March 7th, 2011
The Kickette Query: Who Is The Most Influential Man In Football?
We assume that everyone who frequents this site is painfully aware that our primary criteria for deciding the relative importance of someone’s role in the game is based on how hot they are. We also realise, however, that your love for the beautiful game runs deeper than our shallow kiddie pool. Given your recently demonstrated voting prowess, combined with your willingness to flaunt your not inconsiderable football knowledge at the slightest provocation, we have decided to up the ante.
The WAG poll was merely a warm-up, people.
In these times of unprecedented wealth and exposure, it often seems that football has a life, vernacular and momentum all of its own. As with most things in life that generate huge incomes for the few, the progress and direction of football is as carefully managed as all other diffuse entities can be.
From the powerbrokers at FIFA to the poppets on the pitch, everyone has the ability to shape how the wider world perceives football - whether it’s inspiring the players and fans of the future to get involved or using the fame generated by their on-pitch prowess to widen the existing audience.
But who do you think has contributed the most? Is it direction or inspiration from top managers that will define the game we are watching in ten, fifteen, even twenty years time? Or has a certain spotted-record president convinced you that his job is the most crucial component?
To sum it up into handy chocolate drop sized pieces, who is the single most influential person in football?
There are five categories to choose from and we make a case for each, using representatives from each ‘office’ to help you decide. Bear in mind that while you may not favour the men we’ve selected, we’re ONLY asking for your opinion on the category itself.
The world is watching, Kickettes. Make your vote count.
Let’s get the boring but necessary out of the way first. You see, much as we hate to admit it, world governing body FIFA has a massive, if not decisive influence over the global game. Their controversial decision to award the World Cup to two ‘emerging’ football nations over established, more popular choices showed us that in no uncertain terms.
They are also responsible for the way the game is played; the ongoing ‘technology in football’ debate, their ability to dish out punishments to players and teams, the rules and regulations applied all have a massive impact on what we see. You must decide whether they are there to apply controls to an existing entity or they are the entity.
The ambassadors of football are mostly made up of former players who use the reputation they developed during their prime to promote the very principles which once helped them shed excess water weight and pull birds at the bar.
The recent 2018 World Cup bid demonstrated the perceived power of these men, with The Netherlands (Joann Cruyff and Ruud Gullit) Russia (Alexey Smertin) and Spain/Portugal (Luis Figo) all putting on a pony show with their former pros for extra incentive purposes. Should you be one to run with an intellectual crowd, then you’ll be familiar with TIME magazine’s thoughts on Didier Drogba.
Our man? David Beckham, of course. Not only does he hold the accolade of being this site’s inspiration (a massive boost to the game, you will agree) but the dapper Englishman is a figure of global recognition. So much so that he was believed to be an integral part of England’s successful World Cup bid (right up until the point they lost it). He is loved the world over, has inspired thousands, if not millions of kids to take up the game and thousands, if not millions of women to start watching it.
In other words, he’s the face on the body of world football.
Using stretches and statistics to hone the bodies and skills of players in order to give the trophy cabinet some company, managers have long been seen as vital to opening the world of football up to a wider audience. Namely us.
Few would argue that Jose Mourinho is the most successful manager on the planet (his recent award kind of confirms that) but we have chosen Arsene Wenger (left) to represent, as his work at Arsenal is widely regarded to have been a catalyst for the way the game is played today. (Image: Getty Images/Daylife)
Why did you start watching football in the first place? Even the boys, who occasionally feel the need to look down on females in the game, would admit that they began to follow football because they were inspired by a player. These boys are the blood that runs through this game’s veins, providing the spectacle, the excitement, the beauty. To be frank, football as we know it today wouldn’t exist without them.
Cristiano could have made a case, but we’ve gone with Leo Messi as our rep for this category. How could we not? A bow tie wearer and ‘Balon D’or’ recipient whose antics in a Barcelona shirt regularly stun even the most cynical of crowds.
Can you imagine what a kid feels when they see Messi effortlessly dribbling his way around a hapless flat back four and slamming the ball into the roof of the net?
It’s enough to make you weep.
Image: AP Photo/Daylife
Clearly we would like to nominate ourselves for this category, on the basis that our contribution towards global football has been nothing short of thightastic. But asking our beloved readers to vote for us would render the poll somewhat pointless as you all love us so much. Snork.
It’s all in the dissemination, you see. Unless you are a regular attendee at your local side’s ground, players antics on the pitch, results and information are all witnessed by a bunch of journos, who then hasten to their laptop to swiftly tell you what they think. Opinion is a powerful driving force in global footie, and while it’s unusual for rules to be changed off the back of an article, there are many managers who would insist that the reason behind their sacking, appointment, failure or success was the nature of the coverage they received from the press.