Cultured Football #114
Dortmund Heartbreak. Women's Super League. Leicester. Burnley. City Group.
Welcome to Cultured Football where the best football writing of the past seven days is carefully selected, just for you.
“Even at funerals the silence has to end. And so it did, with the Yellow Wall taking it upon itself to puncture the quiet to lift the players off the ground, to comfort them. Any stadium will make you a hero when you win, few will offer comfort and support when you have broken their hearts.”
By Emma Sanders for the BBC
Chelsea won their fourth Women's Super League title in a row. Yet, whilst that seems demoralising, the reality is that the overall level is continuously improving. As is interest in the league.
By Jonathan Wilson for UnHerd
Last weekend, Leicester joined the list of team who were too-good-to-go-down who actually went-down. The damage caused by this relegation extends beyond basic football aspects and marks another setback to a city that has had to face plenty since the high point of 2016.
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By Callum Turner for
Burnley were the epitome of old-school kick-and-rush football with a heavy dose on the physical side. Nothing wrong with that; playing that way kept them in the Premier League for much longer than anyone expected. The side that will be back in the top-flight from August, however, will have nothing to do with that style of football as Vincent Kompany has got them up by playing an attractive, passing style of football. How did he manage to achieve that transformation in such a short period of time?
By Nick Harris for Mail on Sunday
Few have been as dogged in their pursuit of financial doping in English football as Nick Harris. His dissection of the City Group's machinations in moving players around their thirteen clubs is both detailed and damning. Yet, in this case, they aren't doing anything wrong. Which is different from saying that what they're doing is good for the players themselves or the leagues in which their clubs play.
Something Else We Loved This Week
Lucas Moura played his last game for Tottenham last weekend and, whilst he may not have always found the playing time he desired, he leaves as a club legend. Particularly for the (very, very) last minute goal against Ajax that got them into the Champions League final. The people at Art of Football captured this moment in a wonderful illustration that I’d be queuing to get were I a Spurs fan.
That Looks Cultured!
Benfica won the Portuguese league title for the first time in four years, having used the money from the sale of Darwin Nunez to build up their squad. Leading them is the German Roger Schmidt, the first foreign manager (Giovanni Trapattoni aside) to win the league title with Benfica since a certain Sven Goran Eriksson did so and then led them to the final of the Champions Cup wearing this beauty.
Carrying the branding of Hummel by way of a chest logo, chevrons on the sleeves and even the jacquard pattern, the design keeps to red with white embellishment apart from the intricately embroidered crest, which is in full colour.
That Looks Cultured! is a bi-weekly feature picking a great kit from football’s past. It is presented together with Football Finery, a fabulous new resource for football fans, especially those who love 80s, 90s and 00s football shirt culture. The newly launched company have big ambitions to establish themselves as a trusted source for 100% authentic football jerseys, along with football-inspired fashion, apparel & artwork. You can have a look at their store here.
Last Week’s Most Read: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia: Naples’ Immortalised Son
By Alex Connor for Football Paradise
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, a 22-year-old Georgian player signed for Napoli for just €10-12 million, has emerged as a revelation for Italian football, helping the club to win their first Serie A title in over three decades. His skillful performances have earned him the admiration of passionate Neapolitan fans, and have drawn comparisons to Napoli's beloved Diego Maradona. With his output declining as the season progressed, will he be as effective next season?