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?

Football Read Review: What did happen to Serie A?

STEVEN MANDIS wrote a revealing book on Real Madrid a couple of years back and he’s returned – with his colleagues – with an appraisal of the history, current status and future prospects of Italy’s Serie A. The most recent golden age of Serie A , the 1980s and early 1990s saw Italy become a magnet for every major football star. Serie A attracted the … Continue reading Football Read Review: What did happen to Serie A?

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

CR7 and Juve, why it will make sense

AT the age of 33, and after a career at Real Madrid laden with glittering prizes, Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus may seem like a surprising decision. But it could be a very lucrative business transaction for both sides that enhances the reputation of the player and helps shift his employer up a gear or two. From Ronaldo’s perspective, the timing of the announcement was … Continue reading CR7 and Juve, why it will make sense

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

Great Reputations: Torino 1940s – just how good were they?

  THE SUPERGA air crash is embedded in the psyche of Italian football in much the same way that the Munich air disaster is in the history of the English game. There are great similarities in the two tragedies: Torino were the dominant force in Italy during and after world war two, Manchester United were standing astride the Football League in the late 1950s. Premature … Continue reading Great Reputations: Torino 1940s – just how good were they?

Soccer City: Calcio at the foot of the Alps

WITHIN 10 minutes of arriving in Turin, the first signs of the importance of football in the city became very evident: our taxi driver, in his obligatory Fiat, asked if we were in town to see Juve. He was clearly a fan, his small pennant hanging from his mirror betraying his allegiance. He smiled and nodded as we told him we were going to the … Continue reading Soccer City: Calcio at the foot of the Alps

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?

The gulf continues to widen in Europe

THE WAY the so-called “big five” leagues in Europe are progressing this season, we could see more than one team hit the 100 point mark in 2017-18, underlining the progressive dominance of a handful of clubs in the major competitions. If the leaders of the Premier, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 all continue at their current rate of points accumulation, they will all … Continue reading The gulf continues to widen in Europe

Why monopolies won’t be broken in Europe

CARLO ANCELOTTI was sacked by Bayern Munich after half a dozen games and a disastrous UEFA Champions League result in Paris. For a few weeks, people had been suggesting this might be the year in which Bayern’s five-year run of titles came to an end, largely because Bayern had lost a few players and Borussia Dortmund have started the season on fire. Bayern rarely seem … Continue reading Why monopolies won’t be broken in Europe