Push and run

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Push-and-run, also known as a one-two, a wall pass or a give-and-go, is a tactic often used in association football. It was devised and developed by Arthur Rowe,[1] who was the then manager of English football club Tottenham Hotspur from 1949.

The push-and-run style involved quickly laying the ball off to a teammate and running past the marking tackler to collect the return pass. It proved an effective way to move the ball at pace, with players' positions and responsibility being fluid.[2]

Implementing this new and unique style,[3] Tottenham ran away with their first ever league title. In 1951 they won the First Division Championship and became the first side to win Second and First Divisions in successive seasons.


The "push and run" style of play was first developed by Arthur Rowe at Tottenham Hotspur. Rowe himself would credit Peter McWilliam, the Spurs manager under whom he served, with teaching him how to play a quick passing style of game from which Rowe then extended into "push and run".[4] This possession-based game of play of McWilliam has been traced back to Scottish players who first conceived of the idea of keeping possession of the ball instead of dribbling and charging in their first ever football international against England in 1872.[5]

Aside from Rowe, McWilliam also taught other Spurs players such as Bill Nicholson and Vic Buckingham such possession-based passing game. Buckingham would then pass on this pass-and-move style of play when he went on to manage Barcelona and Ajax, where it would influence the development of Total Football.[6]


  1. ^ Lanfranchi, Pierre; Taylor, Matthew (2001). Moving with the Ball: The Migration of Professional Footballers. Berg Publishers. p. 203. ISBN 1-85973-307-7. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  2. ^ "Ron Burgess: Titanic presence at Tottenham Hotspur". The Independent. 2005-02-21. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  3. ^ Bolchover, David; Brady, Chris (2006). The 90-minute Manager: Lessons from the Sharp End of Management. Pearson Education. p. 282. ISBN 0-273-70830-9. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  4. ^ Welch, Julie (7 September 2015). "Chapter 7: Success is the Best Revenge". The Biography of Tottenham Hotspur. Vision Sports Publishing. ISBN 9781909534506.
  5. ^ Wilson, Jonathan (18 September 2013). "Barcelona v Ajax and a philosophical line that stretches back to 1872". The Guardian.
  6. ^ "Peter McWilliam: The Tottenham Boss Who Created Legends". A Halftime Report. 19 July 2016.