Thursday, 30 May 2013

Why German football is getting it right

Cheap ticket prices, beer on the terraces safe standing these is just afew of the good things German football is currently getting right but it goes much deeper than this. In this country where football is so expensive to watch to be a supporter even at a lower level. At my local club Stevenage FC it is 20 quid for an adult to stand 3 pounds for a programme and between 30 and 40 pounds for a replica shirt. No wonder so many are being priced out of football this is just league 1 level the 3rd tier of English football not even the top level. I believe something needs to be done to make football our countries national game affordable again to the masses. Football is so much a part of our culture that it often makes politics and has television channels and radio stations dedicated to this. Following a football team is similar to a religion in this country with passions running high. Much like England Germany has a huge passion for the beautiful game and has got it right in so many ways I do hope we in England can learn some lessons from our German friends. The Germans arrived some time ago, and have the players, management, organisation, infrastructure and fan base, if not necessarily to dominate European football for years to come, then certainly to keep their flags flying near the summit. How did they do it? The key point is that German football has got it right on and off the pitch. After finishing bottom of their group in Euro 2000 Huge radical changes were under taken by the powers that be in German football. Inure. Instead of hoping that success would somehow turn up next time, they went in for radical changes. They recognised genuine improvement would take time, and invested in youth - specifically, hundreds of millions of pounds in academies, with the German FA and the Bundesliga (the equivalent of the Premier League) working together. At national level, successive managers gave young players their heads - and vital experience - at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. Clubs have trusted the products of those academies; too, sometimes on Dortmund’s march to Wembley two-thirds of their team have been German, in stark contrast to their English counterparts, not least the Manchester City line-up they outplayed in the autumn. The off-field contrasts are equally stark. As a fan, you pay £9 to watch Dortmund in the Bundesliga, and there are large safe standing terraces. Fan-friendly policies from clubs run by fans. With three historic exceptions, clubs are controlled by supporters. No owner can control more than 50% of the shares. There are no foreign owners. Result: average crowds above 45,000, the best in Europe. Currently watching the best teams in Europe. The Spanish powerhouses are already planning their response. Italy is stronger than for some years, and David Beckham and his new friends at mega-rich Paris St Germain will be a threat. Even here, the FA has made sensible moves in youth football which deserve, in time, to pay dividends. But the German footballing castle, like those picturesque fortresses that dot either side of the Rhine Valley, is built solidly on high ground. I’d love to go watch a German football match one day the experience sounds fantastic thre is no reason why we cannot do it here in the UK. Fan owned clubs is something which hasn’t taken off him in the UK AFC Wimbledon, Wycombe and Exeter and more recently Portsmouth have been taken over by the fans but yet these have been down to fans bailing their club they love out due to financial troubles. If we could get a fan owned club system going where they still remained competitive on the pitch at a good level this would be ideal. It is still seen in Britain that to get anywhere you need to spend big and have big sugar daddy’s on board I think this doesn’t have to be the case. There is much we can learn from Germany not least the fan involvement and the clubs being part of the community and not just in words in deeds too. with thanks and credit for extracts from

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