. Defenders are discombobulated by the perpetually spherical motion of the GS, and those that lack tactical discipline will try and follow his runs in a thrilling duel of stamina. Very popular among Sunday league football managers.
Göbscheidt – Midfield bother merchant, selected purely for his aggressive brand of industrious get-in-yer-facery. The fancy, continental moniker adds a misleading touch of sophistication, when really it’s very straightforward with much less beneath the surface than one is lead to believe. See: Joey Barton.
Shy wingers – A conventional winger in every sense, notable for their crippling shyness. Their reluctance to engage in conversation with strangers, or even make eye contact, means that they simply refuse to run at full-backs, lest they get too close and find themselves invited to parties or asked whether they’ve listened to any good CDs lately. Instead, they actively try to run away from them, or play dull passes when something more direct would be expected of a regular winger. Known to some as the ‘Valencia Role’.
The Humble Libero – An accomplished defender sits behind the defence and sweeps up loose balls, but frequently makes daring runs into the opposing half. Whenever crossing the half-way line, he loudly expresses to team-mates and opposition that he’s just really, really happy to be there, rendering opposing midfielders and defenders ineffective as they stand back in admiration of this really nice guy who will never forget his roots.
Box-to-Box Boxer – The B-T-BB is a truly revolutionary concept in football and is sure to cause controversy. This allows a team to field one player who is allowed to follow the rules of boxing, while everyone else on the pitch plays according to the rules of association football. A team fielding a box-to-box boxer can win the game by scoring more goals or by knocking an opponent to the ground. Sure to ruffle feathers when FIFA officially sanctions this in time for the 2016 European Championships.
The Team Keith – Another tactical ploy designed to confuse opposition defenders, a player is designated as the ‘Team Keith’ in order to win space at set-pieces. A player is called Keith even if their name is not Keith. Therefore, when the attacking team suggests ‘playing it to Keith’, ‘looking for Keith’s head’ and so forth, the defence won’t know who ‘Keith’ is and will completely balls it up. If the attacking team wants to deploy a Team Keith whilst also fielding a player actually named Keith, the real Keith is renamed either ‘Colin the Tosser’ or ‘Fishfingers’. If a team is fielding more than one player named Keith, it is preferable to rename the Team Keith after the first-born child of the club chairman.