Dresden – Wiege des Fußballs

Jens Genschmar, 2012, Edition Sächsische Zeitung

Wer die Anthologien Goal-Post Vol.1 & Vol.2 gelesen hat, weiß ja schon, dass England bereits im viktorianischen Zeitalter eine reiche Fußballkultur hatte. Aus Deutschland hat man weniger Informationen über diese Zeit, deswegen ist Jens Genschmars Buch über die Anfänge des Fußballs in Dresden, die ja auch die Anfänge des Fußballs in Deutschland sind, so interessant. Man muss dabei aber direkt erwähnen, dass man in dem Buch keinen historischen Abriss oder Zeitzeugenberichte finden wird, wie in Goal-Post, sondern hauptsächlich Bilder. Der Autor, der auch das Fußball-Museum in Dresden leitet, hat seine Archive durchsucht und zahlreiche Bilder und Dokumente über den Fußball bis zum zweiten Weltkrieg zusammengetragen und in dem Buch zur Schau gestellt. Jedem Zeitabschnitt ist ein kurzer Text vorangestellt, doch der Fokus liegt darauf, dem Leser die Atmosphäre der damaligen Epoche mit Zeitdokumenten näherzubringen. Das funktioniert ohne Zweifel, umso mehr, wenn man sich in Dresden auskennt und die verschiedenen Orte zuordnen kann, doch eine Fußballgeschichte Dresdens, die mit Quellen und Zitaten gespickt ist, wäre sicherlich auch ein interessantes Projekt für die Zukunft.

Biographie: 0/3
Geschichte: 3/3
Hintergrund: 1/3
Taktik & Spielphilosophie: 0/3

Next book: Training Soccer Champions

Goal-Post Vol.2

Victorian Football

Paul Brown (editor), 2013, Superelastic Publishing

Quite a while ago we had the first volume of the Victorian football anthology Goal-Post in this blog. Today we take a look at the second volume. Last time a lot of articles were reports from “first games”, the first international game, the first under floodlight a.s.o. This time not so many game reports are found in the book. Instead we look more behind the scenes with articles about how a club secretary works, how the rules changed the game from a dribbling game to a passing game, a look at the hard work of the referees (not so much different from today) and how the rules of the games were formed. Even the first women’s soccer game happened in 1881 but it was as much a curiosity as the “elephantine football” which is described in another article. It would take another 100 years before women’s soccer was taken serious.
Again this book is a great source for old school soccer atmosphere and in many ways one can see, how the games has not changed over the years. The changes from dribbling to passing game seem to have happened in our time again, when the ball possession-play took over and the players who could decide a game alone due to their dribbling skills was over. Interestingly the best possession-play team of our time, Guardiola’s Barcelona, had a player like that with Messi. However, he was always just the cherry on the top, they variable in the game, when the perfect passing did not lead to gaps in the defense of the other team. He was the one who could open the defense because in one-on-one situations he we would win most of the time.( Interestingly Guardiola used more of this kind of dribblers at Bayern München. When the team was at its best they usually had two of them on their wings, like Ribery, Robben and Douglas Costa) and the game was much more focused on supporting them). Other topics which are still in the news today are the criticism of professionalism and whether the games is good or bad for young boys. It is interesting to see that professionalism was so quickly adopted in England when it took on the continent until the 20s or 30s that the fight against professionalism was finally over, as one can read in the biography of Matthias Sindelar in Austria.

For everyone who wants to see the first moving pictures of soccer to get at least a glimpse of what it looked like in the nineteenth century I can only recommend the DVD “British Pathé Presents The F.A. Cup Finals 1920-1969”, which describes the earliest cup finals verbally but then starts to show pictures of the first game footage available from the 1920s. I know it is 30-50 years later than the Victorian time but it is the closest one can get with real footage and the system they played was still the same.

Biography: 0/3
History: 3/3
Background: 2/3
Tactics & Game philosophy: 0/3

Next book: Temples of the Earthbound Gods

Goal-Post Vol. 1

Victorian Football

Paul Brown (editor), 2012, Superelastic Publishing

This anthology is a gem for everybody interested in the earliest days of soccer. Paul Brown made the effort to screen to the reporting of soccer games before the 20th century and selected articles, which are well written but which also allow to learn about the development of the game from a non-regulated wild and sometimes brutal activity in cities and schools to the “association game”. You can read about the history of soccer, how it was seen at that days, general descriptions of the game and first training advices, how the Football Association was founded, how to form a football club, the first association cup games, the first international game, the first match played by the rules now common, the first game under floodlights, how the game developed in Scotland, how the traveling of teams took place and so on. The variety of the stories was quite astonishing for me. The style, although old-fashioned, is good to read and one can see much more differences in journalism from these times to today than in the soccer game. In the 19th century journalism was far more describing and reporting, sometimes with some poetic style, sometimes with the the will to educate but always with the idea to present something new to learn for the reader. In today’s journalism the news, like scores or which players signs a contract at which club, travel so fast, history facts are readily available to everyone through Wikipedia or Internet search, that media focus on the sensation to catch their audience. If one reads game reports from before the Internet age(1980s, beginning of 90s) and compares with today’s one can see that the earlier ones have far more detail and description of atmosphere in it, whereas the current ones can, and sometimes are, written by robots.
It is nice to see now that at least some of the websites or magazines around soccer take the Victorian writing as an example and get back to the storytelling. Describing the bigger context of a current crisis or success with a detailed analysis which is deeper than what one can do on one page or bringing history back to the mind of the readers, not just by repeating endless statistical data but really telling stories, differentiates websites and magazines more from the standard ones than one might think. Examples like No Dice or 11 Freunde are out there and they stand in the tradition of the journalism described in this book.

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

Next book: Mythos niederländischer Nachwuchsfußball (German, June 7th)