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Football Philosophy



The hard work that goes on behind the scenes is in the end the reason for any club’s success. Arnold Town are committed to not only producing winning teams but also producing players who are developing and improving. Hopefully, many of these players will stay with Arnold and bring the club success as they move through the various levels of competition. But it’s just as important at that we provide the structure that will ensure that wherever they finish up playing - be it Old Trafford or on the local park – players will retain their interest, skills, enthusiasms and commitment for the game . Without that ‘life blood’ going through the system the game ultimately will decline. So it’s good to know that at Arnold we have so many people who work tirelessly behind the scenes – and it was especially heartening to read the latest ‘Football Philosophy’ drawn up by Chris Freestone following consultations with team managers and other interested parties.

Arnold Town FC’s all round philosophy to football is to Pass, Move and Retain Possession and to achieve this we need technically proficient players. This system will not happen overnight to develop; it will be a long term goal says Chris. Unlike many other clubs, we would like to play one style of football throughout all squads - from First team to Under 7s. This decision will, it is believed, help in the development of the club’s players in integrating them into the first team and beyond. Having played one system for most of their life would definitely make it easier for them to play that same position regardless of who plays in the other positions.

Throughout Arnold Town Football Club, the four main aspects to football will be:

  1. Ball control Being confident under pressure to receive the ball
  2. Passing Playing shorter, creative and fluid passing movement
  3. Pressing – Working hard individually off the ball for the good of the team
  4. Shooting Being confident in hitting the target

Players are expected to be able to control the ball, distribute it, work hard individually to help their team recover the ball and be able to score goals. From centre backs to centre forwards we would like all players to chip in with goals for their teams.

It’s recognised that children are, by their nature, competitive, but the football structures for children between the ages of 7 and 11 in particular need to be reflective of the reasons children play – enjoyment, taking part, friendship – and not the adult based ‘outcome led’ structures of competition.

Underpinning all this are a number of basic beliefs or philosophies:


Philosophy number one: Players - the needs of the player must come first at every stage of their development.

Philosophy number two: Aligning a course - season’s aims and objectives - All team members row in the same direction.

Philosophy number three: Managers - The first team coaches are informed and involved and continuously follow the evolution and development of ATFC

Philosophy number four: One football - All teams train and play following the same philosophy, from the first team down to the under-7s team.

Philosophy number five: Setting profiles-Each player acquired into the first team, reserves or the Academy must fit into the many predefined positional profiles of the ATFC system.

Philosophy number six: Undertaking measurable risk - Youth is given the chance to challenge and stake their claim in the first team. However, these chances are only taken when the first team coach is willing to bear the consequences of the risk in fielding a youth player. Luck plays a prominent part in this process.


Well, I for one am all in favour – sounds like the same belief and recipe used by Rinus Michels when he produced the great Dutch teams of the 70s and 80s – total football. And so many of his players are now the leading lights in world football coaching, influenced the next generation of coaches and are still bringing success wherever they appear.