Click here if ye need a deeper explanation but, really, it’s as simple as this:
Sporting Clube de Portugal
Red Star Belgrade (Crvena zvezda Beograd)
Carl Zeiss Jena
Olympique de Marseille
Zenit St Petersburg
Bordeaux (FC Girondins de Bordeaux)
Stade de Reims
TSV 1860 Munich
Twente Enschede (FC Twente)
SC Bastia (Bastia Corsica)
AZ ‘67 Alkmaar (AZ)
Casino Salzburg (SV Austria Salzburg, now Red Bull Salzburg)
*Okay, so, right – the London XI were the only one of the representative/select sides ever to reach the actual final of the Inter City Fairs Cup (the first edition, in 1958). So, while Braga in 2011 became the 100th club to reach a European final, Fulham, the previous season, became the 100th different finalist. This ties up nicely with the fact Craven Cottage legend Johnny Haynes played in that 1958 final, and indeed captained London on 4th June 1955 when they thrashed Basle away in the first ever match in European competition as we currently know it.
However, “London” is a particularly difficult finalist to bag. For a while I scanned the web, looking for upcoming charity games or testimonials being played in the capital by any kind of London Select but, in a desperate bid to avoid attending any kind of pro-celebrity football, I soon found myself investigating the London XI Select’s run to the first ever Fairs Cup final (Barcelona – the club – were held 2-2 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg but won the Nou Camp return 6-0) and quickly came up with a more authentic solution: It transpires all 11 London clubs provided players for the select side during the campaign. Best I can do, I reckon, is bag all of those clubs (plus it adds a lovely, poetic double-meaning to the “XI” suffix):
So far I’ve seen Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Leyton Orient, Fulham and Brentford but I’ll only move the London XI into the Got pile when I’ve also seen Milwall, QPR and Charlton.
I hope you can sleep easier knowing this; Yes, I do go about saying to myself ”I’ve bagged 69 and EIGHT ELEVENTHS of all the sides to reach a European final” and, yes, I’m fully aware it’s a barely-subconsciously created excuse to attend more football matches.
Oh, dearie me. What am I like! These crazy football fans … loveable eccentrics … you don’t HAVE to be mad to work here …