Colm Cooper not sure if he would make the grade if only starting out on his career now
Kerry star feels skills of the game need to be safeguarded
“If I’m a supporter, which I am, I go to matches to see that little bit of brilliance, that little bit of class. I love to see the competitive stuff, the fair shoulder, the hitting, as well, but I think if you take the class and the brilliance and the elegance of players out of it, well I think the game will be a lesser game because of it. At the moment it is happening less and less. That’s worrying to be honest.”
The solution, he says, is not necessarily a revolution, but maybe further evolution. Speaking in Dublin in his role as an ambassador for Lucozade Sport, Cooper suggests that Kerry’s own style of football will continue to evolve, and no one really knows for sure where things are headed.
“For us I don’t think there will be a radical change,” he says, at least not going into the Munster final showdown against Cork on Sunday week. “It’s just the way we were brought up playing football. But you do have to adapt every day you go out. Teams might play two behind the ball, play you straight up, playing at midfield the one week, and forward the next.
“I can’t remember watching a game where players lined out, 1-15, as per programme. That just goes to show how football has gone, in terms of tactics, battles, and structure. It’s certainly more challenging, how teams set up.
“But from a supporters point of view, it’s very evident that teams go out to stop each other, rather than try to win. Teams are happy to win eight points to nine, whatever, rather than give up 1-15. Whether that’s good, bad or indifferent for football, it’s not easy on the eye, for sure.
“Invariably if some team is winning, everyone tends to change their style and go with that. I don’t think you can change it without altering the rules. Do you have to keep so many in your own half, keep five forwards up at one time, do you introduce a second referee? But if it continues to go the way it is, you’ll see attendances dropping. You need to safeguard the skills of the game and the skilful players in the game.”