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September 15, 2014

2014–15 UEFA Europa League Group Stage: location map of the 48 teams, with attendance data (from 2013-14 domestic leagues).

Filed under: UEFA Cup / Europa League — admin @ 7:51 pm

http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2014-15_uefa_europa-league_group-stage_map_post_e_.gif
2014–15 UEFA Europa League Group Stage: location map of the 48 teams, with attendance data (from 2013-14 domestic leagues)




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Thanks to Maps Of.net, for blank maps of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Iran, which allowed me to plot the far eastern edge of the map on the map page. I needed to do this because the blank map [at the link below] cuts off the eastern half of Azerbaijan including Baku, where 2014-15 Europa League GS team Qarabağ FK are located.

Thanks to Alexrk2 for the blank map of Europe at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Europe_blank_laea_location_map.svg.

Thanks to European-Football-Statistics.co.uk, for attendance figures, http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
Thanks to the contributors at 2014–15 UEFA Europa League group stage (en.wikipedia.org & de.wikipedia.org).

September 4, 2014

2014–15 UEFA Champions League Group Stage: location map with attendance data (from 2013-14 domestic leagues) / Plus a chart showing all-time UEFA CL Group Stage appearances for the 32 clubs in the 2014-15 UEFA CL GS.

Filed under: UEFA Champions League — admin @ 3:58 pm

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2014–15 UEFA CL GS: location map with attendance data + a chart showing all-time UEFA CL Group Stage appearances for the 32 clubs in the 2014-15 UEFA CL GS




The 2014-15 Champions League Group Stage appearances list here is a list for the qualified teams this season [2014-15 UEFA Champions League Group Stage/32 teams]. It is shown on the map page and also shown further below. It is similar to the lists I have put together for my CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores posts the last 3 years {such as this one from January 2014, http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/2014_copa-libertadores_qualified-teams_all-time_appearances-list_w-titles_c_.gif }. The primary source I used for those Copa Libertadores qualified-teams’-appearances-lists is from the RSSSF.com site; with the list I made here, a page at rsssf.com was instrumental in the way I ended up presenting the data.

The primary source for the data for the chart below is from Number of participating clubs of the Champions League era (en.wikipedia.org).

There is one modification I have added to the list. That modification is also including the first group stage competition that the tournament ever had, in 1991-92 (see next 2 paragraphs). Before I get going trying to explain why it is logical to include the 1991-92 European Cup Group Stage in a Champions League Group Stage all-time list, I will simply point out this…while Wikipedia does not count 1991-92 because it was not called the “Champions League” yet, the RSSSF site does count it, as seen in this list, Champions League – All-Time Table (since 1991/92) (which has not been updated since 2013-14, but which has Barcelona and Manchester United both at 18 appearances at that point [Man U failed to qualify for the CL for this season, so they no longer share the most UEFA CL Group Stage appearances with Barcelona]).

31 countries have sent clubs to this competition’s group stage since its implementation in 1991-92…first as a much smaller group stage of 8 teams in 2 groups (1991-92 and 1992-93 [2 seasons]); then as a 24-team/6 group set-up (from 1993-94 to 1998-99 [6 seasons]), and now since 1999-2000 as a 32 team/8 group format – although for the first 4 seasons in the 32-team format there was actually a second round of a group stage (Second Group Stage existed from 1998-99 to 2002-03). In any event the 32-team/8 groups format has, since 2003-04 been a knockout tournament once that 32-team field is reduced to 16 teams after the group stage. The initial leap from a pure knockout tournament to one with a group stage began in 1991-92, one season before the name-change (from European Cup to Champions League). 8 teams in 2 groups was tried out both in 1991-92, when it was called for that one season the 1991–92 European Cup Group Stage, and then also in 1992-93 the same 8 team/2 group format was used, with the only difference being that in 1992-93 this phase of the tournament was called the “Champions League” for the first time and the Champions League starred-ball logo made its debut. {See this, 1992–93 UEFA Champions League).

This might be the 23rd season with the name “Champions League” and the starred-ball CL logo, but in the list below I am including that first trial-season of the group stage in 1991-92…because it doesn’t make sense not to. True, the 91/92 competition (which had 32 teams in it) did not have the 8-team preliminary round that the 1992-93 Champions League had the following year (which had 36 teams in it, including 8 in the preliminary round, with none of those teams advancing to the 92/93 CL group Stage). But that is the only difference. Once the competition got to the First Stage (32 teams) and Second Stage (16 teams) in both 91/92 and 92/93, the formats were exactly the same.

The 91/92 European Cup Group Stage and the 92/93 Champions League Group Stage had the exact same format, the only difference being the name. So basically, by saying that the Champions League Group Stage as an entity started in 1992-93 – when the tournament was re-named (and when Marseille won it) – is illogical, and insists that brand names trump facts, because the same tournament format was used the year before in 1991-92, when the group stage was called the “European Cup Group Stage” (and when Barcelona won the European title for the first time in their history, beating Sampdoria 1-0 in aet with a goal by Ronald Koeman).

And you know, UEFA, on its website, includes that first-of-the-two much-smaller-seasons of the group stage (8 teams instead of 32 teams) of 1991-92 in its statistics. An example of that is the UEFA site saying this season [2014-15] is Barcelona’s record overall 24th CL appearance instead of its 23rd appearance. On the UEFA site that 24 figure also includes the qualification seasons that Barcelona made it to the early qualifying rounds but then lost out before reaching the group stage, as Barcelona did in the 1992-93 CL qualifying, as well as in the 1995-96 CL qualifying, in the 1996-97 CL qualifying and in the 2003-04 CL qualifying. {See this, FC Barcelona (scroll down right-hand sidebar to “Club record in UEFA competitions”, and you find “Appearances in UEFA Champions League: 24″).

Again, that 24 number counts the seasons (4 seasons) when Barcelona did not qualify for the CL Group Stage, and exited in the CL qualifiers. [77 teams qualified for 2014-15 CL qualifiers.]

I say all this because counting the first group stage of this competition, the Group Stage of 1991-92, as the first CL group stage (which UEFA does [in its statistics at least] and which the RSSF organization does) is why Barcelona are at the top of the list below. That is also why 2 other clubs on the list below have 1 more group stage appearance than on the Wikipedia list linked to at the top of this post. They are Anderlecht and Benfica, who along with Dynamo Kyiv, Panathinaikos, Red Star Belgrade, Sampodoria and Sparta Prague, as well as the winners that season, Barcelona, comprised the 1991–92 European Cup Group Stage. The prototype Champions League season, as it were.

Spain has sent the most clubs to the UEFA CL Group Stage – 13 clubs sent to the competition in the 24 seasons that a group stage has existed (counting this current season of 2014-15). Germany and France (which includes the Principality of Monaco within the French football league structure) have sent 10 clubs each; while Italy and England have sent 9 clubs each. That is the top five. Sixth best goes to Netherlands, having sent 7 clubs into the tournament’s group stage. Seventh best is a 4-way tie between Belgium, Portugal, Russia and Turkey, at 5 clubs each.

UEFA European titles list (1956 to present), List of European Cup and UEFA Champions League final (en.wikipedia.org).

Below:
chart of all-time UEFA European Cup/Champions League Group Stage appearances for the 32 clubs in the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League Group Stage

{click on image below to place it in a separate page}…
uefa-champions-league_2014-15_group-stage_teams-listed-by-group-stage_appearances_with-european-titles_m.gif

Sources of data for list above –
Number of participating clubs of the Champions League era (en.wikipedia.org);
Champions League – All-Time Table (since 1991/92) (rsssf.com).
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Thanks to Alexrk2 for the blank map of Europe at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Europe_blank_laea_location_map.svg.

Thanks to the contributors at 2014–15 UEFA Champions League/Group Stage (en.wikipedia.org).

August 22, 2014

Spain, 2013-14 attendance map & chart: all clubs in the top two divisions who drew over 4 K [36 clubs] / Plus, an illustrated article on SD Eibar – the smallest-ever club to play in La Liga [3.0 K per game in 2013-14].

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Spain: all clubs [36 clubs] that drew above 4 K per game in the 2013-14 La Liga and Segunda División seasons




[Please note: this map is different than the previous three 2013-14 attendance maps (of Germany, England, and France), all of which showed every club in those countries which drew over 4,000 per game. The problem here is that because reported 3rd division Spanish attendance figures do not exist, and because it is almost certain that clubs drawing above 4 K in the Spanish third division (Segunda B) do exist (such as for Racing Santander in 2013-14), I had to change the parameters of the map and chart for Spain. So the map shows all clubs that drew above 4 K per game in 2013-14 in Spain from the top two divisions (La Liga and Segunda División), plus...10 other clubs or teams in grey tone sans crests (but with locations shown). Those 10 extra included in grey-tone are... all the clubs that were in the Segunda División last season that didn't draw above 4 K per game (4 clubs as well as 2 teams - Barcelona's B team and Real Madrid's B team) plus the 4 four clubs that were promoted from the third division (Segunda B) to the second division (Albacete, Leganes, Llagostera and Racing Santander). One final point - one of these clubs just mentioned (and that drew below 4 K) is Eibar, who drew 3.0 K last year and won the Segunda División -thereby getting promoted to the Spanish first division for the first time {see below}.]

    SD Eibar – the smallest-ever club to play in La Liga

eibar_ipurua_xabi-alonso_i_.gif
Photo credits above – Town of Eibar seen from aerial view, by egoibarra.com. Interior photo of Ipurua with public housing in background, by Getty Images via the worldgame.sbs.com.au. Interior photo of 2 main stands at Ipurua with hills in background, by SD Eibar via stadionwelt.de. SD Eibar supporters with banners and flags, photo unattributed at el-punto-de-vista.com. Xabi Alonso photo as Eibar player in 2001, unattributed at wijzijnvoetbal.nl/forum/buitenland/48620-sd-eibar-1-baskische-bazen-op-weg-naar-de-primera-division.html.

[Note: Eibar is pronounced "A-bar".] SD Eibar, formed in 1940, are a small club from the Basque Country, in Eibar, Gipuzkoa province, in the steep and looming foothills of the Pyrenees in northern Spain. Eibar is located about equidistant from the two largest Basque cities in Spain – 49 km (30 mi) southeast of Bilbao and 56 km (35 mi) southwest of San Sebastian. The town of Eibar has a population of only around 27,000 {2010 figure). Sociedad Deportiva Eibar wear Barcelona’s colors and play in a 5,200-capacity stadium called Ipurua, and their fan base is about 2,500 or so (they drew 3.0 K in 2013-14). The club often relies strongly on loan players in general – often from the two biggest Basque clubs, Athletic Club [Bilbao] and Real Sociedad (of San Sebastian). Examples from the recent past include Spain national team members Xabi Alonso (of Real Madrid) and David Silva (of Manchester City), both of whom were sent by Real Sociedad to Eibar (14 years ago and 10 years ago, respectively) to toughen them up, early in their careers.

Eibar’s manager is the 39-year-old Bilbao-born Gaizka Garitano, who played in the midfield for Eibar for about 5 seasons total in two different spells (last in 2005), along with spells at all three of the biggest Basque football clubs (with Athletic Club for 111 league appearances from 1993-99; with Real Sociedad from 2005-08; and finishing his playing career with Alavés in 2008-09). Garitano took the reins at Eibar two years ago and has now led Eibar to back-to-back promotions.

Eibar has played 26 seasons in the second division, but had never won promotion to La Liga. Last season [2013-14], Eibar had just won promotion back to the second division, yet still had a higher wage bill than several clubs in Segunda División, including clubs that draw more than three-times-higher than Eibar, like Alavés and Hércules. Thus, Eibar gambled (successfully) on using a slew of somewhat expensive loan signings towards building a team that had a real chance of getting promotion – instead of having the approximately 1.7 million Euros in the bank that would have kept them safe from the stringent rules in place in the Spanish second division concerning fiscal solvency {see next paragraph and also see this article from May 2014 from the blog called El Punto de Vista, Let’s talk about SD Eibar}. As Neil Morris writes in the article at that link, “Much of [Eibar's] wage bill has been taken up by the loan fees of players from the top flight such as Berchiche, Eizmendi, Jota, Morales, Rivas and Garcia, and these deals have certainly helped them in their quest for promotion. The decision to keep a high wage bill seems to be a calculated gamble that has paid off with the ultimate prize.”…{end of excerpt from el-punto-de-vista.com/2014/05/28/lets-talk-about-sd-eibar by Neil Morris}.

The transition from the semi-pro third division to the pro second division is huge and often difficult in Spain because the clubs have to basically change their whole legal structure and become an S. A. D. {definition of S. A. D. in the following paragraph}, and then they have to have millions in the bank to fulfill the extremely stringent criteria. In the Spanish second division, as per a 1999 law intended to curb spending excess, each club must have cash on-hand (capital) equal to 25% of the average expenses of all sides in the second division (not counting the two clubs with the biggest outlays and the two with the smallest) – and in 2013-14, that amounted to about €1.7 million (or about $2.3 million). Last season, Jaén and Mirandés (both promoted to the Segunda División for 2013-14 along with [Basque sides] Alavés and Eibar) had similar problems in transitioning and navigating the red tape and the financial hurdles – Jaen got relegated back to the third (finishing second-to-last in 21st place) while Mirandés (finishing in 19th place) also would have been relegated right back to Segunda B had not the authorities banished Murcia instead on financial irregularities {see this from Marca on 8 August 2014, [article is in the Spanish but with a translation button to the English at the top left at the link], La LFP desciende al Murcia a 2ªB y asciende al Mirandés}. Last season, Eibar could very well have also went right back down to the third division if they remained within the spending rules throughout the whole season.

[Definition of S. A. D., from the Wikipedia page Sociedad Anónima Deportiva, {excerpt}... ..."Sociedad anónima deportiva ("Public limited sports company") is a special type of public limited company in Spain. The new legal status was introduced in 1990 to improve financial management and transparency in sports clubs. Many Spanish football and basketball clubs add the suffix S.A.D. to the end of their official name, e.g. Club Atlético de Madrid, S.A.D.. Every club which plays in Segunda División or [La Liga] and remains in the league is obliged to convert in S.A.D. Due to historical reasons Athletic Club, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Osasuna were allowed to retain their status as non-commercial sports associations.”…{end of excerpt}.]

Right when Eibar won the 2013-14 Segunda División in late May, there was talk that the authorities would block their promotion because of S. A. D. guidelines, and the following link is an article from that time period in the late spring of 2014 when it looked questionable for Eibar’s chances of being in the top flight (or the second tier for that matter). From 27 May 2014, from Guardian.com/football, from here is an article by Phil Ball, the author of the excellent book on Spanish football, Morbo
Could Eibar’s astonishing rise to La Liga end before a ball is kicked? The smallest club to enter the top flight of Spanish football, described as a ‘model club’, could be demoted before the season starts due to ‘unfair’ regulations

A small club going up into the second tier, whether it is their first time in the second division or like Eibar in bouncing back up – will invariably find themselves forced to cut corners on player purchases just to remain within the Segunda División’s strict rules about fiscal solvency and the rules about becoming an S. A. D. (and their rule of literally having millions in the bank). One could make the case for the fact that had Eibar not gambled on success, a conservative and penny-pinching fiscal outlay resulting in a weaker squad would have just ended getting them relegated in 2013-14 the old fashioned way – via results on the pitch. If that is all true, I just love Eibar even more. For going for it. Well, via a limited share offering the club put together, football fans from all over (from 48 nations) plunked down cash to help Eibar’s cause, and the small club from hills of the Basque Country did raise the cash (the equivalent of $2.47 million was raised). From 16 June 2014, Eibar raises cash needed to play with the big boys (theworldgame.sbs.com.au via Omnisport).

From the New York Times, from 23 July 2014, by Raphael Minder, A Tiny Club’s Uneasy Rise – Eibar Is Facing Stiff Challenges in Spain’s La Liga.

From CNN, from 22 August 2014, by Chris Murphy and James Masters, Tiny Eibar take on Spanish soccer’s big guns Real Madrid and Barcelona (edition.cnn.com/sport/football).

I’ll leave the last word on this to Xabi Alonso, who with David Silva was instrumental in getting the world out that Eibar needed help from football fans the world over…to be allowed to play in La Liga this season. “It is contradictory that a club who has an enviable financial health and with zero debts is obliged to do this, when there are others who have much deeper problems.”…{quote by Xabi Alonso and can be found at the link third from above}.

    Attendance problems, with lots of empty seats in Spain (plus billions of debt)

From Inside Spanish Football.com, from 5 March 2014, by Jen Evelyn, La Liga’s alarming attendance deficit demands actions (insidespanishfootball.com).

Attendance is down in Spain. As the article above touches on, the late start times (10pm) for some games and the lack of a definite schedule resulting in the switching of some game-dates and game-times – these things have not helped attendances in La Liga. Of course the economy is absolutely dreadful in Spain, but that has not actually eroded attendances since mid-2008 as much as one might have expected (see next paragraph).

Last season [2013-14] La Liga had a minus-1,282 per game average attendance drop or a 4.5 percent drop (26,995 per game in 2013-14, down from 28,237 in 2012-13). And in the season before, it was a 2 percent drop. If you are wondering about the lingering effects of the 2008 global economic downturn, well, in 2007-08, right before the market-crash, La Liga was averaging 29.1 K; and from 2008-09 to 2011-12 (4 seasons), league attendance stayed in the 28 K range, with it diminishing from 28.7 K average in 2011-12 to 28.2 K average in 2012-13. In other words, the slight-drop-off in crowds from the initial economic devastation in 2008 had already happened, and now in the last two seasons there is starting to be a bit of a steeper drop. From the Row Z Football blog, here is a graph from 2 years ago that shows what I was talking about in the last sentence, rowzfootball.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/european-football-attendance-chart.jpg; and here is a current chart showing attendance change in the Big 5 European leagues last season, European League Attendances 2013-14.

La Liga – playing to 125 thousand empty seats each week
And it is worse than it first appears because, as Ms. Evelyn points out in the article linked to 3 paragraphs above, the average La Liga stadium holds about 37,000, yet the league averaged about 27,000 per game in 2013-14…so La Liga clubs are playing to less than 75 percent capacity. Actually, it is even worse. I did the math {via these stadium capacity figures}, and the 20 La Liga stadiums in the 2013-14 season averaged a 39,531 capacity. So La Liga played to 68.2 percent capacity. That is really bad. That percent capacity figure of 68.2 is like what former-Premier-League clubs in England’s second and third division draw (such as Leeds (63.3) and Wolverhampton (65.8) /see this chart (Eng. 2014 att.)). Percent capacity that low is usually not the sign of a successful major league. 18 of 20 clubs in the Premier League in 2013-14 played to above 90 percent capacity (Sunderland [84.9 pct-cap) and Aston Villa [84.1 pct-cap] were lowest there); in the Bundesliga in 2013-14, 16 of the 18 clubs played to above 90 percent capacity (Nürnberg [80.8 pct-cap] and Hertha Berlin [69.8 pct-cap] were lowest there). In the Premier League, if even one or two clubs are playing to less than 75 percent capacity or so, it is news. Like when Wigan were in the top flight – that’s all you ever heard about in reference to Wigan. Here, in Spain, that sort of lack of drawing power among top tier clubs is becoming the norm. Three-quarters (16 clubs) of the Spanish first division played to crowds below 75 percent capacity. Just two clubs filled their stadium in the 80 percent range: Atlético Madrid played to 84.3 percent-capacity, and Real Madrid played to 83.7 percent-capacity. And exactly one club played to above 90 percent capacity – Athletic Club Bilbao…in their new stadium. So that is how bad it is with regards to attendances in Spain – Premier League: 18 of 20 clubs played to above 90 percent-capacity / Bundesliga: 16 of 18 clubs played to above 90 percent capacity / Spain: 1 of 20 clubs played to above 90 percent capacity…thanks to their brand new stadium.

A big reason why Real Madrid or Barcelona win the title 90 percent of the time
What is contributing to the malaise of Spanish football is the structural problem of allowing a certain couple of clubs (Real Madrid and Barcelona) to negotiate their own television deals, thereby insuring that the lions’ share of television revenue produced by Spanish first division football goes to just two clubs. Via their television deals, Real Madrid and Barcelona get over one hundred million Euros more per year than most of the other clubs in La Liga. The following link shows 2 pie-charts which reveal one of the primary causes of the pronounced duopoly in Spanish football. There are several reasons why Real Madrid and FC Barcelona dominate La Liga to such an extent, but in the modern game, uneven distribution of television revenue is at or near the top of the list of causes for this disparity. A disparity which, when combined with the huge crowds and thus the huge ticket revenue that the Big Two pull in (above 70 K per game for both clubs) is leaving the rest of Spanish football behind. Many of the other La Liga mainstays have gone into serious debt in the last decade trying to keep pace with Big Two, thanks to the disparity in television revenue between the Big Two and the rest. A disparity, which, when combined with the absolutely dreadful economy in Spain, threatens the viability of first division Spanish football. From Imgur, ‘How TV money is shared in Spain and in England [2012 figures/illustration unattributed]‘ (imgur.com/vTZ9B5f).

Talk about an uneven playing field. And yes, I know that Atlético Madrid won the Spanish title last season. That doesn’t change the fact that Real Madrid and Barcelona have a grossly unfair advantage over all the rest, it just shows what a monumental achievement it was for Atlético Madrid, when the deck is stacked against every Spanish club besides the Big Two. And anyway, go look at that pie chart again and tell me who are the only other clubs besides Real Madrid and Barcelona to have bigger slices of the television revenue pie than the forgotten and hopeless rest-of-the-pack. That’s right…Valencia and current champions Atlético Madrid.

From El Centro Campista blog, from 6 August 2013, by Callum Nolan, La Liga’s haves and have nots (centrocampista.com).

Why are there no attendance figures reported for the 3rd division in Spain?
Spain might have a couple of the biggest football clubs in the world, but last season there were only 12 clubs in the whole country which drew above 20 K (meanwhile there were 27 clubs in England [& Wales] who drew above 20 K and there were 23 clubs in Germany who drew above 20 K). And in Spain, lower-league support is very thin. The Spanish football league system goes fully amateur below the third level, but it is not unknown for there to be amateur clubs in the semi-pro 3rd division. But they don’t even bother recording attendance figures in the regional third level in Spain, the 4 league/80 team Segunda División B. Elsewhere in Western Europe and in several places in Central Europe and in Eastern Europe, you can get attendance figures easily for the third divisions. Of course England has the most comprehensive reporting of lower league attendance figures…it is no problem getting attendance figures from the regional 6th level in England {like here}, and the 7th and most of the 8th level leagues in England produce readily available attendance figures {like here}. Germany produces attendance figures for all their lower leagues to at least the 5th level (which includes the semi-professional 4th level and the amateur 5th level there). Italy reports attendance for the top 4 divisions. France has attendance figures for its 3 top levels including their amateur 3rd division. Netherlands reports attendance for at least the top 5 levels there. And countries in Europe with pro leagues ranked far lower than Spain record attendance figures for their third divisions…Ukraine reports attendance for the top 3 tiers there, as does the Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland and even Denmark (including the 3rd tier in Denmark where over half the clubs are drawing below 350 per game). {Note: German and Italian and French and Dutch and Polish and Ukrainian and Czech and Swedish and Danish lower leagues attendance can be found at E-F-S site, here, among other places}. Here is the Spanish 3rd division official website, try finding attendance figures there (you won’t). I did not find attendance figures anywhere for the Spanish third tier, and a gentleman who helps run a Racing Santander web-forum confirmed to me what I had already sussed out – they don’t exist (see thank you credits at the bottom of this post).

And what would be so shameful if attendances in Segunda B were revealed to be, outside of a few down-on-their luck mid-sized clubs, primarily within the 2.5 K to 3.5 K range, with several within the 500 to 1,000 range? If the figures were out there, at least you could talk about it. In this day and age, the status quo of absolutely no reporting of third division attendance in Spain looks more like a cover-up. A club of any size should not be ashamed of how low they are drawing at any one point in time (due to say, a relegation or two), to actively avoid announcing of their crowd sizes. A club that is a mainstay of any given league in any given level in any given country should not be ashamed of its attendance figures to actively avoid (and even repress) any reporting of it.

“It’s astounding how tolerant we all are to this corruption,” says Rubén Uría, a Spanish sports journalist with the Cope radio network and Eurosport.
{the quote above is from the article at the link below}
La Liga and by extension the Spanish football authorities act like a corrupt banana republic, with its special rules for its special friends. Special rules for the Big Two as seen in Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s lucrative and separate-from-the-rest-of-the-league television deals. And special rules for the big boys – like the much more stringent and onerous financial rules for anyone entering into the second division compared to the spendthrift first division, where debts have reached the billions. And politicians, not actual bankers, running the banks that lend this crazy-cash to the profligate-spending clubs. As the article below points out, since 2006, half of the clubs in the top two divisions have entered bankruptcy proceedings, and by 2011-12, debts had reached €3.75 billion. From Newsweek, from 15 May 2014, by Mike Elkin, Spanish Soccer: World Champions (of Fraud) (newsweek.com). And smack dab in the middle of the most successful region of pro football in the world – Western Europe – the Spanish football authorities think it is perfectly acceptable to not even bother to report third division attendance figures. Meanwhile, judging by the alarming state of many first division clubs’ finances in Spain, it looks like more clubs and more clubs bigger than Alavés, Tenerife, Racing Santander, Hércules or Murcia will be finding themselves in (hopefully temporary) exile in the Twilight Zone of third division Spanish football. There in Segunda B, where few attend, and where the Spanish football authorities and the Spanish media never report attendances.

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Thanks to NordNordWest, for the blank map of Spain, at ‘File:Spain location map.svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org). Thanks to Miguillen, for the blank map of the Canary Islands, at ‘File:Canarias-loc.svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org). Thanks to the contributors to the pages at La Liga and Segunda División (en.wikipedia.org and es.wikipedia.org and de.wikipedia.org).

Thanks to European-Football-Statistics site for attendance figures, http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.

Special thanks to Peña at RacinguistasOnline.com , who responded to my question of what he would estimate Racing Santander’s 2013-14 average attendance was, there in the Segunda B. He responded…” …At the beginning of the season, more or less 2.000-3.000 persons per game, more or less from february, with the expulsión of thieves, attendance grew up, more or less to 8.000 persons per game, although is very difficult to calculate, because there was games with almost full attendance (18.000) and other with 5.000… “…{end of excerpt from e-mail}. That sounded like about somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5 K per game to me.

August 11, 2014

England & Wales: the highest-drawing football clubs within the English football leagues system (all clubs [74 clubs] that drew above 4 K per game in the 2013-14 season) / Plus a short illustrated article comparing English and German attendances last season, by division.

england_2014-attendance-map_74-clubs_all-drawing-above-4k_post_d_.gif
England attendance map 2014 (all English & Welsh clubs drawing above 4,000 per game in 2013-14 [74 teams])




This continues my new category of European football leagues attendance maps. This map is for England, including the Welsh clubs within the English football leagues system – of which there are 6, with 2 clubs from Wales on the map here/ {see this post I made from 2011 on Welsh clubs within the English system} [There are 2 Welsh clubs on this map - Premier League side Swansea City, and just-relegated Championship side Cardiff City]).

The map & chart here shows all football clubs in the English football leagues system which drew over 4,000 per game in the 2013-14 season (from home domestic league matches). The larger the club-crest is on the map, the higher the club’s attendance. The chart at the right-hand side of the map page shows 2013-14 average attendance, stadium capacity, and percent capacity. Also shown at the far right of the chart are: each club’s English titles (with year of last title), seasons spent in the English first division (with last year in the top flight listed if applicable), and FA Cup titles (with year of last title). [Some data found at Premier League/Clubs (en.wikipedia.org).]

In addition to the main map, there are 3 inset maps on the map page…for Greater London and Surrounding Area (12 clubs from Greater London on the map plus Watford in Hertfordshire); for the West Midlands including Birmingham, Coventry and Woverhampton (5 clubs on the map from the West Midlands [but not Coventry City]); and for a section of Northwest England, including Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester (4 Lancashire clubs, 3 Merseyside clubs and 5 Greater Manchester-based clubs on the map). I added an extra detail of listing the historic counties of England on the map(s).

    A brief comparison of English and German attendances by division (2013-14 figures)

england_and_germany_football-leagues_attendance_2013-14_by-division_c_.gif

{Note: 2013-14 English leagues football attendance [top 4 levels] can be seen at the following link, by clicking on “England” on the left-hand sidebar at: http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm}.

There were 74 clubs in the English system which drew over 4,000 [4 K] per game last season – all 20 Premier League clubs; all 24 Football League Championship clubs; 20 of the 24 Football League One clubs; 9 of the 24 Football League Two clubs; and 1 Non-League/Conference club. As far as clubs which draw over 4,000 go – that is the most in Europe (and in the world). Second-most is Germany, which had 52 clubs that drew over 4 K last season.

However, the German first division, the Bundesliga, draws much higher on average than the English Premier League does – over 6.5 K higher in 2013-14 (Bundesliga averaged 43,499 per game in 2013-14, versus 36,670 for the Premier League last season). Of course, the Bundesliga is the highest drawing association football league in the world. But Germany’s preeminence in crowd sizes changes as you go down the pyramid in their league system, especially below the second division. Before I get to that I should point out that while last season [2013-14], the second division in Germany outdrew the second division in England (by about 1.2 K), in the two seasons previous, the second division in England – the Championship – drew slightly higher than the second division in Germany – by about .2 K in 2012-13, and by about .5 K in 2011-12. That drop in League Championship attendance last season (down by about .8 K in 2013-14 compared to 2012-13) can mostly be attributed to the temporary inclusion of a rather small club into the second tier, the now-relegated Yeovil Town, combined with the temporary expulsion of a somewhat large club, the now-promoted-back-to-the-second-tier Wolves (switching Yeovil for Wolves in the second division was the equivalent to a -.63 K drop in Championship attendance, when you subtract 2013-14 Yeovil Town crowds [6.6 K] from 2012-13 Wolves’ crowds [21.2 K] and divide by 24).

The third division in England – League One – outdrew the third division in Germany – 3.Liga – by about 1.4 K in 2013-14, while two seasons ago [2012-13] England’s third tier outdrew the third tier in Germany by about .2 K, and three seasons ago [2011-12] England’s third level outdrew Germany’s third level by 1.7 K. So the average for the past three seasons is about +1.1 K more in England’s third division than in Germany’s. Below the third division, it is impossible to compare the two countries’ leagues on a like-for-like basis because Germany’s system is national for only the top 3 divisions and becomes regionalized from the 4th level on down, while the English system stays national all the way to the 5th division. Nevertheless, you can compare the two sets of lower leagues in this way… Germany’s 4th level (90 clubs within 5 regional leagues) could be compared with England’s 4th-through-6th levels (92 clubs in 3 levels [4th level /League Two/24 clubs + 5th level/Conference/24 clubs + 6th level/Conferences North & South/22 clubs in 2 regional leagues making 44 clubs]).

Generally, below the 3rd level, the German football system starts to be full of clubs drawing in the 1 to 2 K range (only 10 of the 90 clubs in the five German Regionalliga [4th level] drew above 2 K last season, and just 6 drew above 3 K, and a mere 4 of those 90 clubs drew above 4 K last season) {2013-14 German leagues football attendance can be seen at the following link, by clicking on “Germany” on the left-hand sidebar at: http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm}. Meanwhile, below the third tier, the English system has, usually, a plethora of clubs drawing above 2 K (there were 28 last season, with 21 League Two clubs drawing above 2 K last season, and a somewhat impressive 7 clubs in Non-League drawing above 2 K (all in the Conference/see these figures at soccerway.com}. Also, England’s fourth tier boasted a majority of clubs drawing above 3 K (16 clubs above 3 K in League Two last season). And, as alluded to two paragraphs above, last season those two divisions in England (4th and 5th levels) included 10 clubs drawing above 4 K (9 League Two clubs plus the now-promoted Luton Town).

So, Germany is king of big-league football attendance, but England’s league system has significantly more substantial support in the lower levels of the Football League and the in the top tier of Non-League football.


In case you are wondering, below are the clubs which came closest to being on this map…
(Below are all clubs in the English system that drew in the 3 thousands in 2013-14)…
York City (3.7 K per game in 2013-14 in League 2), Colchester United (3.7 K in League 1), Hartlepool United (3.7 K in League 2), Exeter City (3.7 K in League 2), Grimsby Town (3.5 K in 5th level/Conference), Wycombe Wanderers (3.4 K in League 2), Crawley Town (3.4 K in League 1), Mansfield Town (3.3 K in League 2), Bury (3.1 K in League 2), Cambridge United (3.0 K in 5th level/Conference).
-Attendance data sources – Premier League and Football League, European-Football-Statistics.co.uk; Non-League, http://us.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-national/20132014/regular-season/r21458/.

Finally, here are the winners of each of the top 5 divisions in England last season (with each club’s average crowd size).
1st division, 2013-14 Premier League, 36,670 per game (winner: Manchester City at 47.7 K).
2nd division, 2013-14 League Championship 16,609 per game (winner: Leicester City at 24.9 K).
3rd division, 2013-14 League One, 7,476 per game (winner: Wolves at 15.4 K).
4th division, 2013-14 League Two, 4,351 per game (winner: Chesterfield at 6.2 K).
5th division, 2013-14 Conference National, 1,864 per game (winner: Luton Town at 7.3 K).
___

Thanks to the contributors at ‘Premier League‘, ‘Football League Championship‘, ‘Football League One‘, ‘Football League Two‘, ‘Conference Premier‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

Thanks to European-Football-Statistics.co.uk, for attendance figures.

Thanks to the Footy-Mad sites [http://www.footymad.net/premier-league-news/], for club League Histories, such as http://www.derbycounty-mad.co.uk/league_history/derby_county/index.shtml

August 2, 2014

France (including Monaco): 2014 football attendance map – with the 37 highest-drawing clubs in France [all French clubs drawing over 4 K per game] (from 2013-14 home league matches).

france_2014_highest-drawing-clubs_all-french-clubs-drawing-over-4k_37-clubs_post_c_.gif
France: 2014 football attendance map – with the 37 highest-drawing clubs in France [all French clubs drawing over 4 K per game]




This continues my new category of European football leagues attendance maps. This map for France (including Monaco) shows all football clubs in the French football leagues system which drew over 4,000 per game in the 2013-14 season (from home domestic league matches). The larger the club-crest is on the map, the higher the club’s attendance. The chart at the right-hand side of the map page shows 2013-14 average attendance, stadium capacity, and percent capacity. Also shown at the far right of the chart are: each club’s French titles (with year of last title), seasons spent in the French first division, and French Cup titles (with year of last title).

On the map, I have included the major rivers (fleuves) of France. Adding that detail just seemed like the French thing to do. Here is the page at the French Wikipedia where I got that info, ‘Liste des fleuves de France‘ (fr.wikipedia.org). There is a cool map there of the watersheds/drainage basins within France.

My attendance map for England (including some Welsh clubs) will be up next, in about 10 days.
___
Thanks to Eric Gaba for the blank topographic/political map of France, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Blank_maps_of_France#mediaviewer/File:France_map_Lambert-93_topographic-blank.svg.

Thanks to European-football-statistics.co.uk, for French attendance figures, http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.

Thanks to the contributors at ‘Ligue 1‘, ‘Ligue 2‘, and ‘Championnat National‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

July 19, 2014

Germany: 2014 football attendance map, with the 52 highest-drawing clubs in Germany [all German clubs drawing over 4 K per game] (from 2013-14 home league matches). / Plus, a chart showing the 20 highest-drawing association football leagues in Europe (2013 or 2013-14 season).

germany_2014-attendance-map_top52-drawing-clubs-from2013-14_bundesliga_2-bundesliga_3rd-div_4th-level_post_h_.gif
Germany: 2014 football attendance map, with the 52 highest-drawing clubs in Germany [all German clubs drawing over 4 K per game]



This is a new category, European football leagues attendance maps. I have not done full-nation attendance maps for several years now, and I thought it was time to revisit the theme. I will make maps like this for: Germany, France, England, Italy, and Spain. Those 5 countries are home to the top five highest-drawing association football (aka soccer) leagues in Europe [note: see the chart I put together at the end of this post, which shows the 20 highest drawing leagues in Europe]. All 5 maps I do in this theme will show every club in that country which drew over 4,000 per game last season.

On the map, club crests are sized – the larger the crest, the larger the club’s average home crowd {attendance figures from home domestic league matches in 2013-14/link to source at the bottom of this post}. Besides attendance, each club’s stadium capacity and 2013-14 percent-capacity are shown (percent capacity equals average attendance divided by stadium capacity). Also in the chart at the far right-hand side of the map page are: national titles (with year of last title noted), total seasons spent in the first division by club, and national cup titles (with year of last title noted).

Clubs from the former East Germany (9 clubs from the former East Germany on the map & chart) are noted in the chart by an asterisk [East German clubs were finally able to be eligible for promotion to the Bundesliga in 1991-92, with the inclusion of Hansa Rostock and Dynamo Dresden into 2.Bundesliga for the 1991-92 season, which was a little less than two years after the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 (Hallelujah)].

I will have the attendance map & chart for France (and Monaco) up next, in about a fortnight.

Below – Chart: the 20 highest drawing association football leagues in Europe

2013-14_europe_best-drawing_domestic-leagues_ger_eng_spa_ita_fra_etc_top20_.gif

Source of data, http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
___
Thanks to Bogomolov.PL for the blank map of Germany, ‘File:Germany localisation map 2008.svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).

Thanks to the contributors at ‘Bundesliga‘, ‘2.Bundesliga‘, ‘3.Liga‘, ‘Fußball-Regionalliga‘ (en.wikipedia.org & de.wikipedia.org).

Thanks to European-Football-Statistics.co.uk, for German attendance figures, european-football-statistics.co.uk.

July 7, 2014

Minor League Baseball: 2013 attendance map, the 84 highest drawing teams of all the minor league teams in USA, Mexico and Canada (all teams which drew over 4,000 per game) (affiliated, independent and summer-collegiate teams) (home/regular season average crowds) / Plus illustrations for the 2 highest-drawing MiLB teams of 2013: Sultanes de Monterrey & the Columbus Clippers.

baseball_minor-leagues_84-highest-drawing-teams_2013-avg-attendance_all-milb-affiliated-and-independent-teams_drawing-over-4000-per-game_post_t_.gif
Minor League Baseball: 2013 attendance map, 84 highest drawing teams





Attendance figures on the map (source)
From Ballparkdigest.com, from Sept. 16 2013, ‘2013 Baseball Attendance by Average [Minor Leagues]‘ (ballparkdigest.com).

From en.wikipedia, ‘Minor League Baseball/ Current system
& ‘Independent baseball league/ Current leagues‘.

    Below is an overview of Affiliated MiLB, its levels, and its relationship to the Independent leagues (or lack thereof)

Affiliated Minor League Baseball is comprised of 18 of the 19 leagues in Organized Baseball
(MiLB is an informal quasi-acronym for minor league baseball.)
Affiliated means that the minor league ball club, though being a separate entity (a separate franchise), has a player-development working agreement (a PDC) with one of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs. An affiliated MiLB team, in other words, is under the protective umbrella of Major League Baseball. I say protective, because, crucially, the MLB team provides players and coaching staff to the MiLB team, and pays their salaries. Affiliated MiLB teams are within a ladder-arrangement on, officially, 4 levels which are below Major League Baseball. But, for all intents and purposes, there really are 6 minor league levels below the Major Leagues (see 2 paragraphs below). Organized Baseball is comprised of the 30 Major League Baseball teams and all their minor league affiliates which are in the 18 MiLB leagues, plus one other league, the Mexican League, which has 16 unaffiliated teams [official name of the Mexican League is Liga Mexicana de Béisbol]. (Note: each MLB team has 7 or 8 minor league affiliates; for example, here are the Boston Red Sox’ farm teams, ‘en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Red_Sox#Minor_league_affiliations‘)

There are affiliated MiLB teams in the United States, Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, but outside of the Vancouver Canadians (an A-level ball club), all the affiliated MiLB teams above the Rookie leagues are in the USA. (As the name implies, Rookie leagues players are straight out of high school, and by signing with an MLB team, have turned pro.) The MiLB teams themselves never move up or down the leagues-ladder via on-field accomplishments (as with teams in football [soccer] leagues or in rugby leagues in other parts of the world), but once in a while, MiLB franchises can move up or down a level or so (as with the case of the Durham Bulls franchise of Durham, North Carolina, which moved up 3 levels from Class-A to Triple-A in 1998). But the crucial factor (indeed, the whole raison d’être for Organized Baseball’s minor leagues) is, of course, that minor league players themselves can and do move up the ladder all the way to the big leagues, if they have what it takes to play in The Show (the Major Leagues).

The 4 different types of minor league ball clubs:
1). Affiliated teams in Organized Baseball.
2). Unaffiliated teams in Organized Baseball [Mexican Triple-A teams].
3). Independent leagues teams.
4). Summer collegiate baseball teams [amateur teams].
There are 4 types of minor league baseball teams. Two of these types are within the set-up of Organized Baseball. The affiliated teams come from 18 minor leagues spread out within the 4 levels, which are, going from highest-placed-level to the lowest-placed-level…Triple-A (aka AAA), Double-A (AA), Single-A (A-level/see following sentence for further description), and the Rookie leagues. But actually there are really 6 levels in affiliated MiLB, because the A-level is split into three levels of its own…Advanced-A, Class-A, and short season-A (and short season-A teams are from generally speaking, much smaller cities than adv-A or A-Class cities, and are stocked with many Rookie leagues-caliber players, and play in a season about only 50% as long as higher-placed MiLB leagues [the NY-Penn and Pioneer leagues, which are the 2 short season-A leagues, don't start their seasons until June]).

The other two types of minor league ball clubs are the teams from the Independent leagues, and the teams from the summer-collegiate leagues. Both are not connected in any way with Major League Baseball (although Independent leagues teams can sell players to MLB teams). Independent leagues have sprung up in the last two decades, and there are currently [2014] 7 Independent leagues, two of which have teams which draw well enough to have made this map (see 5 paragraphs below). With Independent leagues teams, while there there is a greater chance of financial failure, there is also a wrinkle in MLB/MiLB/Organized Baseball rules which has inadvertently allowed some Independent leagues teams to do very well at the turnstiles (also see 5 paragraphs below). The basic reason why it is much harder for Independent leagues teams to succeed financially is the simple fact that these teams from the ‘outlaw’ leagues must pay salaries to their coaching staff and their players (and some times build their own ballparks), while MiLB teams within Organized Baseball have the safety net of having their coaching staff and players’ salaries paid for by their parent-club (ie, the Major League team which they are affiliated with). Finally there are the summer-collegiate leagues (see 6 paragraphs below).

Attendance measurement within Organized Baseball’s minor leagues & within other MiLB leagues
Of the 19 minor leagues within Organized Baseball, 15 measure paid attendance – all 3 of the Triple-A leagues, all 3 Double-A leagues, all 7 A-level leagues, and 2 of the 6 Rookie leagues also do: the Pioneer League of the central Rocky Mountains, and the Appalachian League of the southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont region. The other 4 Rookie leagues do not measure attendance (those are the Arizona League, the Gulf Coast League [in Florida], the Dominican Summer League, and the Venezuelan League). The attendance measurement within the Independent leagues and within the collegiate summer leagues is way more hit-or-miss, and some of the Independent leagues don’t publish their attendances (because they are so low I am guessing). Also, some collegiate summer league teams inflate their attendance figures {see this from Ballparksdigest.com/3rd paragraph there} (so it is probably just as well that I decided to draw the line where I did with respect to crowd-sizes on the map).


I made a map of the 122-highest-drawing minor league baseball team 2 years ago {here, ‘Minor League Baseball – Top 122 drawing teams within Organized Baseball and in the Independent Leagues – all teams that drew over 3,000 per game in 2011‘ (billsportsmaps.com).

Map of 84 highest-drawing MiLB teams in 2013
This time, I decided to narrow the focus to about three-quarters of that, to all minor league baseball teams in North America which drew over 4,000 per game in 2013 (instead of all minor league teams which drew over 3,000 per game). So the map here shows the top 84-drawing minor league teams in North America from the 2013 season (from home/regular season games). On the map there ended up being 76 MiLB teams within Organized Baseball (68 of them being affiliated with one of the 30 MLB teams as farm clubs, and 8 being from the Mexican League [which, as mentioned before, is part of the Organized Baseball set-up but whose teams are franchises which have no affiliation with any MLB teams - and in fact have minor league farm clubs of their own]).

The 76 Organized Baseball/MiLB teams on the map
The horizontal bar at the top of the map page lists every Organized Baseball/MiLB team in levels 2 through 6 (see immediately below for description of Organized Baseball/MiLB levels), with the 76 Organized Baseball/MiLB teams on the map in bold type (with 2013 attendance rank), as well listing as all the other Organized Baseball/MiLB teams above the Rookie leagues which drew too low to make the map.
At the far right of the map page, the attendance list includes a column for which level the MiLB teams are in, with:
level 1 being MLB (ie, there are no level 1/MLB teams on the map because this is a map of minor league teams),
level 2 being Triple-A,
level 3 being Double-A,
level 4 being advanced-A,
level 5 being Class-A,
level 6 being short-season-A
(note: no level 7 or Rookie leagues teams made the map).

The 8 Mexican League teams on the map
The 8 Mexican League teams on the map include the highest-drawing minor league ball club in all of North America last year – the Sultanes de Monterrey, of Monterrey, Nuevo León. The seven other Mexican League teams on the map are: Saraperos de Saltillo (the Saltillo Serape Makers), Acereros de Monclova (the Monclova Steelers), Diablos Rojos del México (the Mexico [City] Red Devils), Delfines del Ciudad Carmen (the Carmen City Dolphins), Pericos de Puebla (the Puebla Parrots), Vaqueros Laguna (the Laguna Cowboys), and Leones de Yucatán (the Yucatan Lions). The Mexican League has 16 teams; here is their page on en.wikipedia.org, ‘Mexican League‘.]

The 7 Independent leagues teams on the map, and the ability of Independent leagues teams to circumvent the 75-mile-radius protected-market territory which MLB allows each MLB team to enforce within Organized Baseball [via MLB's anti-trust exemption]
As far as representation from the Independent Leagues – on the map there ended up being 7 teams which are from the Independent leagues. Although they can and do develop players who they then sell to Major League teams, the Independent leagues have no formal connection with Organized Baseball. Thus they are able to place franchises in areas that Organized Baseball has zones of exclusion, or protected territory. Such as in south-east-central Pennsylvania, where Organized Baseball protects the MLB team the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the affiliated MiLB teams the Reading Fightin’ Phils and the Harrisburg Senators from there being any other Organized Baseball/MiLB teams in that region, but where the Independent league team the Lancaster Barnstormers (and the York Revolution) ignore that monopolistic edict and flourish. Also as with the case on Long Island, New York in Nassau and Suffolk counties, where MLB protects the New York Mets (as well as the New York Yankees) from there being any Organized Baseball/MiLB team in that region, but where the Independent leagues team the Long Island Ducks ignore that monopolistic edict and flourish. And also as with the cases of the Kansas City T-Bones and the Sugar Land [Houston] Skeeters, among others.

The 7 Independent leagues teams on the map –
[Note: here is my Independent leagues attendance map, which I posted earlier in 2014 (please note that some of the text there has been repeated here, below), http://billsportsmaps.com/?p=26979 .
-The Winnipeg Goldeyes [of the American Association] (from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and the only Canadian team on the map besides the Vancouver Canadians).
-The Sugar Land Skeeters [of the Atlantic League] (from the west side of Greater Houston, Texas).
-The Kansas City T-Bones [of the American Association] (from the Kansas side of Greater Kansas City, Missouri).
-The Long Island Ducks [of the Atlantic League] (from Central Islip, Long Island, New York in Suffolk County about 25 miles east of the NYC border).
-The Somerset Patriots [of the Atlantic League] (from what can be referred to as the outer western edge of Greater New York City in Bridgewater, New Jersey).
-The St. Paul Saints [of the American Association] (from the eastern half of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota).
-The Lancaster Barnstormers [of the Atlantic League] (from Lancaster, south-east-central Pennsylvania).

The American Association [of Independent Professional Baseball]
The American Association has 16 teams and is based primarily in the Upper Midwest and the Plains States from Texas to the Dakotas, plus Manitoba and Quebec in Canada, plus a few teams in the Northeast. The American Association has been around since 2006 but features some teams that have been around for over two decades (such as the St. Paul Saints). The American Association was founded by Miles Wolff in 2006. Wolff had previously been founder of the first modern-day Independent league in 1993, with the now-defunct Northern League (of 1993-2010). Here are four excerpts from that former Independent league’s page at en.wikipedia.org…’The modern Northern League was founded by Miles Wolff. Wolff started the league after many midwestern cities contacted him (through his affiliation with Baseball America) asking how they could get a minor league team. After visiting some of them, most notably Wade Stadium in Duluth, he began contacting potential owners to start the league.’/…’The league began in 1993 with 6 teams: Duluth-Superior Dukes (Duluth, Minnesota), Rochester Aces (Rochester, Minnesota), St. Paul Saints (St. Paul, Minnesota), Sioux Falls Canaries (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Sioux City Explorers (Sioux City, Iowa) and Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks (Thunder Bay, Ontario). The prospects for the league were originally “cloudy.” Many forecast an early demise especially in St. Paul where competition with the Minnesota Twins led many local sportswriters to consider it a “beer league.” The league, however, was a relatively moderate success, with only the Rochester franchise struggling to draw crowds to their games.’/…’ Following the [2005] season’s conclusion St. Paul, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, and Lincoln announced they were leaving the league to form a new independent league with five teams from the folded Central Baseball League in the southern United States; the new league was to be known as the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.’/…’Following the 2010 season, the Northern League announced that Winnipeg, Kansas City, Fargo-Moorhead, and Gary SouthShore would be leaving the league to join the American Association’ …{end of excerpts}. The Northern League folded in 2010, but its legacy and 3 of its founding teams and 5 more of its expansion teams still exist today as 8 of the 16 franchises in the American Association (the 3 founding teams of the Northern League [1993-2010] which still exist today in the American Association are the St. Pauls Saints, the Sioux City Explorers, and the Sioux Falls Canaries). Miles Wolff, the founder of the influential publication Baseball America, and the modern-day creator of the Independent league-model, was commissioner of the trailblazing Northern League from 1993 to 2002. Wolff is presently commissioner of the American Association (which is headquartered in Durham, NC). Wolff also owns the American Association team the Québec Capitales (of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada), as well as the collegiate summer league team the Elmira Pioneers (see 7 paragraphs below for more on the impressive drawing power of the Elmira Pioneers). Here is the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball’s page at en.wikipedia.org, ‘American Association of Independent Professional Baseball‘.

There is one American Association team that owns its ballpark, the highest-drawing Independent leagues team, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, who play at Shaw Park. Shaw Park, which opened in 1999 and has been expanded twice since, has a capacity of 7,481. It is owned by Sam Katz, owner of the Goldeyes, and, since 2004, the mayor of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Katz, the first Jewish mayor of Manitoba, is in his third term.

Atlantic League [Professional Baseball],
The Atlantic League has 8 teams in their league (and will expand to 10 teams in 2015). The Atlantic League has 7 teams in the Northeast and one team in Greater Houston, Texas, and will expand to two locations in Virginia next season [2015] (adding one new team in northern Virginia in Greater Washington DC [the Loudon Hounds of Ashburn, VA]; and one new team in SE coastal Virginia near Norfolk [the Virginia Beach Neptunes of Virginia Beach, VA]. It might interest you to know that Baseball Hall of Famer/Baltimore Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson (in a consortium named Opening Day Partners) is a co-owner of the Lancaster team & the York team and the Texas team (and 2 other franchises in the Atlantic League). The NY Mets fan favorite, mercurial Shortstop Bud Harrelson, is a co-owner of the Long Island team. Harrelson co-owns the Long Island Ducks with Long Island-native Frank Boulton, who used to own the now-defunct Albany, NY Eastern League franchise, then tried to set up a Long Island-based team still within the Organized Baseball umbrella, but was blocked by MLB and the New York Mets from doing so, then set up the Independent league in 1998. 2 years later, Boulton and the Atlantic League put a franchise in Suffolk County, Long Island, NY, with the Mets powerless to stop him. Boulton thumbed his nose at MLB and built the 6 K-capacity Bethpage Ballpark in 2000, where the Ducks pack ‘em in to this day, setting a consecutive-sellout-record for MiLB along the way. Here is what it says about all that at the Atlantic League‘s page at en.wikipedia.org, {excerpt}…’The creation of the league was the result of the New York Mets’ objection to Frank Boulton’s proposal to move the former Albany-Colonie Yankees because of its territorial rights to the region. Boulton, a Long Island native, decided to create a new league that would have a higher salary cap for its players and a longer season than most of the other independent baseball organizations. He modeled the Atlantic League after the older Pacific Coast League, with facilities that exceed AAA-level standards. Boulton also emphasized signing players of Major League Baseball experience for all Atlantic League teams, raising the level of play above other independent leagues.’…{end of excerpt}.

The Long Island Ducks are one of three Atlantic League teams which own and operate the ballparks they play in (the other two are the Sugar Land Skeeters, and the soon-to-be-expansion team the Loudon Hounds of northern Virginia).

The only amateur team on the map, the Madison Mallards
Finally, there is one amateur team on the map – the Madison Mallards. They are in the Northwoods League, which is one of many collegiate summer baseball leagues in the US. The collegiate ballplayers on these teams only receive a room and board stipend (as mentioned before, all the rest of the teams on the map are from leagues which are professional – and that includes the teams from the Independent leagues). In places such as Cope Cod in Massachusetts and in Alaska and in New England and in Upstate New York and in Wisconsin/Minnesota/Iowa/western Ontario, Canada and in the South Atlantic (as well as several other regions), there are leagues such as this. Actually there are quite a lot of these leagues {see this, ‘List of collegiate summer baseball leagues‘}. With one exception, the summer-collegiate leagues teams do not draw above 3,000 per game, but it must be pointed out that attendances in the collegiate summer leagues have been steadily improving in the last few years. In 2013, there were 7 collegiate summer league teams that drew over 2,000 per game, out of 144 teams from the 14 primary summer-collegiate leagues/{see this from Ballparkdigest.com, ‘2013 Summer-Collegiate Attendance by League‘}. The exception is the Madison Mallards, of Madison, Wisconsin (a city which lost its A-level affiliated minor league team after the 1994 season). The Mallards drew an astounding 6,100 per game in 2013. Think about it – 6K per game of ticket-paying public…and no players’ salaries to pay. Talk about a sweet deal for the Mallards’ owners. Why MLB has not put an MiLB team back in Madison, Wisconsin is an absolute mystery to me.

What the map shows
Below is a list of all minor leagues which measure attendance. The total number teams in the league drawing above 4K per game in 2013 (ie, teams on the map here) are listed in bold type.
Below: List of 2013 MiLB attendance by league (the list includes all 15 MiLB leagues within Organized Baseball which measure attendance plus the top 2-drawing Independent leagues)
List below is ranked in order of highest-to-lowest-drawing, with affiliated-MiLB levels noted, and with season length noted [knowing that total games in season divided by 2 equals the number of home games per team].
(Note: at the top horizontal bar above the map on the map page, these league-average-attendance figures are also shown, but here they are shown from highest to lowest league-average.)
(Please also note: level 1=Major League Baseball {not listed here}; Mexican League is at level 2, but with its teams being unaffiliated; while Independent leagues level is n/a but is probably equivalent to Double-A or level 3-caliber.)
#1, International League (Triple-A/ level/ 2 / 14 teams/ 144 game regular season), 7,041 per game. 13 of 14 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#2, Pacific Coast League (Triple-A/ level 2 / 16 teams/ 144 game regular season), 6,053 per game. 15 of 16 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#3, Texas League (Double-A/ level 3 / 8 teams/ 140 game regular season), 5,377 per game. All 8 teams teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#4, Eastern League (Double-A / level 3 / 14 teams/ 142 game regular season), 4,616 per game. 8 of 12 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#5, Mexican League (Triple-A, but unaffiliated) / level 2 / 16 teams/ 114 game regular season), 4,519 per game. 8 of 16 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#6, Atlantic League Pro Baseball (Independent league/ level: n/a / 8 teams/ 140 game regular season), 4,152 per game. 4 of 8 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#7, Midwest League (Class-A/ level 5 / 16 teams/ 140 game regular season), 3,907 per game. 5 of 16 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#8, Carolina League (Advanced-A/ level 4 / 8 teams/ 140 game regular season), 3,657 per game. 3 of 8 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#9, Southern League (Double-A/ level 3 / 10 teams/ 140 game season), 3,515 per game. 3 of 10 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#10, American Association of Independent Pro Baseball (Independent league/ level: n/a / 13 teams / 100 game regular season), 3,435 per game. 3 of 13 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#11, Northwest League (Short season-A/ level 6 / 8 teams/ 76 game regular season), 3,292 per game. 2 of 8 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#12, South Atlantic League (Class-A)/ level 5 / 14 teams/ 140 game regular season), 3,262 per game. 5 of 14 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#13, New York-Penn League (Short season-A/ level 6 / 14 teams/ 74 game regular season), 3,173 per game. 5 of 14 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#14, Pioneer League (Rookie)/ level 7 / 8 teams/ 76 game regular season), 2,282 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#15, California League (Advanced-A/ level 4 / 10 teams/ 140 game regular season), 2,275 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#16, Florida State League (Advanced-A/ level 4 / 12 teams/ 140 game regular season) 1,606 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#17, Appalachian League (Rookie)/ level 7 / 10 teams/ 68 game regular season), 894 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
-Data for above list at ballparkdigest.com/2013-affiliated-attendance-by-league;
and at ballparkdigest.com/2013-independent-attendance-by-league.

    Below are illustrated profiles of the top two drawing minor league baseball teams in 2013 – the unaffiliated MiLB team Sultanes de Monterrey, of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico (from the Triple-A Mexican League); and the Columbus Clippers, of Columbus, Ohio (the top affiliated ball club of the Cleveland Indians, from the Triple-A International League).

Below: Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey,the largest ballpark in Mexico, and, for the second straight season, the home of the highest-drawing minor league ball club in North America, Sultanes de Monterrey…
estadio-de-beisbol_monterrey-sultanes_best-milb-attendance-2013_.gif
Photo credits for Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey above -
Sultanes cap logo, photo from neweraaustraliasale.com/sultanes-de-monterrey-new-era-snapback-navyred.
Exterior photo, unattributed (uploaded by Jakovo Mtz)at pinterest.com
Aerial photo, unattributed (uploaded by PUMAS AJV) at skyscraperlife.com.
Interior/day-time photo, from sultanes.com.mx.
Interior/night-time photo, unattributed at el-fanatico.com.

Below: Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers…
2014/04/huntington-park_columbus-clippers_2nd-best-milb-attendance-2013_.gif
Photo credits for Huntington Park (Columbus, OH) above -
Exterior, northbankcondos.com/overview/photovideogallery
Left Field Building, scolinssportsvenuesvisited.blogspot.com/2013/05/122-huntington-park-columbus-oh
Right Field Stands, Tom Reed at cleveland.oh.us/wmv_news/tomreed44.htm.
Panorama, dispatch.com/clippers.
___
Photo credits on map page,
Lexington Legends cap logo, photo from lexington.milbstore.com.
Winston-Salem Dash cap logo, photo from wsdash.milbstore.com.
Pericos de Puebla cap logo, photo from h2b.mx/products/pericos-de-puebla-mexican-pro-59fifty-cap.
Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen cap logo, photo from http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1.0-0/c0.90.540.360/10177312_275182789310312_2283421102371401731_n.jpg.
Long Island Ducks cap logo, photo from t20.glitnirticketing.com/ldticket/store.
Acereros del Norte cap logo from acereros.com.mx.
Winnipeg Goldeyes home cap, photo from Goldeyes’ site at http://www.goldeyes.com/shop/shop-index.
Rochester Red Wing new 2014 cap logo, illustration from milb.com/news/article ['Wings unveil brand new logos'].
Saraperos de Saltillo cap logo, photo from ecapcity.com/saraperos-de-saltillo-new-era-snapback-teal-black.
Toledo Mud Hens home cap logo, photo from strictlyfitteds.com/blog/2013/01/milb-new-eratoledo-mud-hens-fitted-baseball-cap.
Sultanes de Monterrey cap logo, photo from articulo.mercadolibre.com.mx/MLM-447192360-gorra-new-era-5950-sultanes-de-monterrey.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Minor League Baseball‘.
Thanks very much to Ballparkdigest.com

June 26, 2014

Map and chart of supporter-owned football clubs in the English football league system [England & Wales] (33 clubs as of June, 2014) / Plus illustrations for Brentford FC (highest-placed supporter-owned club), Portsmouth FC (highest-drawing supporter-owned club), and FC United of Manchester (new stadium set for Sept. 2014 opening).

england_june-2014_map-of-supporter-owned_football-clubs_33-clubs_post_e.gif
Map and chart of supporter-owned football clubs in the English football league system (33 clubs as of June, 2014)



Primary source for the map and chart:
Category:Fan-owned English League football clubs‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Please note that the list at the link above is not complete, omitting [at least, to my knowledge,] 3 clubs:
-Blackstones FC (a 10th Level club from south Lincolnshire, just east of the historic county of Rutland);
-Brentford FC (a just-promoted now-2nd-division club from Hounslow in West London, who are the highest-placed supporter-owned club in England as of 2014-15/see illustration further below);
-and Dorchester Town (a just-relegated 7th Level Southern Premier League club from Dorset, in the West Country).

Also, as of this posting, the now-defunct club Scarborough Town is still included on that list.

So…this map and post features 33 supporter-owned clubs in the English football pyramid [as of July 2014]. There well may be some other 8th or 9th or 10th level clubs in the English football pyramid which are also supporter-owned, and if any one out there has information about possible supporter-owned clubs in the lower divisions of Non-league football which I missed, I would greatly appreciate you putting a comment in here.

Criteria for being called supporter-owned
For the purposes of this map and post, the definition of supporter-owned club is as follows…
Supporter-owned clubs in England & Wales with majority ownership, with either:
1). a majority of seats on the Board (such as in the case of 7th-level-club Chesham United),
2). or being a club which is 50%-to-100% supporter-owned (ie, 32 of the 33 clubs on this map and post),
3). or being a club whose ground is supporter-owned (which is what Wycombe Wanderers’ supporters trust, who currently still own the club, intend to do/see 2 paragraphs below)]…

[Please note: Clubs like 5th-division-club Lincoln City (25%-owned by the LCFC Supporters' Trust/see this), or like Premier League club Swansea City (20%-owned by the SCAFC Supporters' Trust/see this) or like 6th-level-club Cambridge City (10% supporter-owned) are not shown on the map.]

Since I last covered this subject in September 2011, one club was supporter-owned but reverted back to private ownership (Ebbsfleet United). In the interim, a 4th division club’s supporters’ trust took over their club, but then disclosed their intention to sell the club again, yet still intend to retain ownership of the ground. That club is 4th division club Wycombe Wanderers. If this sale goes through, the WWFC Trust will retain a board member and retain ownership of Adams Park in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. So this is another wrinkle in the trend towards supporter-owned clubs {see this, from 14 Feb. 2014, ‘Wycombe Wanderers Supporters’ Trust to sell club‘ (bbc.co.uk)}. This is definitely not a step backwards for Wycombe fans…I reckon there are a whole lot of fans of clubs all across the UK who wish their club’s ground was owned by their supporters.

The vast majority of clubs who are on the map here are clubs that came to be supporter-owned via a financial crisis at the club (such as with 4th-division club Portsmouth), or at the original club that was then replaced by a Phoenix-club (such as with Chester and with Darlington and with Telford, among others). But there looks to be a new trend of clubs who became supporter-owned not through crisis but because enough supporters were able to accomplish the takeover. Specifically, 5th division/Conference club Wrexham of North Wales, who were taken over by their supporters’ trust in December 2011. Two years later, the club became debt-free {see this, ‘Wrexham: Club now debt free under fan ownership‘ (supporters-direct.org); and see this, ‘AGM – Press Report‘ (wrexhamafc.co.uk)}. Fans of other clubs in higher-placed leagues are currently trying to achieve what Wrexham did, such as at now-4th-division club Tranmere Rovers, where current ownership is working with the supporters’ trust to assure proper stewardship of the club, but funds raised have fallen short of the target so far {see this, ‘Tranmere Rovers FC Supporters Trust intend to press on with their attempts to win control at Prenton Park‘ (wirralnews.co.uk)}.

When I first covered the subject of supporter-owned clubs in Britain – in the early autumn of 2011 – there were 20 supporter-owned clubs in the English football pyramid. Now, just under four years later, there are 33, with many others having partial ownership by supporters.

My previous map on the subject, from Sept. 2011 – http://billsportsmaps.com/?category_name=engl-supporter-owned-clubs [20 clubs].

    Brentford FC – the highest-placed supporter-owned club in England

In 2013-14, Brentford finished 2nd in League One, winning the 2nd automatic promotion to the Football League Championship (the 2nd level).

First off…Question: ‘Who owns Brentford Foootball Club?‘ (beesunited.org.uk).
Answer: Bees United [The Brentford FC Supporters Trust], own 60.3% of the shares of Brentford FC; Matthew Benham owns 30.7% of the shares of Brentford FC; others own 9.0% of the shares of Brentford FC.

Brentford FC, aka the Bees, are from Brentford, Hounslow, West London, which was prior to 1965 situated in the former historical county of Middlesex. You can see the connection to Middlesex in Brentford’s crest, which features the three gold hilted, white seaxes on a red background {Middlesex flag, here (britishcountyflags.wordpress.com)} [note: as does the crest and flag of the historic county of Essex].

Despite being located in Greater London and currently drawing a respectable 7.7 K per game, Brentford sails somewhat under the radar and is not too well known, especially amongst the newer breed of Premier League fan. It would probably surprise many that have started following English football in the last decade that Brentford has actually been in the First Division – albeit not in over half a century. Brentford spent 5 seasons in the English top flight, from 1935-36 to 1946-47 [7 seasons of the Football League were lost due to World War II].

It probably hurt the club that World War II interrupted Brentford’s only spell in the First Division – they were relegated the first season after league play was resumed in 1946-47. There then followed a period of slow decline for the club, culminating in the threat of extinction in the late 1960s, when Brentford were in the 4th division and broke, and QPR tried to absorb the club. Brentford was saved at the last minute with an emergency loan of 104,000 pounds. As to the club’s time spent in the second tier, it has been just 13 seasons total, and again, it has been a while – 21 years since Brentford were in the second division (for a one-season-spell in 1992-93). Brentford has historically been a third division club through and through – 2013-14 was Brentford’s 57th season in the third tier.

Brentford became supporter-owned in 2006. Here is an excerpt from the Brentford’s page at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Former BBC Director-General and Bees fan Greg Dyke was announced as chairman of Brentford on 20 January 2006 as part of the takeover by Bees United, the Brentford Supporters Trust.’

Brentford’s Griffin Park, opened in 1904, is pretty old-school as grounds go. At Griffin Park, spectators sit right on top of the action. It might be rough around the edges, but upkeep has been OK. It is situated in a mainly residential neighborhood. Behind one goal, the Brook Road Stand (like the one at Southend) is a nice-and-not-too-large-yet-still-two-tiered-stand {see it here}. Griffin Road features, famously, a pub at every corner of the ground. Its capacity is 12,300. Circa 2001-02 to 2011-12, Brentford had been averaging between 5 and 6,000 per game, until 2 seasons ago [2012-13], when their promotion push fell agonizingly short (see illustration below), and they drew 6.3 K. Last season [2013-14], they finally achieved the promotion they had been striving for for nigh on half a decade – and drew a respectable 7,715 per game, including 10 K on the day they won promotion and a deliriously joyful pitch invasion was had (also see below).

For Brentford’s fans, this is starting to look like the start of a new Golden Age, because a 20 K-capacity stadium has just recently been approved by Mayor Boris Johnson, as well as all the local councils, etc. Their new stadium is slated for a 2016 opening. It is to be situated at a site only a couple miles away from the Bees present location, east of Griffin Park, near Kew Bridge (which, incidentally, still has a sign for west-bound traffic which says ‘Welcome to Middlesex’) {see this, ‘Brentford FC’s new Lionel Road stadium gets the final thumbs up‘ (getwestlondon.co.uk)}.

Once their new stadium is up and running, Brentford FC should be set up well to both increase their fan base and increase their chances of staying out of the lower Leagues. More power to them.

brentford-fc_highest-placed-supporter-owned-club_england_2nd-division-club-in-2014-15_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Bees Utd banner from beesunited.org.uk.
Aerial photo, by Andreas Praefcke at ‘File:Griffin Park aerial 2011.jpg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
2013 heartbreak for BFC, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/sport/football.
2014, promotion for BFC, 1st photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
2014, promotion for BFC, 2nd photo by PA via dailymail.co.uk/sport/football.
-BFC League history data from: brentford-mad.co.uk/league_history/brentford.

    Portsmouth FC – the highest-drawing supporter-owned club in England

Portsmouth’s 2013-14 avg. attendance: 15,460 per game {from home league matches}.
Portsmouth became the largest supporter-owned club in England, after the Pompey Supporters Trust successfully gained possession of Fratton Park in April 2013. After finding themselves drawn into the 13/14 League Two relegation battle, Portsmouth went undefeated in their last 6 matches (winning 4), and finished in 13th place. Previously, Portsmouth had suffered their third relegation in 4 seasons following a 7-year-spell in the Premier League, where they had finished as high as 8th place in 2007-08 and won the FA Cup that same season. Due to automatic points deductions while being in administration, a cash-strapped Portsmouth had suffered back-to-back relegations in 2012 and 2013 during the messy and protracted supporters-trust-takeover-battle. It looked like yet another relegation loomed until academy director Andy Awford stepped back in the caretaker-manager’s role in late March 2014, and shook up the squad. Awford was appointed full-time manager in May 2014.

portsmouth-fc_highest-drawing-supporter-owned-club_england_15k-in-2013-14_b_.gif
Photo credits above -
Aerial photo, unattributed at
pompeychimes.webs.com/frattonpark.
Exterior photo, by PA via telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/portsmouth.
Fratton End fans’ TIFO/team huddle photo, from pompeytrust.com.
-PFC League history data from: portsmouth-mad.co.uk/league_history/portsmouth.

    FC United of Manchester – a supporter-owned club that is building their own stadium

FC United of Manchester, aka FC United, is a 7th level/Northern Premier League club that has been supporter-owned since the club’s formation in 2005. They are currently building their own stadium, Broadhurst Park, in Moston, Manchester, about 3 miles (5 km) north-east of Manchester city center. Construction began in November 2013 and is scheduled to be completed by September 2014. Capacity will be 5,000 (672 seated). FCUM has been averaging close to 2 K per game (1,929 per game in 2013-14), which is over 1.5 K higher than the median-average of the Northern Premier (its median crowd-size for 13/14 was 320; figures here, nonleaguematters.co.uk/divisions/[Northern Prem]).

FC United of Manchester were of course formed by disaffected Manchester United fans in the wake of the widespread anger at the Glazers’ debt-leveraged takeover of Manchester United in May 2005. They entered the English football leagues pyramid at the 10th level in 2005-06, and won promotion three consecutive seasons. But now, FC United have been stuck in the Northerm Premier League for 6 seasons, with 2014-15 set to be their 7th season in the 7th tier. FC United have lost in the Northern Prem playoffs for four straight seasons now (including playoffs finals losses in 10/11 to Colwyn Bay, in 11/12 to Bradford Park Avenue, and in 12/13 to Hednesford Town). But the light is at the end of the tunnel in FC United’s quest to secure their own ground. That will probably boost attendances more towards the 2 K to 3 K crowd sizes they were getting in their first 2 seasons {FCUM league & cup history+attendances, here}, and hopefully it will propel them up the football pyramid further. With their new, supporter-owned ground, FC United will probably find it easier to resume their advance up the English football pyramid.

fc-united-of-manchester_new-stadium_being-built_broadhurst-park_2014_c_.gif

Photo and Image credits above –
1st photo, unattributed at fcunited.ru/news.
2nd photo, by Sean Wilton at manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/fc-united-ground-moston-begins.
3rd photo, unattributed at skyscrapercity.com [thread: MANCHESTER |New FC United of Manchester Stadium Broadhurst Park.
Architect's rendering, unattributed at fcunited.ru/en/broadhurst_park.

...

    List of Supporter-owned clubs in England & Wales

Below, clubs listed by 2014-15 league placement and 2013-14 finish,
Brentford FC, 2nd level (League Championship)/ 2nd place, League One {Promoted to the Championship for 2014-15}; 7,715 per game.
Portsmouth FC, 4th level (League Two)/ 13th place, League Two; 15,460 per game.
Exeter City FC, 4th level (League Two)/ 17th place, League Two; 3,700 per game.
AFC Wimbledon, 4th level (League Two)/ 20th place, League Two; 4,134 per game.
Wycombe Wanderers, 4th level (League Two)/ 22nd place, League Two {escaped relegation on goal diff.}; 3,680 per game.
Wrexham FC, 5th level/ 17th place; 2,978 per game.
AFC Telford United, 5th level/ 1st place, Conference North {Promoted to the Conference National for 2014-15}; 1,688 per game.
Chester FC, 6th level/ 21st place, Conference National {relegated to Conference North for 2014-15}; 2,366 per game.
Chelmsford City FC, 6th level/ 17th place, Conference South; 647 per game.
Dorchester Town FC, 7th level/ 22nd place [last], Conference South {relegated to the Southern League Premier for 2014-15}; 390 per game.
Chesham United FC, 7th level/ 2nd place, Southern League {lost playoff final to St Albans City}; 378 per game.
FC United of Manchester, 7th level/ 2nd place, Northern League Premier {lost in playoffs 1st R}; 1,929 per game.
Hendon FC, 7th level/ 8th place, Isthmian League Premier; 176 per game.
Lewes FC, 7th level/ 16th place, Isthmian League Premier; 503 per game.
Enfield Town FC, 7th level/ 19th place, Isthmian League Premier; 385 per game.
Darlington 1883 FC, 8th level/ 2nd place, Northern Premier League Div 1 North {lost in playoffs 1st R}; 1,097 per game.
Merthyr Town FC, 8th level/ 2nd place, Southern Football League Div 1 South & West {lost in playoffs 1st R}; 337 per game.
Scarborough Athletic FC, 8th level/ 7th place, Northern Premier League Div 1 North; 385 per game.
Aylesbury United FC, 8th level/ 12th place, Southern League Div 1 Central; 165 per game.
Prescott Cables FC, 8th level/ 20th place, Northern Premier League Div 1 North; 175 per game.
Runcorn Linnets, 9th level/ 2nd place, North West Counties Football League Premier; 323 per game.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds, 9th level/ 3rd place, United Counties League Premier; 321 per game.
Maine Road FC, 9th level/ 4th place, North West Counties Premier; 92 per game.
Newport (Isle Of Wight) FC, 9th level/ 4th place, Wessex League Premier; 120 per game.
Windsor FC, 9th level/ 6th place, Combined Counties League Premier; 205 per game.
AFC Liverpool, 9th level/ 7th place, North West Counties Football League Premier; 119 per game.
Canterbury City FC, 9th level/ 12th place, Southern Counties East League; 85 per game.
Fisher FC, 9th level/ 14th place, Southern Counties East League; 88 per game.
Bomsgrove Sporting FC, 10th level/ 2nd place, Midland Football Combination Premier Division; 243 per game.
1874 Northwich FC, 10th level/ 3rd place, North West Counties League Div 1; 320 per game.
Saffron Walden Town FC, 10th level/ 5th place, Eastern Counties Football League Div 1; 186 per game.
AFC Croyden Athletic, 10th level/ 13th place, Combined Counties Football League; 44 per game.
Blackstones FC, 10th level/ 20th place, United Counties League Div 1; 42 per game.
___

Thanks to the following sites for attendances,
3rd level/League One, football-league.co.uk/page/DivisionalAttendance [League 1].
4th level/League Two, football-league.co.uk/page/DivisionalAttendance [League 2].
Non-League/5th level/Conference, int.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-national.
Non-League/6th level/Conference N & S, int.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-n–s.
Non-League/7th level through 9th levels, nonleaguematters.co.uk.
Bomsgrove Sporting attendances, bromsgrovesporting.co.uk/pages/first-team/matches.php.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fan-owned_sports_teams#England.
A big Thank You to the site called Non-League Matters for the hard-to-get attendance figures in (most) lower-level leagues below the 6th level in Non-League football, at http://www.nonleaguematters.co.uk/divisions/35/.
Thanks to Supporters Direct for existing.

June 13, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: United States (CONCACAF), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for USMNT, with 8 other player-options listed).

Filed under: USA-national soccer team — admin @ 10:26 am




US men’s national soccer team. CONCACAF (North America & Carribean). Nicknames: Team USA; USMNT. Home jersey: white, with red and blue trim.
-USA is in Group G (with Ghana, Germany, and Portugal), ‘2014 FIFA World Cup/Group G‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 2014 is USA’s 11th qualification out of 20 tries (qualified in 1930, 1934, 1950, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014).
Previous WC finish: 2010, Round of 16 (1-2-1). Highest WC finish: 2002, Quarterfinals (2-1-2).

Population of USA: 317.9 million {2013 estimate}. Capital: Washington, DC, metro area pop. 5.8 million {2013 est.}. Largest city: New York City, NY, metro area pop. 19.9 million {2013 est.}.
The map below shows the 12 largest metro-areas in the United States {source, ‘en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_metropolitan_areas_of_the_United_States‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

-USMNT coach, Jurgen Klinsmann. Jürgen Klinsmann.
-USMNT squad captain, FW Clint Dempsey (of the Seattle Sounders soccer franchise, who had been, most recently, on-loan to former club Fulham FC). Clint Dempsey.

From World Soccer Talk.com, from 13 June 2014, by Abe Asher, ‘Preview Of The United States in the 2014 World Cup‘ (worldsoccertalk.com).

Below: Theoretical Best XI for USMNT (with 8 other player-options listed further below) -
[Note: squad chart below is updated to include all players who have appeared for USMNT in the 2014 WC, including international appearances & goals up to their Round of 16 match (July 1 2014).]
usa_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_s_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
USA on globe, map by Addicted04 at ” (en.wikipedia.org).
USA map w/ counties, drawn by an anonymous contributor at ‘File:Map of USA with county outlines (black & white).png‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
USMNT 2014 jersey, photo unattributed at deadspin.com/heres-the-usmnt-2014-home-jersey.
Coach,
Jürgen Klinsmann, photo by George Frey/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Goalkeeper,
Tim Howard GK (Everton), photo unattributed at ussoccerplayers.com/player/howard-tim.
Defenders,
Geoff Cameron RB/LB/DM (Stoke City), photo by BPI/Marc Atkins/Corbis via theguardian.com/sport.
Omar González CB (LA Galaxy), photo by Robert Mora / LA Galaxy via lagalaxy.com.
Matt Besler CB (Sporting Kansas City), photo by USA Today Sports Images via sportingkc.com/news.
Fabian Johnson RB/LB/LW (Hoffenheim), photo unattributed at mlssoccer.com.
Midfielders,
Alejandro Bedoya AM/RW/FW (Nantes), photo unattributed at madeinfoot.com.
Michael Bradley CM/AM/DM (Toronto FC), photo from mlssoccer.com/news.
Jermaine Jones DM/CM/RM (Beşiktaş), photo by Besiktas JK via mlssoccer.com/news.
DaMarcus Beasley LW/LB (Puebla), photo by Jam Media via futboltotal.com.mx/puebla-niega-jugadores-a-klinsmann..
Forwards,
Clint Dempsey FW/W (Seattle Sounders), photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Jozy Altidore FW (Sunderland), photo unattributed at ussoccerplayers.com/altidores-sunderland-advance-in-league-cup
Other player-options,
Graham Zusi AM/W (Sporting Kansas City), photo unattributed at sportingkc.com/blog/post/2013/06/27/graham-zusi-nominated-espy.
John Anthony Brooks CB (Hertha Berlin), photo by Ottmar Winter at bild.de/sport/fussball.
Kyle Beckerman DM/CM (Real Salt Lake), photo by George Frey/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Aron Jóhannsson FW/LW (AZ [Alkmaar]), photo unattributed at goal.com/en-us/news.
DeAndre Yedlin DF/MF (Seattle Sounders), photo by Drew Sellers/Sportspress Northwest via sportspressnw.com.
Chris Wondolowski FW (San Jose Earthquakes), photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/ via sportsillustrated.cnn.com.
Brad Davis LW (Houston Dynamo), photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Julian Green W/FW (Bayern Munich), photo unattributed at soccerpro.com/thecentercircle/julian-green.
___
Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘United States men’s national soccer team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at http://us.soccerway.com/international/nc-america/wc-qualifying-concacaf/2014-brazil/4th-round/r15679/.

June 9, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup: Updated squad charts.

The following 2014 FIFA WC squad charts are updated to reflect final roster selections of 2 June 2014 [for each WC team]/
click on each link below for the team squad chart…
-Argentina.
-Belgium.
-Brazil.
-Chile.
-Colombia.
-Costa Rica.
-England.
-France.
-Germany.
-Ghana.
-Italy.
-Japan.
-Netherlands.
-Spain.
-Switzerland.
-Uruguay.
-USA.

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