Neville, Neville, how could they know?

THE WALLS are starting to close in a little on Phil Neville as he faces his first mini-crisis as manager of England’s Women. After a poor run of results, Neville reacted badly to increased scrutiny of his methods by the media, lashing out at journalists and developing something of a siege mentality. Neville, according to Suzanne Wrack of The Guardian, just cannot take criticism. “Sometimes, … Continue reading Neville, Neville, how could they know?

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

Portuguese football: For Três Grandes, business as usual

PORTO won the first big Portuguese Primeira Liga clash of the season when they recently beat Benfica in Lisbon, a big psychological boost for the “second club” and, perhaps, a signal that the title race this season may be even tighter than 2018-19. Porto won 2-0 in the Estádio da Luz, their fifth victory at the home of their rivals in 10 visits. Porto have the … Continue reading Portuguese football: For Três Grandes, business as usual

Great Reputations: Portugal 1966 – the alternative champions

ASIDE from the image of Bobby Moore holding the Jules Rimet trophy aloft, one of the abiding memories of the 1966 World Cup is of Eusébio in full flight, the leading scorer and the most exciting player of the tournament. If you asked most people who would have been worthy champions if England had not won, the answer would undoubtedly be Portugal, who came through … Continue reading Great Reputations: Portugal 1966 – the alternative champions

The Eagles have landed again

ON SATURDAY May 18, hundreds of Portuguese expatriates gathered in south London to celebrate Benfica’s 37thPrimeira Liga title. The Wandsworth area has a large Portuguese community and there’s even a restaurant, Casa Benfica, that draws in the fans. Benfica clinched the title with a 4-1 victory against Santa Clara, meaning they finished two points ahead of reigning champions, and fierce rivals, Porto. A crowd of … Continue reading The Eagles have landed again

Stable gates, but study underlines systemic clubs

FOOTBALL’s principal emerging nations, the US and China, have almost arrived, with the top divisions of their leagues in the top 10 in terms of spectator interest. According to CIES Football Observatory’s latest report, China and the US are sixth and eighth respectively over the past five years by average crowds. The German Bundesliga has an average of 43,302 with the English Premier second-placed on … Continue reading Stable gates, but study underlines systemic clubs

La Liga’s big challenge

SPAIN’s La Liga may have lost Cristiano Ronaldo to Serie A, but it is well placed to deal with the inevitable transition that will take place once the other member of the celebrated duopoly, Lionel Messi, also moves on. KPMG Football Benchmark’s latest paper looks at how the league has been internationalising itself to broaden the appeal of Spanish football. Ronaldo and Messi have dominated … Continue reading La Liga’s big challenge

At number 10, Hubris, that super-confident hero of our time

BOLD statements about a team’s potential are often made in the months leading up to World Cups. It is a time when normally grounded and stable individuals often make ridiculous claims about football teams. Remember the over-used term “golden generation”? It’s no longer fashionable or wise to use such words to describe a football team, because the margin between success and failure in the game … Continue reading At number 10, Hubris, that super-confident hero of our time

Portuguese clubs excel at player trading

  OVER EUR 1bn of talent has been sold by Portugal’s leading clubs over the past six years, according to KPMG Football Benchmark’s latest report on buying and selling footballers, The Player Trading Game. Benfica and Porto lead the way in Europe, thanks to world-class academies and astute transfer policies. With the global transfer market becoming increasingly unsustainable, KPMG ponders the so-called “Neymar effect” and … Continue reading Portuguese clubs excel at player trading

The Futebol Clube as society: Reflections on Porto

THIS COULD be one of Europe’s big clubs. I mean really big clubs. Of course, FC Porto have been crowned European champions twice, but that was in a different time, before European football became so concentrated and before TV money really kicked in. Porto are not top tier in the eyes of the modern game, but make no mistake, this is a sizeable outfit in … Continue reading The Futebol Clube as society: Reflections on Porto

Picture Post: Porto…Porto…Porto…Porto

FC PORTO is Portugal’s second most successful club and although there are other clubs in a location renowned for its contribution to the wine industry, it feels as though FC Porto represents the entire city. Boavista fans might disagree!         FC Porto’s fans are just about the most passionate we’ve come across. It was a shame that they missed the chance to go … Continue reading Picture Post: Porto…Porto…Porto…Porto

The Dutch case is compelling

OUTSIDE the so-called “big five” leagues (England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy), the Netherlands’ Eredivisie appears to be the most successful European domestic competition. The latest paper from Football Benchmark takes a look at four leagues from the next level of the European game: the Netherlands, Turkey, Portugal and Poland. Even in the glory days of Cruyff and co. Dutch football was watched by lower … Continue reading The Dutch case is compelling