It’s the old-age debate - is winning or entertainment more important?
That’s Entertainment. Football is already in full swing but the cricketing summer continues and what a fantastic climax to the second Test.
I was listening to the wonderful coverage on Test Match Special this week and as I did a listener made an interesting point about England captain Joe Root’s bold declaration. Was it better to have drawn the Test and taken a 1-0 lead into the final clash or go for broke and try and win the series 2-0 with the risk of the West Indies levelling things up?
I was actually surprised when the opinionated Geoffrey Boycott said he felt it was better for everyone that the game played out the way it did.
He did, however, remind everyone of a quote attributed to UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell Sanders that ‘Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing.’ So is it?
Well the debate has, and probably will continue to be had in all sports for a very long time. Is a string of narrow hard-fought 1-0 wins preferable to a rollercoaster of 4-2 wins and 3-0 losses?
Newcastle’s attacking intent under Kevin Keegan is often cited when discussing the dilemma but what of the Premier League nowadays? The start to the season has provided plenty of goals, that’s for sure.
Brighton and Hove Albion and rivals Crystal Palace, however, are yet to find the opponents net. AFC Bournemouth were congratulated for their positive attitude on their debut season in the Premier League and it paid off but each club has a different dilemma of course.
Each club has different owners, different investment and a different philosophy. Palace have attempted to transform the way they play under Frank De Boer but do they have the players to be successful at it? As it stands, it doesn’t appear to be working.
Meanwhile some pundits on various podcasts have mentioned that Norwich City fans are starting to smile about the conservative nature of Brighton’s manager (and former Canaries’ boss) Chris Hughton and how it would appear he intends to try and grind out results.
The stated aim for the club is 17th place or above in their maiden season and I don’t think Seagulls’ fans would care how they did it if they achieved their target.
Some may want to be adventurous with the risk of going down in a blaze of glory but I would also say all clubs need to be realistic.
Manchester City has the resource and attacking players to dazzle and entertain but they also look fragile at the back. You could say Manchester United look to have finally got the balance right.
Albion’s next opponents West Bromwich Albion (and more regularly Stoke City) have sometimes been derided for their style of play and their reliance on set pieces.
However, I think that on closer inspection that isn’t necessarily true. It may have been a dull game between the two sides on Saturday but many Baggies fans would say just look at the early table.
There may be no definitive answer and maybe that’s part of the fun but I’ll let you decide. That’s entertainment.