It would be hard to overstate how delighted I am with yesterday’s performance, and in particular that of the manager. Football management is one of the toughest jobs there is and it didn’t get any easier when the Collyer Brothers released their seismic classic Championship Manager back in 1992.
I have been a fan of their games ever since.
Football Manager 2018 came out in October of last year; I have 320 hours “in game” already.
It is the game that made everyone think that they, too, were tactical geniuses. More even than those who scrutinise the tactics boards on Sky Sports and who believe being able to makes you a know-all, Football Manager has spawned an entire generation who believe they can second guess the boss of their club and see mistakes he can’t.
This will sound absurdly geeky – this is what the game does to you – but I actually read tactics guides and books on the subject, the better to understand the game of football itself and so that I can be better at the simulated version of it. But the difference between a novice like me and someone who genuinely understands football is night and day. There are things in those books which baffle me. The complexity of tactical analysis is far beyond my ability to comprehend it, and I try hard.
But even an understanding of the A-B-C’s tells you that what Brendan did yesterday was superb and that Murty was bamboozled by it.
It’s clear that Murty has a depth of knowledge of football that is embarrassingly vast compared to my own limited understanding of it but yesterday, when we went down to ten men I asked the gang I was watching the match with how long they thought it would take before he made the tactical decision that seemed obvious; bringing on Cummings and going two up front?
I asked the question sarcastically.
Because I believed that it would be a mistake, and it was.
By the time he had did it, Brendan was already miles in front of him and had already countered the move.
Brendan saw, clearly, what was in front of him … and he knew what he needed to change.
To understand how brilliant his analysis of the situation was, and how little room for manoeuvre he left Murty, we need to look at how the tactical side of the game played out. I am not even going to pretend that this is professional analysis; this is amateurish at best.
But I hope I understand the A-B-C’s enough to be able to try.
Let’s start with an understanding of how Celtic lines up.