It’s that time of year again folks when the draws for both European competitions are made, and I keep you up to date on a pointless list I am trying to complete.
What is The UEFA 102 Club? Simple really, it was inspired by an article in When Saturday Comes of a man trying to see every team that has played in a European club competition (European Cup, European Cup Winners Cup, UEFA Cup) final in the flesh.
So, I made my own list, and began updating it every year.
2016-2017 was a disappointing season though, with no new additions.
If a team reaches a European club final for the first time, it will then be renamed The 103 Club ….. and so forth.
In last season’s European Cup, Leicester City were the only non-member in the Quarter-Finals, and were eliminated in that round.
The UEFA Cup Semi-final draw gave us the possibility that it could be The 103 Club or even The 104 Club.
With ten minutes to go, Celta Vigo and Lyon were both two goals away from being new members. Celta got one, but couldn’t get a second due to John Guidetti thankfully being useless in front of goal, meaning that instead of two new members, the UEFA Cup Final was between two clubs with a combined fifteen previous European finals between them.
This is the stage when Irish League and League of Ireland teams join in, meaning there is the possibility of me adding to the list without having to venture too far.
In the European Cup, Irish League champions (and it still feels good typing that) Linfield will be in the 1st Round, and won’t be facing any club on the list.
However, should they advance to the 2nd Round, that’s where the fun begins. Linfield would be unseeded, as would Dundalk, who enter at that round.
Possible member club opponents for both clubs include : Celtic (already ticked off), Red Bull Salzburg, Malmo and Partizan Belgrade.
Should Linfield and/or Dundalk advance to the 3rd Round, there will be no member clubs entering at that stage, meaning they can’t play a member club other than the four mentioned until the Group Stage.
Turning attention to the UEFA Cup, Irish League and League Of Ireland clubs enter in the 1st Round. Crusaders will be seeded, while Ballymena United, Coleraine, Derry City, Shamrock Rovers and Cork City will all be unseeded.
There are no possible member clubs that Crusaders could face in the 1st Round.
For the unseeded teams, possible member club opponents include : Videoton, Slovan Bratislava, Red Star Belgrade (yes please!!!), Ferencvaros and Rangers (already ticked off)
Should any of the Irish League or League Of Ireland teams reach the 2nd Round, that’s where the fun begins.
Possible 2nd Round opponents include : 2000 winners Galatasaray or Aberdeen (already ticked off).
The 3rd Round is where some big hitters join in, including : 2008 winners Zenit St Petersburg, 2012 runners-up Athletic Bilbao, AC Milan, PSV Eindhoven (already ticked off), 2011 runners-up Braga (already ticked off), 1996 runners-up Bordeaux, Everton (already ticked off), Marseille (already ticked off), Dinamo Zagreb (already ticked off), Austria Vienna and Panathiniakos.
If you’re dreaming of a trip to The Emirates, you’ll have to reach the Group Stage, where Arsenal (already ticked off) are one of three member clubs entering at that stage, the others being Koln and Lazio.
When the draw for the Group Stages of the European Cup is done, i’m going to look at going to one of Manchester United’s home matches, so hoping that would be against a member club i’ve never seen.
My first United match of 2017-2018 will be a pre-season friendly at Lansdowne Road against Sampdoria, so i’ll be adding them to my collection.
Dubliners are in for a treat that week, if you can call it that, as Liverpool play Athletic Bilbao at Lansdowne Road a few days later in a doubler. A Dublin Doubler, if you will. Or, if you prefer, a Double Dublin Doubler.
Not far from Dublin, Drogheda United will be playing Ipswich Town in a friendly at United Park on July 8th. If you’re wanting to add to your list.
As yet, there are no Irish League clubs with friendlies against a member club.
As well as playing in European competition, Linfield and Crusaders fans will have the chance to see their side face Dundee United (already ticked off) in the Scottish Challenge Cup, should the draw be so kind to them.
Bray Wanderers and Sligo Rovers fans will have the same opportunity.
So, my total? I’m currently on 35, hopefully 36 come early August.
I know, i’ve got a bit to go. I’d need a huge lottery win to complete it. What sort of loser would spend a lottery win travelling around Europe to watch fallen East German giants? Erm, me.
Here’s the full list of member clubs. 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)
PSV Eindhoven (2015)
Real Madrid (2003)
Red Star Belgrade
Stade de Reims
Tottenham Hotspur (2010)
West Ham United (1997)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (2010)
Zenit Saint Petersburg