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From Bradford to Barcelona: Do Tikka Takka's Yorkshire roots still have a place in Spanish football?

Article by Peter Hampshire |"Campeones de Europa de FĂștbol 2008" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by cabezadeturco

The style of Spanish football was set in stone over four years of World domination at national and club level from 2008-12, with a core of Barcelona players perfecting a "Tikka Takka" style that no opposition could answer.

The 2010 World Cup final was arguably the most visible display of tactical diversity ever shown. Ahead of Spain's match against his native Netherlands, Johan Cruyff argued that: "If Spain goes for you, it kills you. There's no doubt that Germany knew what it was going to go through, just like Holland is probably thinking now."


Coupled with a 4-0 demolition of a stalwart-filled Italy defence to win Euro 2012, these four years' represented the height of reverence of Spanish football. Cruyff is widely credited as setting the ball rolling as regards the Catalan spawned "Tikka Takka" revolution. However, he can afford some credit to an Englishman in establishing "Total Football".

January 26 1995 was a day of mourning in the two great football capitals of Amsterdam and Barcelona as they remembered one of their fallen greats, Victor Buckingham of Greenwich. It was also a day of note in West Yorkshire, where a revolutionary Buckingham cut his teeth on his rise to the top at Bradford Park Avenue.

Spells at West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield Wednesday interspersed three years at Ajax, where the Londoner unearthed one of the games brightest gems in Cruyff.

In a manner that still to this day seems alien to English players and managers alike, Buckingham flitted across Europe taking jobs in Greece and Spain before a move to struggling Barcelona materialised. Given the task of easing their relegation worries, the 54-year-old Buckingham pressed a forward-thinking style on Barca pushing them to European qualification in his second season.

Onto 2008 where Vincente Del Bosque's Spain's domination coincided with the clean sweep of trophies at Barca under Josep Guardiola. With "Tikka Takka" in full swing, top clubs of Europe were desperate to either replicate or halt the tantalising tease of possession play by any means possible.

With Argentinean Lionel Messi at the spearhead, Xavi and Iniesta marshalled an unrivalled midfield as the precocious Catalan side won 14 of 19 trophies on offer from 2008-12. While Pep disliked the arrogance of the "Tikka Takka" moniker, his masterful tactics became engrained within the Spanish national team.

While Spain looked to have international football in a headlock, domination has waned of late and they now sit fourth favourites in the international football betting at 8/1 to win World Cup 2018.


Where the Netherlands and Italy's defensive counteractions clearly failed, defeats to the Dutch and Chile (see tweet above) saw them knocked out at the group stage of World Cup 2014. Followed by a qualifying defeat to Slovakia, it looks as though a merging of styles to accommodate Diego Costa alongside the ageing proponents of their "Tikka Takka" system could see an end to it.

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FM Blog - Football Manager Wonderkids & Tactics: From Bradford to Barcelona: Do Tikka Takka's Yorkshire roots still have a place in Spanish football?
From Bradford to Barcelona: Do Tikka Takka's Yorkshire roots still have a place in Spanish football?
The style of Spanish football was set in stone over four years of World domination at national and club level from 2008-12, with a core of Barcelona players perfecting a "Tikka Takka" style that no opposition could answer.
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FM Blog - Football Manager Wonderkids & Tactics
https://www.footballmanagerblog.org/2017/05/bradford-to-barcelona-yorkshire-tikka-takka.html
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