To the tune of Dean Martin’s ‘That’s Amore’:
“When you’re sat in row Z and the ball hits your head, that’s Zamora…that’s Zamora…”
Released by QPR at the end of last season, Bobby Zamora may have feared for his prospects in identifying a new club. However, the ex Spurs and West Ham striker claimed last week that he turned down an offer from a champions league side before agreeing terms to join Brighton & Hove Albion. David Sheehan speculates below on the member of Europe’s elite football competition who was scrambling to sign up the 34 year old, two cap wonder…
1. Skenderbeu (Albania)
It might sound like a special offer at your local off licence, however, rather than a guaranteed urinary tract infection, Skenderbeu is in fact the top club in Albanian football. Skenderbeu have won the Albanian Superliga for the past five years and will play Dinamo Zagreb in the final qualifying round. The club is named after the Albanian national hero ‘Skanderbeg’ – you know the guy – held off the Ottoman Empire for 20-odd years in the 15th century. Who knows, did Zamora pass up the opportunity to follow him into Albanian legend…
2. SS Folgore (San Marino)
Translated as ‘Thunderbolt FC’, Zamora may have been forgiven for thinking his agent was playing a practical joke on him if this was the offer. Based in the village of Falciano, which has a population of 1,000 people, the club completed the San Marinese double last season. Their ground has a capacity of 700 and they were narrowly eliminated in the first round of this season’s champions league, losing 4-2 on aggregate to Armenian champions Pyunik.
3. Lincoln Red Imps FC (Gibraltar)
At least Zamora would not have had to overcome a language barrier if he had joined Gibraltar’s double winning side, Lincoln Red Imps. The club play their home games at the 5,000 seat Victoria Stadium – they also play their away games there as it is the only stadium on the island and is shared by all ten clubs. The club made it to the second qualifying round this year, overcoming Andorran champions FC Santa Colomba before being knocked out by Danish champions Midtjylland.
4. Vardar (Macedonia)
It might sound light a villain from Game of Thrones, but Vardar is in fact the most successful club in Macedonian football, winning 8 championships since the foundation of the league in 1992. The club play in front of 33,000 fans at their home stadium in the Macedonian capital Skopje. Ranked 286th in UEFA’s co-efficient system at the time of writing, Vardar are out of this season’s champions league, losing out on away goals to Apoel of Cyprus in the second qualifying round.
5. CS Fola (Luxembourg)
The oldest club in Luxembourg, Fola was founded in 1906 by Jean Roeder, a local Professor of English who had spent his formative years in England and returned to Luxembourg bitten by the footballing bug. The club were unfortunate to run into Dinamo Zagreb in the 2nd qualifying round of this year’s champions league, succumbing 4-1 on aggregate, however, they did give the Croatian champions a fright in the first leg – drawing 1-1 in Zagreb. Sponsored by Qatar Airways, Fola may have been the club with the financial might to make Zamora an offer.