Capital Nonsense

Posted: October 8, 2015 in Football, Opinion
Tags: , , , , , , ,


At the risk of appearing as though this is becoming my pet project I want to write, for the last time, about the attraction, (or otherwise), of capital cities to football players.

In England, at the moment, there is a feeling that players coming into our game from abroad would rather play for a London team because they would rather live in London.

I don’t think it is the feeling of the majority, but there are certainly some who think this way. I have covered the reasons as to why this isn’t true, specifically about London, in another post, which you can access here.

What I would like to look at now is whether the capital cities in other countries hold any more attraction than the other large cities when a player is making a move.

The prime concern for a married footballer must be his family and how they will settle, as he will immediately have new friends and plenty to do.

Taking Spain as my first example and using the domestic league title as the yardstick, (winning the league will automatically gain entrance to the Champions League which, apparently, is what every player craves). Obviously the two most successful clubs are Real Madrid and Barcelona having won “La Liga” on 32 and 23 occasions respectively. Both clubs are more or less guaranteed Champions League football every year. So if a player is moving to Spain, where does he go? Strangely enough not many players have had the choice between the two. Usually a player is of interest to either one of the clubs, rarely to both, so it doesn’t become an issue here. I doubt, however, there is much to choose between living in Madrid and living in Barcelona, unless you are extremely politically motivated.

My second example is Germany where, similar to England, the most successful teams are not located in the capital. Does this mean that players would rather go to Hertha Berlin than Bayern Munich so that they can live in the capital? Of course not. Bayern Munich have won the Bundesliga on 16 occasions. When they are interested in buying players I don’t hear any of them saying they don’t want to go to Bayern because Munich is not the capital. So it is not an issue in Germany.

Thirdly we look at Italy where Juventus of Turin have won the league on 31 occasions and the two Milan clubs have won it 18 times each. Again there is the option to play for Roma, in Rome, but I have never been aware of players going to Roma because it is the capital when they could have gone to one of the other three I have mentioned.

Now, it may be that because London has a couple of reasonably successful clubs, there is a choice to be made when one of them is interested in a player along with a North West club. What does that player do? Again, I don’t think the fact that London is the capital comes into the players way of thinking. He wants the best deal, the best promises on playing time, being played in the right position and all that kind of thing long before the geography becomes an issue, if it ever does.

Unfortunately, I think there are people, usually from London, who vastly over estimate the importance of London. It is just a big city that happens to be the capital of England even though it is very poorly situated to be so. The assumption that players want to live in London and would, therefore, turn down moves to Manchester United or City or to Liverpool or Everton is a ridiculous one.

What do you think? Is being situated in the capital an advantage for clubs when they want to sign players? Obviously it isn’t if the capital doesn’t have any successful clubs, like Germany but what about Italy or England? Do you agree with my other blog that is linked in this one? Let me know your thoughts in the comments box and I’ll try to reply to them.


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