The Future Football Superpower

USA tifo Costa Rica

In their masterpiece ‘Soccernomics’, Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski try to predict which nation will be the future dominant Football nation. They rank countries based on population size, success, GDP per capita and working-class population size; the metrics they believe contribute toward international success in the sport. Football’s low barriers to entry have made it thrive in cities and countries with large working-class populations. All you need is a ball to play. Thus, in theory, countries with larger blue-collar populations will produce better Footballers and are more likely to be successful.

Their prediction? Turkey. But there is one factor they didn’t take into account. Continue reading

Wedding & the Boateng Brothers

Boateng Brothers Wedding

When you did your stop in Berlin on your European interrailing trip when you were 20, you didn’t stay in Wedding. If you listen to local radio, the news bulletin will frequently talk of bank jobs or violent muggings in the Wedding neighbourhood. One to avoid for outsiders. Much of the former West is known for sophistication and high-end boutiques, over-indulgence and a socialite lifestyle. The former East is known for drug tourism, house music clubbing at 8am, thriving small businesses and now a wave of 20 something Brits quickly snapping up cheap property to escape the looming post-Brexit-meltdown.

Wedding is known for cheap Schawarma, hooka bars and “Kanackisch”. This Continue reading

Mein Rostock, unser Hansa

You’ve not made it as a city until a pop song has been written for you. New York. Paris. Amsterdam. Bangkok. Erm, Amarillo. This tradition exists among songwriters in other languages also. In German, the ballads are usually dedicated to the romance, excitement and hedonism of Berlin. It lends itself far better to poetry than, for example, Bremerhaven. But one unlikely German city has found itself subject of a modern smash-hit.

Rostock. The song Continue reading

Why do Germans Hate RB Leipzig so much?

Nein zu RB Leipzig Aufkleber

You know the story. One of East Germany’s biggest “start-ups” now looks a challenger for the Bundesliga title, at time of writing. The story has drawn a different kind of foreign attention to the Bundesliga. Outsiders frequently acknowledge the excellency of the German Football experience, but now they are hearing more about the stark mainstream rejection of this story on behalf of fans. Why do Germans hate RB Leipzig so much? German society and culture play a big part. Continue reading