Once upon a time, no one payed much attention to football coaches. However, the football coach died when the game stopped being “just a game” and football began being referred to as professional football and thus came the need to have a tactics specialist behind professional teams. So from there on, the tactics specialist had the difficult mission to avoid improvisation, control freedom and maximize the performance of football players, who were forced to become disciplined athletes.
They used to say “Let’s play”. The tactics specialist says instead “Let’s work”. Now football commentators refer to it in terms of numbers. A journey through fear and history in the twentieth century. The facts are all there before our eyes, but it takes outrageous amounts of knowledge to be able to interpret that information effectively. From interpreting this complex data and statistics, the tactics specialist develops mysterious formulas more complex than those of nuclear energy and tactical schemes more indecipherable than the Holy Trinity.
That old blackboard where schemes were represented were replaced by electronic screens; now they are drawn on a computer and shown on a LED screen. These details are rarely seen on television. Rather, TV broadcasts focus on displaying tension and anxiety in the face of the coach, or on that moment while they shout directions that if anyone could understand, it might turn the game around. Journalists roast them at the press conference. Coaches never share the secret of their victories, but are left giving explanations and excuses for their defeats. The machinery of show business grinds everything tho; success ephemeral and coaches as disposable as any other product of consumerism. A coach believes that football is a science and the field a laboratory, but businessmen and fans expect of them the genius of Einstein, the subtlety of Freud and the endurance of Gandhi.