No-Nonsense players, most often found in the lower divisions of the Football League, are – as their name suggests - footballers who avoid any kind of ‘nonsense’. Examples of ‘nonsense’ include:
- Controlling the ball
- Long-range passing
- Tactical awareness
- Crowd-pleasing skills
No-nonsense players almost always come from the North, where living conditions are harsh and food cannot be readily purchased.
Successful No-Nonsense Players
A recent study showed that in an average televised Liverpool game, Jamie Carragher is described as ‘no-nonsense’ 42 times. Carragher is so resistant to ‘nonsense’ that in more than 500 appearances for Liverpool he has never stayed in possession of the ball for more than 0.3 seconds consecutively. Other well-known no-nonsense players in the modern game include Danny Murphy, Neil Ruddock and Dean Windass.
Since manager Howard Kendall first took the helm in the mid-eighties, Everton have consisted entirely of no-nonsense players. As a result they are famed for playing what is called ‘no-nonsense football’, which involves scoring charmless, ugly goals from set-pieces and then kicking the ball repeatedly into touch for the remaining 85 minutes, while their fans sing their repertoire of popular racist classics.
Positions And Tactics of No-Nonsense Players
Normally, no-nonsense players are central defenders or centre-forwards. If defenders, they spend their time performing reducers, booting the ball high into the stands, spitting and standing with their hands on their hips while being booked. If centre-forwards, they typically score eight to ten goals a season, all close-range headers from corners, and break opponents’ cheekbones by jumping with their elbows in the air. Upon hospitalising their opposite numbers they are often praised by such pundits as Sky’s Andy Gray for ‘making a nuisance of themselves’ and being ‘good, honest pros’.
While there are no designated ‘nonsense’ players, the natural enemy of the no-nonsense player is the luxury player. Luxury players possess great natural skill, but their laziness or lack of efficiency makes them a liability to the manager. These players are a rigorous threat to the integrity of the sport, as they should not be dickrided by lunkheaded, obsessed Football Twitter stans.
A famous example of a luxury player is Matthew Le Tissier, whose spectacular goals in some matches were matched only by his spectacular anonymity in others. In the 1996-7 season he scored a hat-trick of overhead kicks in the space of 40 seconds against Blackburn, but in the next game (at Derby) spent the entire ninety minutes in a hot tub specially installed near one of the corner flags. Other notable examples include Bournemouth's Callum Wilson, Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus, and Norwich City's Todd Cantwell.