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  1. #1376
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    Excellent post. They are also the anti-PSG, anti-OM, and France were the unluckiest World Cup team in 1978-86, when they deserved at least one final and could claim to be a match for the Brazil of that era. Certainly had the best midfield in Europe, perhaps only matched since by France in 1998 and Spain 2008-2012 among European national teams (I think the Milan of Boban and Desailly might be stronger)

  2. #1377
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev7 View Post
    Nah, not anymore I’m afraid. I used to, in my 20s and early 30s, I liked the thrill of it, the adventure etc. (and TBH, often I didn’t have much choice either!) but now that I am 52 and embourgeoisé (I blame my wife) I have football stuff too, which I cherish, ~400 books on British football, 100s of mags, DVDs etc. ...
    Sounds like the same set-up as me, Kev7 - until the part where you talk about giving some of it away. I hoard. And I don't have to worry about who I will leave it all too because, obviously, I will never die. How can I when I have so much stuff??!! That's how Highlander worked, wasn't it? He didn't die because he had that antique shop with all the stuff he'd collected over the years ... the sword-fighting was just a hobby ...

    Yup, massive fan of The Back Page. Visit every time I'm in Newcastle. Enjoy their Twitter feed too.

    Not that it's apparent from my contribution to this thread, but I bought the complete Romeo Ionescu oeuvre in there a few years ago - line-ups, scorers, venues etc. from every match ever played in European club competition as we currently know it. I see he has a Europa League addendum out now so it'll be back to The Toon for me soon ...

    There can be only one. Shop.
    Last edited by Alex Anderson; 04-12-2017 at 11:28. Reason: More Paul than Christopher Lambert ...

  3. #1378
    Alex Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev7 View Post
    Re the “Saint-Étienne best loser ever” debate quietly raging on here for a week or so ...

    ...This “cult of the underdog” is deemed somewhat pathetic, and very French (Poulidor, rather than Anquetil…), by many. And they have a point others say, while stopping short of completely agreeing with these naysayers ... Except of course, they haven’t (got a fucking point) as the context is paramount here ... to fully understand how these “beautiful losers” came to be so popular .
    A brilliant post, Kev7 - loving these insider insights.

    So three French clubs have reached the European Cup/Champions League final yet the only one who won it wasn't allowed to defend it, two of the clubs' chairmen went to jail and the other club eventually went bust? The romantically tragic element just refuses to go away.

    I'll now rabidly agree with a couple of your points in a pathetic attempt so to jump on your coat tail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kev7 View Post
    Quite a few people in France (the younger ones mainly, and non-football peeps) just don’t understand how a team who lost a final reasonably fair and square (let’s not forget Gerd Müller’s probably unjustly chalked-off goal, for offside) was celebrated with such unbridled passion by the whole country after the Hampden Park defeat (the Champs-Élysées crowd even chanted “On a gagné, on a gagné”…)
    Hell, yeah. Absolutely. Personal bugbear of mine is when the loser's pain becomes louder than the winner's joy, purely to obfuscate the result.

    Wonder what the fourth French European Cup finalist will pull out the bag in Kiev this season. And I think it's pertinent to talk about this on a day when PSG go to Bayern, looking to lay down a psychological marker equivalent to what happened in Marseille in the summer of 2016, when Germany played all the beautiful football in a major semi-final knowingly won by France.

    No coincidence Germany are at the centre of so many of football's "we deserved more" hard luck stories. Hungary 54, Netherlands 74 and St Etienne here. Gerd Mueller also had a perfectly good second goal chopped off in the 74 World Cup final. Like his effort at Hampden, he is so lightning quick at beating the offside that no-one - neither officials, crowd nor even Mueller himself - can believe he is in that much space, against such a great opponent, without being offside.

    Rumours and accusations about the West Germany team of 1954 being on performance enhancers have been enjoyed throughout the world. Yet the Das Wunder Von Bern industry is very much confined to Germany (yes, I saw the movie in Glasgow but it was the top floor of the multiplex with half a dozen other people in the theatre on a one-off Tuesday lunchtime showing. Raincoats all round), unlike the Magical Magyars, Total Football and Allez Les Verts. West Germany/Germany and Bayern were better. They were the champions. They won. They were the best, in some instances still are and we know they will most likely be again.

    It's a framed pic of Der Bomber and Der Kaiser I have on my living room wall - not Cruyff and Neeskens; it's a collection of Nationalmannschaft replica jerseys I have on my spare room ceiling - not Hungary 1938 and 1954: I've seen Bayern in friendly, European Cup, Champions League and Bundesliga - I've never seen St Etienne.

    I loved Boris Becker winning Wimbledon as a kid (he's the same age as me) but I loved it even more the following year, when he retained the thing to embarrass the ridiculous accusations that any world class sporting competition can ever be won by fluke. I found it personally rewarding that Boris was in the royal box, next to our own Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha monarch, the night I was at Wembley to see Jurgen Klinsmann lift the Henri Delaunay trophy ... days after I was at the same stadium to experience, first-hand what it's like for a big football nation to think they want it more than the Germans and therefore deserve it more than the Germans - especially because so many of them who were born decades after those Brits who fought in the war had forgiven the Germans, hate the Germans.

    It's an understandable, even seductive mentality - but it's a losers mentality, both on and off the pitch. Throughout the BBC's Football, Fussball, Voetball documentary, charting the history of modern European competition in the build up to Euro 96, Franz Beckenbauer, Paul Breitner and Uli Hoeness are relentlessly interviewed because their club and country feature so relentlessly in the prizes dished out by UEFA. All they ever do is use the word "Lucky" ... and always in reference to themselves. They gush only for their defeated opponents, never for Bayern or Germany. The "arrogant", "boring", "brutish" German medal machine is powered by humility. And if you're humble - truly humble as was the attitude which bred these guys - you don't give up just because you're disliked, unsexy or not as flash on the ball as your opponent (tho West Germany 1972 were bloody gorgeous) - if you did that wouldn't allow your opponent the best test of their qualities. It would be disrespectful.

    The second hardest thing in any sport is winning - the hardest is winning consistently. These are also the most hated things. In European international football, no-one wins more than the Germans. And I fucking love it.

    I grew up listening to tabloid-style coverage of German successes - they always had the temerity to beat the "entertaining" teams (the most entertaining football is, in reality, the winning kind) - and then, more pointedly, English losses to Germany as being down purely to the lottery of penalties (when you're consistently better at them than anyone else - when you only miss one shoot-out pen in 28 years - it's the opposite of a lottery: It's of a consistency which proves penalties are the very essence of a skill which can be mastered). As a naïve young Scot I hated this "EBC" angle, but as a football-loving Scot I also hated our self-romanticising of our inability top beat small teams, apparently because we preferred to be the David to big nasty Goliaths.

    Even during the 7-1 rout of Brazil - in a World Cup semi-final! IN BRAZIL! - Hansen, Shearer and Ferdinand were calling Germany a "well-oiled machine" with the war-flavoured implication that there was nothing beautiful going on in this soulless Teutonic crushing.

    And I have listened my entire life to Celtic fans continually changing the subject after any defeat in a big game. And if they needed to change the focus, it was inevitably my club and fellow Rangers fans they'd come after.

    There can be glory in losing a football match - of course there can. I've seen Rangers only losing 2-0 to Messi's Barca in the Nou Camp - I know all about it. Context absolutely is all when assessing overall achievement. But when that context gets warped into "they didn't really lose and the on-field winners are somehow lesser than us", it's an insult to and undermining of the entire sport. What Guardiola was doing to Nathan Redmond last week was no biggie but the mind-set behind it is fucking disgusting. "I hate you for not opening up and letting us beat you".

    This is why I've been careful during this last week's chat to italicise or quotatation mark "unlucky" as much as "failure" when commenting on St Etienne 1976. I really do mean Most Memorable Losers Ever. They lost that final and no mistake. It's the sexiness of the play and the players and the strip and the loveliness of their support and all the other things mentioned by Kev7 which makes them memorable. But they did not win the European Cup.




    Quote Originally Posted by Kev7 View Post
    And of course few people owned a television set… This would make a huge difference later for Saint-Étienne, compared to Reims ...

    ... In this respect, Reims was unlucky as few households had a television of course and few games were broadcast. Saint-Étienne’s cup run arrived at exactly the right moment, colour TV sets were starting to be affordable and more games were being broadcast.
    And probably the most memorable winners of all time are Brazil 1970. Experts have debated whether they were in fact more entertaining and/or better than Brazil's Jules Rimet-lifting sides of 1958 and 62 but that Mexico 70 was the first World Cup widely broadcast in colour meant that canary yellow shirt and the blue shorts almost unfairly augmented the stunning nature of the football played in them.

    Again we can't ignore the comparative exoticism, unrelated to football, of big rangy South American men doing their thang on TV sets more used to Bob Monkhouse and Bruce Forsyth. The number of great black British players - John Barnes and Garth Crooks come to mind - who cited the overwhelmingly positive effect Brazil 1970 had on their career and life, because they were so unused to seeing any ethnic faces on television, let alone ones so rampantly victorious and universally feted, speaks to the non-footballing factors involved in the mythos.

    I said earlier that St Etienne must have benefitted from being on colour screens after Reims were shown only in black and white. But as you allude to, Kev7, their European Cup Final being at Hampden and then the following season's epic quarter-final second leg at Anfield, brought pictures of these silky-shirted dudes into British households at a time when the Gallic was still truly foreign. It hit hard. It exploded. And the timeous emergence of colour tv made St Etienne in their pomp Led Zeppelin 70's glam, compared to the downright Slade of matt-shirted, spotty, beer-gutted British players ... who were indeed better at club level - but not on a level that counted to every part of the imagination.
    Last edited by Alex Anderson; 05-12-2017 at 14:28. Reason: and PSG's strip this season is better than anything I've seen kenny Burns wearing

  4. #1379
    Alex Anderson's Avatar
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    OR ... for the opposite view, put far more cogently, you could read Mark Sanderson's excellent piece in WSC 371 which I feel duty-bound to point out arrived through my door TODAY ... and not before I writed that rant above.

    ================================================== ============================
    EDIT: This pic nothing to with this post - only related to the page number. And this entire thread.
    ================================================== ============================

    Last edited by Alex Anderson; 19-04-2018 at 11:54. Reason: Retrospective posting of champion sides just before they became champions, which began, in real time, on page 67

  5. #1380
    Alex Anderson's Avatar
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    Lazy. Walt's already got one of the answers to 2 (b): Liverpool 1985

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Anderson View Post
    Friday Quiz: FOREIGN PLAYERS:

    1: Only club to start the Final of the European Champion Clubs' Cup/UEFA Champions League fielding no native players.

    2 (a): Only club to end the Final with more than half of their players on the pitch from the same foreign association.

    (b): the other three times a team has begun the final with four players from one particular foreign association.
    Last edited by Alex Anderson; 08-12-2017 at 09:16. Reason: still recovering from the Derek McInnes knock back. Could be lunch-time before I'm over it.

  6. #1381
    B) Jose's Inter had a load of Argentines didn't it? And I suspect another Liverpool or else Forest and Scotland is the other answer

  7. #1382
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    Top of the class Seand

    1: Inter 2010

    2 (a):

    (b): Inter 2010 ... and two others

  8. #1383
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    1980 Forest had 5 Scots on the field between their two substitutions.

  9. #1384
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    Forest used no subs in the 1979 final, even to waste time. I wonder if it has happened since?

  10. #1385
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satchmo Distel View Post
    1980 Forest had 5 Scots on the field between their two substitutions.
    Well done, Satch. And Walt got the other a couple of weeks back. So just one answer to go. But I'll take any of the players' names too.

    1: Inter 2010

    2 (a):

    (b): Nottingham Forest 1980, Liverpool 1985 and Inter 2010.

  11. #1386
    Finally coming back to my question of title-less competitors in EC/CL and I'll simplify things.

    The first few seasons of the CL (94-5 to 96-7) it was restricted to the top 24 champions, with champions of smaller nations bumped into the UEFA Cup. For 97-8 (and 98-9) all champions were back in with 8 runners-up. Never-champions Bayer and Parma debuted that first season. From 99-00 it was expanded to include 70+ teams.

    By my calculations, over the years in the Champions League era a total of 34 clubs from 16 countries have taken part without having previously won a national title. England are the only major country never to have been represented by a never-champion.

    So, can we complete the list? (I’ve included those clubs named up-thread aleady)

    Spain (5): Villarreal, Malaga, Mallorca,Osasuna +1
    Portugal (4): Braga,Vitoria +2
    Italy (3): Parma, Udinese, Chievo .... DONE
    Germany (3): Bayer, RBL, The Hoff ..... DONE
    France (2): Toulouse , Metz ..... DONE
    Czechia (2):
    Ukraine (2): Metalist, +1
    Turkey (2): Istanbul BK, Sivasspor DONE
    Russia (2):
    Romania (2): Vaslui, Timisoara ..... DONE
    Belgium (2): ZW, Gent. ... DONE
    Croatia (1):
    Norway (1):
    Netherlands (1): Heerenveen ..... DONE
    Austria (1):
    Switzerland (1): Thun .... DONE
    (And I'm open to corrections above!)

    And perhaps more interestingly there are at least a handful of clubs to have played in the European Cup without winning a national title…….
    Last edited by seand; 11-12-2017 at 10:07. Reason: updates

  12. #1387

    Wise, witty and ready to please
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    Thun for Switzerland, Heerenveen for Netherlands?

  13. #1388
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    2 (b) Valencia kicked off with four Argentinians in 2001

  14. #1389
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    The other Romanian one is Poli Timisoara (or whatever they were called that year. Possibly FC Timisoara)

  15. #1390
    ursus arctos's Avatar
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    The other French team is Metz

    Three of the Spaniards are Deportivo La Coruna, Malaga and Mallorca

    Braga is one of the Portuguese clubs

  16. #1391

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    Only 5 teams have ever won the league in Turkey so I'm struggling to work out who the other side is after Başakşehir (formerly Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor).

    I cheated and looked because it was driving me nuts. They were deprived of winning the league because IBB beat them in the penultimate game.

  17. #1392
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    I'm randomly guessing the Ukrainian ones are Dnipro and Metalist Kharkiv.

  18. #1393
    Good work ..... I've updated the post above. Deportivo first played in the CL the season after winning their only league, Dnipro have league titles from the USSR days

  19. #1394
    ursus arctos's Avatar
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    OK

    If not Depor, then Osasuna

    And Sivasspor for Turkey

    Zulte Waregem are one of the Belgians

  20. #1395
    ursus arctos's Avatar
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    Vitoria Setubal as one of the Portuguese teams.

    Did Gent play in the CL before they won the League?

    The Austrian one is bothering me.

  21. #1396

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    Quote Originally Posted by ursus arctos View Post
    OK

    If not Depor, then Osasuna

    And Sivasspor for Turkey

    Zulte Waregem are one of the Belgians
    Sivasspor is correct UA , I'd never have got that.

  22. #1397
    Alex Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satchmo Distel View Post
    2 (b) Valencia kicked off with four Argentinians in 2001
    They absolutely did. Sorry - I shouldn't have included Inter 2010 in my earlier answer to "other three times" when they're already the answer to Question 1 - (they also had four Argentinians in their starting XI that night, Inter - as well as three Brazilians, a Cameroonian, a Dutchman, a Romanian and a Macedonian*) - god ... now I know why I like "discussing" stuff rather than setting hard questions ...

    Anyway, the answer to 2 (a): is Leeds United 1975. Began the final with five Scots. Ended it with six.

    *in fact, Marco Materazzi coming on in the 92nd minute was the only Italian playing involvement for Inter that night.
    Last edited by Alex Anderson; 09-12-2017 at 12:44. Reason: So long since I set the question I kinda lost interest

  23. #1398
    Alex Anderson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seand View Post
    England are the only major country never to have been represented by a never-champion.
    Love this stuff. Love it when a stat almost seems to be propelling the on-field achievement rather than the other way round. It's almost as if Leicester weren't allowed to just suddenly have a "really high finish" in 2015-16 - they had to go all the way and win the title so as not to sully this particular Anglo Euro record ...

    Haven't been drinking yet. maybe I should start.

    Quote Originally Posted by seand View Post
    And perhaps more interestingly there are at least a handful of clubs to have played in the European Cup without winning a national title...
    You talking here, sean, about teams who competed in the European Cup in a season where they were not their national domestic champions - ala any club which won the European Cup in the same season they were unable to win their domestic league - or the teams who took part in the first ever European Cup instead of the reigning national champions (e.g. Hibs - four times Champions of Scotland, took part instead of the 1955-56 reigning domestic champions Aberdeen) ... or do you mean clubs to have taken part in the European Cup - NOT champions League - without ever being national champions?

    (God - yeah - I'm enjoying orthopaedic shoe being on the other water-retentive foot)

  24. #1399
    ursus arctos's Avatar
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    He's talking about clubs whose first participation in the European Cup OR Champions League (including preliminary rounds) came before they had won a domestic top flight title.

    It's a rather diabolical question.

  25. #1400
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    Hoffenheim, for example?

    Wil anyone ever beat Liverpool's 15 year wait between last domestic crown and next Champions League win?

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