So, it’s official: Stadio, a soccer podcast founded by Musa Okwonga and me, will be joining the Ringer Podcast Network in its new home on the Ringer FC feed on June 22. We’re so excited to join a platform we have been fans of for a long time. Yet it’s also a little strange, as we’re not a brand-new podcast launching on the network.
Musa and I are from the United Kingdom but are based in Berlin. We founded Stadio in August 2019, with a desire to create a platform to talk about and cover soccer in ways we felt weren’t being addressed. We wanted to cover more European leagues than just the traditional powers like England’s Premier League. We wanted to cover the women’s game, and the wider societal and political issues in the sport, including racism. But we also wanted Stadio to be fun, open, and accessible. Soccer is for everyone, and therefore, so should be Stadio. So, to introduce ourselves to Ringer readers who also love the game, and would like to get to know us a little more before we land in your podcast feeds, here are a few past episodes to check out.
Bundesliga protests about more than just Hopp (March 2, 2020)
In late February, banners started to emerge in German stadiums more frequently that targeted Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp and, eventually, the DFB (German Football Association). Rival fans had been staging in-stadium protests against Hopp for years—many fans object to what they perceive as Hoffenheim’s subversion of Germany’s “50+1” ownership model—but the situation became more charged after the frequent use of a banner that showed Hopp in a crosshair. The controversial banner resulted in games being suspended. During the first part of this episode, Musa and I explain the fierce debates over the banners, the ensuing punishment, and the history of these fan protests.
The Ultimate Supervillain XI (March 25, 2020)
When COVID-19 caused the shutdown of sports and the introduction of lockdown measures all over the world, we decided to take a different route, with a series of conceptual episodes. These concepts had been formed in conversations between us at various times over the past year or so. In this episode, we decided to compile an XI, plus substitutes, a manager, a kit, and a home ground, filled with some of soccer’s all-time most terrifying supervillains. If you’re also interested in who we pitted them against, check out the accompanying Superhero XI episode.
The Underwater Torpedo League (January 9, 2020)
This was our first podcast after a break for the holidays, and we went into a little detail about Hertha Berlin’s weird training methods. You may have heard, but Hertha have had an eventful season, with big financial backing, ambitions of becoming a “big city club” and three managers, one of which being ex-USMNT boss Jürgen Klinsmann, who left after just 10 weeks in charge. Musa and I also took questions on topics like how various European giants would fare in other leagues, which included a Bayern Munich take that hasn’t aged well. In our defense, that Bayern side had yet to become the rejuvenated juggernaut that looks set to clinch an eighth straight Bundesliga title this week.
The All-Star Game (April 12, 2020)
In this episode, we drafted 50 of the world’s best men’s and women’s players and took turns creating two All-Star teams: Team Musa and Team Ryan. We include starting lineups, subs benches, coaches, kits, and a preferred choice for where our imaginary global soccer all-star weekend would take place. Spoiler: contains an alarming image of Musa and Clarence Seedorf cruising around in a golf buggy.
What if? (March 19, 2020)
The first of what became a regular series, and one that you will be seeing much more of on the Ringer FC feed. Here we take a trip through alternate footballing realities and explore how different European football would have looked during the 2010s had Sergio Agüero not scored against QPR to clinch Manchester City’s first Premier League. Plus, what if Yaya Touré had signed for Arsenal after his trial and how much would Yugoslavia have dominated international football if the conflict hadn’t broken out? So far, we’ve done four “What if” episodes; keep an eye out for more in the future.
The Stadio Awards (December 2019)
I wanted to include this episode, as the end-of-year Stadio Awards (or Stadios) will definitely make an appearance before 2020 is out. Musa and I select nominees and winners across a number of categories, including the goal, team, player, and manager of the year. Plus, you’ll be introduced to the main award, and a staple of the Stadio glossary: the Catfish, which is the team or club that promises so much and fails to live up to its appearance. —Ryan Hunn