European football hypocrites and glory hunters

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    You’re probably expecting to read an article attacking Manchester City and Chelsea fans for ‘ruining’ football by supporting clubs on the pure basis of spending power and success.

    Instead I’m going to debunk the constant criticisms levelled hypocritically at supporters of new comers to the elite world order of club football.

    Essentially very close to all detached supporters of European football clubs are ‘glory hunters’. By detached I mean living in Australia with no geographical ties to the clubs that people ‘support’ and by ‘glory hunters’ I mean supporting a side only because they will be successful.

    European football is unique in world sport for the free market that runs unobstructed by the constraints of a draft or salary cap.

    Essentially the rich become richer by securing the best players for continued and improved income streams of prize money, television contracts and sponsorships. This creates a cycle in which competitions exist with internal chasms.

    In the English Premier League there are a select group of clubs competing to win the title, realistically at season’s start it totalled three and is perhaps down to one three quarters of the way through.

    This cycle is only realistically broken by the artificial enhancement of a clubs finances by people like Sheik Mansour or Roman Abramovich.

    As you go down the table you notice the competitions inside a competition that pit sides in a battle for the economic boom that is fourth place and the Champions League, top half finish and inevitably the sides destined for relegation battles from the season’s onset.

    Sports fans support sides for any number of reasons, because they live in or are from the area, because their favourite player plays or played there or because they were encouraged by an over exuberant parent keen to leave a permanent imprint of their child’s sporting preferences.

    Ultimately detached sporting fans by definition can’t support a side of geographic importance to them, or they indeed wouldn’t be detached.

    The conditions of European competition mean that your favourite player is infinitely more likely to star for the ladder leaders than cellar dwellers.

    Evidently the absence of salary caps creates competitions that are incredibly uneven and largely predictable as opposed those sports in which a side’s fortunes ebbs and flows across seasons and playing talent is spread more evenly across sides.

    And the conditions created above determine that the final option I have propositioned, that of family influence, is also unlikely to come from outside the sporting elite.

    Largely the conditions today are the same as thirty years ago; a select few clubs dominate competition after competition.

    A Manchester United or Liverpool ‘fan’ accusing a Chelsea or Manchester City ‘fan’ of being a ‘glory hunter’ is perhaps the most hypocritical insult in the sporting world. Everyone viewing from afar is drawn towards the most successful and financially powerful clubs.

    Just like elite players aren’t flocking to Liverpool for the grand history of English football’s second most successful club, detached supporters won’t flock to the lovable underdog of Norwich City and Grant Holt.

    The next time you open your mouth to deride a glory hunting friend at the unholy hour of two am at the local RSL club, think about what you’re saying and your own motivations.

    Remember, no one likes a hypocrite.

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    The Crowd Says (113)

    • Roar Guru

      February 28th 2013 @ 9:07am
      Cameron Kellett said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      A view from the top,

      It is the competitions like the English Premier League with Glory Hunters I wish not to fully associate myself with.

      Although a great competition in the form of overall quality and talent, its the lack of teams having a chance to win the title. This is why I love Australian sport and will never fully commit myself to competitions involving large sums of money.

      Good luck to them but it does not strike a chord with me.

      By the way, go Liverpool 😉 but only because my favourite player played for them when I started watching. Harry Kewell.

      • February 28th 2013 @ 10:11am
        Bunny Colvin said | February 28th 2013 @ 10:11am | ! Report

        If you have never actually lived in the place this EPL team is that you supposedly follow you are just another bandwagoner pure and simple.

        You might even get a rude shock that if you did happen to live over there you might find you could not stomach Manchester or Liverpool and even worse a shock is their supporters would not want you because they consider you one of these glory hunters.

        • Roar Pro

          February 28th 2013 @ 11:36am
          A View From the Top said | February 28th 2013 @ 11:36am | ! Report

          A point I have made in many an argument to Liverpool or Manchester United supporters. There’s no shame in me admitting I only support Chelsea because they are rich and successful and it balances my support of South Sydney in the NRL. If you’re going to go through so much pain you might as well experience some success in a sport your far removed from

        • Roar Guru

          February 28th 2013 @ 11:58am
          Cameron Kellett said | February 28th 2013 @ 11:58am | ! Report

          Bunny Colvin,

          You don’t need to live where the team plays to be a supporter and just because I don’t live there does not make me a bandwagoner!

          Do you know what a bandwagoner is??

          I knew nothing of the NSL growing up and I played soccer/football from a ripe young age of 5.

          I knewnot much about the sport but knew who Harry Kewell was. He was my favourite player and I loved watching him. When I started watching him play for Leeds I knew id follow him throughout his whole career, I just wish he didn’t play for Melbourne ;).

          I did not support Liverpool because I knew they were a popular team, I was 11! I did not support them because they won either, I supported them because I loved watching Harry Kewell!

          Now I haven’t stopped following Liverpool and I hope that my second team Leeds united can one day return to glory days. Liverpool aren’t exactly the top of the pile anymore but I still follow them!

          If I went to Liverpool I don’t care what the other fans think. I don’t have to prove myself just because I live in Australia.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 28th 2013 @ 12:59pm
          BrisbaneBhoy said | February 28th 2013 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

          @ Bunny Colvin;
          In your opinion does that also go for those who’s parents have moved from the area/region/country etc, etc, yet their children follow the team of their parents/family ( and hence has become their team)? Yet never been to the area from which their team represents, or in your opinion this is different?

          • February 28th 2013 @ 2:00pm
            Drew said | February 28th 2013 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

            Well said BrisbaneBhoy – my mother’s actually Sri Lankan, I don’t have an English bone in my body. But she lived in north London for 3 years in the 70’s and Arsenal was hence the only football team I’d heard of as a kid. Long before Arsene Wenger arrived.

            Have supported them all my life even though I’ve never lived in the UK. I’m hardly a bandwagoner.

            • February 28th 2013 @ 3:46pm
              Jaiden Florimo said | February 28th 2013 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

              Definitely being an Arsenal fan you cant be accused of being a bandwagon supporter. Bandwagon supporters are supporters of good or great clubs, not average ones going backwards.

        • March 1st 2013 @ 4:58pm
          mahonjt said | March 1st 2013 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

          Or alternatively, one might follow an OS team because as a young boy it was the only top flight football on black and white television and your parents loved it and you grew to do to likewise. One could worry about what some people from Liverpool would make of this interest, or one could embrace the internet and associated international brotherhood who make me feel welcome and a part of something bigger. Finally, just to point out the absurdity of your narrow view, my favourite thing about the A-League is that it’s our league and my son and I enjoy it together in the same way my family and I did Liverpool in the 70’s. He won’t ever be a Liverpool fan, and that is as it should be!

          The world is too complex for living a life of black and white. If you choose to do that – fine. But I live and love life in the grey!

      • Roar Rookie

        March 1st 2013 @ 7:19am
        Neuen said | March 1st 2013 @ 7:19am | ! Report

        Which league have 5 or 6 clubs that can win the title? In every league there is always the big 4 no matter where you go.

        People are throwing a bandwagon argument due to suddenly a lot of City and Chelsea supporters have suddenly come out of the woodwork when their sides got money and could buy big names. That is pretty obvious. They did not had much to be excited about in the past or a lot to shout about. Now they do. Their sides have done what any other club would do and buy the best they can afford and as big as squad as possible. The main goal here is winning trophies and glory.

        Football is a business and names and success sell shirts and turn your business into a more profitable business.

        Also you have too look how different cultures support their own countries players. A lot of Africans like Nigerians will support Chelsea do to the affiliation it has with some of its players. Chelsea will never play their local team which they support first and foremost but it doesn’t make them glory hunters just proud citizens supporting their countries players abroad. In South Africa I know there is more EPL games on tv than the local football so the first games youngsters see on tv is a Manchester United or a Liverpool or a Chelsea which they take liking to. So people look at it with the wrong perspective and most accusations are just basically part of football banter which the English are masters at. That is one of the reasons why they enjoy football and one thing I admire about them.

    • February 28th 2013 @ 9:12am
      Adrian said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      i start supporting Manchester United in the 80s as a kid, just because my dad support Liverpool because that where the Beatles come from 🙂 Man Utd wasn’t any good in 80s

      Also, in europe now..UEFA has brought in a type of salary caps called UEFA Financial Fair Play

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Financial_Fair_Play_Regulations

      it means, clubs can’t spend more money then the club revenue is…this should make it harder for Sheik Mansour or Roman Abramovich to buy wins

      “A report by the accountants Deloitte indicated that total debt among the 20 Premier League clubs for the year 2008-09 was around £3.1 billion” :))))

      • Roar Pro

        February 28th 2013 @ 9:47am
        A View From the Top said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        It did pass my mind that a lot of kids follow the side their old man hates. Financial Fair Play is toothless and serves to protect the rich clubs that already have significant revenue streams. Its not so much a salary cap in the traditional sense and wont serve to create even competitions. It will however hopefully stop another Portsmouth scenario

        • February 28th 2013 @ 10:01am
          Adrian said | February 28th 2013 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          A View From the Top

          I don’t know if it end up toothless …i just know it started 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        February 28th 2013 @ 10:59am
        HardcorePrawn said | February 28th 2013 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        You might want to tell your Dad that only the two surviving Beatles have ever expressed any interest in football, John and George (despite being Liverpudlians) were apparently just not interested.
        Of the other two, Paul is an Evertonian, and Ringo, thanks to an interest in the game inherited from his Londoner grandfather, supports Arsenal.
        There are no Liverpool fans in that foursome!

    • Roar Guru

      February 28th 2013 @ 9:17am
      langou said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:17am | ! Report

      In the unlikely event I was to ever going to start supporting a Premier League side, I would pick one of the big four sides, otherwise you will never get to see your team win anything and if any of your favourite players become stars they will just go to one of the big clubs anyway.

      • Roar Pro

        February 28th 2013 @ 9:48am
        A View From the Top said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        Essentially the crux of the article.

      • February 28th 2013 @ 10:44am
        Jayden said | February 28th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        Or your a toon fan like me who flog a pile of **** to one of those big clubs and Re-build your team with over 5 players who are all arguably better than him. 😀

        • February 28th 2013 @ 12:54pm
          Matt F said | February 28th 2013 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

          I like the way you think Jayden 🙂

      • February 28th 2013 @ 3:48pm
        Jaiden Florimo said | February 28th 2013 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

        What I’d like to know is which of the big 4 would you choose from langou out of Everton, Norwich, West Brom or Wigan?

    • February 28th 2013 @ 9:40am
      nickoldschool said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:40am | ! Report

      Agree with you “Essentialy very close to all detached supporters of European football clubs are ‘glory hunters’. By detached I mean living in Australia with no geographical ties to the clubs that people ‘support’ and by ‘glory hunters’ I mean supporting a side only because they will be successful.”

      When I moved to Oz I was shocked to see so many ppl calling themselves ‘supporters’ based on what I thought were trivial reasons: they like the stadium name, jersey colours, their fav band was from Liverpool or man u. Even got the ‘ my favourite pizza brand is the clubs sponsor, that’s why am supporting them’. I saw these blokes as posers. So whether it was newcomers or good old clubs it didn’t make any difference to me.

      After over a decade here, I am probably less judgemental. The only team I really love and support is my first team form the city I grew up in and it will never change. Then there are a couple of teams in other championships that I prefer to others for whatever reason. I don’t call myself a supporter of these teams as such but do follow them and rather have them to win. But we are all different so I guess if someone wHo has never been to England wants to call himself a Man City fan so be it.

      • Roar Pro

        February 28th 2013 @ 9:51am
        A View From the Top said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        Yep. Me and my mates love the English Premier League, gives us a reason to go to the pub, but deep down we all know we not really supporters. Nothing funnier than a Liverpool supporter bagging out a City or Chelsea fan for being a ‘glory hunter’

    • Roar Guru

      February 28th 2013 @ 9:45am
      sheek said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      I don’t understand the mentality of European football leagues. In almost every major league, there are two or three or four clubs who can be guaranteed to win 90% of titles over a 20 year period. Which leaves very little opportunity for everyone else.

      Furthermore, it’s almost as if everyone accepts their place in the pecking order, & there’s little incentive to change.

      Adding irony to the whole thing, American sports, in the land of rampant commercialism & apparent democracy, approaches its major sports with an almost socialist zeal, ensuring everyone gets a bite at the cherry over time.

      • Roar Guru

        February 28th 2013 @ 9:50am
        Cameron Kellett said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Sheek,

        At least we have our sport. May be hard to follow at stages but once again it comes down to the quality, present throughout the whole of each sporting code, expect for AFL which is in some ways is the same but the draft affects the longevity of success of a side or hinders.

        • Roar Pro

          February 28th 2013 @ 9:52am
          A View From the Top said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          I’m not sure I’m totally for letting every kid at the party win a round of pass the parcel but certainly European football has a sort of Groundhog Day feel about it that rubs me the wrong way

          • February 28th 2013 @ 10:43am
            Australian Rules said | February 28th 2013 @ 10:43am | ! Report

            Demetriou has stated on record that the AFL as “unapologetically socialist”.

            He’s obviously referring to the salary cap and draft system. Whilst good in theory (and overwhelmingly so in practice in my view), recent examples show us that some teams will subvert the system if possible …and the penalties have been pretty insipid (…but I digress).

            Whilst not perfect by any means, I’d still favour a socialist system over one in which the same 2-4 teams dominate every year.

            You gotta respect the supporters of the lowly clubs who can never, and will never, win anything.

            • February 28th 2013 @ 12:05pm
              pete4 said | February 28th 2013 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

              AR – the socialist system works for AFL because the players cannot go anywhere else. Once you have players able to choose between professional leagues in more than several different countries that system becomes no longer viable because professional players go where the $$$ is

              • February 28th 2013 @ 2:17pm
                Australian Rules said | February 28th 2013 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

                Yeah I’d agree with that.

              • February 28th 2013 @ 2:36pm
                Australian Rules said | February 28th 2013 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

                …of course it also means that the system encourages reckless spending, poor governance and spiralling debt.

                English clubs now have debt which exceeds £3Billion…and the biggest clubs are the worst offenders. It’s a dangerous position to be in.

              • February 28th 2013 @ 5:08pm
                pete4 said | February 28th 2013 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

                AR – It’s a little misleading because clubs over there own their own stadiums/infrastructure. Also the English Premier League itself turns a profit of over $500M per year

            • Roar Guru

              February 28th 2013 @ 1:39pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | February 28th 2013 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

              How about a system where teams work hard to achieve success, rather than seek handouts from the governing body?

              People, who think they’re experts on SOCKAH – based on based on watching 10 second highlights on Ch9 news – always point to the same teams winning everything.

              But, there are many layers to football in Europe.

              In England, in May 2003, Swansea City AFC played a match against Hull City in League 2. League 2 is the old 4th Division – the bottom tier of the 4 leagues in English football.

              Swansea City won the match 4-2. If Swansea had lost this final match of the season, they would have been relegated – kicked out of English League football; back to the pub leagues.

              Now, less than 10 years later, Swansea City are flying high. They’ll be playing in the Europa League next season and are regarded as one of the most enjoyable teams to watch in the EPL.

              Interestingly, Hull City – the team that Swansea beat 10yrs ago to stay in the English 4th division – also worked hard & made their way to the EPL in 2009.

              That’s the beauty of promotion & relegation … there’s always hope & something to look forward to for every fan of every football club.

              • February 28th 2013 @ 1:42pm
                Ian Whitchurch said | February 28th 2013 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

                “How about a system where teams work hard to achieve success”

                For example, by a prudent choice of owners.

              • February 28th 2013 @ 1:46pm
                nordster said | February 28th 2013 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

                Its a real shame the strayan system locks out the small town club the possibility of top flight action, whether in the league or at least via a cup.

                By having floors in salary caps as well as minimum wages in compulsory union agreements, we set the bar too high for many regional areas to be involved in the league. We do have issues with travel and distance, but our pro sport here is way too geared toward only the clubs that can sustain a quite high base level to be involved.

                An open two division a-league without the socialist policies of caps/floors and redistribution would be revolutionary for football…and not in some scary way but a real opportunity for the game to take areas unserviced by other top level sport.

              • Roar Guru

                February 28th 2013 @ 2:06pm
                HardcorePrawn said | February 28th 2013 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

                Fussball,
                I wouldn’t quite call the Conference a “pub league”. Most of the teams down there are still professional, and there are quite a few relatively well supported and recognisable clubs plying their trade there: Luton Town, Lincoln, Cambridge, Mansfield, Grimsby, Wrexham…

              • February 28th 2013 @ 2:15pm
                Adrian said | February 28th 2013 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

                Swansea City will be broke and playing back in pub football in 10 years…how is that good for the sport when that happens….you talk about the rasie, but how about the fall with millions of debt

                there so many clubs now across europe, that not paying there players

                Australia, USA has it right….Euro football model is dead

              • February 28th 2013 @ 2:28pm
                Australian Rules said | February 28th 2013 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

                “How about a system where teams work hard to achieve success, rather than seek handouts from the governing body?”

                Every sporting team works hard to achieve success. They work hard for members, for sponsors, for better training methods and for more wins on the field.

                Your comment implies that, say, QPR or Reading don’t “work as hard” as clubs like Chelsea and Man City. They *do* work just as hard…they just don’t have the billion dollar pockets of a Russian oil oligarch.

              • Roar Guru

                March 1st 2013 @ 1:10am
                peeeko said | March 1st 2013 @ 1:10am | ! Report

                its quite possible that they form their views by watching more than the 10 second highlights on the CH9 news.

          • Roar Guru

            February 28th 2013 @ 11:39am
            Cameron Kellett said | February 28th 2013 @ 11:39am | ! Report

            A view from the top,

            I wouldn’t exactly say every child at the party will win a round pass the parcel. In Australian sport the quality is spread evenly, its what you choose to do going forwards that provides the difference between the champs one season compared to the next.

            EPL is a different kettle of fish.

          • February 28th 2013 @ 11:57am
            nickoldschool said | February 28th 2013 @ 11:57am | ! Report

            AVFTT and Sheek,

            It’s true that there is a circle of ‘have’ and ‘have not’ in most leagues of most sports in Europe but I guess it’s linked to the promotion/ relegation system in place. It’s very Darwinian in a way: the strongest survived and are now part of a league of their own. Is it fair? Dunno, but it’s based on results and history. Tbh I love both systems, the fact that a new team like the WSW are a real chance to win on season one is great and refreshing, but I also like the feeling and buzz surrounding a Man U v Liverpool, Milan v Inter or PSG v Marseille. Also linked to salary caps in place here obviously. Both are interesting for different reasons imo

            • February 28th 2013 @ 2:57pm
              Dean Vincent said | February 28th 2013 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

              Adrian
              You are talking utter rubbish.

              Swansea will not be “broke in 10 years”, they’ve spent next to nothing getting where they are today. They have no multi-millionaire backers and are owned by local people with 20% of the club owned by a supporters trust.

              They made a profit of GBP14.6 million last year unlike the vast majority of teams

              In terms of playing resources they sold Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair for GBP21m whilst buying Hernandez, Ki and Michu for GBP12million. The first 2 were club record signings for around GBP5m

              Michu one of the top scorers in the EPL cost GBP2million.

              They’ve played superb football over the last 2 seasons, frequently outplaying much bigger clubs.

              They may be relegated in the next few seasons (not on the evidence of the past 2 seasons) but they certainly won’t be in a financially parlous state if they do go down.

              To me that is exactly the sort of model that teams should aspire….get your facts right before making sweeping generalisations. The likes of QPR, Portsmouth etc may have splurged the cash but its not the case with the Swans.

              • February 28th 2013 @ 9:28pm
                Adrian said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:28pm | ! Report

                Dean Vincent

                i’m sure you think Swansea will be a special team, that it will never happen to then as to other..but we will see in 10 years 🙂

              • March 1st 2013 @ 6:13am
                Dean Vincent said | March 1st 2013 @ 6:13am | ! Report

                Adrian
                I’m stating facts mate based on their current situation. They’re not in debt….its not what I think its a fact. there have been numerous articles in the British press about how well they are run. If you were talking about the likes of QPR you would have a point.
                Secondly, it’s already happened to us in the 80s and 2003 when we were playing “pub” football which is why they are so financially stable now.
                There’s plenty been written since the League Cup win on Saturday about the club. Try reading some before spouting such ill-informed dross.

      • February 28th 2013 @ 10:05am
        Johnno said | February 28th 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        sheek cough cough Sydney University rugby union, in the shute shield.

      • February 28th 2013 @ 10:15am
        pete4 said | February 28th 2013 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        Sheek – in Europe which these days has a population of 730m people depending on the boundaries you use. It’s hard for clubs in a lesser league to compete on the continental stage. That’s why there is a perception that the same teams win but really in those country’s National Football Association has deemed it to be acceptable so they can represent their Nation and compete on the European stage. Just think of it as we could have 1-2 strong clubs or 10-12 average ones

        Take Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. 2 massive clubs in there own right who get a larger slice of their domestic TV deal which the Spanish FA have said in the past “they want Spanish football to do very well in Europe” and that’s why a salary cap would never work there.

      • February 28th 2013 @ 11:01am
        Calum said | February 28th 2013 @ 11:01am | ! Report

        i accept your point but only to a certain degree. I would say 3 things takin the EPL as an example.
        1/ although its true that things in terms of the ‘top 4’ are quite predictable, things do change. 7 years ago you had Liverpool and arsenal challenging for the trophy, now they aren’t. Hell, when the EPL formed Everton were one of the ‘top’ 5 clubs that instigated and then struggled near the bottom of the league forthe first few years until Moyes (legend) came in. In fairness, the changing cast to include man city who won the title last year for the first time in how many years is mainly due to money, but its still changed, albeit slowly.
        2/ going on from point 1, I would say that it is the *pace* of change in the top teams that have slowed, and this is largely due to the cash of the champions league… And even then it was when the CL expanded to include teams that weren’t the champions. So your good anyway, you gets loads of money for playing in the CL and everyone wants to play for you so they can play in that comp.
        3/ you’ve go to think about the format. It is a LEAGUE. Aussie and American sports all work on knockout comps which makes for great excitement and entertainment but doesn’t necessarily mean the winner is the best team, as they can be unlucky or have a bad game. By definition, there is more likely to be different winners.
        4/ even despite things like the draft, salary capping etc you still get powerhouse clubs in other sports. Green Bay packers have some bad years but are consistently successful… Cleveland browns, not so much.

        Think I should stop there!

        • March 1st 2013 @ 6:16am
          Seriously, Who says Oi? said | March 1st 2013 @ 6:16am | ! Report

          “even despite things like the draft, salary capping etc you still get powerhouse clubs in other sports. Green Bay packers have some bad years but are consistently successful… Cleveland browns, not so much.”

          The difference is that, in the modern era(Superbowl era), the Packers have only been to 5 Super Bowls and won 4. That’s 5 Super Bowl births in the last 47 seasons.

          It’s not like there are any Manchester United types.

      • February 28th 2013 @ 3:50pm
        Jaiden Florimo said | February 28th 2013 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

        Sheek starting a sentence with ‘I dont understand…’ is not surprising when it comes to commenting on sport…

        • Roar Guru

          March 1st 2013 @ 1:11am
          peeeko said | March 1st 2013 @ 1:11am | ! Report

          explain. i find Sheeks comments on this website normally very good across a wide range of sports?

      • March 1st 2013 @ 12:53am
        Evan Askew said | March 1st 2013 @ 12:53am | ! Report

        @ Sheek. I can’t speak for England, Italy, Spain or France but in the top six leagues of Europe Russia and Germany are pretty even. The Russian title at the moment it usually up for grabs between the four big Moscow clubs, Zenit St Petersburg and Rubin Kazan. The remaining clubs which are usually from smaller regional towns such as Rostov, Vladikavklaz, Tomsk and Perm in the frozen north and they are just not big enough to challenge the big clubs mentioned. Germany is also very competitive. It is true that Bayern Munich are a giant of the game in Germany and even Europe and Borrusia Dortmund have experienced a renaisance in recent years. But there are any number of clubs in Germany that have won titles in recent years, come close to winning titles or have won EUropean trophies. Hamburg, Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart, Schalke and Borrusia Moncengladbach are all strong teams that can challenge for the title. Hell even Kaiserslauten and Hertha Berlin in the German second division have wither won the title or come close in the last twenty years.
        Regarding the middle tier leagues such as Portugal, Scotland, Netherlands, Ukraine, Greece, Belgium and Austria etc etc, they are usually dominateded by two to four teams from big and famous European cities. They get crowds from 15,000 to 60000 while the also rans in their competition get 2-5000 crowds. They wouldn’t be able to realistically compete if clubs relied solely on crowd revenue. The extra revenue these clubs get from regualr European competition and TC revenue just exacerbates this situation. There is incentive for clubs inn these leagues to challenge for the title and it does hapoen occasionaly. I point to AZ Alkmaar & FC Twente in the Netherlands, Unirea urziceni? in Romania and Sporting Braga in Portugal who have challenged the hegemony of the big clubs in their respective leagues. But a sustained period of success for these clubs is often followed by a fall. One just has to look at Boavista in Portugal who I think now compete in the Portugal third division. Both AZ Alkmaar and FC Twente reached European finals in the early 80s yet this period whas followed by a fall down to the Dutch second division. Aberdeen and Dundee United were also very succesfull in the 80s, Aberdeen won the Euro cup winners cup against Real Madrid in 1983 and Dundee United got to a UEFA Cup final and yet these clubs experienced relegation in the 90s. So for clubs that try to challenge the pecking order, the rewards are there but a quiet catastrophic fall can follow such such success.

    • February 28th 2013 @ 9:58am
      Adrian said | February 28th 2013 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      sheek ..amost true on American sports, but for baseball …it almost socialist , and no ads on shirts and and NCAA players are amateur 🙂

      • February 28th 2013 @ 11:45am
        sheek said | February 28th 2013 @ 11:45am | ! Report

        Adrian,

        We need more socialism then and less commercialism in our sports.

      • February 28th 2013 @ 12:22pm
        Simmo said | February 28th 2013 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        There are very strong arguments, and the debate is currently live in the US, that the NCAA’s rigid defence of amateurism is nothing more or less than commercial exploitation of young athletes.

        Case in point: Alabama

        The UA Athletic Dept has enough income to build its own 101,000 seat stadium and pay the head football coach $5m per year in salary and nearly a million extra in bonuses. But the players would be banned from collegiate sport for life if they accepted $1 for playing football.

        It’s sheer injustice.

        • Roar Guru

          March 1st 2013 @ 1:14am
          peeeko said | March 1st 2013 @ 1:14am | ! Report

          agree simmo, been living in the US for the past 18 months and still cant wrap my head around the whole college sport thing. its absolutely huge here and i can understand students and alumni getting behind there team but as for teams like Alabama they are filling a void with the lack of a pro team in the state and its basically just a developmental league masquarading as a university comp

          • March 1st 2013 @ 6:27am
            Seriously, Who says Oi? said | March 1st 2013 @ 6:27am | ! Report

            College Football was wildly popular long before the sport had any professional ranks, so it’s not “basically just a developmental league masquarading as a university comp”.

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