Before Saturday’s game, Phil Brown jibed that we are a team that ‘passes for the sake of passing’. In a sense it’s not surprising coming from someone like him; if Napoleon was right in describing the English as a nation of shopkeepers, then Phil Brown’s lording over Southend is the football equivalent of owning a newsagents and thinking you’re about to challenge Tesco for High Street supremacy.
The denigration of passing is a very English disease. It was invited by the Scots in the early 20th Century as a far more effective way of moving the ball around and scoring goals than hacking and barging. The English, slow to adopt anything they didn’t invent themselves, thought it was effete to pass and much more manly and proper to be physical. Even in the 1980s whole FA coaching policy was formed to avoid passing as much as possible and instead promote route one physicality. The 1966 aberration aside, this is pretty much the point how English football was left behind and became a game the English love, but can’t play.
The likes of Brown sustain this prejudice through comments like the one he made against us. Even Radio Oxford were affected by stressing every time a ball moved from one player to another in that exacerbated way people do when trying to find an appropriate level of indignation to a self-evident, there for all to see fascist Donald Trump tweet. The Brexit-style assumption all foreigners are stupid while persistently failing to outperform them is a very English way of doing things. We should resist it at all costs.
Brown may have some bragging rights over us for this particular fixture, but he conveniently ignored that the passing for passing sake had resulted in 12 more goals than his team could muster and two more points.