After watching the Premier League games on television this past weekend, I realized that we’ve now reached a monumental place in the evolution of English football. Out of the 20 clubs in the Premier League, there’s only one that plays a traditional English style of football. And that is a huge achievement.
In the past, the top flight of English football always featured teams that played an English style, which was to hoof the ball up the pitch and hope for someone to knock it down into the path of a striker who could knock the ball into the back of the net. The hit-it-and-hope style of punting balls into an opposition’s half has worked for more than a century in England. But as the game has become more globalized and managers such as Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson, to name just a couple, have transformed the style of play, the old English tactics have almost vanished.
The last bastion of that style can be found at Ewood Park courtesy of Sam Allardyce. Blackburn Rovers continue to play a style of play which is unique but not pleasing on the eye, and combines a physical nature that you won’t find at other clubs. In the past, football supporters would stereotype Stoke City, Bolton Wanderers and Wolverhampton Wanderers of falling into this category. But if you look closely, Tony Pulis, Owen Coyle and Mick McCarthy have changed the way their teams play and they all now play more silky football with the ball being played mostly on the ground.