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Europe's biggest youth team

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When you think of the biggest football teams in Europe certain names spring to mind. Manchester United of course, perhaps Celtic and Rangers, Real Madrid would be a lot of people’s first suggestion maybe Barcelona as well. One name that would not be on the list of many people is IF Brommapojkarna, a Swedish football side based just outside of Stockholm in the suburb of Bromma, more famous in the UK for its airport than its football team.
 
However IF Brommapojkarna, are the biggest club in the Europe. That’s not marketing hyperbole, that’s not media spin, that’s a fact. In terms of number of teams currently active they have the most with over 240 teams and more than 3,000 male and female players as well as boys and girls pulling on the black and red of IFBP.
 
Their incredible size has led to incredible results in terms of youth football trophies, player development and outcomes for their senior side. They have managed to win the Gothia Cup, one of the world’s most prestigious youth tournaments, a record amount of times at all different age groups. It is a tournament that has seen players like Andrea Pirlo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Xavi Alonso, Alan Shearer and Scotland’s own Gordon Durie have all featured in the past.
 
The senior side has recently returned to Swedish highest division the Allsvenskan with a squad made up of many players who have come through the academy. They were last in the top division in 2014 when they managed to reach the third qualifying round of the Europa League and play Italian side Torino. They have provided a number of players for the national team, both in the past and now, including ex-Arsenal star Anders Limpar and current player Albin Ekdal. They have, in short, managed to create a club that from top the bottom works and provides the community with a strong asset.
 
Scottish football needs to make changes, it needs to take risks and it needs to gamble. Scottish football is often favoured by gamblers because it has become so predictable and easy to read. People are scrambling to get a piece of the action and with Ladbrokes football betting exclusive offer for new customers if you haven’t already bet on Scottish football then now is the time to get involved. With an offer waiting for you when you become a new customer there has never been more of a reason to bet on Scottish football. For those in charge at the SFA and in charge at Scottish clubs, there are two lessons they could learn and gamble on implementing that have worked brilliantly at Brommapojkarna.
 
Have teams that play just for fun
 
With so many teams it is obvious that not every player who plays for IFBP are going to make it at the top level. In fact, many of the teams are not designed to create the next generation of Swedish stars, they exist to provide the community with a space where young players can play and feel a part of a club even if they are never going to make it in their academy. They have sides that just play on the weekends for kids who want to be a part of something bigger than a small juniors club. This makes people more interested, more invested and means people are more likely to feel comfortable about their local football team. It gives back the sense of community that some teams in Scotland have lost. Imagine being able to play for a spin off of a Celtic side or a version of Rangers, you would feel closer to the club and hopefully that would create more excitement around a game that is in desperate need of a boost.
 
Embrace being a second tier competition
 
Many Scottish clubs, fans and the FA seem unable to admit that Scotland has lost prestige and is no longer at the top of the footballing world. For IFBP they long ago realised that they are not a big side in terms of cache and thus pivoted to become a selling club that develop players for other European league and thus embrace and encourage players to see them as a stepping stone. They make sure players dream bigger than Swedish football which gives them bigger goals and ambitions and aids their development. Scotland should embrace the fact it can become a talent factory like IFBP has and that may well help players to dream bigger and perform better.
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