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Malaga: 1984 revisited. Is this the way to win the Champions League?

In Qatar they build football stadiums.  Lots of them, because they are going to have a jolly world cup there.
The stadia are open to the sky – a bit like the Emirates.  All the people are under cover (although to avoid sunstroke rather than to avoid the freezing rain).   But they are supposedly also air conditioned.   Which presumably means that cold air is pumped up through the terraces and then goes up and out through the roof.  Which is a bit of a bugger because the stadia are supposed to be carbon neutral.

And as part of their build up to the big event Qatar thought it might be a nice idea to buy a club of their own.  A sort of Manchester City, PSG and Chelsea type club.  Only in Spain.   A club that could turn that rather drab and dreary two horse race of a championship in that country into a three horse race. So they bought Malaga and in their first season as a new super club they came fourth.

Except that it all went wrong.  The man with the money didn’t turn up with the dosh some days.  Players did not get paid.  There were legal cases.  Players walked.  In the end that awfully nice Mr Wenger sent a post-it note to the owner saying, tell you what, we’ll take Cazorla off your hands for 50p.  Just to help.

So that is what we did, but in reality there was never any shortage of money in Qatar any more than there is a shortage of gas and oil in Russia or a shortage of crap in the House of Commons.

Now everyone knows that just putting billions into a club doesn’t make the club champions.   Chelsea fell out with their manager, and then fell out with their manager, and then fell…. well you know.  PSG spent more on a team than the rest of the French league put together and came second to a team that cost less than PSG’s youth team.  Man City can’t quite get the hang of the Champions League.

Malaga did ok, coming fourth, because they made they qualifying round of the Champions League for what I think was the first time. But even as they did that it was said that no one was being paid, the sheikh had found a different sport (shuv ha’penny or some such) and the bottomless pocket had a hole in it.

But then Malaga (with their brilliant nickname, the anchovies) triumphed.  Managed by Manuel Pellegrini they have developed a defence that hardly lets in goals.  They are top of their champions league group.

Goodness knows what Financial Fair Play makes of all this.  Are they in the clear following the sell-offs or are they, like Chelsea, Man C and PSG all totally played out in financial terms?
But finances aside in the Champs League they have won all three games.  In the Spanish League here is the latest position at the top, which ain’t too bad for a team that couldn’t actually get its owner to answer any emails during the summer:

Spanish First Division League Table

Pld Pts W D L F A
Barcelona 9 25 8 1 0 29 11
Atlético Madrid 8 22 7 1 0 19 8
Málaga 9 18 5 3 1 13 5
Betis 9 16 5 1 3 13 13
Real Madrid 8 14 4 2 2 16 7
Sevilla 9 14 4 2 3 12 11
Levante 8 13 4 1 3 9 13
As George Orwell might well have said, had he lived a little later and had any sort of interest in football:  Freedom is slavery.  Ignorance is Strength.  Football is Chaos.

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9 comments to Malaga: 1984 revisited. Is this the way to win the Champions League?

  • dan

    Financial fair play, will this Arsenal really work out? I have my fears as with everything advertised don’t always believe it.

    I could be wrong but a little clarification would be nice.

  • dan

    Financial fair play, will this Arsenal really work out


    Financial fair play, will this really work out for Arsenal?

  • Stuart


    Who knows? Many of the anti-Wenger brigade use the clubs planning and preparations for FFP as a negative thing saying something like ‘they are hoping it will be the saviour’ but at present as we are told it is coming into effect, we would be foolish to ignore it.

  • Larry

    We’ve had so many emails pouring in all with much the same comment (that Arsenal FC pays for this blog) that I’m starting to delete them without publication.

    Regular readers will know that this story has been running for several years, and has repeatedly been denied by myself, as the editor and owner of the site.

    You don’t have to believe me, but I see little point in repeating these accusations endlessly.


  • robl

    City seem to think so – look who has just taken over youth development.

  • nicky

    If Man Citeh and Chelsea are said to already comply with the FFP Regs, I would even believe a rumour that Arsenal and Spurs will amalgamate!

  • Dave A

    All emails sent to Untold must come from a valid email address, and this one doesn’t seem to.

  • Daniel Wong

    So Ivan has placed his hopes on ffp. Is there any guarantee UEFA will carry out its threat to punish financial doped clubs?Until it happens, I won’t believe it. Football is a avery lucartive business. Winning makes you attractive to sponsors.
    Now if the gunners can winning games and a big if they can win the cl, it will be a different scenario.Not with the present squad. For it to happen Arsenal have got to get at least three wc players. That won’t happen untill 2014
    I tell you w hat. No doubt the gap is just 7 points,but Arsenal can at the most finsh 4th unless Wenger buys some top notch players. That is very unlikely given his value for mony atttitude.

  • Stuart

    Daniel Wong,
    WRT is there any guarantee UEFA will punish the financially doped,
    What option do we have? If we disregard the promised rules and they come in then we are stuffed.

    I don’t understand how so many people do actually have a problem with us planning for a rule which we have been told is coming into force. Surely ignorance is the most irresponsible thing we can do here.