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Old 06.03.2011, 12:45
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Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team. I'd love for this thread to be a long, ongoing thread which can used to look back on all things Swiss football.

Anyway, I'm half Swiss and English. I have grown up in South London / Kent and spent many a summer holiday seeing family out in Switzerland.

I fell in love with Swiss football when my neighbour in Switzerland (grandparents house - summer holidays) started taking me to some games when I was a young teen. I went to a good few FC Thun, BSC Young Boys Bern and FC Spiez games as well as some away fixtures to the likes of Zurich Grasshoppers etc. This all fit in well to being a football obsessed teenager who had (still has) a Crystal Palace season ticket.

As my trips to Switzerland have continued, so have my visits to Swiss football grounds. I even managed to get tickets in the FC Thun end against Arsenal at Highbury and attend the England v Switzerland friendly at Wembley. Over the years I have seen Swiss football come on leaps and bounds both in terms of their national team as well as their domestic leagues. I remember a time when it was hard to even buy a football in the local area out in Switzerland where I spent my summer holidays. Now football is very established and the Swiss national team have qualified for all major competitions of late as well as hosting Euro 2008 too (which I attended). The Swiss have performed very well for a country with a smaller population than London! Knock out stages have been a regular occurrence as the team progressed under Kobi Kuhn (who I am distantly related to) and Bayern legend Omar Hitzfeld. Long term optimism is high following the victories experienced by the youth Swiss national teams so hopefully some of the great talent will continue to emerge.

So, I hope this thread will be a discussion of the Swiss national team(s), all domestic leagues and any Swiss related football topic (e.g. a Swiss player at a European club or a Swiss club in Europe). I have tried to keep in touch with Swiss football and have found some streams online, but these have dried up a bit recently. PM me if you have info on this or want info.

This weekend's Super League results:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/foot...ts/default.stm

Table:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/foot...es/default.stm

A few potential topics to discuss: -

- The progress the Swiss have made in European competitions in the last decade in contrast with the recent drop out of the top 15 in the UEFA league rankings.

- The battle for the Super League title

- The battle for the Swiss Cup

- Was Chapuisat really world class?

- Famous players to have played in the Swiss leagues

- Swiss players playing around Europe

- The national team

- Is Shaquiri the best young Swiss player for many years?

- Scott Sutter and his recent u-turn to play for Switzerland instead of England

- The handing out of passports to talented footballers so they can play for Switzerland

- Will Lausanne's cup success ever be matched again by a non Super League team?

_______________

Despite the above topics, I suggest we start with MY FAVOURITE SWISS CLUB. I'll start by cheating and saying 3:

1) FC Thun
2) BSC Young Boys Bern
3) FC Spiez

FC Thun are extremely local so I have been attending their matches for many years. The famous Murat Yakin is now their manager and their fortunes are up and down . They once did great in the Champions League but then have also found themselves in the Challenge League. Despite being a tiny team they have a new ground on the way. Personally I love their current ground as it has real old school character and amazing views. You have to admire a club which does well in the Champions League despite a set-up akin to that of my local non league team Bromley. An example of this is the fact I buy match tickets from the local Pharmacy. I did once know a player of FC Thun who has now moved on the play for FC St Gallen.

Bern are the capital city club and play their games at the sometimes seen as humorously named Wankdorf Stadium / Stade de Suisse. I went to the final game in the old stadium before it was knocked down and can say the new ground is a real improvement. The current ground has a big shopper complex beneath it and also boasts a very good artificial surface. The stadium was built to be the national football stadium but many national games have been played at FC Basel (my least favourite club in the Super League). In fact the stadium has hosted ice hockey too! Sadly the average attendance at the ice hockey stadium nearby is higher than that of the football club, but then the ice hockey team did have the highest average attendance for ice hockey in Europe. Scott Sutter plays for YB and he is an English born footballer who moved to play in Switzerland at around 15/16 years old. He played for their youth teams but the Spurs fan then famously turned down playing for the national team only to do a u-turn a few years later. YB did well against Spurs for a while in the Champions League qualifiers this year before getting knocked out of the Europa league by Zenit St Petersberg.

FC Spiez are a lower league club and this is where my family are from. I have a FC Spiez badge in my car and the old fella who took me to matches used to play in goal for them. One of the local pubs I frequent are also the main sponsors. I plan on watching 2 of their matches when I visit in May/June, as well as taking in the Swiss Cup final on TV out there.

I am sure many of you guys on here know the above information, but I wrote most of it for a thread I have started on the Crystal Palace FC fans forum (www.cpfc.org/forums).

I'd love to stay in touch with Swiss football with the help you you guys, have great football chats and maybe even sort out some socials too!
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Old 06.03.2011, 12:55
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

Great Footy post.

What suggestions do you have for an English speaking young lad to break into the Swiss football scene ?
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Old 06.03.2011, 13:15
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

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Great Footy post.

What suggestions do you have for an English speaking young lad to break into the Swiss football scene ?
Playing or watching?

I'll concentrate on watching seeing as I am way too unfit to play properly.

I'll be honest, I'm still trying to find my feet on this topic myself. I'd say it isn't easy, especially if you aren't based in Switzerland. I've found that most Swiss based football websites are in one of the native languages, or at least the ones with decent coverage. So I'd say use a decent web browser with an instant translator tool! If I'm honest, apart from pointing you towards a few websites (which I can do when I have a bit more time) I'd say the best way is to bite the bullet and either just turn up at your local football stadium and watch a game, or look for the club's fans forum and put a plea out there. I've turned up to Thun games (with friends of by myself) and people have noticed I'm English and made a huge effort to talk to me, ask why I chose to attend, ask about my English club I follow and generally make a huge effort to integrate me in the social scene. I'd say I've struggled to keep this interaction going as many of these experiences were before internet social networking was big and also I have visited Switzerland on an ad-hoc basis so it was hard to keep the communication up.

Personally I'd start online. I'd Wikipedia my local Swiss team, click on the players from there and learn a bit about the club to build interest first. Then I'd just rely on the fantastically friendly Swiss football fans out there. I particularly remember an example of this when I was in the FC Thun end at Highbury for the Champions League game. I'd had tickets arranged by a player at Thun at the time (as my Mum had just got speaking to a woman on a bus once who happened to the the mother of a player - this shows the friendly nature) and the Swiss fans were quite shocked at my vocal passion I was showing, and also confused I was expressing this in English. They kindly asked me my story and of course welcomed me in to the fold for the game. I think I need to be a bit more forthcoming when I have such experiences and ask people for email addresses etc so I can stay in touch with the club through them. I'd recommend the same for any English speaker wanting to get in to Swiss football.

If you are English speaking and learning any Swiss language, then combine your learning by reading news reports of matches in the language you are learning. If you are learning at a low level then look at a young teenagers magazine on football, or build up to more complex newspaper content. This is something I'm going to look to do when I have the time.

So to sum up, I am myself trying to find out the answer the that very question.

As for watching Swiss games on TV first, Schweizer Fernsehen put their games on live on their website and I have a link for a site which sometimes puts some streams up but I don't want to post it here to get the forum in potential trouble so PM me if interested. That is something I think which must get better though! Those abroad need better and affordable access to Swiss games as streamers seem a bit unreliable from CH!

P.S. I assume you are a Luton fan? What is your football and Switz story? I have some friends from the Bedfordshire area who keep an eye on Luton. I also teach a sixth form student from South London who goes to all of their games!
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Old 06.03.2011, 13:16
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

My compliments for your bright idea to start this thread.
I'm fan of Servette de Genève since the mid 80s...now we are struggling...but I still have hopes one day we will be at the top again!
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Old 06.03.2011, 13:17
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

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I suggest we start with MY FAVOURITE SWISS CLUB.
I've had a season ticket at Xamax for years now, although every season I debate whether or not to renew it. The club (like small clubs all over Europe I suppose) seems to be in a state of terminal decline, with attendances 50% lower than what they were when I started following them in 1998.

The lack of atmosphere is not helped by the fact that three years ago, the club evicted all "normal" season ticket holders from the sides of the ground, designating these areas as reserved for VIP ticket holders. Result: both sides of the ground are mostly empty, as the VIPs who have invested large sums of money to reserve the best seats don't bother to actually turn up for games.

I'll still be going to watch them against Bellinzona this afternoon though

Upthehatters... I guess from your username that you're from Luton ? I grew up in a place a few miles down the road from there that you probably don't like very much...
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Old 06.03.2011, 13:27
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

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My compliments for your bright idea to start this thread.
I'm fan of Servette de Genève since the mid 80s...now we are struggling...but I still have hopes one day we will be at the top again!
I have always assume any Geneva based club have a huge opportunity to be a huge Swiss club? The French speaking countries of the world have usually embraced football and of course Geneva is such a big city for Switzerland. If Swiss football were to continue to improve I'm sure good players would be drawn to the stunning lake, city and low taxes too. It would seem logical that a Zurich, Geneva and Bern club(s) would dominate.

Was it Servette who were in huge financial trouble in the past and were expelled from the Super League etc? And re-started? Or was this Sion? Did Senderos come from Servette or Sion? I know Servette have a nice ground, but what is the backdrop like? How expensive are tickets? Any really famous players to play at Servette? Who is the best you have ever seen there and the best prospects at the moment? Sorry for a thousand questions

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I've had a season ticket at Xamax for years now, although every season I debate whether or not to renew it. The club (like small clubs all over Europe I suppose) seems to be in a state of terminal decline, with attendances 50% lower than what they were when I started following them in 1998.

The lack of atmosphere is not helped by the fact that three years ago, the club evicted all "normal" season ticket holders from the sides of the ground, designating these areas as reserved for VIP ticket holders. Result: both sides of the ground are mostly empty, as the VIPs who have invested large sums of money to reserve the best seats don't bother to actually turn up for games.

I'll still be going to watch them against Bellinzona this afternoon though

Upthehatters... I guess from your username that you're from Luton ? I grew up in a place a few miles down the road from there that you probably don't like very much...
I can sympathize with you on the season ticket decision. As a Palace fan I have also seen significant decline, but it is never boring. The thing that has kept me going at Palace is the core fans who have a fantastic sense of community, a great sense of humour (have to if you support Palace) and also build a good atmosphere. The atmosphere is vital to my enjoyment so it seems a shame this has been injured by your club's actions! Do the hardcore vocal fans now congregate together and have initiatives to improve the atmosphere?

Surely you should beat Bellizona? I also saw you are having a good run in the cup and got a bit of a shock win in the last round. Please could you answer some of the questions I aimed at the above poster too please as I'd love to get to know more about all of these Swiss clubs.

I'm already LOVING this thread!

I assume you guys all have Ghei (sp?) travelcards, in which case you can travel the country for no extra expense? If this is the case then if any of your clubs play in the Bern/Thun area in August then maybe we could all go to the match and have a few beers first etc?

By the way I just added a group, so please join:- http://www.englishforum.ch/group.php?groupid=81

Also feel free to add me on Skype (see profile) and any other networking site

Last edited by StefanLondon; 06.03.2011 at 13:48. Reason: Group added
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Old 06.03.2011, 13:47
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

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P.S. I assume you are a Luton fan? What is your football and Switz story? I have some friends from the Bedfordshire area who keep an eye on Luton. I also teach a sixth form student from South London who goes to all of their games!

Yes, as an eternal punishment I force myself to watch them from afar. I am an avid fan/follower/supporter but rarely if ever get to go to games. The FA punishments wiped them out, and so it is a long haul slog ahead. Crawley will keep them from the automatic promotion spot, and hopefully they will fare better in the play offs this year. They are not a dull team, the ups and downs, and general troubles they face make them an entertaining team to follow. I listen to their Matches on the BBC WWW radio. My dentist says I grind my teeth too much.

I have a 12 year old lad , showing promising footy skills and wish to get him to up his level and focus on training and playing. He has an invite to FC Witikon and hopefully he will impress enough to make the grade.
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Old 06.03.2011, 13:54
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

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Yes, as an eternal punishment I force myself to watch them from afar. I am an avid fan/follower/supporter but rarely if ever get to go to games. The FA punishments wiped them out, and so it is a long haul slog ahead. Crawley will keep them from the automatic promotion spot, and hopefully they will fare better in the play offs this year. They are not a dull team, the ups and downs, and general troubles they face make them an entertaining team to follow. I listen to their Matches on the BBC WWW radio. My dentist says I grind my teeth too much.

I have a 12 year old lad , showing promising footy skills and wish to get him to up his level and focus on training and playing. He has an invite to FC Witikon and hopefully he will impress enough to make the grade.
Luton certainly aren't boring at all!! Indeed some tough FA action and will take a long long time to come back. To think I remember seeing them beat us at Selhurst in the Championship only a few years ago!

Your lad sounds very promising indeed! Good on him! I'd actually say there is no harm in getting in touch with Scott Sutter at Young Boys. He is on Facebook and Twitter and seems to reply to people. He made the move at around 15-16 from the UK. Would you lad choose to play for Switzerland or England? This is something Sutter has had an issue with!!
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Old 06.03.2011, 14:04
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

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Surely you should beat Bellizona?
On paper we should, yes. Although they will probably come for a point and play 10 men in defence, in which case we might not have the strike power to break them down.
The result in the cup was a bit unexpected... very unusual to get any kind of result at Thun.

On the wider question of atmosphere and crowds - I think football just isn't in people's blood here like it is in the UK. People attend games as passive spectators, it's an afternoon out rather than something they feel really passionate about. Xamax's hardcore of vocal support consists of two guys with megaphones who basically drown out any atmosphere that might be generated by the thirty or forty people who sing along with them.

The small size of Swiss towns is a factor, I suppose. Xamax have an average crowd of about 4,000 this season, which actually isn't all that bad when you consider that the population of the town is only 30,000, and even adding the wider catchment area you probably don't reach 100,000.
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Old 06.03.2011, 14:10
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That's not bad attendance wise. The same applies to Thun. I really do love their stadium and will miss it when the new one is built.

Consider Palace's London catchment area and it does make the Swiss attendances seem decent indeed.

So can you fill us in more about Xamax when you get a chance please? I.e famous ex players, young guns...

Regarding atmosphere I think the English are only so football mad as in most cities there isn't much else to do. Football and beer. The Swiss tend to enjoy a range of activities etc.
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Old 06.03.2011, 18:00
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

I have a Basel v Zurich Teleclub good link. PM me if needed
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Old 06.03.2011, 19:29
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So I just watched Basel v Zurich and enjoyed the game but wanted a different result. I dislike Basel mode than Zurich despite FCB wearing Palace colours. I have been to the St Jacob stadium for the semi final of the Euros (I went to both semis).

Zurich took an early lead with a great ball by Magnin and tidy finish. Basel came back in the second half with a goal the keeper probably should have kept out which crept in, then an acrobatic Frei goal after scrappy defending from a corner. Despite Zurich pushing hard and making the keeper make some good saves they got caught out at the back when trying too much from the back and getting punished for it with a tidy Frei volley. FcB fans are pretty passionate but possibly trouble.

FC Thun let on an early goal from a set play where the keeper could have done better. Listen then got a man sent off in disgusting style. Thun equalised with a good header from a corner. They then scored a lovely worked goal from a well worked corner and tidy finish. They extended their lead with a top finish following a long ball. In the second half they gave away a silly penalty which the keeper almost saved. They then showed neat passing play in the final third but were denied by the keeper. Thun then had their own man dismissed somewhat harshly although I'm still yet to see it properly. Listen scored a screamer of a edge of the box shot to equalise at 3 3 and Thun were denied late on with another late save from Luzern's keeper. Looked like an exciting game for a neutral.

The other game was Xamax v Bellizona which our poster above went to so hopefully he can give a better match report? It ended Score.Bellizona benefitted from terrible defending to finish calmly to take the lead through legend Lustrinelli (I believe). They then missed an absolute sitter and were severely punished for it by Xamax. However some awful defending and goal keeping (after originally doing well to keep on his feet) allowed Bellizona to score a late winner. Following St Gallen's loss tomorrow combined with this result makes it look very bleak for St Gallen and my old buddy Lukas Schenkel who lost to Sion 2 0 yesterday. Grasshoppers beat YB 3 2 yesterday to really help their survival. A Super League without Grasshoppers would be strange given their history as heavyweights.

Basel are now 7 clear of Zurich and Xamax join St Gallen in the bottom 2 shortly behind Grasshoppers. Thun are out of relegation problems at the moment and everyone else is hovering around the middle with little harm. However Luzern's occupy third spot which will be enough for Europe for only 1 more season in Switzerland I believe following Scotland Europa success meaning their league climbs above the Swiss league into the top 15 European leagues according to UEFA. This last point is madness by the way and devastating.

I got all of the above from a stream of the Basel game which had highlights of the other games today.

Can anyone recommend the best match of the day equivalent on Swiss TV please?

Apologies for the standard of writing but I did it all on my phone whilst watching the end of the game and trying to type to keep up with the highlights.

So how about we discuss the Swiss league losing a Champions League spot from the end of next season?
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Old 06.03.2011, 19:51
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

Xamax 1 Bellinzona 2, which leaves us in deep trouble with a hard away game next week.

A truly dire first half in which absolutely nothing happened, apart from Bellinzona scoring on the half hour. I hadn't realised that the pre-match kickabout had finished, that's how bad it was.

Entertaining second half with Xamax looking much better, clearly words had been spoken in the dressing room. Completely dominated the half, scored on the hour and were pudhing for a winner deep into injury time when Bellinzona caught us on the break.

Attendance was announced as 3,000, which is the lowest of the season and quite possibly the club's lowest ever for a competitive match played at the Maladière, though this would need to be checked.
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Old 06.03.2011, 20:41
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

BTW never have an accident or get seriously ill when there is a match playing in Neuch - as the hospital becomes impossible to get to.
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Old 06.03.2011, 21:21
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

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Xamax 1 Bellinzona 2, which leaves us in deep trouble with a hard away game next week.

A truly dire first half in which absolutely nothing happened, apart from Bellinzona scoring on the half hour. I hadn't realised that the pre-match kickabout had finished, that's how bad it was.

Entertaining second half with Xamax looking much better, clearly words had been spoken in the dressing room. Completely dominated the half, scored on the hour and were pudhing for a winner deep into injury time when Bellinzona caught us on the break.

Attendance was announced as 3,000, which is the lowest of the season and quite possibly the club's lowest ever for a competitive match played at the Maladière, though this would need to be checked.
Sounds depressing but also leads to an exciting end of season! I've never watched the relegation/promotion play off but I imagine it is a tense but enthralling affair for the neutral (and being Swiss I am neutral...).

Thanks for the match report. Who do you have next weekend then? Good luck unless it is against or significantly affects one of my beloved clubs (inc St Gallen in that too).

I'm thinking of starting my own forum/website based upon Swiss football for English speakers in CH, UK and further afield - over summer. I'll of course keep people posted.

Do the crowds at Xamax really create such road issues??
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Old 06.03.2011, 21:29
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

Both the new Hospital and the new Stadium were built next to each other - a stupid planning mistake and yes, it does create huge problems when there is a match on. Sion fans (some..) don't help either.
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Old 06.03.2011, 22:01
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

It is now about 6 years since FCZ beat FCB so taking the lead and then losing is not a big surprise, and although still 11 games to go it is highly likely the Championship is once again off to Basel, which will mean a tough champions league qualifier for FCZ if they manage second. Shame we have just lost Hassli to Vancouver, as it looked like he might spice up the second half of the season : and perhaps get the stadium full for the last games as it was when FCZ won the championship in 2009.
and a terrible penalty miss means Norwich did not take advantage of the defeats of the South Wales clubs and Forest this weekend.
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Old 06.03.2011, 22:21
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

Why limit this to Swiss players playing within Europe? Stephan Keller's been a bit of a hit in Australia's A-League with Sydney FC ... not only has he played well on the pitch, he's been quite willing to chat to fans who turn up to training sessions.

Also, despite Scott Chipperfield being a strong player for FC Basel, I decided on arrival to support FC Zürich. During the World Cup it was rather ... interesting to watch the Aussies play Germany in their first match. At the start most of the others in the (Zurich) pub were cheering for "Chippy d'Schweizer!" & the Aussies. By half-time they were cheering for Germany and cursing "Chippy d'Basler!" ... Oh, except for a Brazillian girl and a pair of British girls, they also stuck by the Green & Gold until the bitter end ...

Have to get tickets to the upcoming derby between FCZ & GCZ for me & a mate ... he's coming over from Sydney, wants to see as much football in his travels as possible (and he loves derby matches the most).
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Old 06.03.2011, 23:01
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

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I have always assume any Geneva based club have a huge opportunity to be a huge Swiss club? The French speaking countries of the world have usually embraced football and of course Geneva is such a big city for Switzerland. If Swiss football were to continue to improve I'm sure good players would be drawn to the stunning lake, city and low taxes too. It would seem logical that a Zurich, Geneva and Bern club(s) would dominate.

Was it Servette who were in huge financial trouble in the past and were expelled from the Super League etc? And re-started? Or was this Sion? Did Senderos come from Servette or Sion? I know Servette have a nice ground, but what is the backdrop like? How expensive are tickets? Any really famous players to play at Servette? Who is the best you have ever seen there and the best prospects at the moment? Sorry for a thousand questions

Both Servette and Sion had financial troubles, but it's Servette that was declared bankrupt in 2005 and since then it's struggling.

Old stadium (Charmilles) was a typical small english style football ground, I fell in love with it after the super season of 1978-1979: the club won all the competitions it had entered - with the exception of the European Cup Winners' Cup where it was eliminated in quarter finals without losing by Fortuna Dusseldorf.

You are correct. Senderos started playing in Geneva where he was discovered by Arsène and Arsenal

You can find here a list of other notable players
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servette_FC

Martin Petrov (now in Bolton) and Jean Beausejour (Birmingham City) are former SFC players now in England.
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Old 06.03.2011, 23:05
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Re: Swiss Football - Super League, Challenge League & below + National team

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Who do you have next weekend then? ??
Thun away... never get anything there, and for away supporters it's one of the less enjoyable experiences in the league - pitch level behind the goal and athletics track. You can't see a thing... Luckily the mountain backdrop is spectacular


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Do the crowds at Xamax really create such road issues??
The hospital is only one road away from the ground. The police tend to close the roads around the ground after games against certain clubs (Sion, Basel, Luzern) and, while I don't think it would stop emergency vehicles from getting through, I suppose it could well be a major issue for a member of the general public in his/her own car who needed to get to hospital quickly.
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