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The positive image of continental European footballers at British clubs could help Blair win a referendum on the euro

By Simon Kuper   July 2000

Last season, about half the players in the English premier league were foreigners, most of them from other EU nations. The football writers’ association has chosen a continental European as its player of the year for four out of the last five years. The 1999 winner was David Ginola, the Frenchman who also figures in shampoo advertisements on television and is thus known to many people who don’t like football. Ginola has also been voted Britain’s best-dressed man, as has Ruud Gullit, the former Dutch footballer.

Chelsea, the London club which Gullit used to manage, has transformed itself from an…

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