The perfect takeover, Bob Paisley walking in, not to forget a chairmans importance!

It’s a long time ago, but as a follower of football for the last 50 years, you have build up a library of good and bad and with the current Premier League situation, you can reflect on how a manager takeover would secure a possible continuity of performances and not a downfall of dimentions.

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Today fans are overexaggerating the influence of transfers as they demand things to happen and want new faces to appear and loves the “chop and change” more than probably seeing the team play great football and win trophies as seasons are going over a long period of time and a dip in result could happen, and then the vulture culture appear as lightening.

Especially “social media” and “pundits” are talking in “big letters” as they are often missing the points and with their approach most football clubs would look like a “killing field” and that is not what we would like to see in football, and as Bob Paisley made his transition from coach to manager in a style almost never seen before.

When legendary Bill Shankly walked out after the 1974 FA Cup triumph and left in the open for Bob Paisley to step forward. Shankly made Liverpool great again with Liverpudlian Bob Paisley as one of his men of assistance during the whole era.

Bob Paisley took over a team who had won the FA Cup and ended runners-up in the league. With the legacy of Shankly in the suitcase, it was a “big following” as Paisley was pushed up to take charge. Bill Shankly left the club in good hands and with a squad that had gone a transition since their greats of the 60’s and equipped to win trophies for the next years to come.

We all did see the decline at Leeds United in the same era, Don Revie leaving his desk to take over England with most of the key players being in their 30’s. This was also what happened at Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson, who left with most of the key players with their best years behind them and not in front.

Few have looked at this as a factor of success as teams can be in different cycles of change and that is a key factor in many ways as well. Bob also made it clear that everything would be as it was, but probably with a little bit of difference in management style between him and Bill Shankly, though it was a great way to pass thing on as the group had their best and most important players in an age that made them not just part of a great history but also had a lot left to show in the world of fooball.

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The big star of the team Kevin Keegan was just 23 years of age with his best years in front of him in football. Goalkeeper Ray Clemence, winger Steve Heighway and England defender Emlyn Hughes were all in their prime with a young Phil Thompson showing his skill and soon to become an England international as well, making his debut at full level at the age of 22. Not to forget John Toshack who had also joined up at Anfield from lower league football and also in his mid 20’s. With the “old and wise” Tommy Smith and Ian Callaghan still around, and that summer addition from Arsenal, Ray Kennedy, marching in, it was really on a platter for Paisley. The transfer of Kennedy was seen as the last made by Bill Shankly as it went over the line in the days of Bill Shankly’s departure, but as we all know, Bob Paisley was the one turning The Gunners forward into a midfielder and later to be, an England international.

The first season under Bob Paisley was a trophy less one, but they were in the race for the league title as they ended 2nd behind Derby County. Liverpool competed in Europe, but was out of the Cup winners cup after round two. Their runs in the FA Cup and League Cup also stopped in the fourth and fifth round, but it was not a big decline as a number of players progressed and the team was just copying the result in the league from the season before.

Owners were happy to see the team qualify for Europe and again being competitive as those younger players got one more season in their body. Little is said about Sir John Smith and his influence as he made it possible for Bob Paisley and his backroom staff to bring this club forward and get back on title winning ways.

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The team had evolved as they went into the next season, with Terry McDermott and Phil Neal new faces added from Newcastle United and Northampton Town. Paisley hit “bulls eye” with these two as they had the grit to become Liverpool greats. After the recruitment of the Neal and McDermott, Paisley entered the transfer market and signed Joey Jones from Wrexham. None of these players were stars or finished articles when joining Anfield, and known as the Liverpool way, as they often found talent were others didn’t look, masterclass recruitment. David Fairclough and Jimmy Case was also two young players making their mark as The League and UEFA Cup trophies found their ways to Anfield.

This was so cleverly build up and it went on season in and season out, as the European Cup, more League titles and appearances in the FA Cup and League Cup finals also found it’s way to Anfield. The departure of Kevin Keegan in 1977 was to become a blessing in disguise as Kenny Dalglish became his replacement, building up a new forward partnership with another new arrival David Johnson who had moved back up to join from Ipswich Town.

Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen were later recruited from Middlesbrough and Partick Thistle, cleverly slotted in as players such as John Toshack, Ian Callaghan and Tommy Smith all were moving out, it’s just perfect timing and splended football team building.

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During all the years of “Boot Room” manager appointments a certain Sir John Smith had the control as chairman and when he did step down in 1990, you can see what happened at Anfield, and as Bob Paisley made his bow, Joe Fagan was the one stepping up. When Joe took over in 1983, it was again with great finesse as his team had been through a great transition.

Fagan took over a team that had just won the European Cup and the English League title. It was another fantastic football team to take over and of course not to neglect the importance of Joe Fagan, Sir John Smith made the appointment, and he also took the bold decision to appoint player Kenny Dalglish as his successor and then go on to win “The double” in the following season.

When Kenny Dalglish stepped down, Sir John Smith had also moved on and it was “other heads” running the club at the time, but as we all have seen, football management, chairmen work and how to deliver something to the next generators is a key to all success.

Diego Maradona

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Factfile:

  • Full Name: Diego Armando Maradona
  • Position: Forward
  • Date of Birth: 30.10.1960
  • Birthplace: Buenos Aires
  • Nation: Argentina
  • Club Career: Napoli
    • Period: 1984-1991
    • League Games, 188
    • League Goals, 81
    • Previous Club: Barcelona
      • Transfer Fee: £6 900 000
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Zagallo and football perfection, a World Cup figure unique

Mario Zagallo is one of those few who have won the World Cup both as player and coach, and his knowledge of the game is often overlooked in the presentation of the greatest men in the game.

As a player he represented the Rio clubs Flamengo and Botagfogo, in a career lasting 15 years from 1951 to 1965. During these years he also became a full international and World Cup player adding up 33 caps in which he scored 5 goals.

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Brazil won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962 and in the team you found Mario Zagallo alongside legends Pelè and Garrincha, who was the great men of those two special tournaments. But Zagallo’s name is a bit forgotten, though he shined and was selected for the 1962 World Cup All Star Team.

His name today is mostly known for his coaching role as Brazilian manager both in the 1970 and 1998 World Cup’s, being winners and runners-up in the tournaments. He also coached the team in the 1974 World Cup, ending 4th, and assistent and part of the coaching staff in 1994 when Brazil again lifted the World Cup as winners.

Mario Zagallo (89) is still around us, and should be fondly remembered for all his merits and some of his team selection is to perfection, as the 1970 World Cup team was build around players that originally played club football in the same position. Pelè was of course handed the number 10 role, as others had to fill up other positions, but in the end it’s all about football skills and they all managed to play themselves into the World Cup hall of fame.

Just a month before the 1958 World Cup, Mario Zagallo had never appeared in the Brazil national team (Celecao), but he was integral setting up the wins and fantastic final display in Sweden. He was a natural number 10, but switched to a wingers position to be able to attract interest and become an international, that also probably influenced his way of selecting players and see that great footballers could contribute playing in different roles than in their club teams.

England had this problem and still have as they tend to think football in positions and probably overlooking great players in their selection process and great skill and talent might not be recognized as well as it should, fielding Glenn Hoddle in a sweeper role and Tony Currie as a full back, or even play Kevin Keegan as a winger, something that would be seen as totally ridiculous, but seen working for Brazil.

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To field a gifted midfielder as a central defender is something done also by other nations and Franz Beckenbauer and Javier Macerano are two great examples of players who have dropped down into the central defence and played with perfection in a role, giving the defense a new and fantastic dimension especially as passing skills are often getting to a level that you seldom see from classical central defenders.

Zagallo’s eye for football is one you should respect with great admiration and the “Old Wolf” is one of those people that you should be looking for when thinking football, trying to find the perfect selection and really watching his tactical movements as he moved his “chess pieces” into the right positions.

His team in 1970 is the classical one, probably the finest team ever to win a World Cup, but also have great admiration for his team of 1974 that included some fantastic footballers and “icons” that probably never reached the same level of admiration. Roberto Rivelino and Jairzinho were both playing important roles in both teams, but besides those two most of the key players of the 1970 team were not in the squad, of course also Pelè no longer part of the national team.

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The gap was almost filled as Brazil reached the World Cup ended up 2nd in their finals group, defeated 2-0 by Netherlands in that last vital game, and also losing to Poland in the bronze final, but it was a close race and the team had a lot of talent, though often seen as a “flop” and “dirty” team, as they never played with the same flair as the 1970 outfit, but again showed that Mario Zagallo had the coaching skills of bringing a team together that could end as the final four, wich in it self for Brazil might be a disappointment, but for others would have been fantastic.

Zagallo reappeared as a Brazilian coach and later chief of the team two decades later, and again the team performed to become World Cup winners (1994) and silver medalists (1998) as Brazil for always and since 1958 have shown the World what a fantastic footballing nation they are. Mario Zagallo has been in and around that happenings during all those years and the respect and admiration will for always be with such a fantastic footballing man, and his presence and knowledge of the game should be looked at analyzed by the people who loves football and coaching.

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