The Blizzard: Issue Four

Jonathan Wilson (editor), 2012

The final issue of the first year edition of The Blizzard has again several interesting topics to present. At first the issue starts with an interview and nice portrait of Xavi Hernandez by Graham Hunter at a time, 2011, when Barcelona was at its height. It is interesting to read it in retrospect now knowing that also this dominance found an end but it is still a mystery to me why it happened. On a rational base I can understand that in the later years their playing has changed. I’m not sure if it already started in the last season with Guardiola but it was definitely the case under Villanova and Martinez, when the pressing was less strong, the movements in the last third were less effective and what was left was only the great passing and possession play but with less efficiency than some years before. If he team would have been spread over the world or the players one by one would have been retired I could understand why they could not keep their 2011 style but the team was more or less the same 2 years later when they were defeated so badly by Bayern Munich.
Philippe Auclair presents this time two unique interviews, one with Alex Ferguson which provides some insights in the thoughts of the best coaches ever in soccer history. The second interview between Jean-Claude Suaudeau and Didier Deschamps lives from the relationship between both coaches. It turns out that they are quite different, the one being an educator, not necessarily interested in the maximum success but in making the players and his team more perfect, even if it takes a long time, the other being more pragmatic seeing the need for quick successes and using whatever players or tactics help him with that.
Again The Blizzard also helps me to broaden my knowledge about English soccer with telling the story of Arthur Rowe and how he modernized the game in England in the fifties and defined a style which made Tottenham Hotspurs successful for nearly a decade. Furthermore it is interesting to read about the small clubs in London, like Crystal Palace, Millwall, Charlton Athletic or Wimbledon. The story of the small clubs which were quite successful in the past to squeeze the maximum out of their limited potential but today cannot compete anymore in the exclusive club of the Premier League, sounds a bit like the stories told for small german clubs in Ist doch ein geiler Verein. It also makes me appreciate more these smaller clubs which were for me usually just the filling material for the lower ranks of the Premier League table.
This issue is also the first one in which photographs can be seen in The Blizzard. They are form the African Cup of Nations as part of the story of Zambia winning the cup. Again it is refreshing to read about African football with more than just results mentioned. I can remember following the results of this Cup of Nations two years ago but I lost interest over time because all the favorites lost in the end and you are surprised but also partly disappointed, when the teams you know do not win, because then you cannot really understand the drama or the stories which are told in such a tournament. For example, today Aubameyang is well known to myself because of him playing for Borussia Dortmund. That he was a star and pushed his Gabon team close to getting into the final in 2012, I was completely unaware of. Therefore it is good The Blizzard tells these stories.
At the end just two votes from my side. First I can just beg the UEFA to take the suggestions of Brian Phillips serious and make the Europe League a fun event to watch. Furthermore, I consider that The Blizzard should start a Greatest Games DVD series. I would get a lifetime membership for that series immediately.

Biography: 2/3
History: 1/3
Background: 2/3
Tactics & Game philosophy: 1/3

Next book: Coaching the 4-4-2 (Nov 17th)


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