Premier clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal should always be Europa favourites

MANCHESTER UNITED and Arsenal made it through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League, very comfortably. This came just after Manchester City and Chelsea reached the last four of the UEFA Champions League. There is a reasonable chance that … Continue reading Premier clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal should always be Europa favourites

Homage to an unloved prize

IN the Nou Camp stadium’s illustrious museum is a trophy that can easily go unnoticed amid the splendours of Barcelona’s footballing history.  It looks a little art deco, a little art nouveau perhaps and, compared to some of the statements of silverware alongside it, a shade modest. It is the original Inter Cities Fairs Cup, or the Coupe des Villes de Foires, won by Barca in a play-off against Leeds United in 1971. If today’s Europa League appears unloved, the old “Fairs Cup” had an equally uncertain status, so much so that UEFA didn’t administer the early years of the … Continue reading Homage to an unloved prize

The lost weekend that lasted five years

IN 1985, the Heysel Stadium disaster brought to an end a period of English dominance in European club football. English clubs, following the unacceptable behaviour of Liverpool fans in Brussels, were banned until the 1990-91 season. European football breathed a sigh of relief. There were two reasons why our neighbours across the Channel might have been pleased. Firstly, English fans had been consistently causing problems in Europe. We were not the only European country with a hooliganism problem, but it always seemed to get amplified by the media. Moreover, the British government at the time – all Thatcherite policies and … Continue reading The lost weekend that lasted five years