Ethos is an appeal to ethics, and it is a means of convincing someone of the character or credibility of the persuader. Pathos is an appeal to emotion, and is a way of convincing an audience of an argument by creating an emotional response. Logos is an appeal to logic, and is a way of persuading an audience by reason.
One thing I have noticed over these past few months as we wax lyrical over the beauty of this team and watched them home and (thanks to Horace, away too) is the way in which we tend to define ourselves regardless of the opposition. In fact the Ideas of the Nuno have become that strong we have made the opposition team not an ‘opposition’ because there’s simply no way to describe this Sheffield Wednesday team as an equal partner in last nights football. Tenacious yes. Their movement was an attempt to define themselves, their passing was often eloquent and refined for sure but it lacked conviction. Again we warmed up by running in formation across the pitch before the second half started and the Wednesday players looked on. Hands on hips, staring into the Gold and Black or just simply the blank sky waiting for the whistle to start the game. They lack ethos
Sheffield is normally a cold place any way and I was a two coat man. Boots too. The rigours of an English winter. I have a mate from Norway who when he visited one cold November sat in his car dithering. I was like well, You are used to this cold surely and he said ‘Your Winter is different, it gets in your bones first’. After being thrown out of the first pub we went into by a barmaid that looked like the spirit medium from ‘Poltergeist’ we decamped and made our way to another pub. Hills everywhere here. The Barmaid here had skin like an old Kipper. She looked nicotine stained. I think if you waxed enough bars and got her into bed she would get naked and on that skin unseen there would be sanskrit spells tattooed on her back. She was nice. We were foreigners and the locals kept their jollity to a minimum.
The Wednesday ground is a soulless place and of course Forestieri is a thing. Apparently he doesn’t want to play there any more and I don’t blame him. This whole place lacks idea. Last year the Conor Ronan cameo. The way he was hacked down a few times. We came away with a 0-0 and back down an icy M1 with most of our love trampled into the ice that settled around the ground. Then of course, my hopes were pinned on the Ronans and the whispers from the academy of this or that player you’d never heard of. Wondering whether they would burst onto the pitch with the grace and fervour of Stevie Bull. That was year Zero really for us. That was Fosun looking closely at the whole model of Wolves before they started to make decisions, weighty decisions on players and ethos.
Tonight we watched a completely new meme and one where Momentum/Idea/Progress were the buzzwords of the night. But why? Around us, in the stand there were dissenting ‘football managers’ again. Horace was looking around at them with his angry ‘I’m about to kick off’ face. What say you? As you watch this football? Single out players for your ire. That computer game you play has infected you and your football is full Matrix. You have sold your souler to the Xbox controller. Cavaleiro my beauty. How you ran around getting busy. You were running around for 90 minutes and the strength and passion you had is clear to me. But ‘he’s having an off night’. He wasn’t.
What is clear to me now sitting in the afterglow of that match. How we have defined Nunos ideas so well and so effortlessly that we don’t see the hard work and the academic bones of the whole idea. We play and we impress. We are not ‘playing’ another football team and dare I say it although we have 3 points in the bag and extended our lead at the top of the table. This is not football as we know it. Tonight an errant challenge here and there. Bennett getting involved in glad handing the opposition. Jota hacked down again. Neves ‘passing’ or ‘threading’ the ball into the goal. It wasn’t football no. Maybe it wasn’t beautiful at times either. Yorkshire has an ugliness to it, a sense of entitlement over art and creativity. Wolves last night used them like an old wet wipe. Opposition teams are simply a framework by which Nuno imposes these ideas of his. Sheffield Wednesday were simply the medium by which Nuno like a Japanese Zen Calligrapher watches and meditates upon. Sitting there cross legged with his brush loaded with ink. He may sit for hours contemplating the blankness of Sheffield. Contemplating his materials. The Jota, The Neves, The Coady, The Boly and these players are like strings of pearls strewn across those wastes last night. Eventually of course. A burst of activity from Nuno the artists and he throws himself to the paper in front of him and slashes the brush across the paper and the ink is perfectly loaded, the paper just absorbent enough. The calligraphy is abstract and is simple, but beautiful at the same time. Nunos thought transcribed perfectly in simple movement. Nuno sits back and closes his eyes to contemplate the art.
There is Kwan, the ever flowing momentum of idea and grace but there is also Chi an energy which also winds it’s way around the monad of Kwan. Both of these things intertwine and melt into each other. I watch Boly collect the ball, and a Wednesday player approaches him full pelt to do one of ‘those’ tackles. You know the one, the Warnockian ‘I’ve fucking run out of ideas so I’m going to clatter the big bastard’ tackles. The player bounces off the immovable Boly who didn’t even look at his enemy twisting around on the floor like somebody flicked one of his bollocks. He passes to Coady who imposes his own unique brand of Nunoist skills, he dips a shoulder and his eyes constantly scan the ground in front of him to unload the ball and continue momentum. We move and pass in possession. We move and block when without the ball. We push on and are relentless and even their Managers ministrations at half time which to some extent galvanises his squad fall onto the pitch in empty late challenges. Intent but lack of idea. Momentum but negative momentum as Coady again places himself in positions of power and strength.
I love Vinagre. Some of his play was sublime too. Somewhat rough maybe a little too grand a flourish when a simpler movement would have sufficed but the ways of the youth eh? Next year he will be immense. When we are playing our trade with the money counters and the voids of the Premiership. His idea of course will be strengthened and forged in the cold flames of games like this. He will be a Warrior for us. The Wednesday defence is a Cats cradle of bodies that move from left to right as we prime an attack. Intent. We have three of our attacking forwards moving and twisting in the box and Neves waits, one step, then two. The bodies in the box are moving like a shoal and Cavaleiro is dictating that movement with his positioning. I am watching and holding my breath. I can feel a dribble of liquid from my burst ear drum trickle down my neck. Then there it is. Neves collects the ball and the movement is complete and all it requires is the Coda or the epilogue. The players in the box part and there is a gap, not much, maybe four foot of space between them. Neves hardly looked up. It was if he sensed that the gap would open for him. He felt the Kwan tighten and his Chi rear up like an Eagle hunting a small bird in the sky. Perfect position, perfect weight, and he digs the ball straight through that gap and the prey is captured and torn asunder on the cliff edge. Beautiful. It may have been the cold, my ear, the Jaeger bombs. I don’t know. Perhaps it was the whole season which started in the rarefied mountain atmosphere of Austria in preseason which seems years ago now. But I had a little weep to myself in that cold stand. My brothers and Sisters singing and shouting and we had won the game.
Can we start to believe? Is it possible? The game was dictated by idea and intent for sure. The medium, the opposition rough and pockmarked with scars but still the art stood out upon it. This was again a game where we would have conceded a late goal, a final kick in the teeth. In the second pub we went into before the game the Landlord came around the bar to chat. It was a nice gesture. He spoke a little about our team and then waxed about his own for 15 minutes and the talk from him was all negative and sad. The things that had gone wrong with his team, the dynamics of their football. It was all so similar of course. On the way up we had chatted about Lambert and Saunders, McCarthy, Clipboard and those names lacked power and were seen in the NunoLight as wanting and derelict. We are looking down from a lofty position at the places we ourselves had sat despondent and angry. It still ‘feels’ and it still hurts but those tragedies at Burton and Rotherham and all those Godforsaken shit holes we have visited in the past are (for now) being forgotten and the traumas and shadows are being chased away by these strands of sunlight trickling through the gap between the Southbank and the Billy Wright.
Ethos. The power of the Nuno Espirito Santo to cajole and inspire through his own strength of idea and his own philosophy. He demands respect and that respect is laid upon a foundation of trust. His team are ‘HIS’ team.
Pathos. Nuno has the heart of a Lion and the emotions he holds onto would be a torrent not many could withstand. He demands also that his players channel that emotive part of their combative and forensic football into the mold of his idea.
Logos.The connection between this team and us, here in the stands, waiting at Bus stops in the rain, feeling the trickle of pus running down your neck as you watch them, walking into work proud of your team.
Constantly improving and fortifying our intentions as the season goes on and the dissenting puerile voices of other commentators, supporters, members of the press will fall like ash on the wind for sure. As we walked out of the ground we saw Nathan Judah with his video camera in hand to capture the zeitgeist from the fans. Of course, we would never be asked our opinions, us, those ragged loud, often swearing and proud. We have too may things to say and they would be punctuated by superlatives that can’t exist within the confines of the digital medium just like our football can’t be confined any longer to the Championship. Our voices are loud as we walk past the disgruntled Wednesday fans but we don’t give a shit. McCarthy next. Come on Big Nose, lets see what weird ideas you have for us…