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Long gone the glory days: Is branding of any help? The case of formerly successful European football teams

André Richelieu (ESG-UQAM Montreal, Montreal, Canada and Laval University, Quebec, Canada)
Stéphanie Lessard (Laval University, Quebec, Canada)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to identify the catalyzing factors team managers of previously successful European football clubs could capitalize on in order to build or rebuild the brand identity of their respective team via the Europa League.


The authors followed a case analysis method. The authors selected teams that have had a history of good performance in European competitions in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, before falling off the radar. A total of 19 teams, representing 15 countries, accepted the invitation.


The managers underlined eight major catalyzing factors. The managers specifically emphasize the importance of branding and how it can crystallize the promise these teams articulate to their fans, on and off the football pitch. Moreover, the values that a team encapsulates and communicates through its daily actions seem to represent the essence of the brand.

Research limitations/implications

One risk relates to the respondents who could very well know what a brand is and how a brand should be managed in theory, but it does not necessarily mean that they know how to do it at all.

Practical implications

The paper highlighted the importance of shrewd management, especially when resources are scarce. A competition such as the Europa League might provide some room to maneuver but, above all, the organization must deliver the brand promise to its fans.


This is one of the first studies looking at the leverage a European football competition could provide to previously successful clubs.



The authors would like to thank UEFA and football managers for their support.


Richelieu, A. and Lessard, S. (2014), "Long gone the glory days: Is branding of any help? The case of formerly successful European football teams", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 284-297.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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