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Now We're Talking Football

Prime Time Football - Philippe Auclair

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Prime Time Football - Philippe Auclair


Football writer and biographer Philippe Auclair joins us on a rather interesting discussion that begins on the topic of Thierry Henry, the primary figure of a new book penned by Philippe on the much misunderstood star that has been Henry throughout his career. We explore his place in that period of time in the late 1990s and early 2000s when a young French striker led two revolutions though his brilliance, both for the French National Team and at Arsenal FC with Arsene Wenger as the Premier League grew into maturity and Henry became its most bankable star as the Invincibles soon defined excellence in this new league growing with fresh new stars. We get into the many facets of Thierry Henry, how his stardom and reaction to it was shaped at a very early period in his playing career, how he influenced an emerging American marketplace as the Premier League moved from its early adopter phase, interesting backroom details on a pre-contract that could never be fulfilled and how even today he is considered as remote or detached in the public eye, almost defying what we come to expect from transformative figures in the game. The conversation then turns to the matter of surprise package Lyon under Remi Garde who have over-performed this season and should eventually crack under the weight of talent and expense at PSG, what the longer term strategy is for clubs like Lyon and why there are serious concerns about the competitive landscape in Ligue 1 when only one team can spend and others continue to sell at precisely the right moment given market conditions. This conversation soon evolved into one of higher end football finance, whether UEFA Financial Fair Play in a French context will become a moot point given the QSI influence throughout French and continental football and whether the lessons learned here will soon apply throughout Europe given globalization and economic interests on a geo-political level where profits are not really what is at stake. Football in these circles is about influence and the sport is a proper vehicle on which to build real global influence with some of the largest organizations in the world of sport. We also examine the Younes Belhanda situation in the January transfer window, perhaps a deconstruction and selling off of important players at Montpellier less than a year removed from a remarkable Ligue 1 trophy and check in on Joey Barton at Marseille, one of the most interesting football stories of the year in one of the top football cities in France, if not Europe in total.

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