by Terry Spencer
Now that the hubbub of Sunderland’s cup win has died down, local footballers may be wondering if this win by the underdog has any significance to football as we know it around Rye. On the day the characteristics of Sunder-land’s win were a total commitment to winning, determination, concentration, aggression, and physical and mental fitness which could be called sharpness.
If football consisted only of ball skills perhaps Leeds would have won handsomely. Even taking into account tactics the important difference between the teams was in player mobility. This player mobility includes the close marking and harassment of opponents, following up both centres and shots at goal, covering teammates, recovery after the tackle, over-lapping, running into spaces, and blocking passes and shots. All these are off-the-ball movements calling for fitness, courage, concentration, determination, aggression and anticipation or the leading of the game.
Many players show degrees of this mobility of mind and body as part of their game, but one only has to watch any local match to see what a great all-round improvement there could be.
Sunderland beat Leeds because their players showed greater mobility. If Hughes hadn’t followed up Kerr’s speculative long shot no doubt Harvey would have caught the ball comfortably instead of tipping it over for the corner from which the goal was scored. Had the Leeds defenders shown anticipation and courage in trying to block Porterfield’s shot, the story might have had a different ending.
A comparison of ball skills shows Sunderland to have the edge on Leeds in shooting for they were quicker to shoot and just as accurate. The Leeds passing however was more precise and they provided the two best through-balls, the first spoiled by Clarke’s slowness to shoot, the second lost through Lorrimer’s surprising inaccuracy. Later in the game Lorrimer showed how even he, the League’s crack shot, could be foiled by the anticipation, physical agility and courage of goalkeeper Montgomery.
Ball skills call for a great deal of practice and it is some time before improvement can be noticed. If a reasonable level of fitness is present however the other aspects of player mobility can improve in many players almost overnight with only a change of attitude to the game.
Without even discussing the important part played by tactics the message from Wembley is that some success can be grasped by those prepared to work and fight for it.
Rye and district footballers have had a fair share of success this season, some achieving the pinnacle, others having hopes dashed on the brink. The outstanding teams have been EAST GULDEFORD and UNION, both divisional champions and cup winners. RYE ATHLETIC finished runners-up in Division II and Semi. finalists in two cup competitions whilst their 2nd team ended in the top half of Division V behind champions TRANCO. As the League’s newest club TRANCO led all season and also reached the semi-final of the lower division cup.
Despite a patchy year RYE UNITED came near to a major final losing the replayed semifinal to the eventual winners. The UNITED’s 2nd and 3rd teams have struggled, and a rebuilding programme is expected.
IDEN. 5th in the Premier Division, also lost a replayed semi-final in the supplementary cup, and their 2nd XI did less well, suffering constantly from team changes.
The story of near misses continues with THE CROWN who were also semi finalists in the Observer cup and could still be runners-up in
Although ICKLESHAM CASUALS, carrying a number of younger players, haven’t any medals to show for their season’s efforts they were runners-up in the sporting team award and to their credit, and they have provided football for three teams throughout.
PEASMARSH have chased the Division II leaders all season and the quality of their game has improved steadily. The club’s 2nd XI managed to keep going despite team problems and heavy defeats.
The youth players have also set the pace in 1973, THE RYE BOYS’ CLUB teams both lost in cup finals, but there was some consola~tion for the U. 15 XI when they won the league• by beating SANDHURST 5—2.
As Eastern league champions the THOMAS PEACOCKE U.l5 XI qualified to play the champions of the other county areas and reached the final to lose narrowly to TIDE WAY NEWHAVEN.
One might wonder what Bobby Charlton and Jim Hollands have in common. Both retired from playing recently, are about the same age, and leave behind them in their respective spheres a fine example of sportsmanship and fair play.
“Rye’s Own” June 1973
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