Missing club football already? Here’s a very early look at five teams you should keep an eye on for next season


This season had an array of storylines, achievements and lows just like any other year we expect from the world game.

Bayer Leverkusen won the Bundesliga without losing a single game, the new faces qualifying for the Champions League shocking the big clubs and Almería had not won a single game in La Liga until travelling to the Canary Islands in March.

While all are fascinating, the season has come to an end after all.

So to give you that football fix in the period between club football ending and the Euros starting, here are five teams that you should at least keep a close eye on for the 2024-25 season.

Aston Villa

Now I’ll be the first to admit that this entry could be a little biased as it is my club.

However, I think most would agree that Tuesday and Wednesday European nights at Villa Park wouldn’t have been a prediction of theirs at the start of the last season, one of those people including myself.

When Unai Emery inherited Steven Gerrard’s mess he left where Villa were lurking at the sight of possible relegation, fans were simply amazed to see him take the side from potential Championship misery to securing Conference League football, the first time Villa had been in Europe since the 2010-11 season.

Fans were optimistic about another positive season with Emery at the helm but nothing like he managed to serve, seeing Aston Villa on the same stage as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich next season.

Missing moments like these. ???? pic.twitter.com/0jHJjyrlTQ

— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) May 29, 2024

Villa Park is going to be a special place to be next season and while the Champions League might see their league form dip, as well as needing extra insurance cover for a squad battered by fatigue at the end of the season, Villa is certainly going to be an exciting team to keep your eyes on.

Central Coast Mariners

I mean even as a Perth Glory fan I had to include them.

Not only can you say what a fantastic club they have built but also the community and culture that they possess not only inside the four walls but Gosford as a whole, is something that I have to admit being jealous of.

Yet, I’m also so proud just as an Australian football fan that we have something positive and refreshing out of our game, which let’s face it has taken a battering over the last few years.

Just look at those scenes from the grand final where it seemed like half of the Central Coast invaded the pitch to celebrate if you’re not convinced.

While the Mariner’s continental treble is an extraordinary achievement that is simply not getting the mainstream coverage it deserves, they now have something that can.

(Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images) (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

Asian Champions League (Elite) football

Now judging by Australia’s recent form in the competition, it makes for scary reading but just like the Wanderers close to a decade ago now, they would be kidding themselves not to give it a good crack.

I mean just imagine the headlines and the boost football in this country would receive if they were to even make a decent run, let alone get anywhere close to the final.

The Mariners are certainly going to secretly be the second team for Australian football fans next season, hoping that they can give the game a kick of confidence that not only football deserves, but the fans who vouch for the game do too.

Serie A clubs in Europe

I know I said five clubs to watch but just hear me out.

Italian football is in something of a renaissance right now with how successful they have been this season, especially in UEFA competitions, increasing their coefficient to the point where it opened up another European spot.

After Lookman’s brilliance captured the Europa League title for Atalanta, it means that the Serie A will be represented in the Champions League by five clubs, with the potential for three in the Europa League if Fiorentina wins the Conference League final against Olympiacos and the one Conference League spot which they occupy.

If they win the final, it will hand a European berth to Torino in ninth place.

Yes, the potential for nine Italian clubs in Europe, just under half of the league.

While it will be seen if they can take advantage and go deep in all competitions, the Italian flair will be a common sight in Europe next season, a fantastic achievement for the league.

Stade Brestois

I had written an article in mid-April about Brest and how outside the top stories of the likes of Leverkusen and Villa, I labelled them the story of the top five leagues this season.

All you have to do is look at the stellar season Brest had pulled together with the financial, coaching and player resources at their disposal compared to French powerhouses such as PSG, Lyon and Marseille, it makes their success all the more impressive.

That form has seen them qualify for Champions League football but just like the story of last season, they’ll have to earn it first.

???? Mahdi Camara s’offre un but incroyable !

Le résumé de ce match historique est à découvrir en intégralité ????#TFCSB29 0⃣-3⃣

— Stade Brestois 29 (@SB29) May 21, 2024

Up against the best of the best, while Les Pirates might struggle to make it to the knockout stages of the newly formatted competition, they aren’t one to be counted out just yet as seen by their underdog mentality that secured them a top-three finish in Ligue 1.

While they might need to top up with some quality signings to give them star power and squad depth, who knows how far they can go, and maybe defy the odds once again.

St. Pauli

Arguably before the upcoming season, you could make the case for them being the most famous second-division club in world football.

I mean where to start on what makes them so well known?

The choreographies their ultras produce every home game and the left-wing centric culture that is a pillar of not only how the club operates but also the inner city Hamburg neighbourhood they call home.

Don’t forget the Australian influence at the club either with Connor Metcalfe as well as not only their captain but the person who simply resonates with what the club is all about, Jackson Irvine.

With all that background they are going to bring to the Bundesliga next season, it will make for some visually stunning matches.

While the football is yet to be seen, what I can ensure is the battle in the stands for who shows the greater support is mouthwatering.

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I mean just think of the matchups against Borussia Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt and the team they see as a threat to modern football RB Leipzig.

So as someone who is just as fascinated by the active support as the football played out on the pitch, St. Pauli is one to watch.

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