3for3 is back for a new season, and co-host Dan “The Mekon” is here to talk us through their newest, and possibly most ambitious, feature to date.
Do me a favour, if you will. Pick two of the best players of all time; let’s say Franz Beckenbauer and Diego Maradona. Now compare them to each other. It’s not easy, is it? Beyond ‘Maradona is a genius’ and ‘Beckenbauer is Der Kaiser’ you can’t really pit the two legends into battle because they’re from two different eras, and played in completely different positions. It’s like comparing Lev Yashin to Pele; Pele may have scored (about) a thousand goals, but Lev Yashin saved 150 penalties. Holding them up against each other is a pointless exercise, yet people continue to do it in the long and often pointless ‘Best of All Time’ debates.
Which is of course why Jamie and I decided, for the new season of 3for3, to start a feature directly comparing two players together.
Whoa, but hold on. What we’re doing is picking an entire squad of players. We’re going position by position, from goalkeeper to manager via a starting XI and an entire seven-man substitute bench, and we’re doing it to a pre-set criteria. No debates over whether Dixie Dean is as good as Alan Shearer, or whether a skilful centre-half is better or worse than a workhorse. Nope, for this season we’ve set the criteria of ‘Players in the Premier League Era who Haven’t Played in the Premier League’. Basically, anyone since 1992 who hasn’t made it as far as the Greatest League the World Has Ever Known. With Jamie and I both pushing 30, the Premier League Years are our time-frame. We’re children of the 90s who grew up with Football’s Coming Home in our ears and Adidas Predators on our feet. It’s the period of football history we know the most about, and can make the most informed decisions on.
So we started this feature, lovingly dubbed the Team Sheet Shootout, on our first episode of the new season (“The One with All the Disclaimers”, it’s on iTunes now and will be on Mixcloud imminently) by selecting a goalkeeper apiece. Being the alternative kinda guys we are, neither of us went for Casillas or Buffon or even Seaman. Nope, I went for the gloriously-middle-named Oliver ROLF Kahn, and Sir Jamie of Whitehead opted for the playacting Brazilian stopper Dida. We put our cases across; a pair of glittering honour rolls and both having a penchant for controversy not nearly the least of those; and we simply couldn’t decide which would make our starting XI. Nope, instead (in our not so infinite wisdom) we chose to throw it open to the Twitterverse.
We love our Twitter followers. They tweet us all manner of interesting stuff that we take as much time as we can to read. We share some with the publication currently allowing this shameless shilling on its webspace. With that in mind, we’ve chosen to harness this vastly untapped resource and make them do our jobs for us. That’s right, YOU THE LISTENER get to pick the best 18 players and 1 manager* of all time!** All you need to do is listen to our rationale on the podcast every two weeks, get yourself on Twitter, follow @3for3_ (don’t forget the underscore) and @TheDaisyCutter1, and tweet both of us with the hashtag #Jamie (if you like his choice) or #Mekon (if you know anything about football). We’ll tally up the votes, and the winners get their pick into the squad. Simple!
* who never played in England
** since 1992
So why do this at all? What’s the point? Debate, of course. The whole point of our podcast, the whole point of every football blog ever committed to the Internet, the point of being a football fan at all is debate. We want people to listen to our suggestions and not only pick one, but also tell us who we might have missed. We want people’s input. We want to start intelligent football conversations between total strangers about whether Oliver Kahn or Dida is a better goalie. We even want you to leave your comments on this blog telling us what you think. Ultimately though, we just want to remember some of the greats who’ve played this fucking ridiculous game in our lifetimes, and find out whether you think they’re as utterly brilliant as we do.
Because football is brilliant really, isn’t it?
Dan Shoesmith is the co-host of the 3for3 football podcast and blogs (semi) regularly for The Daisy Cutter. You can vote on the Team Sheet Shootout by following and tweeting both @3for3_ and @TheDaisyCutter1 with the hashtags #Jamie or #Mekon. Next time: right-backs!