European attendances – symptomatic of a superficial age

FREE MOVEMENT of people is one of the basic rights across the European Union, allowing cross-border travel and employment opportunities. It has many benefits, some of which will become apparent to the United Kingdom’s population when the country does stumble uncomfortably out of the EU. While this has opened-up the world, or at least part of it, to young football fans and businesses, it has … Continue reading European attendances – symptomatic of a superficial age

Lyon are fancied, but PSG have most of the cards

IT’S all getting a little too predictable in France, with Paris Saint-Germain winning six of the last seven Ligue 1 titles and no real sign of the dominance ending. The financial advantages the club enjoys, means PSG should win everything – hence the club’s owners have an obvious sense of expectation and occasional impatience. Should there be a genuine contender, it might just be Lyon, … Continue reading Lyon are fancied, but PSG have most of the cards

The agitation game – why players throw tantrums to get that move

THIS has been something of an unsatisfactory summer for the reputation of footballers and their commitment to their contracts. A string of major players have made themselves the proverbial “pain in the arse” in order to push for a transfer, mostly when they are in mid-contract. The most recent example appears to be David Luiz, who moved from Chelsea to Arsenal in the closing minutes … Continue reading The agitation game – why players throw tantrums to get that move

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

Corporates still line-up for football

FRANCE’s top division will have a new name for the 2020-21 season, the Uber Eats Ligue 1,  after the US online food ordering and delivery service agreed to sponsor the league until 2021-22. This naming rights deal, making Ligue 1 sound a little like an English non-league competition, will yield € 32 million for the French league, a significant increase on the previous deal with … Continue reading Corporates still line-up for football

PSG’s light still shining, albeit less brightly

LIGUE 1 gets underway next weekend and regardless of whether Neymar stays or goes, Paris Saint-German will be favourites for their seventh title win in eight seasons. PSG were champions once more in 2018-19 by a 16-point margin, suggesting the gulf between the Paris club and the rest of the division shows no sign of diminishing. With 105 goals and 29 wins in 38 games, … Continue reading PSG’s light still shining, albeit less brightly

Young lions – overpriced and underused

BY THE time Diego Armando Maradona was 21 years old, he had played around 200 league games for his employers. Likewise, Pelé, at that tender age, had turned-out around 300 times for Santos. More recently, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two totems of the modern age, made more than 100 appearances. George Best, by his 21stbirthday, was heading towards the 150 mark. In short, … Continue reading Young lions – overpriced and underused

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?

Instant gratification rules in the big-time

AS if we didn’t know it, recent analysis by CIES Football Observatory has revealed that major football clubs are geared towards short-termism. Across 31 European leagues under consideration, the percentage of club-trained players fell from 23.2% in 2009 to 16.9% in 2018. Southern Europe (12.8%) and Western Europe (15.7%) show the lowest number of players developed at home, while Northern Europe (21.9%) is at the … Continue reading Instant gratification rules in the big-time

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

Club of the Month: And the word is… OM

IT IS hard to shake off the feeling that Ligue 1 is a one-horse race, despite France being the home of the World Champions and French football’s status as one of the breeding grounds for nurturing talent. Paris Saint-Germain’s dominance of Ligue 1 has become a little tiresome for onlookers. France, after all, has some sizeable clubs that have made their mark on Europe – Olympique … Continue reading Club of the Month: And the word is… OM

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