Apart from the unacceptable events that occurred during the trophy ceremony at the Trocadéro, there is a bigger problem at hand for the PSG staff. 10 000 to 15 000 fans attended on Monday for the third championship win of PSG’s history, and the first in 19 years. The Paris metropolitan area has 12 million people. Now take Manchester United and Barcelona where 500 000 and 600 000 fans showed up for the champion parades out of respective metropolitan areas numbering 2.2 million and 4.5 million inhabitants. Neither Barcelona nor Man United have waited 19 years to win a championship title, they win every other year since a couple of years and despite that the fans are there in big numbers. There is a huge lack of following and of passion for the PSG amongst the Paris population. The PSG, even with the hundreds of millions of euros that the Qatar is pouring into the club, won’t achieve the levels of a Barça or a Man United without a consequent fan base that goes along with it. Nice marketing problem at hand for the PSG management!
The PSG has always been my favorite French club. My father used to bring me to the Parc des Princes since I was age 5 and I have seen countless matches with some great players like Dahleb, Susic, Weah, Rai, Leonardo, Pauleta along the way. Now with the arrival of the Qatari financial backup, the PSG has a unique chance of competing amongst the best teams in Europe. The current strategy is to invest in star players, older and younger, to give a head start to the club and accelerate the path to stardom. I would advise the PSG to gor for what I call a “sandwich strategy”. This means investing both at the top for short term results, such as buying Ibrahimovic, but just as important invest at the bottom in a local Masia. The PSG has the unique chance in Europe to be the only major football club in a area of about 10 million inhabitants comprising Paris and the greater Paris. Imagine all the youth talent that a well made detection system could yield. The big difference with the past is that Qatari financial power can now be used to retain this talent. Imagine if the PSG could have detected and kept Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, both native from Paris suburbs…
I would combine the idea of developing this home made Masia with a partnership with the Paris area transport system, the RATP. The RATP reaches out to most of the Parisian suburbs and would be a great fit in terms of a marketing strategy in building the Masia. The whole idea of discovering young talent would be combined with the image of the PSG using the RATP to reach out to hnudreds of thousands of kids. Some ideas that come at mind for this partnership:
Cheaper tickets to get to the Parc des Princes
PSG tv channel in selected metro, train and bus stops
PSG branding on RATP tickets, stations
PSG/RATP football academies and competitions then leading the best to integrate the Masia
I have had this idea for years now convinced that the transport system of such a big area like the Paris one is closely associated to the discovery of young talent for the PSG.
Take a snapshot of how the Mannschaft and Nazionale are playing in this year’s Euro and rewind some years ago. The contrast is flagrant. The whole philosophy has changed. Instead of reasoning in terms of preserving your own goal, Klinsmann and then Löw and Prandelli have built their strategy which prioritizes an attacking style that concerns all players, not only the offensive side. Look at Lahm, Barzagli, Abate, Hummels (a new Beckenbauer in my mind). They are all incredible defenders of course but their implication in the offensive potential of their teams is growing thanks to their coaches. I wonder the impact this has on Italian and German kids….probably a long lasting one and good news for the next Euros and World Cups for these 2 countries.
Oh and by the way, Italy and Germany have Pirlo and Özil, that makes it easier to apply these new revolutions!
Many football commentators still believe in some form of divide between incumbents and substitutes. I think those days are over. Welcome to the era of the incumbent that just doesn’t start the game. That’s a small paradigm shift which has already happened in rugby for example. Today, football teams need to be flexible in finding ways to defeat their opponents.
Take the case of team A who plays the whole game with the same incumbent on the right side of their defense. Team B starts with incumbent left wing player 1 for 60 minutes and then changes for incumbent left wing player 2 for the last 30 minutes. Result? Team A’s defender is faced with 2 players who have a totally different take on the game. Knowing that he will only play 60 minutes, the first incumbent of team B can play full out and so can his replacement. Applied to the Euro, what about if Laurent Blanc did that with player 1 = Ribéry and player 1 = Ménez. That would put quite a lot of pressure if the opposing defender is the same for the entire game!
In my opinion, football has become popular in certain countries and not others because styles became rooted in the national imagination. Take for example the Argentinian toque or the Brazilian jogo bonito or the Italian grinta or the Uruguayan garra. Generation after generation have identified with these styles and this has become entrenched in how each of these countries takes pride in their own football. I’m certain that if you did a test where you couldn’t recognize shirts or faces, that fans from these countries would immediately identify a team of their country simply by the attitudes of the footballers. Take a counter example with France. There has never been a French style of playing football. I’m quite certain that this lack of style has impacted generation after generation of French people who don’t really recognize themselves in football. On the other hand, this identification has happened in rugby where the French flair, even if less apparent now, still exists in the French collective memory.
Nadal won again against Federer in the Australian Open semi-final this morning. The comparison between the psychological advantage Nadal has over Federer with how the Blaugrana consistently defeat the Merengue is an intriguing one.
In his past clubs Mourinho always had the solution to win the psychological game. Think about how he brilliantly did that while at Chelsea and even more at Inter. Now compare the quality of players he has at Madrid with those he had at Inter. Clearly in favor of Real right? However, Mourinho has lost it ever since the memorable 5 – 0 defeat in Camp Nou over a year ago. Mourinho, for the first time ever is not leading the tactics, it’s Guardiola who imposes his vision and style on the clasicos. Just like Nadal does with Federer since some years now. Mourinho is constantly trying to adapt, change, combine tactics in reaction to Barça’s game. He did that with much more vista in yesterday’s game but the final verdict was yet again a Barça qualification. Many commentators actually thought Real could have won in yesterday’s beautiful clasico but I don’t agree. Real had to gather tons of efforts to dominate the game while you could tell Barça’s offensive potential just needed sparks to take off. Look at Barça’s first goal for proof.
I think Mourinho, like Federer, should stop living in denial and should accept their inferiority more publicly and start thinking of a new approach to their game. Easier to do for Mourinho than for Federer who has most of his career past him and who also has to deal with another “Barça”, namely Djokovic!
When the institution it represents is stronger than the players, the coaches, the management. Look at Mourinho’s current problems with Real Madrid. I don’t know if this is a grand scheme by the Great One to purposefully have Marca and As criticize him so as to win the support from the fans? One thing I am certain of is that the Real Madrid will not allow any coach to dictate what its DNA should be.
Latest: Barça 2 – Real 0 at half time with an incredible shot and goal by Dani Alves!!
Maracanazos know how to recognize truly great clubs.
FIFA’s Club World Cup is again taking football down the wrong alley. FIFA is looking at the financial gains in organizing this competition instead of prioritizing the 3 key points that matter most:
Stay close to the fans of the competing clubs
Bring back the passion of a 2 leg competition in the home stadiums of the 2 finalists
Limit this to a European vs South American champion final (until other continents reach the same level of football excellence)
Instead of that, the current edition is played in the neutral grounds of Japan or UAE for so-called football promotion efforts and some degree of sponsorship pressure (thanks Toyota…). I wonder how many Santos fans could pay for a stay in costly Tokyo?
Come on, let’s go back to the incredible Intercontinental Cup and to some of the most memorable matches like the famous Celtic – Racing final of 1967!
Maracanazos will always privilege passion above $€£