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The Twelfth Man: Key to Victory

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NOTE: This is not a post related to JRNL 1220. This is a post related to COMM 1100.

by Xin Li (Stephen)

The term “twelfth man” is usually used to refer to the fans of a soccer team who are watching the game in the stadium. With the cheering and noise they make, they can usually raise their supporting team’s morale and potentially become the “twelfth man” on the field. Therefore, there is a saying that the strongest team has the strongest “twelfth man”; it means the bigger the stadium the team owns and the more fans it can contain, the stronger the team will become. I fully agree with that, and that rule influent club teams much more deeply than national teams. In a soccer game, the audiences are so active that they can influence the game greatly.

If you look at the ranking according to the capacity of soccer clubs’ stadiums, you will find that the top ten stadium owners are all top clubs in the world. Barcelona, which is called the “dream team” currently, owns the biggest stadium “Nou Camp” with a capacity of 98,500 seats. Others in top ten such as Read Madrid who owns “Santiago Bernabeu”, Manchester United who owns “Old Trafford” and Juventus who owns “Delle Alpi”, are all among the strongest teams in the world.

However, compare with Spanish clubs and English clubs, Italian clubs are not performing well enough in European Champion League these years, although there are three Italian clubs that owns the top ten biggest stadiums in the world. But you may also want to pay attention to the attendance rate. According to statistics in season 2009-2010, the English Premier League has the highest attendance rate at 91.9% while the attendance rate in Italian serie A is only 55.7%. This poor attendance rate is even lower that 69.2%, the one which English Champion League has, which is the secondary league in England. Because of that, Italian clubs were doing badly in continental games against clubs from other countries.

Some may say that things are in the opposite way that a club’s strength determine how popular it is, and I have to fully disagree. Although it is one of the factors that determine a club’s popularity, it is not the only one; others such as star effect, propaganda, history and location, all help the club to become stronger. Therefore, the popularity of a club is a decisive factor to determine how strong it is.

photo 1 by austinhk

photo 2 by Keven Law



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