Modern football is full of high presses and transitions – but they’ve always been around

When I sat down to brainstorm ideas about some mundane football talk I could piece together to fill a gap on the site, I kept coming back to the same phrase.

High press. How many times do we hear the phrase high press over a weekend now. Every pundit talks about the high press.

It’s one of the top phrases you hear. With a few spare weekends coming up due to lockdown I might sit and count how many times its repeated over a weekend.

I’ve grown up around football. Watching it, playing it, reporting on it, and only in recent years have phrases such as that come to such prominance.

So it got me thinking, surely it can’t be something new.

One of my biggest bug bears about people who watch modern football is the fact that they forget the game existed in England pre 1992.

I wasn’t born then so I never watched football first hand before the creation of the Premier League, but even I know that football was brilliant back then.

So was the high press around back then. Was ‘transition’ around then? That’s another buzz word that coaches and pundits like to use these days.

Recycling the ball. I never heard that phrase down The Hawthorns during my youth or watching local games.

After a bit more digging and a bit more research, I came across a video of Peter Reid talking about such phrases.

In a nutshell, according to the Scouser, ‘it’s all b******s’.

As Reid explains, high press is simply ‘shut down up the front’, recycling the ball is boiled down to ‘winning a tackle’, and a transition was plain and simply, a counter attack.

But even I’ll admit, high press sounds a bit more fancy than ‘shut down up the front’.

I’m no coach. I haven’t put the hours of study and training ground work that young and up and coming coaches do all over the country to get their licenses.

But I think the moral of the origin of these words is the simplicity of the game when it is all stripped back.

Yes it has changed for the better. The diets, the science, the analysis to get that 0.001 per cent edge.

It is that edge but wins football matches.

But the fancy phrases we hear in studios and post match interviews have just been re painted.

They’ve always been there.

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