Nov 7, 2007

Wednesday footy links

There's been some great football coverage around the web lately. The NY Times usually doesn't get much past covering the World Cup and the occasional Red Bulls story, but they did a fine job with this article on Bayern Munich that delves into the financial peculiarities of playing in the Bundesliga. I wish more sports writers could do these kinds of stories that explain how the underlying business environment of a sport affects the action on the field.

I'm also a huge fan of ESPN's Phil Ball, who writes about La Liga for their website (he's also an author). The aptly-named Ball wrote a column this week about the Basque team Atletico Bilbao that really made me want to visit its home stadium.

The truly wonderful thing about Athletic is that the pre-match experience makes you feel that you're in some sort of sepia photograph, or in a Lowry painting. Unlike the modern tendency of clubs to re-locate to the urban margins, where the new stadium stands on the edge of an industrial estate or sleeps anonymously in the middle of a field, San Mam├ęs is almost hidden by the blocks of flats and bars that surround it. It seems to grow out of the old urban structure, so that there is no disconnection whatsoever with the heart of the city itself.

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