Soccer Fans in LA and in North Africa Are Going Ballistic Over UEFA and CAF Champions League

Published on May 23, 2019

On June 1, millions of wild and wooly soccer fans worldwide will be tuning into the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid between English giants Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. The Reds and Spurs finished second and fourth respectively in the Premier League’s final standings.

Most noteworthy, more than 200 LA Spurs fans will squeeze into the hipster Greyhound Bar and Grill in Highland Park, in a rapidly gentrifying but once dodgy neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles. The boisterous fans, self-nicknamed The Yid Army, will sing homages to their Tottenham team and their manager Mauricio “he’s magic you know” Pochettino. The Army will also chant naughty ditties about Liverpool and their manager Jurgen “lovable loser” Klopp. All in good fun, of course, with no Liverpool fans invited.

It seems like LA Spurs may be the fastest growing premier league supporters club in America, with scores of Millennials increasingly glomming onto Spurs. While only the 6th biggest team in England— revenue and salary-wise — The Spurs are consistently punching above their weight class. As a result, this underdog achievement is attracting younger American fans who don’t want to bandwagon and support a moneybags team like Manchester City, which was bought by UAE’S Sheikh Mansour.

If the Greyhound is full, the overflow will be directed to its sister cocktail establishment, Spurs Millennials,  just up the block.

The Premier League runners-up Liverpool are favored. But the Spurs will be cast as the dramatic underdogs, who heroically ousted Manchester City’s Premier League triple winners in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. It’s manager Poch’s high-energy press versus Klopp’s gegenpressing. It’s Tottenham’s World Cup winning French captain, Hugo Lloris, versus Liverpool’s captain Jordan Henderson, of England. Be ready for no quarter to be asked for or given.

But, the next couple of weeks also feature another great final, the CAF (Confederation of African Football) Champions League final between two very intense and old rivals: Espérance de Tunis against WAC (Wydad) Casablanca of Morocco with the first leg being contested on the 24th of May in Morocco, and the second leg taking place in Tunisia on May 31st.

Casablanca-born Badr Berrada, a graduate of the London School of Economics, is a 24-year-old innovator who founded BBN Times two years ago, based out of London. Berrada, a huge Wydad fan, is proud of his BBN Times, which provides a unique platform for influencers and content creators to directly reach their readers. The platform has had 12 Million page views by 5.7 Million users, since launching, and also has 500K followers on Facebook, and 150K on LinkedIn. Close to 60 percent of its readers are Millennials.

Above all, soccer nut Berrada, while loving the blood and thunder of the English football, also speaks enthusiastically of these two North African rival clubs.

Berrada says of the upcoming final: “Wydad’s manager Benzarti knows Espérance very well, previously coaching them to a past CAF Champions League title. He’s a very demanding person, often screaming from the sidelines, and he can bench anyone in the team. But he loves to play an attacking style of football. Espérance is a well-organized team and a cohesive unit. Espérance is the favorites for me because they have already lost this year in the African Super Cup. Losing that final against another Moroccan team, Raja Casablanca, will provide them more motivation to beat us. It’s going to be a really tough two games. But we lost against them in 2011, and it’s time to get our revenge!”

Berrada adds that whether you support the thrust of power of English football, or the passion of African soccer, be ready to be entertained.

Ashley Jude Collie is a Columnist at Grit Daily. He has blogged and written for Playboy, Movie Entertainment, Sports Illustrated, MadeMan and HuffPost — interviewing Oscar winners (Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander), sports MVPs (Tom Brady), and business leaders (Amazon’s Jeff Bezos). His novel, REJEX, is out on Pulp Hero Press.

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