夏日玫瑰

关键字:克林斯曼。马特乌斯。克鲁伊夫。贝肯鲍尔。内斯肯斯。同人。考古。八卦。(欢迎勾搭)

【读完存档】Simon Kuper评价克圣自传

克圣的自传一出来我就买了,也很快就读了个大概。一直没有上来PO是因为……感觉基本上没啥好说的。Simon Kuper对于克圣一片红心无可怀疑,然而对于他的晚年作风……还是有一些微词的,对于这本(别人捉笔的)自传就更怎么看都看不顺眼了。其实他应该是说了我不大敢说的……鸡汤略多,洗白也略多。

不过关于马可的那一段真是……………………

Old scores: the message in Johan Cruyff's memoir
He had few equals as a footballer—but the Dutch master's posthumous autobiography displays all of his flaws


OCTOBER 6, 2016
by: Simon Kuper

Johan Cruyff was both a great footballer and a great thinker on football. As his Dutch biographer Nico Scheepmaker wrote, "Even when he talked nonsense, it was always interesting nonsense." The fast-passing game played by teams such as Barcelona and Germany today was arguably invented by Cruyff and his coach Rinus Michels in the late 1960s at Ajax Amsterdam, then a small semi-professional club. Unfortunately, this posthumous autobiography contains none of Cruyff's virtues but all of his flaws. In that sense at least, it is an authentically Cruyffian document.

There are a few good bits. Cruyff describes how playing as a teenage catcher in Ajax's kids' baseball teams helped him understand football: "You had to know where you were going to throw the ball before you received it, which meant that you had to have an idea of all the space around you and where each player was before you made your throw . . . You're always busy making decisions between space and risk in fractions of a second." He later captured this need for anticipation in one of his famous dicta: "Before I make a mistake, I don't make that mistake."

By the time Cruyff was 18, Michels was already consulting him on match tactics — a practice that Cruyff as coach of Barcelona continued with his own smartest pupil, Josep Guardiola, who has become a brilliant coach himself.

Cruyff recalls that when the Dutch team went to the World Cup of 1974, they were surprised to discover how good they were. They didn't expect to outplay sides such as Uruguay and Brazil. Almost throughout the tournament, "our opponents seemed to have not the slightest clue. They were doing things we'd given up doing five or six years ago."

He explains that he skipped the next World Cup, in 1978, because he didn't want to leave his wife and children alone just months after an armed kidnapper had broken into their house in Barcelona. Around the same time he lost his fortune in a pig-breeding venture, a folly he describes frankly: "Then you honestly have to admit your mistake. That you're really not interested in pigs." In another rare flash of self-knowledge, he sees why his former player Marco van Basten might have kept his distance from him: Cruyff as coach of Ajax had once persuaded Van Basten to play a run-of-the-mill league game "when his ankle was in a doubtful condition." During the game Van Basten's injury "became so aggravated" that he was eventually forced out of football at 28.

But most of My Turn is uninteresting nonsense. Cruyff was not a natural memoirist. "The past is not something that I think about too much," he admits in the book's first sentence. He was a conceptual thinker who lacked storytelling skills, humour and insight into other people. He also stopped thinking hard about football after his last club, Barcelona, sacked him as coach in 1996. His faults are augmented by those of his ghostwriter, Jaap de Groot, a Dutch journalist who was Cruyff's longtime chief yes-man. Consequently, the book is full of tedious self-justifications for Cruyff's squabbles with everybody from Michels to his own charitable foundation.

Cruyff's main enemies were club directors. In his declining years he developed the idée fixe that only former footballers were capable of running clubs. This soon devolved into a jobs-for-mates scheme, especially after he led a coup at Ajax in 2011. (In his own unfortunate phrase, he had "set off the bomb" with a newspaper column savaging Ajax's play.) Here is Cruyff on the appointment of Michael Kinsbergen as Ajax's chief executive: "His mother was a friend of Danny's [Cruyff's wife] and I'd known Michael since he was a boy, so I was glad that the new board of commissioners had chosen him, because he was clearly the best man for the job."

Ajax's failures since the coup are, of course, entirely due to sabotage by Cruyff's enemies. No matter that Cruyff told a colleague at Ajax, Edgar Davids, "You're only here [on the supervisory board] because you are black." Here is how Cruyff explains the ensuing uproar: "If someone deliberately tried to bring the club's most famous son into disrepute by identifying him as a racist, under normal circumstances he would be kicked out of Ajax straight away. But not our chairman."

The book is packed with angry banalities along the lines of, "Money is very important in football, but it should always come second to the game." The nadir comes when Cruyff announces, "The Christian faith has the Ten Commandments to live by; I myself have fourteen rules which I would class as fundamental wisdoms." Rule number one is revealed as, "Team Player — 'To accomplish things, you have to do them together'". This seems remarkably similar to rule 13, "Play Together — 'An essential part of any game'". However, it would be cruel to continue. De Groot should have stopped him.

The book doesn't resolve the question of whether Cruyff knew he was dying while he wrote it. His preface is dated March 2016, the month of his death from lung cancer, but there are hints that he flirted with denial till the end.

My Turn is a missed opportunity to leave a written monument. Cruyff deserved so much better.

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