Cultured Football #140
Fragility of Women's Football in Italy. J League Review. Plastic Football in Salzburg. Dominic Solanke's Rise. Private Equity Returns in Germany.
By Marta Degl'Innocenti for TMG Italia
Women's football has made strides in Italy, but still faces challenges in terms of funding, structure, and professionalism. The unexpected retirement and subsequent reconsideration from the Serie A of the Pomigliano d'Arco team highlights the fragility of the sport and its institutions in Italy. Much, much more is needed to get it close to the respective leagues in other top European football countries.
The J.League recently came to a close with Vissel Kobe winning the title for the first time ever. If you want a review of how things unfolded and how each team fared, then you have to read this (be warned however: it is very, very detailed!)
Bonus Pick: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the Liga MX Apertura as it comes to a close [By Javier Perez for Urban Hype]
By Daniel Storey for iNews
The blatant use of the Red Bull logo in their logo is instantly offputting and it is hard to muster any feelings of warmth towards Red Bull Salzburg. For most they will always be the ones who took away SV Austria Salzburg from their fans and transformed it into something completely different. Yet this new club is also immeasurably more successful then the one it dislodged, and not just in so far as titles won. Red Bull Salzburg is one of the best run clubs in the world; they have a strong playing identity, are exceptional at developing talent and punch above their weight in Europe. Theirs system - which is explained here in fascinating detail - is one others should be flocking to learn and copy.
Every Saturday, Cultured Football brings you five great football articles you should be reading.
by Sam McGuire for WhoScored?
All managers who have coached Dominic Solanke maintained that he was a brilliant talent. None, however, have managed to get him to fulfill that talent as well as Andoni Iraola has so far this season.
Bonus Pick: How has Andoni Iraola turned Cherries around. [By Ninad Barbadikar for Sporting Life]
By Matt Ford for DW
And so, the last bastion of traditional football values has fallen. German clubs have voted to allow a private equity firm to acquire a stake in the league in exchange for helping better market the league. The controversial vote has been vehemently opposed by German football fans who will be silent for the first twelve minutes of this weekend’s games. Yet clubs insist that this is needed to help clubs bridge the gap with other leagues. And, by other leagues, they mean the Premier League. A desperate gamble that no one really knows how it will work out.
Bonus Pick: For a couple of seasons, Union Berlin were a beacon of hope; a small club who took on the big boys and won their way to the Champions League. Reality, however, has returned and they are now in a desperate fight against relegation. [By Constantin Eckner for ESPN]
I’m a bit of a sucker for year-end favourite lists and even more so when they combine sports books. Sadly, there aren’t too many of those around so, when I spotted this I knew that I had to include it. And not only because the author is looking forward to reading my book Echoes of an Italian Summer.