I can’t think of a better way to mark the beginning of the new football season that with a quote from Jorge Valdano on the teams which fans remember, which I found in Jonathan Wilson’s fine book Inverting the Pyramid, on the history of football tactics:
People often say that results are paramount, that, ten years down the line, the only thing which will be remembered is the score, but that’s not true. What remains in people’s memories is the search for greatness and the feelings that engenders. We remember Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan more than we remember Fabio Capello‘s AC Milan even though Capello’s Milan was more successful and more recent. Equally, the Dutch Total Football teams of the 1970s are legendary, far more than West Germany, who beat them in the World Cup Final in 1974, or Argentina, who defeated them in the 1978 final. It’s about the search for perfection. We know it doesn’t exist, but it’s our obligation towards football, and maybe towards humanity, to strive towards it. That’s what we remember.
The image of Johann Cruyff is from Pitch Invasion, with thanks.