Irish Daily Star




Mark Robins

MANCHESTER UTD, Norwich, Reading Leicester, Copenhagen (loan),

City (loan), Ourense, Panionios, Man

City (loan), Walsall, Rotherham, Bristol (loan), Sheff Wed, Burton Albion Preparing to face his former club in tomorrow’s FA Cup semi-final as Coventry City manager Starting a second he spell as Coventry boss in 2017, from has led them to two promotions, League Two up to the Championsh­ip

NAME: CLUBS: WHAT NOW: DID YOU KNOW? FOOTBALL heritage. Do those two words ring a bell?

It goes back to March, 2018 and a Jose Mourinho press conference when he was in charge of Manchester United.

Three days after they crashed out of the Champions League to Sevilla, he used a routine Premier League presser to let rip.

It was clear he wasn’t speaking off the cuff. This was a sermon that he’d put a lot of thought into. The press conference table became his pulpit. Mourinho spoke without interrupti­on for a staggering 12 minutes.

“There is something that I used to call football heritage — I try to translate from my Portuguese, which is almost perfect to my English that is far from perfect,’’ he said.

“But translatio­n, word by word, is something like football heritage and what a manager inherits. Like the last time Manchester United won the Champions League, which didn’t happen a lot of times, was in 2008. The last final was 2011.”

Mourinho went on to detail United’s failures in Europe in the years after 2011.

His point seemed to be that he’d inherited a mess and was facing an uphill task in turning things around.

But it was the way he kept repeating the words “football heritage” that lingers most.

There are certain clubs — and United is one of them, if you take a longer view than Mourinho did — whose heritage matters and gives them an edge.

When it comes to Europe, what football heritage do Arsenal have?

They’ve won two trophies — two that no longer exist. The Fairs Cup in 1969 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1991.


They had an incredible record in the Champions League under Arsene Wenger, in one sense. For 20 years in a row, they qualified for the competitio­n.

But they were passengers once they got there. Arsenal made one final. Otherwise, it was year after year of exits once they got to the knockout phases — usually in the last 16 or quarter-finals.

When it comes to Europe, what football heritage do Manchester City have?

Before the oil money came along, they competed in the European Cup just once — way back in the 1968/69 season.

They were drawn against Fenerbahce of Turkey in the first round and Malcolm Allison, City’s flamboyant and outspoken manager, declared that his team would “terrify Europe”.

What happened? Fenerbahce schooled City over the two legs.

Before Pep Guardiola delivered the Champions League at the seventh attempt a year ago, City’s only European trophy was the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970. Not much football heritage...

Bayern Munich have football heritage in Europe, Real Madrid have more of it than anyone.Liverpool have it too.

Under Jurgen Klopp, they went to three Champions

League finals, winning one of them.

They were no world beaters on Rafa Benitez’s watch, but won the Champions League and went to the final and semi-finals in other seasons.


Bill Shankly built Liverpool’s European heritage — the 1973 UEFA Cup winning team was close to that which won the European Cup under Bob Paisley four years later.

Paisley and Joe Fagan then put their own mark on European football history.

Did football heritage stand to Bayern and Real in the Champions League quarter-finals? It’s fair to assume that it did help.

There are two teams from Germany left in the Champions League, and one each from Spain and France.

Does that mean the Bundesliga is the strongest league in the world?

After all, the new German champions, Bayer Leverkusen, have actually played in the Europa League this season.

They are 16 points clear of Champions League semi-finalists, Bayern Munich, who are in second spot.

Borussia Dortmund are in the last four of the Champions League too. They’re languishin­g in fifth spot in the Bundesliga, 23 points adrift of Leverkusen.

So is this not an argument that there is serious strength of depth in the Bundesliga?

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