Unlike the majority of football fans I have a strange passion for route one football, hence the name of the blog. This style of football has been harshly criticised and slated over the past few years; being branded as boring, ugly, unadventurous and harsh on the eye. But I completely disagree.
Route one is arguably the most effective style of football out there. It is the quickest and simplest way to get the ball from a defensive area in to the attacking third, all thanks to one pass. The long ball also puts huge pressure on the defending team, especially when the attacking team applies some form of pressure. Many teams have come undone to route one, even the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United have been vulnerable to the long ball in recent years.
Such a simple style can cause so much panic and hesitation especially from goalkeepers from overseas, who are not used to this style of football. They do not seem confident when having to come and collect or deal with long balls especially when under pressure from an opposing player.
Teams like Barcelona and Arsenal always grab the headlines for playing beautiful football, but I think it is time other styles of football are credited. Stoke City are a fantastic example of a side who use route one football and use it well. Their direct approach has cemented them in the top half of the Premier League for the past few years and has earned them a place in the Europa League, a fantastic achievement for both Stoke City and route one football. More teams needs to adopt this approach and take note of Stoke and their ways, because they have proven the style of football which is heavily criticised can be highly effective.
Sam Allardyce is the perfect manager for this style of football. He has always deployed these tactics and has usually found success at a number of clubs. With Rovers he guided them in to the top half of the table using a direct approach, the man has a knack for winning matches, unlike Blackburn’s new manager, Steven Kean. The Glaswegian has attempted to play ‘attractive’ football since taking over in December 2010. In all fairness the ball tends to remain on the floor, but the results do not mirror those of big Sam. We are currently hovering above the relegation zone and regularly switch to a more direct approach when we are desperate. Therefore the question I ask is why don’t we start with this approach? If it is good enough to end with why not start with it? If teams are vulnerable at the end of the game to the long ball then they are going to be vulnerable at the start of the game. So adopting the route one approach and sticking to it for 90 minutes makes much more sense.
We need more teams adopting ROUTE ONE football.