You may have noticed a new title. First of all, congratulations to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on becoming the 102nd club to reach a European final.
So, what is the 102 Club? Simple, it’s a task to watch every club that has played in a final of one of the three (European Cup, European Cup Winners Cup, UEFA Cup) European competitions. It was inspired by an article I saw about it in When Saturday Comes in 2010, so I decided to keep a note of my own progress.
I’d need a lottery win to have a chance of completing this. I’d be the sort of person who would spend a lottery win watching fallen East German giants now playing in lower leagues.
There are no official rules in place, but i’m counting teams I saw before they reached a final (Middlesbrough) and friendlies (Benfica, Feyenoord, Rangers)
I’m currently on 34, having added Espanyol, Sevilla and Valencia to my list over the past season. So, what are my chances of adding more teams in 2015-2016?
Well, there is the tantalising prospect of Ipswich Town playing Shelbourne in a friendly on July 11th. Ipswich are the English team on the list that I don’t have.
It’s the draw for the first round in both competitions tomorrow, and there are teams on the list who could be coming to Northern Ireland.
In the European Cup, Crusaders are unseeded in the First Round. If they make it through to the Second Round, possible ties against Steaua Bucharest, Celtic, Dinamo Zagreb, Partizan Belgrade, Malmo or Videton await.
Now, if they were to get to the Third Round, the only new entrant they could face would be Red Bull Salzburg, due to the competition being split into Champions and Non-Champions at this stage.
In the UEFA Cup, Linfield are seeded, but can still face a member of the 102 Club in the shape of Hungarian duo of Ferencvaros and MTK Budapest.
Remember Randers, Linfield’s UEFA Cup opponents in 2009-2010? They’re in this season’s competition but are seeded and can’t face Linfield, which might be a disappointment or a relief for the Todd family, with Randers manager Colin Todd being denied the chance to face his son Andy, Assistant Manager at Linfield.
They’re not on the list anyway, but a possible father v son clash was a nice curiousity. I have witnessed twins on opposing sides before.
My hope for Linfield is UCD (easy to get to, should win) or Colleague Europa (worst ranked team in the competition)
A tie against UCD would mean I would only have one more football stadium in Dublin to visit before getting the full set. That’s another list for another time.
If Todd Senior might be heading to The Oval or Mourneview Park this summer, what clubs that are on the list might be heading there?
The standout one is West Ham United, getting a Fair Play place. Also on the list are Slovan Bratislava, Red Star Belgrade, Dinamo Tblisi and Aberdeen.
If any of the three get to the Second Round, a possible tie against IFK Gothernborg awaits.
Round Three has some plum ties if Linfield, or any other Irish League team, can get past the Second Round hurdle they have fallen at in the last few years. Ties against sides such as Borussia Dortmund, Athletic Bilbao, AZ Alkmaar, Standard Liege, Bordeaux, Sampdoria and Saint Etienne would definitely generate a lot of interest for Irish League teams.
At some point before Christmas, i’m planning to head to one of Manchester United’s group games, the competition to be determined, so hopefully that will give me an opportunity to add another club to the list.
Today, several media outlets are reporting that Cardiff might be hosting the 2017 European Cup Final. Having been to Cardiff for last year’s European Super Cup Final, that would be absolutely fantastic.
It’s a city i’ve loved visiting, and this would give me a good excuse to go back, just to sample the atmosphere.
A European Cup Final in Cardiff could harm Belfast’s chances of hosting that summer’s European Super Cup Final on the basis that UEFA might be reluctant to have two finals in the UK in the same year, assuming the much rumoured IFA bid is for 2017.
So, want to see how many teams you here. The full list is below. The teams i’ve seen are in bold, with the year first seen in brackets.
1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig
1. FC Magdeburg
Aston Villa (1993)
Atlético Madrid (2011)
Birmingham City (2010)
Carl Zeiss Jena
Dinamo Zagreb (2008)
Dundee United (2013)
Leeds United (1999)
Manchester City (2000)
Manchester United (1993)
Newcastle United (1993)
Nottingham Forest (1996)
Real Madrid (2003)
Red Star Belgrade
Stade de Reims
Tottenham Hotspur (2010)
West Ham United (1997)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (2010)
Zenit Saint Petersburg