Sham amateurism, constant meddling for political purposes, wide-scale corruption and, in post-communist times; unpalatable oligarchs – I’ve often wondered why throughout my football supporting life I’ve cheered for Eastern European clubs to do well in European competition. I’d like to say it’s because clubs from the communist east were somehow perennial underdogs battling against a western European hegemony, but I’d struggle to make any case to back it up. That so much good football escaped such a bad system is credit to the ingenuity and innovation of the coaches and the raw quality of the talent they had to work with.
Despite that invaluable advantage of having me supporting their cause from afar, European competition returns over the decades have been fairly modest and clubs from Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia, Hungary, Romania, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia have won just 14 European titles between them – two European Cups, five Cup Winners Cups, two Fairs Cups, three UEFA Cups and two European Super Cups. And yes, I wish it had been more.
Eastern Success In Europe On Film is our latest video channel and features goals and highlights from all the Finals that produced an eastern winner. Click on the image below to take a look or you can also access it from the On Film section in our Menu.