10 People That Changed Football For Good!
Nowadays it’s perfectly normal for footballers to be global superstars but back in the 1960s, most players could walk down the street without being recognized. Alfredo DeStefano and Ferenc puskás were stocky and rough-looking while Pele was far away in Brazil so Georgie best was something new entirely. When Man United Scout Bob Bishop saw best play as a 15-year-old he rang Sir Matt Busby and said I think I found you a genius. What he had actually found was the first football superstar best was a dazzling dribbler who won two leagues and the European Cup with the Red Devils but his pop style good looks made him marketable and popular with the women as well. Ultimately his own gifts eventually destroyed him though as drinking and womanizing took over his life but he had been the first of a new breed and without him, there would have been no Beckham, no Ronaldo, and no Neymar the celebrity footballer was born with best.
Manager Herbert Chapman is often credited with spreading the WM formation which was the dominant team layout in the 20s and the 30s. This saw a center-half drop deep to sweep up attacks and a forward moved into midfield to make up the numbers. Under Chapman Arsenal won two league titles using the system adding to the two he had already worn with Huddersfield. Chapman invented fitness and training regimes which were way ahead of their time, pressed for the introduction of floodlights and number kits, and proposed an idea for the European Cup 20 years before it became a reality. He was keen to bring foreign stars to the English game and signed one of the very first black professionals back in 1911, his statue stands proud outside the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal still play in the red and white kit he first design.
Before the 1830’s footballs were terrible some were made of leather filled with cork while others were used from inflated animal bladders to give them their shape they constantly deflated got punctured, bounced erratically, and warped in hot or cold weather. Charlie Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber which was strong and more elastic than normal rubber and it was used to replace the animal bladders inside footballs, this made them bouncier and rounder improving control and accuracy players. Eventually, leather was phased out as it absorbed water making the ball extremely heavy and causing neck injuries to any player heading it.
Sebes was the coach of the Hungarian national team in the 1950s, as the mighty Magyars became one of the most inventive and feared international sides in the world with players like Ferenc puskás and Sándor Kocsis Hungary won an Olympic gold, reached a World Cup final and inflicted England’s heaviest ever defeat in a 7-1 hammering. Sebes put his players on a strict fitness regime and took regular training sessions treating the national team like the club side, his 2-3-3-2 – formation discarded the 3 forward system popular at the time. This would draw a defender into the midfield and leave space in behind, that clever move bought Puskás 84 goals in just 85 international games and Kocsis and insane 75 in 68 in 6 years and in 50 games hungry won 42, drew 7 and only lost the 1954 World Cup final.
Jules Rimet and Henri Delaunay
International competition has taken football from a European hobby to a global phenomenon. Frenchman Rimet was the third president of FIFA and along with Delaunay proposed the creation of a tournament between international teams or as we know today a World Cup. Rimet diplomacy got the idea approved and the first World Cup trophy was named after him. Delaunay, however, was disappointed at not receiving more credit for the competition’s creation and so decided to push for Cup limited to European countries, he then became the first secretary-general of UEFA in 1954 but died just one year later nevertheless the European Championship held its inaugural tournament in 1960 denying Delaunay the chance to see his idea come to life. However, his name did eventually get the fame it deserved firstly through his son Pierre who succeeded him as UEFA chief and secondly in the name of the championship trophy.
An average midfielder the name of Jean-Marc Bosman would have slipped quietly into history if the Belgian hadn’t been involved in a landmark legal case on player contracts. Bosman was playing for RFC Liege in 1990 when his contract expired but the rules at the time meant his registration stayed with the club and he couldn’t leave for free. Liege offered him a new contract at a quarter of the salary while putting him on the market for twice his value. Bosman sued the Belgium FA and he claimed that players should be able to move freely if contract expired and that clubs were using the system to prevent footballers joining rival teams by demanding absurd fees the courts eventually found in favor of Bosman and players use their new power to negotiate lucrative contracts and transfers.
The Cambridge Rules Creators
Kicking a ball has been against since the days of the Romans. In 1848 students at Cambridge University England grew tired of conflicting systems of rules, the boys educated at Rugby School wanted to pick up the ball and run with it while no one could agree how to kick off or what happened when the ball went out of play, even the definition of a goal was a little hazy. The group decided to write down some common laws of the game and the Cambridge rules were born these included restrictions on tackling, no holding, pushing or tripping allowed and introduced an early version of the offside rule, players were still allowed to catch the ball but not run with it making it these rules were eventually revised and laid the foundation for modern-day football.
Once a player at Fulham, Jimmy Hills list of contributions to football is long and impressive. As head of the professional footballers association, he scrapped the cap on players’ wages previously 20 pounds a week. Hill pioneer Club branding at Coventry City introduced a new kit, a club song, a radio station and a mascot in a move soon copied across the globe, later he became a TV presenter introducing former players as pundits for the first time and hosted match of the day for 15 years. Hill was also instrumental in the change to three points for a win in the early 1980s previously two points were awarded for a win and one for a draw but Hill wanted to encourage attacking football the proposal was passed by just one vote in England but in the mid-1990s had become universal.
Johan Cruyff the dutch legend remains perhaps the only man who was both one of football’s greatest ever players and one of its most influential thinkers. Alongside coach Rinus Michels, Cruyff pioneered football with Ajax and the Netherlands the Amsterdam club had long made their youngsters play out of position in order to learn more about the game and the dutch to use this to create a fluid and unpredictable system with players interchanging, it took them to a world cup final and Ajax to three European Cups in a row. Always destined to be a coach Cruyff proposed to Barcelona create an Ajax style academy while he was a player at the club, La Masia was, therefore, founded going on to produce the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Messi while Cruyff coached the clubs to a Champions League win in 1992. Talented, intelligent, short-tempered, and outspoken Cruyff was football’s greatest visionary.