soccer

European Glory: Steven Gerrard’s Retirement (Part 4)

The comeback to end all comebacks and Steven Gerrard, Captain Fantastic, was at the centre of it all!

No-one in football will ever forget that night in Istanbul. The Turkish capital was the site of mission impossible. Liverpool were trailing and Gerrard, leading by example, brought his team back to life to lift the European Cup for his boyhood club. It will go down in football folklore as one of the greatest European finals, and one of the most memorable comebacks in sport history.

On the 25th May 2005, Steven Gerrard and his team mates faced the biggest challenge of their careers. A first 45 minutes of football dominated by AC Milan, left Liverpool trailing by 3 goals to nil (3 – 0) at half-time.

Most of the Liverpool players went into the second half looking to salvage some pride and spare further embarrassment. But one player wasn’t ready to give up just yet. Steven Gerrard was the source of inspiration which led to European Glory, and Liverpool’s fifth European title.

On the 54th minute of the match, Gerrard leaped into the air and fired in a header from a Riise cross. His celebration; a war cry to the travelling Kop. NEVER SAY DIE!

56th minute, Smicer beats Dida with a long-range effort. One more goal, and it’s all tied up with time to spare.

60th minute; the equalizer. Gerrard is fouled by Gennaro Gattuso. Xavi Alonso from the penalty spot; a Dida save, a follow up shot, GOAL!

Over 6 minutes Liverpool, led by Steven Gerrard, had transformed an embarrassing European Final defeat into a real, nail biting contest. One which would be decided in a penalty shoot-out.

It went to the wire. Liverpool had scored 3 of the 4 penalties taken; Milan had only scored 2. The pressure lay with Ukrainian International Andriy Shevchenko. Only Jerzy Dudek stood in his way; and that he did! A penalty save from the Pole, and Liverpool were European Champions once more! 3 – 2 winners in the shoot-out. Mission Impossible: complete!

After an unbelievable European final, Gerrard had his hands on old Big Ears!

A humble player, Gerrard has always recognised the work of his team mates, his manager in Rafael Benitez and the Liverpool supporters for the victory in Istanbul. Gerrard himself has stated that his header, and Liverpool’s first goal, would not have been scored had Didi Hamman still been on the bench and if Riise hadn’t crossed the ball.

Winning the European Cup was a personal landmark for Gerrard. In doing so, he became the second youngest captain to lift the European Cup, aged 24. The youngest is, Frenchman, Didier Deschamps who won the European Cup in 1993 with Marseille.

His heroics on the night, brought unforgettable glory to his boyhood team. It will never be forgotten by the Liverpool faithful or neutral fans alike.

Steven Gerrard was the embodiment of the Kop on that magical night in Istanbul, and his legend will forever be engraved in football folklore.

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Fan Ownership: What’s the Problem?

Fan Ownership is one of footballs biggest talking points at the present time. With dwindling attendances, rising ticket prices and teams going bust left, right and centre it is surely time to take action!

In the season 2011/2012 the then Scottish Premier League experienced a collective loss of over £10 million. Only two of the 10 teams analysed within the PWC report calculated a profit. Since then British football fans witnessed the collapse of Hearts of Midlothian and Rangers Football Club, two of Scotlands biggest names. During the football seasons from 2009 – 2014 Scottish footballs’ top tier has experience a loss of almost £40 million. Scottish Football has generated substantial losses in contrast to the other European football leagues. There have been similar cases of financial loss in England with regards to Leeds United, Portsmouth, Hereford, Wrexham and most recently Bolton Wanderers.

There are clearly problems with the ownership models largely in use at this current stage. The predominant models are split into two different types. There are ownership types; examples of this include benevolent family ownership and individual ownership, and there are company types; examples of this include public limited companies and private limited companies. These models share a common advantage towards either a single individual or a group of select individuals. There are obvious problems with the current models in place, therefore alternatives must be encouraged.

There are significant benefits to fan ownership. Fanatics, individuals who express a life long devotion to their club, and most supporters in broad terms provide stability and continuity in relation to financial backing. In most cases it is unlikely for a supporter to switch alliance to another club. Supporters, for the most part, remain constant. The benefit of this continuity is that the supporters are, for the most part, key investors in the company and have a significant impact on revenue. Supporters, and devoted fans, will not turn their back on their clubs. Private investors are known to let clubs, fans and communities down by mismanaging business; this is most notable in the case of Manchester United Football Club with the takeover of the Glazer family, similar cases have occurred at Liverpool and Rangers Football Clubs. To resolve this, supporters must be encouraged to own their clubs.

“Results don’t matter; I mean you’re always going to support

your football club no matter what.”

(Cork City fan, 2015)

Supporters influence their club massively. Even with the absence of fan ownership supporters engage in and influence all aspects of their club, including the clubs culture and identity. For most supporters the clubs stadium is the epicentre of their cultural expression and regional pride. It is within the realms of the football ground that supporters will express their undying support for their team. Importantly, the financial influence of the supporters comes predominantly from gate money. It is clear from a number of reports that supporters’ involvement is crucial to the financial gain of any football club. Supporters’ are fundamental to the process which allows football clubs to maximise their potential returns. The loyalty of supporters is often exploited to generate finance for the club. Merchandise is tailored to fan interests and supporters are given no choice but to pay extortionate ticket prices. This is not in the best interest of those who devote all their efforts to the club they love: the fans. There surely has to be a resolution.

FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT

A contemporary example of supporter mistreatment is the case of Leeds United Football club. The Yorkshire side have experienced financial plight for the worst part of 15 years. Despite having a unified Supporters Trust (Leeds Fans United), chairman and majority share holder Massimo Cellino has halted the supporters’ bid for their club. After agreeing to sell the club to the Leeds United Fans trust in October 2015, the controversial Chairman changed his mind a month later and withdrew his interest. The Leeds supporters were subjected to further financial and managerial mistreatment in early December 2015, when Cellino imposed a £5 increase in ticket price. This inflated price included a food voucher to be used at half time, which would be used as an incentive to encourage supporters to use the clubs catering facilities regardless of whether the loyal supporter wanted the half time pie or not. This incentive provides support for fan ownership in football. Leeds United is one case out of a multitude of others. Supporters and their clubs are experiencing a complete lack of communication and consultation. Supporters are being completely disregarded and ignored with regards to decisions that affect them. Importantly, the more fans continue to be excluded from ownership the more they become disenfranchised from their football clubs. To discourage the club from fan ownership is to discourage the club from gaining any form of stability and transparency.

“It’s now all about the football. It’s not even the case of like; I don’t go around the place saying ‘oh I run a football club’, because you know that’s not part of it.

But just for me as a fan, who’s gone through all the shite with bad owners, for me knowing that my club will never be in that situation again because its fan owned is fantastic.”

(Cork City fan, 2015)

HAPPIER TIMES

There are certainly indications that fan ownership is met with a positive response from the majority of fans. In my opinion football will only be better when owned by its supporters. However there are certainly negatives amongst the positives. There is a huge question as to whether or not supporter associations can control, or at least affect, the power within the board room. Can the representative individual, or individuals, successfully engage in important decisions especially when these representatives are likely to be the ‘outsider’ on the board. Furthermore, supporter associations have even been accused of exploiting their own clubs by forming unfavourable alliances with board members who possess majority shares in order to strengthen their own authority. When instances like this have occurred it has naturally caused distrust amongst supporters, which has a negative effect on transparency and assurance.

However, there are too many positive examples of supporter ownership that greatly outweigh any such negatives. Hereford FC dropped out of the Football League through relegation in 2012 and since then the supporters were made to endure three seasons of financial mismanagement under two different owners in David Keyte, who refused to sell to the Hereford United Supporters Trust, and Tommy Agombar. Under Agombar’s rein Hereford was ejected from non league football due to large sums of debt and in December 2014 Hereford FC collapsed. Since 2015 under fan ownership, Hereford FC, have created a sustainable future attracting no fewer than 2,000 members, the club have acquired kit sponsorship and have even obtained possession of Edgar Street stadium, the ground the original club used since 1924. Fan ownership has brought sustainability, democracy, inclusion and continuity to the club. There are many examples of this positive change in the light of supporter ownership at other clubs, such as FC United of Manchester and Portsmouth FC, which is why I strongly believe supporters’ should be given the right to own their club.

FAN OWENRSHIP: THIS IS OUR TIME! 

Majority ownership has led to the collapse of many British football clubs. Supporters’ loyalty and devotion to their clubs have been exploited by owners, and the common aspiration for success has been employed as a rational explanation for groundless, unreasonable and unmanageable economic abuse.

There are successful cases of fan ownership at both the bottom and top end of professional football. Importantly, there are far too many cases of bad ownership.

Football, is about community. British football must regain this sentiment.  The supporters, the people who invest time and money into their club, should be the ones who own it and make decisions in regards to what is best for their club. A great man once said “Football without fans it nothing.”, and never have those words resonated more with football supporters than right now. Everyone who loves this game has a responsibility to take a good hard look at themselves and ask, ‘What am I doing to make a difference?’.

 

 

References

BBC Sport (2015a) ‘Massimo Cellino: Leeds chairman calls off plan to sell club to fans’, BBC Sport website  http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/34721028 accessed on 7 December 2015

BBC Sport (2015b) ‘Hereford FC: New club to play in Midland Football League’, BBC Sport website http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/32740977 accessed on 8 December 2015

BBC Sport (2015c) ‘Hereford FC supporters crucial to future of phoenix club’, BBC Sport website http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/33500060 accessed on 8 December 2015

BBC Sport (2015d) ‘Hereford FC shirt sponsor deal agreed for new season’, BBC Sport website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-33067824 accessed on 8 December 2015

Beech, J. (2010) ‘Finance in the football industry’, in S., Hamil and S., Chadwick (Eds.), Managing football: An international perspective, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford.

Begbies Traynor (2015) Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert Football Distress Report: Scottish Football League – March 2015, University of Stirling website https://succeed.stir.ac.uk/webapps/blackboard/execute/content/file?cmd=view&content_id=_712405_1&course_id=_10330_1 accessed on 3 December 2015

Fitzpatrick, C (2013) ‘The struggle for grassroots involvement in football club governance: experiences of a supporter-activist’, Soccer and Society, Vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 201 – 214.

FourFourTwo (2015) ‘“Come on both teams!” Westfields vs Hereford’, FourFourTwo. November 2015, pp. 60 – 64.

Garcia, B & Welford, J. (2015) ‘Supporters and football governance, from customers to stakeholders: A literature review and agenda for research’, Sport Management Review, Vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 517 – 528.

Giulianotti, R. (2002) ‘Supporters, followers, fans, and flaneurs: a taxonomy of spectator identities in football’, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 25 – 46

Kennedy, P. (2012a) ‘Supporters Direct and supporters’ governance of football: a model for Europe?’, Soccer and Society, Vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 409 – 425.

Kennedy, P & Kennedy, D. (2012) ‘Football supporters and the commercialisation of football: comparative responses across Europe’, Soccer and Society, Vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 327 – 340.

Kennedy, D. (2012b) ‘Football stadium relocation and the commodification of football: the case of Everton supporters and their adoption of the language of commerce’, Soccer and Society, Vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 341 – 358.

Margalit, A. (2009) ‘“You’ll Never Walk Alone”: On property, community, and football fans’, Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 217-240.

Morrow, S. (2015) ‘Football finances’ in J., Goddard and P., Sloane (Eds) Handbook of the Economics of Football. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Morrow, S. (2015) ‘Power and logics in Scottish football: the financial collapse of Rangers FC’, Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 325 – 343.

Morrow, S. (2012) ‘The financial collapse of Rangers: lessons for the business of football’, Perspectives, Vol. 33, pp. 15-18.

PWC (2013) Turbulent times ahead: Scottish Premier League Football, The University of Stirling website https://succeed.stir.ac.uk/webapps/blackboard/execute/content/file?cmd=view&content_id=_712403_1&course_id=_10330_1 accessed on 2 December 2015

Szymanski, S. (2015) Money and football: A soccernomics guide, Nation Books, New York

 The Guardian (2015) ‘Leeds fans up in arms at imposition of £5 pie tax in South Stand, The Guradian website http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/dec/02/leeds-united-pie-tax-massimo-cellino accessed on 7 December 2015

The Independent (2015) ‘Massimo Cellino will not sell Leeds United until next year’, The Independent website http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/live-match-centre/championship/massimo-cellino-will-not-sell-leeds-united-until-next-year-a6743241.html accessed on 7 December 2015

The Scottish Government (2015) Consultation on Supporter Involvement in Scottish Football Clubs, The Scottish Government website http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0048/00486130.pdf accessed on 2 December 2015

The Telegraph (2015) ‘Leeds United’s pie tax is an abuse of supporters’ loyalty’, The Telegraph website http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/leeds-united/12032063/Leeds-Uniteds-pie-tax-is-an-abuse-of-supporters-loyalty.html accessed on 7 December 2015

 UEFA (2015) The European Club Footballing Landscape: Club licensing benchmarking report financial year 2014, The UEFA website http://www.uefa.org/MultimediaFiles/Download/Tech/uefaorg/General/02/29/65/84/2296584_DOWNLOAD.pdf accessed on 2 December 2015

Working Group Report (2015) Supporter Involvement in Football Clubs, The Scottish Government website http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0046/00469245.pdf accessed on 2 December 2015

Working Group Report (2014) Key Messaging Document – ownership and governance in Scottish Football, The Scottish Government website http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0045/00453211.pdf accessed on 2 December 2015

Copa90 (2015) Cork City FC – The Rise of the Rebel Army, YouTube website https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t-Iq-2uiTU accessed on 19 January 2016

 

 

 

SD Eibar: Eskozia la Brava (Scotland the Brave)

SD Eibar was founded on the 1st January 1940. Formed by the merger of Deportivo Gallo and Unión Deportiva Eibarresa, the club was originally known as Eibar Fútbol Club, before changing to Sociedad Deportiva Eibar. The city of Eibar has a relatively small population of 27,000 (even Airdrie has a bigger population).

In 2014 SD Eibar, the Spanish football side affiliated to the autonomous Basque region, gained back to back promotion from Segunda B to the Liga Adelante to the promised lands of La Liga in a matter of two years (1 of only 6 teams to achieve the mighty feat).

The club at this time were met with a monumental challenge and faced imminent demotion back to the Segunda B, if they were unable to produce the necessary €1,724,272 to stay in the top flight. To the Eibar faithful and Eskozia la Brava (Scotland the Brave), this was simply unacceptable.

 

Eskozia la Brava

This SD Eibar supporters group was formed in 2001, when the Basque side were competing in the Segunda B.

The head of the supporters group, Joseba Combarro, spoke with Copa90 in 2015 and stated his adoration for Scotland saying:

“It’s a country where we admire their passionate support and the colour and the atmosphere that they bring to the ground. But the most important thing whether you win or lose, there’s always time for the post match activities.”

I think the Eibar fans appreciate that we Scots love a good drink!

Eskozia la Brava have taken Scotland to their hearts, and have extended their love to one Scottish team in particular, the Glasgow Celtic.

SD Eibar invited the Hoops to their home ground, Ipurua Stadium, in July 2015 to celebrate the clubs 75th anniversary. Despite receiving an absolute hammering, Eskozia la Brava and the supporters of Eibar cannot get enough of Scotland. The Eibar supporters have taken in the fitbaw’ at Hampden Park, Tynecastle, Easter Road, Ibrox and Celtic Park.

SD Eibars’ connection to Caledonia originated after a trip to watch the Scots play rugby at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. John Stewart, the piper invited to the 2014 promotion celebration in Eibar, explained the connection to the Sunday Post:

“They loved the way the Scots continued to support their team even though they were losing. In Spain it’s very different. If a team is 1-0 down, the fans tend to get on their backs. The guys from Eibar came home with a new way of supporting their team and with some souvenirs of Scotland kilts and ginger ‘See You Jimmy’ wigs!”

 This trip changed the identity of the small town club. Now, etched into the very fabric of the Armeros (Gunners) are proud Scottish traditions and values. The Eskozia la Brava group bleeds tartan, and as such the SD Eibar fans where depending on their Scottish friends to correct an injustice by raising the money to lawfully compete in the Spanish La Liga.

 

Defiende al Eibar (Defend Eibar)

The supporters sent out an SOS when their club faced administrative demotion to Segunda B in 2014. The clubs, and its supporters, launched a huge social media campaign. Essentially, Eibar attempted to raise €1.7 million through selling club shares at the minimum price of €50. The campaign successfully saw the clubs shareholder count rise from 1,800, based in Eibar alone, to 10,000 in 69 different countries worldwide, raising the necessary funds and then some. Through the social media campaign the proud club had raised a budget of €16m.

SD Eibar are competing in their second season in La Liga and are currently sitting 8th in the table, merely a single point away from a Europa League spot. This astonishing little club has shocked the world! And its supporters are proudly at the forefront of this incredible story.

Alba gu bràth. Eibar gu bràth. On yerself Eibar!

 

 

 

https://www.sundaypost.com/sport/football/spanish-minnows-bank-on-fans-scottish-spirit/

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SD_Eibar

 

http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/may/27/eibar-la-liga-promotion

 

http://www.insidespanishfootball.com/109917/sos-sd-eibar/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuS82pCBUas

 

https://twitter.com/EskoziaLaBrava

 

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13526170.Ezkozia_La_Brava__Basque_fans_of_Celtic_seek_audience_with_SNP_s_Sturgeon/?ref=twtrec

 

http://www.thebasquepass.com/sd-eibar/eibar-to-host-celtic-75-anniversary-match

 

http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/fans-of-basque-club-eibar-adopt-scottish-spirit-1-3613135

 

http://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2015/sep/03/eibar-model-another-kind-of-football-is-possible-passport-video

 

THE SACKED ONE.

So Mourinho has been sacked, and the world wants to know – who will fill the special one’s boots?

The Blues, and Abramovich, have a great history of sacking. No seriously, it works!

MOURINHO GOES, GRANT IN (THE FIRST TIME)

Lets go back to 2007, the first time Mourinho was sacked. Under the Portuguese manager, from 2004 – 2006, Chelsea won their first league title in half a century, and followed it up with another, and had claimed the FA Cup and League Cup. Yet tension has been mounting as Mourinho’s relationship with owner Roman Abramovich became increasingly irritable. The manager caused further quarrel over the appointment of Avram grant as the director of football, a role that Mounrinho opposed. The hierarchy were infuriated over the managers’ behaviour and, with Chelsea fifth, Mourinho was sacked after a disappointing Champions League draw against Rosenborg.

Avram Grant replaced Mounrinho and despite losing to Manchester United in his first league game, Chelsea would go on to lose only one game in 32 under Grant in the Premier League. That season under Avram Grant, Chelsea finished 2nd in the Premier League, were runners up in both the League Cup and the Champions League.

SCOLARI LOST THE DRESSING ROOM AND THE DUTCH MAN FOUND IT

The Brazilian, Scolari, never got to grips with club management at Chelsea. Fan favourites John Terry and Frank Lampard were the biggest names amongst the sceptics that were confused by the managers’ methods. Scolari barely lasted 7 months. The final straw was a nil nil draw against Hull City at Stamford Bridge where the Blues had only won 6 in 13 home matches. Chelsea, at the time, were 4th in the table and still remained in the FA Cup and the Champions League. The Brazilian was gone.

Dutchman, Guus Hiddink, would replace him as interim manager. He is the favourite to take the job again following the sacking of Jose Mourinho this afternoon. Under Hiddink, Chelsea lost only once in 23 matches. He lead the team to a successful Champions League campaign, reaching the semi final only to be put out by FC Barcelona. The Light Blues finished 3rd in the league and won the FA Cup.

THE INEXPERIENCED BOAS, REPLACED BY HIS APPRENTICE DI MATTEO

It all seemed too much for André Villa – Boas. The manager attempted to revamp the squad, while facing constant challenges and opposition during his first taste of Premier League football. The clubs experienced players were quickly dissatisfied with Boas methods’ and the teams’ performance suffered because of it. Results began to decline, Chelsea slid down the table while others moved up. Villa – Boas suffered a 3 – 1 first leg defeat to Italian side, Napoli, in the knock out stages of the Champions League. Soon after, his team would slump to a 1 – 0 away defeat at West Brom. This was the final nail in the coffin. The decision was made, and Boas was gone.

His replacement, and club assistant, Di Matteo would make a lasting impression on the West London club. The Italian had a great relationship with the Chelsea players, and this helped restore some faith amongst the experienced players that were heavily criticised during Boas reign. The league form never really recovered and Chelsea finished in 6th place – the lowest position under Abramovich. However, Di Matteo will forever be remembered for his magnificent cup double. After a poor start Chelsea finished he season as FA Cup winners and under Di Matteo the club won their first European Cup beating Bayern Munich on penalties. Perhaps, Abramovich should have sacked Mourinho sooner – you never know!

SO WHO IS NEXT?

Juande Ramos and Guus Hiddink are the favorites to succeed Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, but Pep Guardiola is the long-term bet. Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez and even Brendan Rodgers have been named as contenders for the job.

Whoever it may be, the replacement for the most successful manager in the club’s history must ensure safety in the Premier League and hope for a prolonged and successful Champions League campaign.

Chelsea will return to domestic competition when they play Sunderland on Saturday at Stamford Bridge (3pm KO).

 

Homophobia in Football: What’s the problem?

(I would like to highlight that the following information is drawn from a football perspective within England)

 

“If a player did come out, I think everyone would be supportive, but I’m 100% sure that people in the changing room would be joking, and that some would be ripping it out of him.  If there’s a gay player in our changing room, I’d understand why he wouldn’t come out.”

(Anonymous, professional League One player)

 

BBC Sport reported yesterday that Premier League executive Richard Scudamore supports the idea that openly gay footballers would be treated with respect in the Premier League.

 

This was a bold assumption from Scudamore, who has held his position as Chief Executive at the top flight of English Association Football for 16 years. Scudamore believed openly gay footballers would be treated with “tolerance” and “that the time would be right” to come out.

 

The Chief Executive however appeared ill informed on the subject. When discussing the gay footballer “coming out”, Scudamore questioned whether this language was appropriate and consistently referred to openly gay players as “them” and “they”.

 

There is only one openly gay player in English football. His name is Liam Davis, and he plays for Gainsborough Trinity. In an interview with BBC Sport in January 2014 Davis spoke about a fairly positive response from his team mates, opposition and fans. Davis stated that on the one occasion that he did encounter abuse from an opposition player, the player apologised for his behaviour after the match via a text message. During an interview with the Lincolnshire Echo Davis expressed his wishes that professional footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger would have “came out” before retiring in 2013. Davis did however admit, that the closer you get to the top flight then the harder it will be for players to be open about homosexuality due to greater media coverage and increased fan exposure. Davis seemed to be in the perfect community club environment to “come out”, and has received massive support from family, friends, team mates and the football club itself. However, the same cannot be said for others. And the fact of the matter is, out of the 2 million adults who participate in football every week in England only one is openly gay despite 1.5% of the English population being homosexual or bisexual. This does not support Scudmore’s statement, and it is plainly obvious that the environment in England is not entirely suitable for homosexual footballers.

 

Thomas Hitzlsperger, the former Aston Villa and German national player, also received positive responses upon coming out to the public.  This is a great thing, however Hitzlsperger never experience a match day response inside a Premier League stadium. So there is no telling how a crowd would respond. I would like to think the reaction would be positive, but past experience tells us otherwise. Justin Fashanu, England U21 International, came out as homosexual in 1990 – he was the first footballer to do so in the United Kingdom. He committed suicide at the age of 37, tragically, as a response to his sexuality.

 

Fundamentally, the difficulty with this subject is that gay footballers are the invisible minority. Popular football magazine FourFourTwo reported a survey of professional footballers who responded to the question, “Do you know any gay players?” 11% of the 123 players asked responded “Yes”.  (Please note that some Scottish Premier League players responded to this survey)

 

“A player confided in me and came out. I’ve kept my mouth shut. It’s none of my business. It’s no one’s business.”

 

This one response from a professional League Two player highlights the eagerness to protect gay footballers. This may seem like an act of kindness, but personally I believe this suggests a lack of tolerance in the English game.

 

The Gay Football Supporters Network (GFSN) was formed in 1989, “as a social network for LGB&T football fans across the UK.” The organisation uses football as a tool to tackle “homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia” on and off the football field. It has helped to establish LGBT supporters clubs, assisting the development of an inclusive and equal football fan experience. London based clubs, Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspurs, are two such clubs with LGBT supporters groups. The Gay Gooners and The Proud Lilywhites are the clubs official LGBT fan communities. These fierce rivals share solidarity and a common goal to create a safe and inclusive fan environment. BBC Newsbeat investigated LGBT supporters clubs in the Premier League in August this year. Excluding Arsenal FC, who formed the first Premier League LGBT group in 2013, BBC Newsbeat asked the remaining 19 clubs “if they had an official one connected with the club”. From the 11 respondents, 4 chose not to answer the question, 5 said that yes they did have LGBT fan groups and the remaining two stated that they didn’t have one at the current time.

 

Proud Lily Whites.jpg

 

GFSN have stressed that Premier League clubs are not doing enough to support their fans. Ed Connell, GSFN Chairman, is shocked at the number of Premier League clubs and officials (such as Richard Scudamore) who believe that homophobia in football is not a problem. Out of the Fields conducted the first International Study on homophobia in sport. The results were posted in May this year and despite the majority opinion, out of more than 9,000 people in the United Kingdom 77% claimed they had “witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport”.

 

Back to Richard Scudamore, the man who places blind faith on football and football fans to “tolerate” homosexuality. The statistics show little proof that coming out will be welcomed in English football. I hope I am proven incorrect, but I simply cannot support Scudamore’s thoughts. It is clear that we have a number of gay footballers who do not want to come out, for whatever reason. Clearly they are known to other professionals who they work with on a daily basis but they will not expose themselves to fans or the media. This highlights a significant problem with homosexual inclusion in English sport, particularly football. This problem isn’t exclusive to the football players alone, and football fans are seeking new ways to enjoy the sport that they love. Homosexual, bisexual and transgender fans are forming LGBT supporters groups in order to feel safe in Premier league grounds, and yet clubs, officials and executives are still denying that there is a problem. Without a shadow of a doubt Scudamore’s comments are ill informed and misjudged. I cannot say that I am a member of an LGBT group, but if I was I would not be very happy with my league executive for completely downplaying a very serious problem within football.

 

 

 

Reference

 

http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk/Gainsborough-Trinity-s-Liam-Davis-openly-gay/story-20431222-detail/story.html

 

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check/2013/oct/03/gay-britain-what-do-statistics-say

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/87288.stm

 

http://www.gfsn.org.uk/news/beta-gay-players-11-of-players-know-one.html

 

http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com/news/formation-of-lgbandampt-fan-group-060214/

 

http://www.arsenal.com/fanzone/gay-gooners

 

https://proudlilywhites.wordpress.com/

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/33760649/footballs-lgbt-fans-want-more-help-from-clubs

 

http://outonthefields.com/

 

 

Half and half shirts: what’s the problem?

_86486330_halfhalf1A wind – up? An expression of dual identity? Or an expression of the impact of the global football market?
Many ridicule such an image, of a ‘football fan’ sporting a shirt with two club emblems on the chest, however you may be more alike than first thought.
How many people can truly say now that they support their local team? How many people even support their regional, or indeed their national team?
There is an ever increasing number of football fans supporting teams who occupy Europe, predominantely teams from Europes BIG FIVE, notably in Germany, Spain, Italy, France and England.
Mass media has allowed us to be consumed by football events, heroes and villians. Everyday we are emerged in a spectacle of footballing prowess, and those teams with the greatest amount of money and the greatest amount of power possess the loudest voice in our social world. It is therefore probable to assume that football is no longer as community based and tribal as it once was. Globalisation and immigration has been a huge factor in this also.
Is this a good thing?
Many people agree, and feel positively about getting away from footballs ‘tribal’ elements. Possibly believing it will alleviate violence, and ethinic difference.
Is it a bad thing?
Well it is changing the culture of the game. Fans are now involving themselves in the business of football like never before, and are being commodified by the vast media market. This goes against the age old tradition of being ‘born’ a fan which is charaterised by common footballing tales such as ‘cut me and i’ll bleed (insert team colours)’, ‘my Dad was a (insert team name) fan, so I am’ or ‘I was born here, so I support (insert team name)’.
Traditional fans don’t like this commodification of football fans, and more importantly they don’t like that “fans” are buying into it. Many struggle with the concept of having a ‘second team’. To many it’s unthinkable, but in the modern world it’s ordinary.
IMO.
I would love to live in a world without sky sports. I would love to have seen an international match with a minimum of 100,000 people standing under one roof watching the sport I love (From 1906 – 1914 Scotland v England managed this feat: never less than 100,000 attendance during this time).
Alas, these are changed days and we live in the age of digital media. However, I must side with the traditionalists. With dwindelling numbers at football grounds, and complete lack of local and national talent in the United Kingdom I only worry that collective identities soon become extinct. Of course football must celebrate multiculture diversity, which football has aspired to since the Bosman ruling (1995), but it should never lose sight of local and regional pride and identity.
All that from one kit, eh?
PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS AND THOUGHTS BELOW.

British Association Football

History comes to life today in Scotland and England as 4 teams battle it out to win their respective national football tournament. 

The Scottish Cup was first held in 1873.  The trophy presented to the winner of the competition is the oldest in association football and the oldest national trophy in the world. The first team to win the Scottish cup was Queen’s Park in March 1874.

The first ever Scottish cup game was won by Kilmarnock, who beat opposition Renton 2 – 0.

The most successful club in this competition is Celtic, who have won the worlds oldest trophy 36 times.

The Football Association Challenge Cup ( commonly known as the FA cup ) is the oldest association football tournament in the world. The inaugural tournament was held in 1971.

Arsenal were the winners of the 1971 tournament.

Arsenal and Manchester United are joint leaders of the record number of tournament wins. Both sides have 11 FA Cup wins to their name.

Congratulazioni Capri e buona fortuna!

SPORTS HISTORY MADE IN ITALY!!Capri 1909 serie A promotion 2015

A small town club called Capri FC 1909, formed in 2002, have gained promotion to Italy’s premier league, Serie A, over the course of 5 seasons.

The club was formed from the ruins of the original which was plagued with bankruptcy and financial mismanagement.

In the year 2010 the club played its football in the Italian fifth division to a capacity stadium of 4,144 which may cause the club some difficulties next season as Serie A rules state that a club must have a minimum capacity of 20,000.

Hopefully, special exemptions will be made in honour of this remarkable achievement.

…..

THE JOURNEY

At the end of the 2009-10 season, due to the numbers of teams in financial difficulty, the club was admitted into Lega Pro Seconda Divisione (Division 4).

In 2011, the club obtained its promotion to the Lega Pro Prima Divisione (Division 3).

Then in 2013, the club made further progressions to Seria B (Division 2). This of course was the clubs third promotion in just four seasons.

On April 28th 2015 the club reached the holy grail of Italian football and gained promotion to the Serie A where they will play the likes of Roma, Inter Milan and Juventus. Carpi confirmed their place in Serie A with four games remaining of the season after a goalless draw against Bari last night.

Capri has a relatively small budget, and a payroll that fails to exceed 3 million euros making what they have achieved, something of a miracle.

Despite this high achievement, manager Cristiano Giuntoli insists that the clubs philosophy will not change; Carpi will continue to focus on youth players, and will engage fans by utilizing home – grown players.

Congratulazioni Capri e buona fortuna!

BLAUGRANA – Messi, Suarez and Neymar score a century! (Viel Glück Bayern München)

HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE TONIGHT AT THE NOU CAMP!!!

After a 6 – 0 win over Getafe arguably one of the greatest strike forces of all time, dMSNespite their short time together, surpassed the 100 goal tally for the season.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar de Silver Santos Junior all scored tonight to reach the tally within 30 minutes of kick off.

Messi scored the opening goal from the penalty spot, and then Suarez doubled Barcelona’s lead on 25 minutes with a neat volley. Three minutes later Neymar joined the party, as the three amigos put on a show for the home crowd. Xavi scored the fourth goal on this his 501st appearance for his boyhood club.

Suarez scored his second just before half time, and the magnificent Lionel Messi ended proceedings with his second goal of the night. This victory leaves Barcelona leading the La Liga table 5 points ahead of rivals Real Madrid, who play on Wednesday night against Almeria. Barcelona look on course to regain their first La Liga title in three years.

MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar) have now scored a collective tally of 102 goals in all competition. This record has surpassed the previous 99 goal tally set by Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi during the 2008 – 2009 season.

Last season Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale came oh so close to beating the record set in 2008 with 97 goals, but unfortunately it was not enough and it will take something very special to beat the record 102 goals set by this exceptionally talented Blaugrana strikeforce.

102 goals and counting!

Viel Glück Bayern München! (Good luck Bayern Munich)