The Assistant Professor of Football: Soccer, Culture, History.

The Assistant Professor of Football: Soccer, Culture, History.

The academic treatment for English-speakers who get that soccer is more than gamedays, stars and goals. Who wonder about the histories, subcultures and politics that make the game so different from many American sports cultures; and who care about a critical take on soccer as a global capitalist machine. A European-guided journey, with one expert "visiting professor" each episode.

Episodes

June 24, 2024 76 mins

The end of Season 2 of The Assistant Professor of Football is nigh, and we check in with guests from the last year to hear how their club, cause or research have been doing. Here are, in order: 

Peter K Wagner on Sturm Graz’s sensational champions league and cup winning season

Fabio Schaupp, also from Graz, on the promotion of Graz’s other team, GAK, to the Austrian Bundesliga, so regular Graz derbies from now own.

Fredrik Rakar, chai...

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Goshen, Indiana is home to a private college without an American Football team - and, most recently, a semi-professional soccer club that serves as an - albeit unusual - case study for how grassroots soccer in the U.S. can thrive and build a community.
The overarching theme of The Assistant Professor is that football is not merely about goals and stars. It is, done properly, a participatory culture, an identity-forging communi...

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Today's episode is a mix between soccer detective story and true crime podcasting. British investigative journalist Paul Brown is our Visiting Professor for the day. He and his colleague Philippe Auclair have piled up pathbreaking research on the backstory, money trail and flat out baffling activities of a group called 777 partners. Their activities in the insurance and airplanes business would be a story well worth telling in...

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We begin with the Eurovision Songcontest and end with Sturm Graz's cup win, but consider, most of all, FC St. Gallen. Saint who? True, if I would ask you who invented club football in Europe in continental Europe, would you guess that the answer is the same as to the Ricola cough drop question? The Swiss did! Well, technically English students living in Switzerland, but nevermind - the year was 1879 and the place was right nea...

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The excesses of global soccer capitalism are well documented on this podcast. Perhaps no footballing country is more affected than England, the birthplace of the modern game and home to arguably the wealthiest clubs and league. To take it up one notch, six of its big clubs attempted to join the breakaway Super League while, around the same time, historic club Bury FC collapse and fell under administration. The fan protests surround...

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Kay Bernstein was elected the president of Hertha BSC, then in the 1st Bundesliga, in June 2022. He died at his home near Berlin on January 16th of this year, with Hertha being in the 2nd Bundesliga. What sounds like a short and - on the pitch - unsuccessful presidency is in fact the most significant shift and opening up of possibilities in club leadership in German and, possibly, European club leadership over the last years.
...

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"The era is brought to life by the accounts of Albanians who lived through it, which capture the importance of football to a populace starved of any other source of communal enjoyment. The otherworldliness and innate cruelty of the Stalinist regime provide a terrifying backdrop to their tales," reads the blurb for Phil Harrison's book The Hermit Kingdom: Football Stories from Stalinist Albania.  Albania, on the far e...

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... of all people! Raphael is a German political scientist, whose book "Peace to the Terraces, War to the Federations and Leagues" is a pathbreaking materialist critique of "modern soccer" - the game as purely an entertainment market commodity. The book is only published in German so far, and we were in the process of rolling out his thoughts with the ongoing conflict between German fans and the German Bundeslig...

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Indie, Hip Hop, Punk, Reggae, Ska and Choruses- from Leeds to Istanbul, from Vienna to Mexico City, from Darmstadt to Buenos Aires. Your second soccer playlist is here - with some background info, and plenty of quirky football lyrics.

PLAYLIST FOR THIS EPISODE - links to videos:

Puma Hardchorus - England, France, Germany and Italy

Alberto Colucci - Die Sonne Scheint (SV Darmstadt 98)

Manu Chao (w...

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If you are thinking of dreaming of going to England, seeing a Premier League game, dive into the atmosphere that you see on TV, or even have concrete travel plans already to finally see one game of the club you otherwise follow on TV, then this episode is for you. If you are listening from England, and have followed your club for years and decades, it's for you as well.

Felipe Tobar, originally from Brazil, is a scholar at Clem...

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I thought today’s episode needed a long rationalization.  But as I was writing it, I thought f*** it, I don’t need to be doing  verbal gymnastics. I know human beings, there, and our guest does too. So we’ll just let these stories speak. About soccer, about trauma, about peace and coexistence, and about youth cultures both left and right of center in what is a diverse and divided country. This was a hard episode for me to prepare a...

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Just a few weeks ago, Poland elected a new parliament. The result was a change in power, from the national conservative camp to the centrist, pro-European one. And the campaign, yet again, highlighted, to use an overused term, the culture wars over defining the future of one of the European Union’s largest but also newest member states. Historically occupied by its neighbors over and over again, risen from the Eastern bloc, riven b...

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December 25, 2023 31 mins

A mini audiobook - for the time to think in the evenings after the presents have all been unwrapped, or for a listen with the children:

As the story goes, on Christmas 1914, during world war 1, in the trenches of Belgium, German and English soldiers laid down their weapons, shook hands, and played a game of football in the no man’s land between the lines. Historians are unsure if an actual match was played, you can find mo...

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An arranged marriage of a Greek and a Celt began the settlement of Massalia, today: Marseille. Europe’s bellwether of multiculturalism, 2nd city of France, one of Europe’s biggest ports, migrant destination for centuries, cauldron of socioeconomic conflict, cradle of French rap music - and home of Olympique, still France’s only Champions League winner ever. A few days after that win, the club went under in a bribery scandal and for...

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FC St. Pauli is a 2nd Bundesliga team from Hamburg. That’s one thing. It is also "Germany’s original cult club," an "antifascist pioneer," the "club of punk and techno, or a "swashbuckling left wing club." The history behind these labels begin in the late 1980s, when punks occupied houses around St. Pauli’s stadium and antiracists found out that football grounds didn't just belong to Neonazis...

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On Thursday, November 2nd, the second largest city of Austria, Graz, will see  its second soccer derby in the last 16 years, in the Austrian cup tournament. Sturm Graz, currently leaders of the Austrian Bundesliga and Europa League starters, face GAK (Graz Athletic Sports Club), the city's oldest club, its first one to win a national title, and currently on the verge of returning to the 1st tier. 

This episode hits close to hom...

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Matthias Sindelar was, and is, the most famous Austrian footballer between World Wars 1 and 2. Known for his elegant style of play during a period when Austrian soccer was admired as an innovative model, he defined Austria’s national team, known as the "miracle team," and his club, Austria Vienna. Austria joined Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1945. And when it arose as an independent nation again, Sindelar's legacy wa...

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Soccer jerseys, kits, football shirts - whatever the name, there is no shortage of  opinions about them. Pretty or ugly, traditional or not, brands, costs, sponsors; whether to own only those we have connections to, or buy them for style, or collect them...
We’ll cut through all that today, with the help of Alex Ireland, author of the very recently published book Pretty Poly: The History of the Football Shirt. This episode is ...

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When I was High School, Sturm Graz, one of the two teams of my hometown in Austria and the club I was born into, had its most successful phase. We made it to the CL group phase twice - and eventually went bankrupt from it. One of the protagonists was a young, serious-looking player from our own youth system who was known to be not your stereotypical soccer player. We were aware that he had a love for languages and philosophy. Durin...

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FC Bayern is the club of Franz Beckenbauer, Harry Kane, and countless fans across the world. However, Bayern is also the club of Kurt Landauer. A Jew from a businesspeople’s family, he served for Germany in World War I and got to know football from English and Swiss students. As a club president, he led his FC Bayern to its first championship 1932, a year before the Nazi rise to power. As a Jew, Landauer promptly landed in a concen...

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