Cultured Football #33
Will Liverpool's summer dealings mark 2021 as a successful one?
As regulars to Cultured Football might have noticed, this issue is reaching you a day late. Whilst I always do my best to ensure that it is with you on a Saturday evening, sometimes life gets in the way. So it was this week. Apologies for that but, unfortunately there wasn’t much that I could do about it. Anyway, hope that the batch of articles in this week’s issue makes up for the delay.
‘This is Our Final’
There is no doubt that those in Afghanistan who had come to believe what had been promised to them over the past twenty years have been massively let down. But, whilst seeing what for many of us are fundamental rights being rolled back is soul-crushing, for a few the repercussion were literally deadly. Among those were the women who had opted to play football. Thankfully, a dedicated crew of people have helped the Afghan women’s national football team to flee the Taliban in search of a life elsewhere.
Reading Time: 13 minutes
Following in Salah’s footsteps
African players proliferate in football but most of those who are at the highest level made the trip to Europe at a very early age. What about those who stay back, however? This piece looks at precisely that, using data from the top five African leagues to identify any strikers worth following there.
Reading Time: 15 minutes
A martyr of the Barcelona crisis
Bought two summers ago for €120million, Antoine Griezmann’s departure from Barcelona on the last day of the transfer window was shocking not least because the Catalan club let him go (initially on loan but with an obligation to buy for €40million) to rivals Atletico Madrid whom they had already strengthened last summer with Luis Suarez. Yet whilst that transfer is the result of past excesses catching up with Barca, it is not the most depressing one. Because, apart from having to rid themselves of their great past (Leo Messi) to make ends meet, Barcellona have also sacrificed their future by letting the talented Ilaix Moriba leave for Red Bull Leipzig.
Reading Time: 7 minutes
Hearts have shown how fan ownership can change football for the better
This was a big week for football. Not because of the transfers that did or didn’t happen but to a momentous deal that saw fans taking over at Hearts in Scotland. As the piece states, “Oligarchs may love the idea of a football club, but they will never love it the way its supporters do. That deep connection is what sits at the heart of fan ownership and will ultimately drive its success.”
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Liverpool’s Successful Summer – Squad Harmony and a More Important Type of Signing
As the transfer window came to a close, Liverpool fans were among the most disgruntled. Whilst there had been murmurings of moves for midfielders or strikers all summer long, ultimately none materialised leaving plenty to feel that the team does not have the depth needed to battle it out at the top of English football. Yet, during the summer the club also managed to extend contracts of a number of key players and that, along with the harmony within the team could be more important than new signings.
Reading Time: 15 minutes
Last Week’s Most Read
A number of English Premier League clubs have betting companies as shirt sponsors. Many others promote them on their perimeter hoarding. Aside from the morally questionable choice of promoting betting, there is nothing (legally) wrong with that. Yet when you dig a bit deeper and realise that some of these companies don’t even have functioning websites, then surely matters are different and something more sinister is afoot. A follow up interview with an insider reveals more about this situation.
Reading Time: 12 minutes