Manchester City’s “decade of hard work” closes the gap

MANCHESTER CITY’s historic 2018-19 season has not only been reflected in a trophy-packed boardroom, it has helped to deliver record revenues for the treble-winning Cityzens. City’s revenues totalled £ 535 million, the second successive season in which the club broke the half billion mark. In 2018-19, revenues rose by 7% while expenses dropped by 18%.  City generated a profit of £ 10.1 million, just short … Continue reading Manchester City’s “decade of hard work” closes the gap

If Europa fatigue exists, it is a symptom of a bloated structure

WOLVERHAMPTON Wanderers have been playing competitive football since the last week in July. Before they kicked off their Premier League programme on August 11, they had played three UEFA Europa League games and in total, they have now completed seven ties in addition to their five Premier fixtures. Their latest game, a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Portugal’s Braga, has raised concerns that … Continue reading If Europa fatigue exists, it is a symptom of a bloated structure

Manchester United, Porto, Arsenal, Sevilla, Roma – the Europa has some big guns

THE EUROPA League struggles to win public acclaim until the very last stages, but one look at this season’s list of entrants is a reminder that some big names are among the contenders. Wolverhampton Wanderers may have been playing in the competition since early summer, but they have clearly been stimulated by European football coming back to Molineux. Wolves have successfully negotiated three rounds, scoring … Continue reading Manchester United, Porto, Arsenal, Sevilla, Roma – the Europa has some big guns

UEFA Champions League: The gulf at the gate

THE UEFA Champions League draw has become an event in itself and provides a curtain-raiser to the next 10 months of action involving Europe’s elite working their way towards the final stages. For half of the entrants, the competition will end in December, but we can expect the usual suspects to qualify for the knockout stages when things really do get interesting. While the Champions … Continue reading UEFA Champions League: The gulf at the gate

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

Football Media Watch: Klopp, Liverpool and the pursuit of dynastic excellence

EVERYONE loves Jürgen Klopp, even those that do not especially warm to Liverpool Football Club. The current talk is of the popular German coach presiding over the creation of a “dynasty”, not the first time we’ve heard this from Liverpool or indeed a number of clubs, who can afford to talk boldly when things are going well. However, Liverpool are arguably the only club who … Continue reading Football Media Watch: Klopp, Liverpool and the pursuit of dynastic excellence

Europe’s most prolific teams

MANCHESTER CITY are probably the most successful team in Europe this season in that they won all three domestic trophies on offer. But City did not have the best league record across the continent, that honour arguably belongs to Red Star Belgrade of Serbia and Greece’s PAOK Salonika. In real terms, Red Star, with 33 wins from 37 games, have a win rate of 89.19% … Continue reading Europe’s most prolific teams

UEFA Europa League: Together to Baku – almost

IF Arsenal or Chelsea were not up against a local rival, Baku and the Europa League might not mean as much as it probably does to the fans of both clubs – those that decide to make the journey to Azerbaijan. The fact that the clubs have returned tickets to UEFA says a lot about the appeal of Baku as the stage for a major … Continue reading UEFA Europa League: Together to Baku – almost

Football needs more from Milan

THERE WAS a time when English football glanced enviously across Europe to Italy, viewing its league as the epitome of glamour, cosmopolitanism and affluence. Italy had the world’s leading players, the most passionate and colourful supporters and the financial clout to attract top talent. Furthermore, its clubs, AC Milan, Internazionale and Juventus, among others, represented the European elite. That was in the 1980s and 1990s, … Continue reading Football needs more from Milan

Great Reputations: Tottenham 1970-73 – Bill Nick’s final flourish

IT IS hardly surprising, but when Tottenham Hotspur’s great teams and players are discussed, the conversation rarely moves beyond 1951 and 1961. The latter’s achievement, the then-hallowed double, would be something of a millstone round the neck of the club and its long-serving manager, Bill Nicholson, but 10 years on, Spurs did manage to rekindle some of the lustre of old and put together a … Continue reading Great Reputations: Tottenham 1970-73 – Bill Nick’s final flourish

The land of make believe

SOMETIMES, it feels as though football is on the road to self-destruction, that the ideas, formats and decisions being formulated are not necessarily made in the interests of the game as a whole, its future or sustainability. Notwithstanding the madcap decisions made around hosting World Cups, or the bloated and low quality concept of a 48-team competition, club football seems hell-bent on marginalising large segments … Continue reading The land of make believe

Another brick in the wall – Ajax’s Turin task

WHILE Ajax’s stunning victory against Real Madrid was a major upset, it was also a welcome reminder that unpredictability, if you scratch the surface deep enough, can still be found in modern football. The romantics would love to see Ajax rekindle the fires of European Cups past – let’s not forget Amsterdam’s finest have won the competition more times than Manchester United, Juventus and Inter … Continue reading Another brick in the wall – Ajax’s Turin task

Great Reputations: Dinamo Tbilisi – Georgia’s on our mind

IN 1980-81, Dinamo Tbilisi put on a scintillating display when they met West Ham United at Upton Park in the European Cup-Winners’ Cup. They won emphatically by playing a brand of fast, attacking football that stunned the London crowd. “Those Russians, bloody marvellous football,” said one Hammers fan as he left the stadium. “I’ve not seen football like that since we had Moore, Hurst and … Continue reading Great Reputations: Dinamo Tbilisi – Georgia’s on our mind