Victor Frade: Football’s most magnificent mind

One of the best football writers out there, Rory Smith, is hitting his straps since taking on a big role with the New York Times. He doesn’t disappoint with this piece on Vitor Frade:

His great contribution to the sport is tactical periodization, an approach to management that is often characterized — much to his evident frustration — as a coaching style. “It is not a method,” he says, almost as soon as he sits down. “It is a methodology. You have a methodology so that you don’t need methods.” The last word is issued with disdain.

To Frade, his approach is a management philosophy, a personal dogma and a belief system rolled into one. It is a way of thinking more than a way of playing, one conceived and crafted in this office, at this university, but that can now claim devotees around the world.

Its most famous evangelist is José Mourinho, who deployed it to considerable success at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, and who now hopes it can revive Manchester United. But Mourinho is not alone. Most of the great Portuguese coaching diaspora carry some of Frade’s imprint: André Villas-Boas and Vítor Pereira most directly, from the time they spent at F.C. Porto, but also Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim and Hull City’s Marco Silva at one or more removes.

Oft forgotten are the football theorists behind the greatest advances the game has seen. Some of them, curiously, didn’t win the most amount of trophies, but have influenced generations of managers – Jimmy Hogan, Rinus Michels, Johan Cruyff, Marcelo Bielsa, Arrigo Sacchi, Viktor Maslov, Valeriy Lobanovskiy to name but a few. Frade, is proving to be another.

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