the neurotic genius of dutch football
brilliant orange : written by David Winner : Published in 2000 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
This was another classic must read football book I found in an Oxfam bookshop for £2.50. It’s bright orange cover has sat there for too long enticing me to pick it up and now was a good opportunity.
Firstly I must say that sometimes the football was incidental as David Winner educated me on Dutch history, culture, architecture, environment, people and much more and this enhances the background to the football.
This is an explanation of how ‘Total Football’ was born and developed from the 1950’s to the end of the millennium. The Netherlands had been considered a dull, efficient, practical country that changed in the 60’s with a vibrant youth culture, pioneering architects and a new flowing total football that encompassed individual skill with a team pattern that was to surprise and please the world.
Much is put on the shoulders of Johan Cruyff but the book explores his undoubted talent but also the flaws and the other key players who created the revolution.
Ajax are at the centre of the book with their amazing European Cup achievements in the early 1970’s when they won it three times and once again in the 1994/95 season under Louis van Gaal. There is also major analysis of why the National Team have not won the World Cup or beaten their major rival Germany when it seemed turning up was all that was needed. Is it arrogance, no killer instinct or are they are just nice people, the interviews with players and coaches give an in depth insight.
I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say I shouldn’t have left it on the to read pile for so long.