MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WORLD SOCCER – JULY 2003

The summer of 2003 is the latest subject in The Magazine Archive, a time when AC Milan were European Champions and France was getting ready to host the Confederations Cup.

The front cover image is of Paolo Maldini holding aloft the European Cup trophy after a penalty shoot-out win over Juventus at Old Trafford as red and black confetti rains down.

The first six pages are dedicated to reviewing the European Cup Final between AC Milan and Juventus.

Quite how they managed to get six pages out of a dour 0-0 draw, I don’t know.

Eight pages are dedicated to looking at football finances, in a month when it was announced that Real Madrid were the world’s richest football club.

Of the Top 20, 11 had won the European Cup.

Also in the Top 20, 10 of them were British (8 English, 2 Scottish) including 13th place (Unlucky for some you could say) Leeds United, who were relegated from the Premier League.

Newcastle United, ranked 15th, were relegated from the Premier League in 2009.

The Confederations Cup gets six pages of coverage, the same as the European Cup Final.

The editorial for the preview questions the merits of the competition, both in terms of workload on players, and the credibility of a competition, which is a poor cousin to the World Cup, and various continental competitions.

Sadly, the competiton is now best remembered because Cameroon midfielder Marc Vivien Foe collapsed and died during a match against Colombia.

Not to be forgotten, the 2003 UEFA Cup Final between Celtic and Porto got three pages of coverage, as Porto won 3-2, before winning the European Cup a year later.

In the round-ups from around the countries, England’s focuses on the battle for supremacy between Arsenal and Manchester United, as Arsenal retained their FA Cup, but lost the league to United.

A year later, the trophies were reversed. In October 2004, United ended Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run with a 2-0 win at Old Trafford, before United secured a double over their North London rivals in the return fixture, a game that saw Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira square up in the tunnel pre-match.

Arsenal had the last laugh that season, beating United in a penalty shoot-out in the FA Cup Final, Arsenal’s last trophy.

The emergence of Chelsea from 2004 onwards has meant that the United-Arsenal rivalry has become dormant, in comparison with it’s peak from 1997-2005.

Amongst the players who are profiled in this edition is Eric Djemba-Djemba of Nantes, who is described as “the latest up and coming talent in Le Championnat to be linked with a move to a big European club, with Juventus, Valencia and Manchester United all said to be interested in him”

He did eventually end up at United that summer, before being offloaded to Aston Villa in January 2005.

He currently plays for Odense in Denmark. That’s probably not where World Soccer would have imagined one of the most sought after players of 2003 to be playing in 2011.