Polish Non-League Football Photography

PolandOne of the great pleasures about BTLM is the number of interesting and creative football-minded people we have come into contact with from around Europe and beyond. Przemek Niciejewski is one of our favourites; a Polish photographer who has been brilliantly capturing the essence of European fan and stadium culture for the past quarter of a century.

We’ll be featuring some of our favourite images by Przemek over the coming months starting with these stunning images captured in and around non-League grounds in his native Poland. We love the stark, austere beauty of pictures that would be equally at home on our sister Twitter account @Brut_Football

Przemek is on Twitter @niciejewski and we recommend that you stop by his website to take a look at more of his fine work. Click on any of the images below to enlarge.

Argentina Vintage 1977-79

ArgentinaThe late 1970s was a time as good for football in Argentina as it was bad for democracy and human rights. The nation’s top clubs like Independiente and Boca Juniors dominated the Copa de Libertadores while the national side won their first World Cup in 1978 with success on home soil.

Images from the era feature here in this second Argentina Vintage post.

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England’s Repeat Champions

England flagFootball never sleeps, what with the Womens’ World Cup, the Copa America and the European U21 Championships vying for our attention during time we used to think of as the European close season. And once those competitions are concluded, quicker than you can say Europa League Preliminary Qualifying Rounds, a new club season will be upon us.

Chelsea 2015Of course in this age when transfer speculation is almost a sport in itself, there’s rarely any respite from the club game anyway. Just as soon as Chelsea secured the Premier League title last season, thoughts turned to whether José Mourinho’s side could successfully retain their crown next season and join that small but prestigious list of repeat English champions.

Chelsea’s manager has repeatedly expressed caution about how hard a task it is for a championship winning side to hold on to its title, but Chelsea will be favourites to do this come autumn nonetheless. In fact, the early Betfair picture—granted, one painted before summer signings take place— has early odds that comfortably position Chelsea as likeliest Premier League winner again. Not even a tricky early season schedule for the London club is seen as a discouragement for those in the know who fully expect the Blues to become just the 19th club in English top flight football to retain its title during the near-120 year history of professional football there.

Below is a list of five of the greatest English teams to have managed this feat:

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Juventus Vintage 1957-2013

ItalyWe round off our Juventus fortnight with a Vintage post featuring some of BTLM’s favourite bianconera images dating from the 1950s through to modern times. Great players, great occasions and great memories for supporters of Italy’s most successful club.

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Juventus Veteran Transfers Eleven

ItalyOur previous post discussed in detail Juventus’ fantastic record at signing veteran players in the autumn of their careers. As a follow-up we have created a new fantasy Eleven for you based around that article: the best team we could assemble comprising Juventus players who arrived in Turin at the age of 29 or older.

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Click on More below for a more detailed biography of the players in our selection.

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Enjoying An Indian Summer With Juventus

ItalyWith an average age of 30 years and 64 days, the Juventus team that reached last season’s Champions League Final followed a well-established Italian tradition of fielding some of the oldest sides in the competition. Those veteran legs were no hindrance for the Turin club either with only a brilliant Barcelona team stopping them from winning the whole tournament, just as age and experience didn’t unduly handicap Milan and Inter when they won the competition in 2007 and 2010 respectively with teams older still than the Juventus of 2015.

The sharp increase in the pace and athleticism of European football over the past decade might suggest that youthful energy and vigour is a prerequisite for contemporary success, but why would fielding an older team worry a club with a peerless record for squeezing productive football from declining veterans like Juventus?

Andrea PirloThree members of the Champions League finalists’ team fit this mould: Andrea Pirlo was picked up from Milan at the age of 32 and is still going strong four years later; Patrice Evra was discarded by Manchester United last year at the age of 33 and Carlos Tevez, while a little younger at 29, arrived with the sort of baggage that would have scared off many a club with less clarity of transfer vision than the Turin giants.

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Manchester United Vintage 1966-69

EnglandMore retro Manchester United Vintage images from the peak years of the Matt Busby era. Few would have imagined it at the time but United’s 1967 title win would be Busby’s, and indeed the club’s last for a quarter of a century.

This was probably the most important of Busby’s five championship wins as the resultant European Cup campaign was the one that set United on the road to becoming the first English winners of Europe’s premier competition.

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