Sam Allardyce once said when managing Bolton 'There are scientists who will tell you that spirit, because it can't be measured, doesn't exist. B*ll*cks. It does exist' and Brian Clough "Players lose you games, not tactics. There's so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes."
Do you agree with both or either of these football quotes? The reason why they stand out to me is firstly I believe spirit is a key ingredient to success and whoever plays with the most spirit at Wembley this weekend will be lifting the Champions League trophy. Secondly everybody under the sun is trying to analyse Barcelona v Manchester United and both Sir Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola’s tactics. I sort of asked myself the question can I win at dominoes. Not sure I’ve even tried; maybe I’ll have a go. So the endless questions will Sir Alex adapt his squad to play Barca to trap if at all possible Lionel Messi? Will the tactics of the reds look to disrupt Xavi and Busquets like Real Madrid did when they beat them in the Copa del Rey? How will Manchester United best use Park Ji-Sung?
Who is backing Barca? And who is backing United? Gary Lineker "If Barcelona turn up, they win," . "Barca have got to have a bad day for United to realistically have a chance. Either that or United get lucky." Whereas David Beckham ‘if anyone can beat Barca, it’s Manchester United.’
Realistically it’s going to be hard for either team or manager to spring a surprise on one another. They will have analysed the play in immense detail more than we can ever imagine, they know how both teams work, and they know each other’s players, their strengths and weakness’. Sir Alex knows what Guardiola is capable of and vice a versa. They will already know and will have for a while exactly what they are going to do. So all we have to do is relax and enjoy! Unless maybe you are a Barcelona or Manchester United fan, a tense evening will be in store I’m sure. Two of the finest teams in world football and most certainly the two best managers head to head, I can’t wait. I just hope that both teams play at their best, inspire and create a spectacle for all football fans out there. I’m tempted to go against the grain with a Manchester United win and I’m going to give in to temptation. No team is unbeatable not even the dream team of Barcelona.
On another note especially as the football season is all but over don’t forget we have a summer of football with the FIFA Women’s World Cup and England have a serious chance of reaching the final and most certainly beating the men’s equivalent. At last the future is starting to look a little lighter for females in the game apart from this week when talking about my own team Sheffield United and how we should hold on to our stars I got asked if I’d washed the pots. I’m putting that down to an ape from before the human race visiting the future or the fact that he just wanted to wash my pots. I wanted to give Emily Lewis-Clarke a mention. She had to quit her team which she was the only girl due to the age limit for mixed-sex teams by the FA. However due to Emily and her team protesting to the FA the age limit has been raised from 11 to 13. So as Sam Allardyce said spirit exits especially in football, an 11 year old girl who earns her place in her team on merit, and stands up to the discrimination in football is what I call spirit.