World Football Hipster Teams Top 10
Following Borussia Dortmund's emphatic victory against Real Madrid this week, football hipsters everywhere have been rejoicing.
Dortmund are a very trendy team to follow, for the more zeitgeist aware football fans, or "football hipsters."
As a firm favorite for football's fashionable fans, what are the qualities that can attract hipster fans to the likes of Dortmund?
They are usually:
- Good youth policy. (Buying a player over the age of 21? What are you trying to run here? A retirement home?)
- Being an obscure choice, not necessarily the biggest or most successful team. (Trophies aren't where it's at)
- Playing "attractive," fluid football. The ball rarely leaves the ground (Stoke City need not apply)
- Have an anti-establishment history to them or roots with left-wing politics. (Because nothing says "anarchist" like a sports club that play every year, without fail, in a league structure that has prizes and points awarded in accordance with performance)
- They don't play in the Premier League. (The most watched league in the world, doesn't look good in thick-rimmed spectacles)
So we're naming the top 10 hipster teams in World Football.
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With their roots within the anti-establishment/Catalonia movement and their rivals Real Madrid's perceived historical links with General Franco, politically, Barcelona ticks all the hipster boxes (which probably aren't boxes, as a box is too mainstream—Tupperware is the current big storage device for hipsters).
And football writers have written more about Barca's style of play and youth system than J.K. Rowling has written about Harry Potter (that sounds like an over-exaggeration, but when you think about it, that's probably about right).
However, they're bottom of the list because they're so incredibly successful and have become more mainstream than the Atlantic Ocean.
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Celtic are a team in Glasgow founded by Irish immigrants. The Hoops fans often show support to republican movements worldwide—none more so than on the island of Ireland.
For some they strike the right balance of underdog (never having a rat in a bag of cats' chance of getting anywhere in Europe) with success (they may as well be playing in a domestic league on their own until Rangers get back in the SPL).
However, for the hipster who prefers a pluckier team, they command just too much success at home.
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Strong history of bringing in youth players, you say?
Strong history of playing attractive football, you say?
Strong history of being linked with an oppressed people, you say?
AFC Ajax Amsterdam, come on down!
Ajax are big on the hipster football scene and also have a great nostalgia factor, with their 1995 squad thought to be one of the best in club football history.
Like Celtic, they don't seem to do well in continental competitions anymore, but they don't get such an easy run in, domestically. While Ajax are a dominant force in the Eredivise, PSV, Feyenoord, Vitesse and FC Twente have been giving them a run for their money, recently.
7. Rayo Vallecano
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Rayo Vallecano of Spain's La Liga are the very definition of fairly obscure, anti-establishment team.
Based in the working class Vallecas neighbourhood of Madrid, they are traditionally a left-wing club. And their fans bloody love a good protest.
In 2009, fans marched through the streets in an attempt to get the club's president to resign and fans boycotted matches because they didn't like Rayo playing on a Friday night.
The players are even partial to protest too, in 2011 the players lined up on the center circle with a banner reading "Fix the problem—pay the players."
Also their home shirt design traditionally has a big red sash across, which makes their kit just that bit more exotic-looking. Extra hipster points for exotic-looking kits.
6. Real Oviedo
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Real Oviedo of Spain's Segunda División B—Group 1 have become one of world football's trendiest teams as of late. And this isn't because Stan Collymore used to play for them.
In fact, that's in spite of the fact Stan Collymore used to play for them.
The Real Oviedo hipster, isn't just your ordinary hipster, he (or she) is a caring hipster.
So with being able to support one of the little guys and with a history of players like Michu, Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla, Abel Xavier, Robert Prosinecki and (we're really trying to forget about) Collymore coming through their ranks, they are a very attractive offer to a trend-aware fan.
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A club more left-wing than 50 percent of a KFC Bargain Bucket (being compared to a global fast-food conglomerate is something Livorno fans would not approve of), AS Livorno Calcio are for the more political radical hipster.
The Serie B side's communist sympathies have often sparked clashes with teams who are more right-leaning, like Lazio, for example. Paolo Di Canio once even performed a fascist salute during a match between the two sides, but Di Canio's politics never get mentioned, now-a-days.
Livorno football shirts can mainly be found at "Young Socialist" meetings at universities up and down Europe.
4. Swansea City
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Swansea City are considered the "Barcelona of Wales" due to a culture of attractive football and this has drawn many admirers from the football hipster world.
In a similar way to Brazil in the mid-1990s, the Swans have become everyone's second favorite team.
"But, I thought being in the English Premier League was against the football hipster's code of ethics?" you ask (yes you did, don't lie.)
Well, Swansea are an exception to the fashionable fan as their football style is considered a bit more continental to other English teams. And, they're not actually English. Until they're joined by Cardiff City next season, they're the only and first non-English side to play in the English Premier League.
And with Cardiff's owners changing their kit color from blue to red and considering changing the club's name to "Cardiff Dragons" who knows if they'll even still be playing in Cardiff, come August?
Also, when you compare how little they've spent to QPR—who were promoted in the same season as them—and how Swansea are already an established Premier League side whereas big spending Queens Park Rangers are basically a Championship side, their thriftiness is a lot to be admired.
And not to mention Michu: The thinking man's player of the season.
3. Athletic Bilbao
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If you haven't bought an Athletic Bilbao jersey over the past three years, sorry, you're not a football hipster. You need a football hip-replacement (so what if that sentence doesn't make sense—it sounds like it should).
They have a policy of only signing players from the Basque region and Bilbao have been producing some quality young players recently, with the likes of Fernando Llorente (despite how it's spelled, that isn't a Welsh surname), Iker Muniain and Ander Herrera currently in their ranks.
Bilbao's link with the Basque independence movement and not being as "mainstream" as Madrid and Barca make them a dream choice for any hipster looking for a Spanish team.
2. FC St. Pauli
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With their fans adopting a skull and crossbones as their emblem (in reference to their rebel culture —it isn't because they all like the Pirates Of The Caribbean movie franchises), the largest number of female fans in German football and regularly staging displays against racism, homophobia and sexism, FC St. Pauli are a club more politically active than most.
The 'Kult' club, currently playing in Germany's 2. Bundesliga, has a punk philosophy and with very little success, they were a club almost tailor-made for the modern football hipster.
In fact the only reason they're not so obscure is because so many football hipsters love them.
1. Any Team Zlatan Ibrahimovic Plays for
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While a football hipster has a set of rules for what makes a club cool or a list of requirements a team must meet before it can be admired, there is one exception to every hipster's rules or requirements.
That exception is Zlatan.
Ibrahimovic is like catnip to hipsters. They cannot resit.
He may have played for teams like Juventus, PSG and Inter—who wouldn't normally be the sort of team a hipster would root for. But the power of Zlatan overrules all laws of history, science and logic.
You might think Messi is the best player in the world, you might think Ronaldo is, Bale? Don't make the football hipsters laugh.
Any football hipster worth his or her salt will tell you, without hesitation, the world's greatest football player is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. For he is the hipster overlord.
Ibra's off-the-field antics, larger-than-life persona and trademark style of play make him the closet thing football has to a frontman of an indie band.
Can you imagine that band? It would almost certainly be called Zlatan And The Blackbelts.