As has been mentioned in most of the papers today, Arsenal are the first London club to make it to the European Cup final which is one of those strange bits of football trivia, whereby the largest city in Europe has had to go fifty years before being represented in the continent’s biggest club match – except for hosting the final, of course.
But, it’s hardly unique in that accomplishment. A quick scan through the list of the largest cities in the EU shows that only 4 of the top 10 (Madrid, Rome, Hamburg and Barcelona) and 9 of the top 20 (Munich, Milan, Birmingham, Turin and Valencia) have had clubs there. My quick searching couldn’t find a list for the whole of Europe, but I suspect it wouldn’t change the numbers too much – while Bucharest and Belgrade have both had clubs make it to the final and would be in the top 10, other large cities such as Moscow (which might knock London off the number 1 spot, depending on how population is counted) and Kiev haven’t had any teams make it to the final yet.
It’d be tempting to come up with a theory about how large cities and EU membership affect your chances of getting to the European Cup final, but Real Madrid’s successes throughout the history of the competition scupper both of them.