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What Does It Mean "to Know" Football?
6 years ago
I often hear people refer to "knowing about" football, particularly when they are having heated discussions/arguments.

This phenomena appears particularly prevalent on Footytube's forums - mostly in the individual team forums and it seems that someone "not knowing" their football is the greatest insult one can make on these boards.

I often see it used to dismiss someone's opinions, or to give extra weight to their own point of view:

"those that know their football would agree with me that xxxxxx is the best left midfielder in the world right now"


"If you think that xxxxx is better than xxxxxx then you obviously don't know football".
Are two typical examples.

So my question is, what does it mean "to know" football?

Tony (footytube staff) 6 years ago
I would say about 90% of fans are blindfolded towards their own team, and their opinions will usually bear that out.
I have more time for fans who can talk outside of their own club to be honest, football doesent stop at one team, and that's where their knowledge stops
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Good point Tony, as much as I love Steven Gerrard, he is my favorite player in the world and one of my idols, he is no longer the best midfielder in the world. And although he may have been at a time(after Zidane's retirement and before Xavi/Iniesta's meteoric rise to perfection) I still see "Steven Gerrard is the best midfielder(or player) in the world" on the LFC page. Which is cool with me, it means the fans are loyal to their heroes, however it illustrates your point. As it seems fairly clear to me that Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Wesley Sneijder, Bastian Schweinsteiger are now better players than my beloved Stevie G.

It does pain me to say this, but you got to face the music. And as much as I hope Steven Gerrard plays to 40 plus and makes brilliant tackles on the above players and hits plenty of screamers from 35 yards to rescue points, and lifts the English trophy with the captain's armband and a Liver badge on his chest, he is no longer in his prime. Their are few players that have the spirit and leadership qualities that make Steven Gerrard such a fantastic footballer, and he will go down in history as one of the greatest, in my opinion, the greatest Liverpool midfielder that has ever lived. And for me, he is still up there in the discussion of the best midfielders in the world, but there are better players now, this happens to every player.

As for the now seemingly eternal question of Messi or Ronaldo, well to me it is clear as day who is the better player. Especially during this holiday season we should praise the Messiah, and it seems like people who say Ronaldo is better are always Portuguese, United fans, or Madrid fans(there is a classic Di Stefano statement that came out recently where he says he thinks Ronaldo is better because "he is with us" hahaha) but I have my allegiances as well. So maybe I am(more than) a little biased towards Barcelona. But as a person who "knows" football (really I don't, still too much to learn) I would say Messi is ahead of Ronaldo. As an avid United fan, what do you think Tone?
Tony (footytube staff) 6 years ago
Messi all day long for me, I like his style of play.
Anyone who says ronaldo is crap, knows nothing about football, he's a great player to, but I could watch messi all day long
6 years ago
"Anyone who says ronaldo is crap, knows nothing about football "
Tony (footytube staff) 6 years ago
Well do you think he's crap?
People only say he's crap because he doesent play for their team, that's what I'm trying to put across liam, and yes saying ronaldo is crap says something about your actual football knowledge.
Its like me saying stevie g is crap, just because he plays for the pool, but truth be told, he's a good player.
I can see this being a good thread.... Lol
6 years ago
No he's not crap, but lets leave the messi v ronaldo debate off this thread

So "knowing football" is being able to be objective when speaking of other players/team?

Does "knowing football" involve anything else?
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 6 years ago
No, not crap at all, but out of respect for the author, moving on. I would think some of the criteria for knowing football maybe playing the game. Or have played in the past. I know, I know, you can support the game and be a righteous fan without having ever actually played the game, but maybe you can understand the finer points in the game having experienced it for yourself? This being said there may be a paraplegic who is a football historian and fanatic(I know a little bit about the history of the game myself) who knows way more than me.

Also being from America I have never actually been to Anfield and seen Liverpool from the Kop and sung the songs(one of my all time goals in life by the way) so does this mean I don't know my team or the game? I have seen Barcelona play in LA one of the best experiences of my life, and I can say proudly I was loud and passionate(how could you not be) even started a few oles for Barcas passes. I want to found and start a (perhaps semi)professional club here in Flagstaff, so when I am home I can go down to the stadium and support a club from my hometown and jump and sing and yell(or play or manage, start a youth team). But I don't have that luxury at the moment, and Flagstaff will always be my home, no matter where I go or for how long, so does that make me a lesser supporter? Or "know" less about football?

I also do think it is good to have some historical basis for knowing the context of the game and the players. This is difficult however because certain people in certain areas hold some players in the highest of acclaim and don't know of other great players. For instance maybe somebody from Sau Paolo is in Hampshire and some Southampton hooligan mentions Le Tissier and the Brasilain kid doesn't know who he is, you can imagine how the Southampton supporter would react. "You don't know God?!" And vice-versa for an English kid in Brasil who doesn't know Rivellino. Immediately they think they know nothing of football, this is ridiculous. Also some younger people may not know very much about the history of the game but have a great understanding of the kinetics of football and know a great player when they see one. So maybe this isn't such a good criteria
Jeroen (Barcelona) 6 years ago
Well said Donnchadh, and I agree fully with every word, but the ones between brackets You underestimate your own knowledge of football, and I'm fairly sure you can be classified as a person that knows the game. The fact alone that you think twice before naming someone 'the best', the fact you idolize Gerrard but realize that by now there are a number of CMs better than him, the fact you have a profound knowledge of the game and the players and the fact you always take your time for your replies just proves you're no ordinary fanboy at all.

On topic: I consider someone 'knows' football when he or she doesn't just gets his knowledge from highlights. If everything I did in football was on film I could make myself look like a hero too. A pundit is also a realist: claiming Barça is unbeatable, claiming any given established star player sucks or claiming Gary Neville isn't secretly in love with Paul Scholes means you don't know your football.

Generally, I consider people have a (football) brain when they acknowledge they don't know everything but still display a profound knowledge of facts and have a good eye on what makes players and a team good or bad. That sounds simple, but even great managers sometimes fail in making the right judgement on a player.
Recognising a person 'knows his football' is pretty easy: the majority of people repeat what they've read or heard in the news and although much of that is true, real pundits often make crystal clear points that are not newsworthy but show the person definitely 'knows his football'
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 6 years ago
Thanks Jeroen, means a lot man, I still do have a lot to learn though

I totally agree with what you say here. Being from America, there are plenty of people who don't understand it, "how can you watch a game for 90 minutes where no one scores, where are the commercials, why don't they just pick it up, blah blah painful blah" and they criticize it's beauty and miss nutmegs or perfectly weighted through balls doing whatever they do. Thank God this is changing, slowly but surely, and people don't sound so ignorant anymore. And I will try and teach them something or point something out and they are really enthused, the World Cup was a real blessing for the States. But as soon as I show someone I highlight real of the Steven Gerrard top 10 goals of him giving the goalkeeper no chance from 40 yards, or Klass Jan Huntelaar bicycle videos they are all for it. Even the most hardheaded, redneck American will admit a bicicleta placed perfectly in the upper 90 is cool. So what you say about the highlight reels is spot on.

And your second comment needs know comment from me, perfecto
Borg (Manchester United) 6 years ago
How do I know that you know football?

I think individuals who have played football at a high level can rightly say that they 'know' the game and probably better than all others in terms of the tactics, technique, etc since they have experienced these things first hand in competition. Additionally, people who have been following the game for many years even decades know the game for all of the history, facts, and so on. When it comes to die-hard supporters, they certainly have all the passion but not necessarily the knowledge. As netnerd has said, it often runs rampant in the club pages. Many hardcore fans are blinded by the love of their club or country to the point which they cannot recognize the quality of a rival club/nation and simply write them off as all being s**t. Also, I think it is easy to see when someone knows football when they are able to admit they are wrong when someone else presents a stronger argument
Tony (footytube staff) 6 years ago
Well theres a few on this thread that do KNOW their football, the trolls wouldnt even know where to begin to answer liams question.... Lol
Borg (Manchester United) 6 years ago
Haha, post this thread in arsenal chat and see what happens. That would be a laugh
ScooterHayes (Chelsea) 6 years ago
I'd say those that "know" football are not only those that understand the game in general, but can offer educated opinions subjectively. I'll be honest, every argument arguing that Xavi is the best midfielder ever coming from a player with a Barcelona avatar, or a profile that has "Forza Barca" all over it, can be taken a little less authoritatively. This person, or really, anybody that demonstrates a strong commitment to a team can be considered biased at best.

Ultimately, on these forums, everything IS opinion until proven either factual or insightful. No matter how much you argue your point it is a fruitless endeavor to push your opinions.

Now, I will say some people will tend to be more correct on a regular basis about some things. In the case of footytube, staff and moderators are the cream of the crop. Not in drawing a comparison, but commentators that managed or played in whatever capacity or in whatever league always seem to have a great grasp on what is not only happening live, but they have professional opinions of the game. I would say people that have been recognized by the hierarchy as authoritative on the matter would be those that "know football" best.

Within the forums, though, it's near always a shot in the dark
Tony (footytube staff) 6 years ago
Yeah, but theres those that can share opinions, at those that are blinded, and not worth talking to in all honesty
Borg (Manchester United) 6 years ago
Booo scooterHayes, don't you have any faith in the proletariat footytubers!? Haha
ScooterHayes (Chelsea) 6 years ago
The sentiment is shared, believe me; I can't even talk to some of the other members because I support a "rival team" (and I should note I support it as much as a foreigner could).

We can only hope that boils away with time and flaming from community members, Tony. It's the refining fire for "n00bs".

And Borg: nope. Lol
Lumileppardi (Swansea City) 6 years ago
BBC's Match of the Day pundits know a lot.... Although I've been following footy since Maradona's heroics, you often get carried away kind of, in the excitement of a match and fail to stop to appreciate some non-highlight-reel detail or event that went on. So it's great to see them highlighting these kinds of aspects of the match
Tony (footytube staff) 6 years ago
That's funny, we had a thread a while back where most thought the bbc pundits were crap, and it also got air time on radio, were stan collymore ripped the back out of hansen, shearer and company for not discussing the finer points of the game, then again its like everything, its only stans opinion, the same as you and me, so who's right?
Lumileppardi (Swansea City) 6 years ago
Really.... Could you point me to the thread? Couldn't find it. Anyways, as far as the studio commentary is concerned, I'm stuck with what the DailyMotion vids provide - I don't have BBC (nor a TV set for that matter) so I just usually see the 2 or 3 mins of studio chat that in the vids.

I haven't heard Collymore's commentaries but he's probably just jealous for the playing skills of Lineker, Dixon & Shearer
Reidscott (Fiorentina) 6 years ago
Good thread.... There are many times I have been tempted to say something but stopped because I realized I did not " know " enough to do so. Then there have been times I have chimed in and ended up feeling a little shall we say.... Lacking. For me the folks I gravitate to are the ones that can enlighten me on the game.... And have a sense of humor....

I gotta' chime in on Ronaldo.... He is a great player, period. He is also a world class flopper and diver, period. All I got.... Just don't know football really....
Borg (Manchester United) 6 years ago
I think your theory on ronaldo is spot on
Joeymac (Manchester United) 6 years ago
Nice topic.
I'll get my though of pundits out of the way first: the majority of footytube members could do just as good if not a better job than most of them. What I notice with analysts is that they seem to proclaim a specific opinion of their own as a fact.
To me, to "know your football" means to be able to give your opinion and back it up with evidence, and not just that, but also be able to accept more than one opinion. Let's face it, there are things ronaldo does better than messi, and there are things messi can do better than ronaldo. So who am I to say with complete conviction that one is better than the other? I can have my opinion, but I also must be able to be open to and accept opinions that disagree with mine.
That's the only way to broaden your "football knowledge". If you only look at one side of an argument, then you will never progress. I hope I didn't confuse anyone

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