With the Champions League final approaching, I can't help but remark at how little I care. Here in The States, Fox Soccer Channel is advertising the "epic final" and assuming that everyone will be enthralled. I'm a little fed up with all of it...
What I am excited about is the Football League play-off finals this weekend. That's right, I would much rather watch Torquay play Stevenage than watch Manchester United play Barcelona.
The difference, for me as a neutral, is the supporters. I'd estimate that at least 90% of Man Utd fans are frontrunners, gloryhunters, call it what you want, they're not what any of us would classify as "real fans." Same goes for Barca supporters.
Does anyone support Peterborough because they're good? No... in fact, they suck (relatively speaking). Anyone who supports such a club does so because they truly care about the club. Whether they are local to the area or their parents brought them up to support the club or whatever the case was, they are real fans and I am happy for them.
Am I the only one who feels this way?
For the older contributors, was there really a day when there was a level playing field? If so, I long for those days to return.
Pat Finegan, Posted 24/05/2011 at 19:56:44
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1 Posted 25/05/2011 at 03:57:31
And to claim that a Football League play-off is more exciting than the Champions League Final is a bit weird. Only a few would claim that to be the case.
2 Posted 25/05/2011 at 04:03:30
The Champions League Final is the championship match between the two best sides in all of Europe. I can't wait to watch it.
3 Posted 25/05/2011 at 04:43:57
4 Posted 25/05/2011 at 04:46:26
The question is where you draw the line. And supporting a club purely because of their success is unreasonable. It's sad for the 'real' Man Utd and Barcelona fans who feel they need to justify their reasons for supporting their own team. It's sad that cities like Sheffield (for example) has two teams and yet there are so many Man Utd fans, mostly in their 20s, who saw (Sheffield) United and Wednesday struggle during the 90s and so jumped ship and started supporting Man Utd. How can they possibly be real fans?
5 Posted 25/05/2011 at 05:25:15
Pretty sure P'boro will also have a large number of glory hunters at OT (relative glory!). How often do you see lower league teams having stories of whole towns travelling to a big away day in the FA Cup? And yet these clubs struggle to get anyone in to watch their league games. You could argue this is worse.
I for one am really looking forward to the CL final and seeing some of the world's best players and most attacking teams battle for club football's top prize.
Just imagine Everton being there one day...
6 Posted 25/05/2011 at 06:24:59
However, I will be watching the CL final as I love watching Barca over the last few years, not as a glory hunter but for the 'out of this world' football that they play.
And yes, there was a day when the playing field was level. Happy days!
7 Posted 25/05/2011 at 06:51:37
Well the sight was awesome from the top tier, but that was it. The place was souless, no atmosphere and full of tourists, even the stadium was shit. Some lads left at half time whilst we followed 20 minutes later.
Whilst I dream of us being up there with teams like Barca and Man Utd, I would dread too to see what it would become; like what has happened at Man Utd, you would find a large amount of old fans packing the game in because the soul of the club has been stolen.
8 Posted 25/05/2011 at 08:06:13
I watch Barca to see the absolute pinnacle of football. How we all wish we could play and what Everton should aspire to, no matter how unlikely. It reminds me why I love football so much.
I watch the football league play-offs for the passion and the pride the fans and players show. I love it when the winning goal is scored and they cut to a geezer about 95 years old dancing like he hasn't got arthiritis in his hips and he's not on statins.
9 Posted 25/05/2011 at 08:15:45
Is it only teams that are successful who have these so-called not real fans? Well, I for one would love to have lots of these fans jumping on our bandwagon.
Oh, hold on... our bandwagon has no wheels.
10 Posted 25/05/2011 at 08:37:02
Sure, there are probably more tourists turning up to watch Barca at present, and probably inflating the prices somewhat (or making touts very rich), but when Barca's golden spell is over, their attendances won't fall by much (if at all) and the number of members / shareholders won't change.
11 Posted 25/05/2011 at 09:28:52
For me, the most exciting match recently was the AFC Wimbledon / Luton play off final. What a story!
12 Posted 25/05/2011 at 10:05:52
Gigg's to do list... Do shopping, drop kids off, read a book, play in European cup final, watch CSI, sleep on the couch.
13 Posted 25/05/2011 at 11:41:52
14 Posted 25/05/2011 at 12:48:25
Say we got to the final in 2 years time, how many tickets do you think we could sell? ..and whats our average attendance for away games this season?
it'll be worth watching to see them get beat.
15 Posted 25/05/2011 at 12:53:37
2 of the best teams in Europe, both playing fast, flowing, attacking football. I don't have any preference over who wins. It'll simply be a good game to watch with not a hoofball or parked bus in sight.
16 Posted 25/05/2011 at 13:08:18
I have to say you watch the game not the supporters.
Some of the worlds best players will be on show and I for one will be watching that game.
I am not remotely interested in league 2 playoffs but would be interested in the Reading vs Swansea game a few days later.
17 Posted 25/05/2011 at 13:55:51
Barcelona IS different from most and has much in common with us as it's a team that is very much an integral part of the city (which is partly why DK wrankled so much with us!).
Without giving a history lesson, FC Barcelona became "more than a club" to the locals when it was the only place that the city & the region's people could fervently express their opposition to the fascist dictator, Franco, who for decades from Madrid persecuted Catalunya. The result of this is that 35 years ago (when I first worked there) they had over 100,000 paying 'socis' or club member supporters. It has always been funded greatly directly from the local fan-base - whereas Real Madrid has been supported also by the government e.g. a £320million purchase for their training ground 10 years ago when they were skint!
If you consistently have the success they have and with a spectacular style as now, you will get the glory-hunters. But, wouldn't we want both their success, skills and growth in supporter numbers?
For Saturday, I can't wait and would REALLY love it if they won convincingly with a flourish in an epic game. I do wish we were there instead, though! Right now, we can only dream.
18 Posted 25/05/2011 at 15:15:05
I know for a fact that my dad was a Man U fan who continued to support Man Utd through their lean years (relegation in the 70s), finally saw them claim their title again in 92-93 season etc.
Because these top clubs' fanbase is much bigger, they will automatically have more fans who are glory hunters. So, do go easy on the hyperbole, will you? Cheers mate.
19 Posted 25/05/2011 at 15:21:48
20 Posted 25/05/2011 at 16:05:13
21 Posted 25/05/2011 at 15:51:33
Also, Barca's trademarked "Death by one thousand (3-yard) passes," routine, whilst universally lauded, really grates on me. In a perverse paradox it is anti-football! Skillful & effective - yes, but boring & suffocating too.
Around the same time our top two-Man.Utd & Chelsea, played each other, and the contrast could not have been more pronounced: They just got on with it, and played an open game at a much higher tempo. That's the reason why The Premier League is the world's most popular, and I hope United's endeavour, drive & energy triumphs over Barca's snide, tippy-tappy narcissism.
22 Posted 25/05/2011 at 16:51:03
23 Posted 25/05/2011 at 16:58:27
I prefer the play offs they are more reminiscent of when football was a level playing field and teams played to win with fans who are really part of what's going on.
Consequently they've delivered some truly cracking games.
24 Posted 25/05/2011 at 17:05:18
25 Posted 25/05/2011 at 17:26:02
Congrats to I presume soon to be departing Yobo on winning a title.
Will miss the CB.
26 Posted 25/05/2011 at 20:05:12
27 Posted 25/05/2011 at 20:50:19
Wednesday also got to 3 cup finals in the 90s.
28 Posted 25/05/2011 at 21:15:40
29 Posted 25/05/2011 at 23:19:52
The final should be a good game - and Barcelona is just simply fantastic to watch IMO.
But I definitely agree the passion of the fans in the lower league playoffs is sublime. There really isn't anything like it. It's that kind of rabid fan atmosphere which drew me to English football, and football in general 5 years ago. It's priceless.
The only thing I ever experienced that rivaled it growing up American is playoff hockey. And the Bruins play tonight to go to the Stanley Cup. :0) Let the chaos begin....
30 Posted 25/05/2011 at 21:51:47
When Barcelona is on here in the States, I watch. What a team!
Yet, I wonder how long that "15-20 OLE passes" before something happened would last in the EPL? That is, before someone (or two) got his lower leg re-arranged; making the rest play proper.
I think Barcelona would do well in the EPL; stacked with determined talent and a good idea.
Would just like to see them do it in the top league. Any team as talented as that one will always appear "The Greatest Team of All Time" competing in La Minor Liga.
31 Posted 25/05/2011 at 23:56:01
You oughta know. Ha! Most especially with Red Sox "Nation".
By the way Jamie. Do read read or follow Bill Simmons?
32 Posted 26/05/2011 at 00:33:25
33 Posted 26/05/2011 at 07:48:14
30 years ago, I'd be 100% DEFINITELY watching the European Cup Final and (whoever was in it) wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Football now is fucking disgusting.
From top (Fifa) to bottom (kids football) the entire thing is morally bankrupt.
One example is 'The Champion's League' (a league where most of the teams AREN'T Champions).
Years ago, the idea of say...er..Juventus V Real, on telly live, would have been a big deal.
Not any more coz you can see the same match up/s almost every year
Now you watch for 15 mins and if it looks like it'll be a negative niggly foul-fest (AND IT WILL!) you're reaching for the remote.
As to whether there was ever a 'level playing field', probably not COMPLETELY level, but it was NEVER like it is now, where the playing field is almost fucking vertical and there are a few teams who's finances guarantee them a place at the top, while the rest (including us) need grappling irons to get near the top end'.
34 Posted 26/05/2011 at 08:57:20
James 30 - I agree, imagine Messi, Inesta and Xavi trying to dribble rings around the tank that is Elokobi? 2 minutes in and one, if now three of them will be booted up in the air and out for a few weeks.
They would need a massive squad in the Premier League, as they would be injured for most of the time.
35 Posted 26/05/2011 at 09:04:41
36 Posted 26/05/2011 at 09:13:08
Now its a farce when you can finish 4th, and go on to win it.
37 Posted 26/05/2011 at 12:55:47
As for the "cheating" arguments, ask yourselves do you consider Cahill appealing for every single decision he knows he won't get cheating?
How about Fellaini or Heitinga "breaking up play" with a sly jersey pull or trip in midfield? They know it won't get a yellow cardbut ensures we can drop ten men behind the ball from the resulting free, therefore disadvantaging the opposition by deliberate and illegal means.
Or Arteta going to ground at the slightest contact? (or none at all in some cases)
Or maybe Anichebe banging his fists off the turf to influence the referee into giving him non-existent frees? Or worse still, how about when he masquerades as a professional footballer for 90 mins?
Cheating so-and-so's the lot of them. But hey, they are "our" cheats.
38 Posted 26/05/2011 at 13:28:21
39 Posted 26/05/2011 at 13:28:02
40 Posted 26/05/2011 at 13:49:49
I see where you are coming from with the "cheat" issue but the difference with Cahill calling for every decision and Alves rolling about like he has been snipered is miles apart. No-one will ever get sent off for Cahill appealing a decision or a sly foul/shirt pull. They try and get the players sent off, that is a world away from what you mention about Cahill and Fellaini.
41 Posted 26/05/2011 at 16:34:33
Great for a few minutes but after a while they start to bore the shite out of me.
42 Posted 26/05/2011 at 18:29:41
Funny you should ask. I was going to put that in the original post but then I decided it didn't really fit.
I guess I do root against supporters. I just don't want Man U or Barca fans to have something else to brag about.
43 Posted 27/05/2011 at 02:26:00
i don't follow Bill Simmons, but he did write probably the most hilarious article I've ever read: How to choose an EPL team. It was a 2 parter. I had chosen Everton about 2 years prior, and having a fairly good grasp of the stereotypes of each Club's fans I nearly wet myself reading it. If you haven't read it google it. It seriously is side-splitingly funny.
BTW - completely 100% accurate on that leg-breaking comment. Those twinkle-toed Barca guys would get put to the turf in about 10 minutes tops....
44 Posted 27/05/2011 at 02:36:44
45 Posted 28/05/2011 at 22:58:56
Our best football comes when: 1) We go a goal down and have to change formation and attack. 2) We have injuries and Moyes doesn't have much choice in who he picks.
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