Berliners have never had it so good as Bundesliga kicks-off

CHANCELLOR MERKEL lives there, it is the centre of the techno music industry and it’s a trendy city that attracts creatives and media folk alike. Berlin is a great, vibrant and dynamic city, but it has rarely been a centre of football. As unified Germany’s capital, it comes in well behind Munich, Dortmund and other cities as a hub for the beautiful game. But in … Continue reading Berliners have never had it so good as Bundesliga kicks-off

Big city clubs remain dominant

LEICESTER CITY’s 2015-16 Premier League victory was remarkable in many ways, it was a rare moment in time when the status quo in English football was challenged and the most surprising title win since Nottingham Forest won the old first division in 1978. It also reminded football fans there is still some romance left in the game, that high finance does not govern absolutely everything … Continue reading Big city clubs remain dominant

Bayern’s double – more nutritional, healthy and balanced

IN BRITAIN, we used to think we were the only football community that truly cared about domestic cup competitions. Other countries were blasé about their FA Cup, it was considered to be a sideshow to the league. In recent years, the media, fans and some clubs have forced us to admit that the FA Cup has lost some cachet, that it is not the primary … Continue reading Bayern’s double – more nutritional, healthy and balanced

Great Reputations: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1974-77 – mythical rebels

IT’S part of popular football culture that Bayern Munich have always been the dominant force in German football. Certainly, Bayern is the country’s most high-profile club and undoubtedly the most successful football institution from the Bundesliga. In recent years, only Borussia Dortmund have challenged Bayern on a sustainable basis, but the first club to grapple with the slick Bavarians was a team from North-Rhine Westphalia, … Continue reading Great Reputations: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1974-77 – mythical rebels

Is European football really on the crest of a wave?

ACCORDING to UEFA, attendances in European football are at their highest since [their] records began. Certainly, in the UK, English football has not had as people going through the turnstiles since 1949, when the gates averaged 38,792 in the top flight. The current average in the Premier in 2018-19 is 37,967 which is around 1% lower than 2017-18’s figures. UEFA reported that attendances across Europe … Continue reading Is European football really on the crest of a wave?

Netzer Vierundneunzig

WE WATCHED in awe. We admired his physique, his energy, his boldness and his power. He was 1972 personified: trendy, confident and, strangely for a footballer, radically cool. Günter Netzer was of his time, anti-establishment and defiant. He looked like he would be just as easily at home as a member of the Velvet Underground or part of a student protest movement. It was April … Continue reading Netzer Vierundneunzig

Club of the Month: Borussia Dortmund – back in contention

ANYONE who has become tired of the Bayern Munich monopoly in the Bundesliga over the past six years will find the resurgence of Borussia Dortmund somewhat heartwarming, particulary as the Bavarians have, in the past, made a habit of cherry-picking the best players from their rivals. BVB are seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, while Bayern are getting to grips with a … Continue reading Club of the Month: Borussia Dortmund – back in contention

A question of balance

THE 2018-19 season is only a few weeks old and the scene is all-too familiar: Manchester City, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona all on top in their respective domestic leagues, while Bayern Munich are currently in second place. The UEFA Champions League is underway and the groups create a sense of déjà vu. Business as usual, as they say. On October 2, Bayern Munich meet … Continue reading A question of balance

Untapped potential – the importance of Asia to European football

IN this summer’s narrow pre-season break, Ligue 1, Serie A and La Liga all played their super cup matches in overseas territory. The French took their game to Guandong in China, the Italians went to Saudi Arabia and La Liga played their super cup in Tangier. This was all about exporting their competitions to new territories and reaching out to potential new fans. A few … Continue reading Untapped potential – the importance of Asia to European football

2017-18: A new script is needed

NEXT season, the British football landscape is going to have to find a new narrative. “Wenger out” has become “Wenger gone”, and therefore a considerable chunk of pundit and supporter dialogue has disappeared. With VAR likely to remove another slice of conversation – refereeing errors – you have to wonder what “your Linekers and Ferdinands” are going to talk about in a few years. As … Continue reading 2017-18: A new script is needed

Big faded giants or merely marginalised?

TODAY’S European football landscape is dominated by the so-called “big-five” leagues: England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. Look at any of the rankings that are produced that list the richest football institutions and clubs from these countries dominate. If you had compiled a similar list 30 or 40 years ago, it would have looked somewhat different. The 2017-18 season is the 50th anniversary of Manchester … Continue reading Big faded giants or merely marginalised?