Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The European Game (Fieldsend)

The European Game: The Secrets of European Football Success is one English football (soccer for us Americans) writer and coach’s tour through Europe. It provides a candid and open look at how various European teams are managed and what guides their success and strategy.

European soccer has a growing base of fans in the United States -- there are bars that will show games from the Bundesliga (Germany), Premier League (England), and La Liga (Spain) on weekend mornings and afternoons, as well as the Champions League on weekday afternoons. Unlike franchises here in the United States, it is theoretically possible for a local beer league club to work its way over the years to the top of its league. Some clubs have charted such a course, powered in part by money from large companies. Other clubs have attained success by drawing heavily on local talent and building a culture that limits their willingness to chase money elsewhere. Other clubs, which have been powerful for a long time, have become more influenced by foreign money and have evolved in order to remain dominant. Author Dan Fieldsend discusses a number of clubs throughout Europe, showing how each one is managed from philosophical and financial standpoints.

For those of us in the States with limited knowledge of how European clubs have developed their identity over time, The European Game is a tremendous read that educates on the nuances of each nation’s top clubs and league. It also guides readers in learning more about fan culture and the relationship between these top clubs and their communities. If you are looking for an introduction to global soccer and its changing dynamics, look no further than this thoroughly researched book.