Home > Football, Sport, Uefa Cup Final 2007 > UEFA Cup Final. A mission statement.

UEFA Cup Final. A mission statement.

     It’s a beautiful thing when two teams meet in a final and put on a show. Tonight’s Uefa Cup Final between Sevilla and Espanyol served up a real treat for fans, and perhaps more importantly, for potential fans. As football is my greatest passion it’s fantastic to know that across Spain kids are going to bed dreaming of glory on footballs biggest stage. Some are cursing the fact that Espanyol were denied victory in a game that could have been won by either team. Others are jubilant, knowing that their beloved Sevilla have retained their crown. Others still are praying that their team can have a similar impact next season. All await tomorrow’s chance to recreate the night before on their local green. That’s what makes the game beautiful.

       As a fan of many sports as diverse as baseball and rugby, it still remains important to me that football remains as popular and far-reaching as it is. Many sports will try to usurp football’s status. Most will fail but some, as seen in Ireland recently, will take a really good shot. Success will always attract fans and so it’s no surprise that Ireland’s devotion to ‘soccer’ in the 90s under the Jack Charlton era was mostly due to qualification for major tournaments, beating world powers in the game like Italy and England. Now, the Irish football team has floundered and the media lead the witchhunt. Rugby, on the other hand, has seen unprecedented support in Ireland in the last couple of years. The success of Munster in lifting the Heineken Cup, the talk of Ireland being genuine contenders for this summer’s World Cup in France, the notion that rugby acts as an antithesis to the violence and corruption that have plagued football in the last year, all these factors have seen a hugebsurge in support for the oval ball.

       In greens all over Ireland young adults throw balls to each other. Round and round and round they go. The days of a kick-around, wall-ball, one-on-one games of football, enormous games of 15 versus 15 where the aim of the game is to swarm around the ball like bees to honey until that ball eventually flies into a net made of jumpers and thin air; these games are what I was reared on. A sport where physical strength helps, but is certainly not a necessity. The skinny, shy guy who can make the playground bully look like a fool with a flick of his right peg, that guy has a chance to be a hero whenever a game strikes up. Skill and strength, interwoven, chalk and cheese all fighting for the same team. That’s why when I arrived back in Dublin airport recently after three days away and saw dozens of huge posters with members of the Irish rugby team walking on water, peering fearlessly, heroically from the depths of the ocean, a part of me felt like I was being picked on. I’d chosen the wrong sport and I was going to have to adapt to rugby like it or not. I’ll take not.

     TheFC100 will fight for the sport it loves. When a club is linked with a player we’ll mention why he’d be great. When a new manager is installed we’ll offer odds on his first game being a thriller. When your club comes back from the death, blows a three-goal lead, has a record attendance or the league’s worst disciplinary record, we’ll be there to share in it all. Referees will not be a source of contempt, merely tools for discussion. Except Graham Poll who will be a source of contempt. Commentators will be ridiculed, fancy haircuts will be pilloried, the underdogs will be champions and we will be there for it all.

     TheFC100. Your guide for the day-to-day supporting of a football club.

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