Experts and Do They Know Enough?

Baris GercekerCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2008

"Football is a simple game" is a quote repeated with many pundits from time to time. They may go on differently but the sentence itself tells a lot. Yes, it is simple. What makes it so difficult than that there are wide differences between clubs, players, fans and experts' ideas?

If you are able to find two solid obstacles that can function as goalposts and something to kick you can play it even on your own. If you can find a partner you can even attack an empty goal, pass the ball or be opponents. If you become three you can play cross-the-ball. From 4 and up real matches can take place. And you don't have to be real good at it, you can be a goalie, a towering defender, or even a ref. An expert? Well, that might take some time.

When a game is this simple then it is absolutely natural that "everybody" knows about it. And bear their own point of view. But that point of view nowadays needs to be fed by information which gets easier and easier to find, thanks to the technology. Otherwise you may end up being a joke.

Retired players and unemployed coaches are often commenting on games or taking up columns in newspapers, which makes sense at first sight. But it so happens that they do not improve themselves, catch up with the progress of the modern football and put themselves in ridiculous positions.

You need to tell more than what is going on in the field. Really should get into the brain of the manager managing the team, and fully empathise with them so that your comments and suggestions would not be from outer space. But managing that is not as simple as it looks because it always is a progress and taking a "photo" of the situation often leads to errors because what's going on is not a "photo shoot", it is a "movie".

Lately, again with advancing technology, statistics are taking over the comments on football too. I considered the detail of statistics in NBA quite helpful and it generally helps making predictions, player or coach profiling etc. But in football I find it quite deceiving. Of course numbers tell a lot, but again how you interpret them is really very important. In basketball an assist is an assist but in football "completed passes" really depend on where you make them. Distance covered is a new aspect of statistics in football which is again really very deceiving. In a game which is played 11-11 what you do without the ball really matters because 90 minutes is not enough for everyone to do something significant with the ball.

So commentators, critics, experts and pundits must really feel the responsibility upon their shoulders. They are there to tell us what we don't see, provide us a different point of view, even unique if possible. They should take care of the numbers but don't tie themselves up to figures alone. They shall not try to be too original too. And definitely, perhaps most importantly they should not get personal! Their ideas should be flexible, they should not try to emphasise their own point of view to every manager or player they criticize. Game keeps evolving and so should they. They really must be aware of the power they bear in their hands and minds, because off the pitch, many people are criticizing their teams or others, with similar words that the critics and experts use.