But plenty changed at Parc des Princes
21 May ~ Paris Saint-Germain were crowned French champions last week for the first time in 19 years. I didn't celebrate too much, having secretly hoped for a more exciting finish on the last day, similar to Manchester City last season. The celebrations at the Trocadéro square in Paris turned into a fiasco. I skipped them, having had bad memories of the Cup-Winners Cup celebrations at the Parc des Princes in 1996: soon after the team came out the pitch was invaded, first by hooligans from the "Kop of Boulogne" (KOB) stand, then by others as the players hurried back inside.
June issue available online and in stores
The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or dispatched on the day of order from the WSC shop.
Ferguson's final season
TV dictates Cup kick-offs
Bayern & Dortmund dominate
When Villa were champions
Nearly £40 million for bottom club
21 May ~ The Premier League have released individual clubs' broadcasting revenue figures for the 2012-13 season. Along with an equal share of £13.8 million per club, plus overseas rights payments of £18.9m each, the clubs also received £755,881 for each place higher they finished in the final league table and a facility fee every time their matches were shown on TV in the UK. It means Manchester United were given a total of £60.8m while bottom-place QPR got a meagre £39.8m – how will they cope?
Documentary questions medical evidence
20 May ~ Previously unbroadcast footage of the Hillsborough disaster proves evidence that was undermined in the original inquest was actually true. The pictures, analysed in a BBC Panorama documentary, cast more doubt on the medical evidence that supporters could not have survived beyond 3.15pm on that day. The programme shows that off-duty police officer Derek Bruder, who has always said he was trying to save 15-year-old Kevin Williams after that time, was telling the truth. The programme will air tonight on BBC One at 9pm.
Sitting between a cliff and the Croatian coast, Stadion Kantrida is the home of HNK Rijeka. The stadium opened in 1913 and as well as being the home ground of Rijeka since 1954, it occasionally hosts Croatian national team matches. Following a number of renovations, the stadium now has an all-seat capacity of 12,600.
17 May ~ José Mourinho has the chance to win what could be his last trophy as manager of Real Madrid tonight, when his team take on Atlético Madrid in the final of the Copa del Rey. The match is a repeat of the 1992 final, when Atlético beat their neighbours 2-0 at the Bernabéu. Atlético have not beaten Real in this millennium, though, so they'll need another bit of magic like this free-kick from former Real manager Bernhard Schuster if they're going to overcome Mourinho's men.
Notable kits of yesteryear
16 May ~ The 2005-06 season was a momentous one for Fleetwood. After re-forming in 1997 as Fleetwood Freeport following a deal with the local discount shopping centre, the club played in a striking white and broken-red striped kit for its first season. Promotion to the North West Counties Premier Division followed in 1999, and in 2002, the club released its first replica kit, in an unholy alliance with Prostar and the Fleetwood Weekly News.
15 May ~ St Neot is the patron saint of rural paranoia, which is like urban paranoia but with longer intervals between events. St Neot was originally an English shepherd who heard the voice of God while tending his flock, only it was the voice of God complaining about St Neot to someone else. This vexed and confused the young man and he sold his flock the next day in order to raise money for a golden cloak and sombrero. Read more
Because he jumps quite high
15 May ~ A group of Manchester United fans have taken it upon themselves to "bring Ronaldo home" to Old Trafford. They want each fan to pledge £10 as a deposit on a "Manchester United Ronaldo 7" shirt – the balance (no more than £55 for adults, £50 for kids, naturally) must then be paid if he is signed. But why Cristiano Ronaldo? "He generates 5G of G-force on take-off – this is five times the power of a cheetah in full flight," the website reads. Plus "his speed, height, technical ability will help ensure Manchester United win the 2014 Champions League Trophy". They could just ask for pledges to buy the trophy itself and make UEFA an offer. Or adopt an entire team of cheetahs from the WWF.
by Brian Greenhoff
Rarely can five years have generated as much football print as Tommy Docherty's stint at Manchester United. Although Docherty's managerial skills and style continue to polarise opinion, no one has argued he was a defensive genius. The statistics bear that out: away from home his United team always let in more than they scored, apart from their one year sabbatical in Division Two. Read more
A life in football
This is a book about life-changing moments, successful adaptations in life and survival in the football business, from player to executive. Paul Fletcher explains the title by saying that his "life and career has been magical; it's as simple as that". Fletcher's three moments of life-changing experience were seeing a small player head the ball, inspiring him to practise jumping and heading aged 16; meeting his wife-to-be at Bolton's Beachcomber Club; and attending a Dale Carnegie course in leadership training. Read more
Bees fail for seventh play-off campaign
21 May ~ In recent years, it's become an established pattern that Brentford just don't win promotion via the play-offs. In their seventh play-off campaign they have failed again, this time in a tense match against a resolute Yeovil Town, who now join England's second tier for the first time. It's a memorable moment for the Somerset club and their fans. Brentford fans could only rue the defeat, their team having been so close to automatic promotion and playing attractive football for much of the season.
Finnish province overcome challenges
20 May ~ IFK Mariehamn's Europa League debut, achieved by topping Finland's Fair Play standings, will be the first time a men's club from the self-governing province of Aland has taken part in European competition (women's team Aland United took part in the Women's Champions League in 2010). Some Alanders feel they could sustain a national team just as the Faroe Islands does but FIFA's attitude to new nations ensures that is unlikely to happen any time soon. Instead, islanders have poured their energy into IFK Mariehamn.
Parent company declared insolvent
20 May ~ Hearts closed their SPL season on Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Aberdeen and the immediate threat of administration hanging over them. The club's parent company UBIG has requested to be declared insolvent, which could trigger an 18-point deduction and mean relegation to the second tier of Scottish football. UBIG are a Lithuanian investment firm that have been placed on a list of companies deemed "unable to meet their obligations" by its country's government bankruptcy management department.
Former champions almost fell to fourth tier
19 May ~ Eintracht Braunschweig are back in Germany's Bundesliga for the first time in 28 years. One of the league's founding members in 1963, Braunschweig won the title in 1967 but since the mid-1980s have been languishing in the second and third divisions. Now the city in Lower Saxony, where football was allegedly first played in Germany, can look forward to welcoming the likes of Bayern Munich and local rivals Hannover 96 next season. From the opening-day win over favourites Cologne it has been a remarkable season for the Lions.
Northampton Town v Bradford City, 1.30pm
18 May ~ Northampton Town's League Two play-off final fixture today has sparked something of a week-long nostalgia trip across the town. It was 1997 the last time Cobblers went up via the play-offs, courtesy of an extra-time free-kick from left-back John Frain that secured a famous 1-0 win over Swansea City and saw the team promoted to what was then Division Two after a seven-year absence. Since booking the trip to Wembley, after a morale-boosting 1-0 second-leg win away to Cheltenham, comparisons have been made with the team of 1997.
3-0 down after play-off first leg
17 May ~ On Sunday Dunfermline Athletic will be fighting for their Scottish Division One survival, in a play-off final second leg that could also have an impact on the historic club's existence. They went into administration in March, after overspending in an attempt to re-establish themselves as a top-flight club. Two years ago they were celebrating promotion after beating their fiercest rivals, Raith Rovers, in front of 11,000 at East End Park. At the same time, their opponents in this season's play-off final, Alloa Athletic, were being relegated to Division Three.
From WSC 289
17 May ~ Considering that virtually every move David Beckham makes is tracked by the media, it was not at all surprising that they went into overdrive after he announced his retirement from playing football yesterday. Today's newspapers, front and back, were a sea of haircut photos, tributes, four-page specials and predictable headlines such as End It Like Beckham. He will be remembered as much for his celebrity status and his work outside football as for his right foot. But, as Georgina Turner discussed in WSC 289, March 2011, he isn't entirely to blame for the media circus that follows him.
MyFootballClub experiment over
17 May ~ Ebbsfleet may be most famous for its international railway station but the town's football team will soon be welcoming visitors from much further afield. The majority shareholders of Ebbsfleet United yesterday agreed to sell the club to KEH Sports Limited, a Kuwait-based company. The club made history in 2008 when they were taken over by the website MyFootballClub, but the online community of football enthusiasts has now relinquished their ownership.
Club were unable to use own stadium
16 May ~ It could be a pub quiz question: which team played at seven home grounds in a single season? The answer is Gateshead FC, from the Conference National, who recently completed what their chairman described as "the season from Hell" following a bright start which included a 4-1 home win over eventual champions Mansfield Town. During the summer the International Stadium pitch had been expensively relaid but, as an unusually long and wet winter descended on Tyneside, it became clear the surface couldn't cope with heavy rain.