Cultured Football #141
History Man Griezmann. Brand over Money. What Makes Watkins Special. Stuttgart Fairy Tale. Insight Into Brentford's Recruitment.
By Sid Lowe for The Guardian
By moving to Barcelona, Antoine Griezmann knew that he was trading immortality at Atletico for the possibility of winning some titles. The latter part of the deal never really materialised so it is heartening to see that he’s been able to get back on track for the former following his return to Madrid. His is a classic redemption story where he paid his dues, including accepting being substituted midway through the game every week.
There are so many stories about greed in football out there that is extremely refreshing to come across one of a club looking to do things ‘the right way’. Hadn’t really heard about Hampton & Richmond FC before this but will now be following them with interest.
By Ali Tweedale for The Analyst
Aston Villa might have missed out on the opportunity to go top but their involvement in a league title race is nothing short of extraordinary given that they were fighting against relegation this time last year. Much of the merit goes to manager Unai Emery, the architect of this turnaround. But also to Oli Watkins who is finally fulfilling the prediction of so many who saw in him the making of a world class striker. This is how he is achieving it.
The final Cultured Football of the year will feature an exclusive original article about England’s preparations for the 1990 World Cup. If you don’t want to miss out, make sure you’re subscribed.
By Will Magee for Kult
Another fantastic story from this season is that of Stuttgart who are pushing hard to win at least a Champions League slot. Theirs too is a story of a coach who has signaled a remarkable turnaround (Sebastian Hoeneß) and a striker who is fulfilling his potential (Serhou Guirassy). These are the kind of romantic stories that the people behind the European Super League would love to stamp out.
By Training Ground Guru
While many fans feel as if they know what it takes for a club to identify and sign a player, few really know how that process goes. Which is what makes the words of Brentford Technical Director Lee Dykes so interesting. In detailing the seven broad steps that they take before a player is signed we can get a glimpse behind the curtain; a hint of what truly goes on within a club and also get a feel of why having everyone committed to the process is so important.
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Last Week’s Most Read: Bundesliga deal: What does private equity want in football?
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]