Despite the losses and plateaued crowds, MLS is big business

TORONTO and Seattle Sounders go head-to-head in the 2019 Major League Soccer (MLS) final, the third time in four seasons the two clubs have played each other in the season’s finale. MLS is growing in popularity and media prominence. Although attendances at games seem to have plateaued and are still relatively modest in some cities, there is no lack of investment in the game. Furthermore, … Continue reading Despite the losses and plateaued crowds, MLS is big business

1915: When football seemed unimportant

IT HAS been known down the years as “The Khaki Final”, owing to the vast number of soldiers in military uniform watching the game. While the event is well known, the outcome of the match has been largely overlooked in history. Many people will struggle to name the two finalists: Sheffield United and Chelsea. But this game, coming at the end of the 1914-15 season, … Continue reading 1915: When football seemed unimportant

Soccer City: Caracas – amid the chaos

VENEZUELA is one of South America’s least successful football nations, but most importantly and of greater concern, it is currently one of the world’s most troubled places. Once an oil-rich country with one quarter of the world’s proven oil reserves, a period of reckless financial and political policy-making has left Venezuela in absolute chaos, an example of social breakdown and a reminder of what can … Continue reading Soccer City: Caracas – amid the chaos

Gladbach smiling, Bayern hiring

THE EUROPEAN landscape has barely changed this season: PSG, Juventus, Barcelona, Ajax, Benfica, Liverpool and City all at the top. The once exception among the top leagues is Germany, where Borussia Mönchengladbach lead the Bundesliga and Bayern Munich are struggling to hit their best form. Bayern’s recent 5-1 defeat in Frankfurt proved to be the final straw for the Bayern politburo and just 24 hours … Continue reading Gladbach smiling, Bayern hiring

Digital detox and the football fan

CAN anyone remember when they had to actually wait for a football result? Did the life of a fan lack enrichment exist before the age of smart phones, apps and SKYTV? Instant gratification and constant connectivity is what it’s all about, from up-to-date football scores and the obsession of being forever in touch with your “friends”. Yesterday, at Hammersmith tube station, I was knocked flying … Continue reading Digital detox and the football fan

Rangers’ slow road back continues

THERE WAS some encouraging news for Rangers in their 2018-19 financial results, but the figures also revealed just how far the club is behind “old firm” rivals Celtic. Rangers made a loss of £ 11.3 million despite revenues climbing by 63% to £ 53.2 million, boosted by a lengthy involvement in the Europa League. Chairman David King said the financial year had been positive, although … Continue reading Rangers’ slow road back continues

eSports and football clubs – foresight for Fortnite?

EVERY DAY you can read about a major football club establishing an eSports presence or strategy. Clubs like Schalke, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Ajax, Manchester City, Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers have seen the value in creating initiatives around a rapidly growing part of the sports world. For some, the fusion of “real” sport with technology-driven gaming activities, is difficult to understand. It may be a … Continue reading eSports and football clubs – foresight for Fortnite?

Ajax’s stock continues to rise, despite player losses

AJAX’s renaissance last season was always going to be short-lived as Europe’s big clubs were waiting in the wings for their chance to pounce on the best players. Those hung up on presentism expressed their surprise that a team from the Netherlands could compete with the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus, even though the Dutch have provided more European champion clubs than Spain and … Continue reading Ajax’s stock continues to rise, despite player losses

In praise of the simple vimpel

WE ALL love bringing a souvenir back from our travels, from snow globes to sombreros, the British have always overloaded their suitcases with objet d’art or tat from their travels. Look carefully in your own home, is there any evidence of a life spent in airport lounges and beaches on the Med? From my own perspective, I cannot claim to be immune from this addiction … Continue reading In praise of the simple vimpel

New town football – successful, after all

STEVENAGE and Crawley Town are both members of the Football League, albeit the lowest division. Neither are what you might call “traditional” clubs, although football in Stevenage dates back to 1894 and Crawley 1896. When the game was in its infancy as an organised sport, they were merely amateur concerns in the south of England, unable to be truly competitive with the rise of industrial … Continue reading New town football – successful, after all

Hasenhüttl’s house of horror

WHAT CAN you really say after a 9-0 drubbing except sorry? You had to feel some sympathy for pale-faced Ralph Hasenhüttl, facing the TV cameras after a seismic home defeat that extended Southampton’s current run to one point from five league games. Southampton have said they have no interest in sacking Hasenhüttl, but look at the fixture list and see what’s on the horizon – … Continue reading Hasenhüttl’s house of horror

Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles – men of their time

IF YOU’VE watched the film, The Damned United, you don’t necessarily come away with a positive view of Leeds United under Don Revie or the two legends in Leeds’ midfield in the mid-1960s to early 1970s, Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles. Along with Jack Charlton and Norman Hunter, no other players epitomised the stance adopted by Revie and his team in that period. Not for … Continue reading Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles – men of their time

The Champions League and the preservation of elitism

SINCE THE European Cup was introduced in 1955, there have been 22 different winners of the competition. This list includes some of Europe’s biggest names as well as some unlikely champions. The last “new” winner was Chelsea in 2012, and equally telling, the last team from outside the accepted top 20 most powerful clubs was Porto in 2004. It has gradually become a closed shop. … Continue reading The Champions League and the preservation of elitism