If you're a soccer fan, you know there's nothing quite as thrilling as attending a live game. There's an unparalleled kind of energy—you, suited up in your favorite player's jersey; the stadium's light blinding your eyes; the stands erupting with support for the home team, or rage against the rivals.
It’s quite a lucrative time to be in the world of soccer, as high-ranking teams are earning billions of dollars from sponsorships, Champions League earnings, and the dedicated fans buying tickets to matches. This boost has been not only good for individual cities hosting these teams, but many countries' economic value as a whole. And only the most valuable soccer teams are breaking records when it comes to team valuation, shining a spotlight on the sport of soccer as an international leader in sports revenue. Whether it be because of their management, popularity, and sporting potential, the most valuable soccer teams in the game today are currently out there earning boatloads of money, and all for good reason.
If we see that a Champions League game in on at 8.45 PM we head to the store, buy some snacks, switch to the channel the game is on and enjoy the rest of the evening. We watch a game surrounded by darkness, never thinking how it is possible that the stadium is illuminated like a Christmas tree. If we told this story to our ancestors who were pioneering football fans, they probably wouldn’t believe us. Modern sporting venues and especially football stadiums no longer depend on the time of the day because the floodlights are turned on at dusk. Have you ever wondered how this came about?
What makes a good soccer player? Is it a player’s ability to jump high and win every single header? Or perhaps it’s a player’s explosive speed into the open space? Could it be a player’s ability to bulldoze his or her way up and down the field using their strength?
The UEFA Champions League is an annual club football tournament, and it's one of the most prestigious club competitions in the world. It was first held in 1955, known then as the European Cup—and in 1992 became known as the Champions League as it is today.
Sport, at the very top, can be a lucrative business, earning athletes hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pounds. However, you don’t have to look that far down, to the places the big TV money forgot, to see just how quickly sporting endeavors can be financially unsustainable. Recently, Bury FC have been kicked out of the English Football League (EFL) for failing to satisfy the suits in charge that they had enough money to pay off their debts and keep the club running for the next season. But they’re not the only club who’ve been in trouble. Bolton Wanderers were set to follow them but were saved when the club was recently bought by a company called Football Ventures from the administrators, and Coventry were threatened with expulsion last season if they couldn’t find a new ground for the next season. Clubs up and down the country regularly run at a loss, only being bailed out by benevolent owners. So what can be done to stop more clubs going the way of Bury?
A topic that’s appeared all too frequently in football headlines in recent years: clubs on the brink. It goes without saying that this is particularly relevant at this current point in time. This doesn’t relate exclusively to Bury and Bolton; to Orient, Coventry and Portsmouth to name a few. As you will all know, these teams all share a common factor —they were members of the EFL when trouble occurred. In this series of articles, I will be: looking at the stories of individual clubs, taking fans perspectives, hoping to uncover how so many clubs have been left to suffer and exploring the root causes behind these issues.
So you want to become the best soccer player you can possibly be? Well, let me tell you something. There is nothing more frustrating as a coach than when we hear kids say, "Yeah, yeah I want to be a pro soccer player, how can I improve?" only for us to see little or no improvement in the areas we talk about over the year. Yes, as coaches it’s up to us to design sessions that facilitate learning, to stimulate and to help you improve. But as a player with a real desire to be the best you can be, it’s up to you to take our advice, expand on it, work on it and surpass our expectations. One of the biggest examples of this is working on the use of your weaker foot. Coaches all over the world must be sick of telling their players that being able to use both feet will instantly make them stand out. But progress in this area is often slow or non-existent, which tells us as coaches that you simply don’t practice.
Although the exact date that soccer was created is not known and early versions date back to over 3,000 years old, England is credited with being the nation that gave birth to the game as we know it today by FIFA, football’s governing body, in 1863. This may come as a surprise, considering the game’s popularity, but there are actually a number of other interesting facts about soccer that even those that love the game don’t know. Lesser known facts about soccer will no doubt surprise even the biggest soccer fans!
After penning Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong, it would seem as if Barcelona has all they need to contend for a treble this coming season. So why are they going after Neymar to add to an already loaded attack? There are probably many factors that go into their pursuit of Neymar, but with current looming questions about how the lineup will work out with the current roster and the amount of talent they already possess, a potential move may seem unnecessary to some.
However, with the transfer window still open, there are many more deals to be done. In this inflated transfer market, with players going for tens of millions of pounds, it can be hard for some clubs to strike a good deal and get value for money. So what can clubs do to avoid paying extortionate fees?
Six years and counting; that is the number of years since we last won the title. It appears that the league left with the old gaffer, and so has the identity of Manchester United. Gone are the days of Stratford End goals that secured titles, gone are the players who truly played for the pride of the shirts on their backs. In this new era of footballers, social media fame is dominant, dodgy agents are prominent, and outrageous transfer fees have crippled the modern market. Has United fallen prey to this millennial madness? It unfortunately has. After Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013, United have become a mid-class club battling for fourth place against Arsenal, and the fans have to travel to unknown European cities due to the Europa League. The downfall began when the greatest football manager hung up his coaching boots. David Moyes was Sir Alex's first successor, but he did not exceed expectations. The club was too big for his mentality, even Di Maria's standards dropped at his time at the club. Then came the Dutch dragon, Louis Van Gaal. He was as stubborn as an ox, too critical of his players, and very dutch-football based. Lastly, was the special one, Jose Mourinho. He brought some stability, but he also brought defending tactics that were outdated, and made Man United very boring to watch. He was your 'draw rather than score' type of manager, and although he did manage to get us two trophies, it only painted over the cracks that were deeply felt due to the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. Who were the cracks you might ask? it was the old players left by the previous managers, and the greed of the club investors, the Glazers. This was only adding to United's woes.