The UEFA Champions League is probably one of the biggest club competitions in World football, if not the biggest with all the star players from across the globe itching to make their mark in the competition. But you may ask yourself how did this competition first start.
Well a former French football and journalist is one of the main men who start the competition then just know as the European Cup. Gabriel Hanot was that man, who after his career as player had been cut short by an aviation accident, had become a journalist.
How Did The European Cup Start?
French journalist Jacques Ferran was in Santiago, Chile covering the South American Championship of Champions competition in 1948. This competition would later become the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the European Cup or as we know it today the Champions League.
Ferran was a journalist for French magazine L’Equipe and once back in France, fascinated by the idea of a continental club competition he took the idea to his magazine and its editor Gabriel Hanot.
Hanot immediately began working on proposals to take to UEFA. UEFA documentation on the history of the European Cup confirms that Jacques Ferran and Gabriel Hanot are the founding fathers of the competition we now know as the Champions League.
The proposal was raised at UEFA congress in March 1955, with proposal approved by UEFA in the April 0f 1955 and we see the first European Cup competition taking place in the 1955/56 season.
Today we know that Real Madrid have won the competition on the most occasions with their tenth win coming in 2013/14 season. Real dominated the early seasons of the competition, winning it for the first five seasons.
England And The European Cup
Manchester United were the first English team to enter the competition but that didn’t come until the second season of the competition in the 1956/57 season as Sir Matt Busby took his team into the competition against the wishes of the English F.A. In their first season United reach the semi-final before losing out to Real Madrid.
Fittingly United became the first English side win the completion at Wembley Stadium in the 1967/68 season. Coming ten years after United had lost players and staff in the Munich Air Disaster when travelling home victorious from a quarter-final success against Red Star Belgrade.
Since its inception in 1955, England have had 36 different club represent them in the European Cup. In English clubs have won the competition on 12 occasions. With Liverpool having the most wins with five.
English clubs enjoyed domination in the European Cup between 1976 and 1984. Enjoying six consecutive victories between 1976 and 1982 with Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa all lifting the trophy.