Customer Reviews


99 Reviews
5 star:
 (58)
4 star:
 (25)
3 star:
 (12)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing insight into the beautiful game
This book is well worth your money if you're a fan of football. The information presented there is very detailed, with lots of interesting facts. The overall style of writing is engaging and intelligent. The text is supplemented with easy-to-understand diagrams (formations, tactics) and there are also photos (in color) in the middle of the book. But the most valuable...
Published on 13 Jan 2010 by Gleb Belov

versus
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves you longing for some direct play
In many respects this is the football fan's perfect book: what could be better than an obsessively detailed analysis of tactics and formations? Well, the answer is: one that manages to blend detail with an overarching narrative; one that has a bit more purpose about its play.

Wilson's research and grasp of his subject is truly staggering. He works methodically,...
Published on 15 Jun 2009 by M. Harrison


‹ Previous | 1 2 310 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaves you longing for some direct play, 15 Jun 2009
By 
M. Harrison "Hamish" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics (Paperback)
In many respects this is the football fan's perfect book: what could be better than an obsessively detailed analysis of tactics and formations? Well, the answer is: one that manages to blend detail with an overarching narrative; one that has a bit more purpose about its play.

Wilson's research and grasp of his subject is truly staggering. He works methodically, chronologically and geographically through a world history of football, meticulously charting the evolution of every tactical formation. In so doing he uncovers national characteristics of the game that are startlingly enduring. The English, it transpires, have distrusted possession football and the deployment of skill over endeavour since their first opponents were unmanly enough to start passing the ball rather than merely charging blindly down the pitch. The Brazilians were happy enough if the game was beautiful: scoring came second. The Argentinians always knew how to play the man first and the ball second. The Russians treated football like an expression of scientific socialism.

And along the way Wilson explains and tracks all the famous ingredients of the football formation: catenaccio, the libero, the sweeper, the playmaker, the wingback.

Initially his thoroughness and knowledge feel like a refreshing release from the empty cliches of everyday football punditry. But after a while it feels as if he is playing the possession game - showing us he holds all the facts, and that he's going to use them to grind out a result. What the book lacks is a thesis. One longs for a rhetorical flourish; for a position; for the book to seem to have a goal. Instead we get every last thing Wilson researched including every anecdote, relevant or not, and every character, colouful and otherwise.

If you are actively engaged with coaching, the book is a must-read. You will have the motivation to pick carefully through the detail - though you may still be disappointed by some of the formation diagrams, which don't always relate neatly to the text.

If you are just reading for pleasure, however,you are likely to find it increasingly hard going, and monotonous in its approach.

Sadly it becomes a little like watching George Graham's Arsenal, when what you long for is a little Wenger. But then there was much to admire even in boring Arsenal, and so it is with Inverting the Pyramid. Expect to learn a lot, but not to be entertained.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 26 Nov 2009
By 
M. V. Clarke (Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics (Paperback)
What a brilliant book; Jonathan Wilson's 'Inverting the Pyramid' is a superbly detailed, analytical but also highly readable account of the history and development of football tactics. Beginning with the early history of the modern game, he charts the rise of organised playing systems, initially founded on a pyramid with 5 attackers, through the many changes of the C20th to the present-day emphasis on flexibility and adaptability. He carefully shows how different systems and approaches, such as the use of a 'libero', a 5-man midfield, and attacking wing backs are related to one another and accurately identifies their stengths and weaknesses. His comments on some of the most notable tactical approaches of the C20th - Hungary, Brazil, AC Milan, Holland, Wimbledon, are well considered and backed up with careful analysis of their progress. Comments on individual players such as Michael Owen, Juan Román Riquelme are very revealing - showing a careful understanding of modern football. Both this book and Wilson's earlier Behind the Curtain: Travels in Eastern European Football mark him out as one of the most perceptive and engaging football writers around.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for coaches, 8 Dec 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics (Paperback)
Others have written good reviews about the detail in this book which I agree with. I just wanted to confirm that you can use this book when coaching amateur teams. I've read various other books on coaching, most of which are too simplistic and/or too thoerectical - ie. they show no insight into tactical nuances, and no appreciation of the hard realities of a real match. This book describes real football played at the highest club and country levels over the past 100 years, in an in-depth, incisive way, and yet is so crystal clear in its telling that you genuinely can apply what you learn when coaching your local team. Over the chapters it gives real examples of each formation working (or not!); why mobile ball-playing centre backs replaced the purely hard men; how a sweeper can still operate effectively (how I love that one), but all told in easily accessible conversational form.

And coaches - if you're feeling insecure, the real-life tales in this book are proof that you can be a saviour one season, then a has-been the next, only to resurface elsewhere as a saviour again. But that's what we're in it for isn't it?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best football book I've read, 9 Sep 2013
Inverting the Pyramid will open your eyes about football & how it's actually played. It will spark an even greater interest in the game and help you appreciate it more. Immerse yourself into the history of the great sides, players and manager's who helped change/influence the game. You feel greatful to Mr. Wilson for going to the effort of researching all this and writing it in such a splendid way. Someone with a true love for the game.

One of the great holds football has on me is the history, the fact that every game adds to what went before, the knowledge that the next great manager/team is just around the corner, the next tactical trend, whether it's like Sacchi's Milan or Guardiola's Barca. Someone new always comes along and changes tactics & the way the game is played. It's been like this since the beginning & it continues today. This book takes you all the way through that fascinating journey.

The book is also full of great stories & "myths". A personal favourite was the story of how one manager claimed to have thought up Catenaccio after seeing a fisherman working down the docks.

Fantastic! 5 out of 5.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a mixed bag, 1 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics (Paperback)
An odd book i thought insofar as its overly laboured in parts, suitably informative in others and skims over fairly significant developments in other sections. Too much time spent on the first 50 years of football and too little on modern era.
Nonetheless interesting and well researched, I would still recommend this and am enjoying watching football in a new light, although Michael owen says he watches matches now and struggles to see any formation as modern players are so fit and mobile...I've got no chance then!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawless, 13 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics (Paperback)
This is hands-down the best football-related book I have ever read. Wilson's work is - as always - articulate, considered and excellently researched. If you have any interest in the history of football (whether tactically or more generally) this book is indispensable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great, 13 April 2013
By 
Miss S. Drew - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics (Paperback)
great for anyone interested in the history & development of tactics. a little dry at times but after all it aint a crime novel! covers most of the great teams and coaches and tactical shifts. personally i couldnt put it down and found myself going back over some chapters. however i am a coach myself and maybe a little sad.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy but Fascinating, 5 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics (Paperback)
Fascinated and bored me with equal measure. almost too encyclopaedic and goes back to eras I knew little about, however now after reading this book I am an expert. superbly written and structured. A must read for all budding football coaches or just insightful fans of the game!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read, but......., 9 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an extraordinary piece of work; very extensively researched and insightful.

I was fascinated by the tactical perspective on the history of football and then intrigued by Wilson's analysis of the the game during the last 50 years or so - much of which I have witnessed first hand. I'd unreservedly recommend the book to all "thinking" football fans.

I have two observations. First, having recently read the "Italian Job" by Guanluca Vialli, I was struck time and again by the complete lack of tactical analysis in our media. A stark contrast with Italy according to Vialli. At times I was embarrassed that I'd failed to appreciate the tactical nuances in many of the games I've watched over the years. The 86 World Cup game against Argentina is a classic example. I rationalised my ignorance by constant reference to the facile nature of our football reporting and punditry.

My second observation is .....hmmmmmm..... Whilst I don't doubt Wilson's analysis, there are two potential failings. The first is an apparent lack of recognition of the importance of players. Were the pathbreaking teams Wilson talks about the product of tactical innovation or the result of a coming together of a group of wonderful players? The reality, of course, is almost certainly a little of each. The second, and most important weakness, is that there is less analysis of what works, why and in what circumstances than there might have been. Perhaps it's asking too much, but whilst I feel much better informed I'm not sure I'm any wiser about how England should set up, for example.

Wilson's coup de grace is that in the epilogue he predicts that the next tactical evolution might well be to 4-6-0 - exactly as deployed by Spain during Euro 2012. Very impressive!! The question, once again, is whether the system makes sense or whether it was simply the best way to accommodate Spain's remarkably talented players. Nevertheless, Wilson is obviously a real expert and it's hard to avoid the conclusion that had a generation of English managers thought anything like as much about the game as he has then our international record would be much less disappointing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great anthology football book, 30 May 2011
This review is from: Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics (Paperback)
This is an excellent book for football fans interested in the evolution of the game throughout the years.
If you are trying to find out how tactics work, this isn't exactly what you need.
This book is basically the History of Football concerning how the tactics evolved into what they are today.
That means the author starts at the end of the 19th century and goes on telling the history of the first tactics created all the way to the modern ones used by professional clubs until 2008.
Excellent writing,tremendously interesting and easy to read.It has loads and loads of information and it will most likely improve your knowledge of the game by miles!
It is a MUST HAVE if you are a decent football fan and not just the average guy who goes on and complains about everything on the pub without actually knowing something about the game.
If however you are looking for meticulous information about tactical aspects of the game,such as "how to play the 4x3x3" or "how every position works on the field" this is not what you are looking for.
It is an anthology book.
Most likely the best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 310 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics
Used & New from: £5.74
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews