Cultured Football #09
Love at first sight
I’ve just been going through a few match reports from this week’s Europa League games and noticed that a fair few had references to clubs ‘snatching’ important away goals. Now, I know that a goal scored away counts double in case of an aggregate draw but, given that everyone now plays in essentially the same environment, is that much of an advantage? Surely there is much less mental pressure playing away if the ground you’re visiting has no fans and, so, scoring there is less of an issue?
Anyway, really happy with this week’s posting as it features some seriously wonderful stories.
How Dundee United came to be an insult in Nigeria
This is just one of the most bizarre stories ever. Just read it. Trust me.
Low cost, high pressing
Barnsley is a club that is well worth keeping an eye out for. Part of a low-key but growing group that has been buying clubs across Europe, they’re using data to good effect as they look to push for a surprising attempt at making it into the top flight.
The tragic story of the Uzbek-Korean soccer star who became a Soviet icon
I love stories like this which all of a sudden open up a whole new world. I’d never heard of Misha An, the superstar of Uzbekistan football back in the times of the USSR. Much less was I aware that there is a significant Korean population in that region. This article just makes me hungry to learn more about both.
One night in Cusco
Speaking of unheralded stories, this too is a wonderful retelling of how a small Peruvian club that has no domestic honours to its names came to be the only club from its country to win a continental trophy.
Love at first sight
Almost a month has passed since Valentine’s Day but we’ll always find the time for an article like this in which Tom Victor debates whether it was love at first sight between Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. Given that Gerrard recently admitted that Torres broke his heart when he opted to move to Chelsea, don’t think there’s much doubt. Still, great piece.
Last week’s most read
Scottish clubs could be the ones to bear the brunt of Brexit rules preventing English teams from adding European players to their academies. Here’s why.