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September 19, 2017

NFL 1955 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Cleveland Browns.

Filed under: NFL>1955 season,NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 11:50 am

nfl_1955_map_helmets_final-standings_cleveland-browns-champions_post_h_.gif
NFL 1955 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Cleveland Browns



By Bill Turianski on 19 September 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-1955 NFL season (en.wikipedia.org).
-1953 NFL [Illustrations of 1955 NFL teams' uniforms] (gridiron-uniforms.com).
-1955 NFL season (pro-football-reference.com).

-Cleveland Browns 1955 (clevelandbrowns.com/team/history/year-by-year-results).

The map… The map, done in the style of 1950s newspaper graphics, shows the primary helmets and jerseys worn by the 12 NFL teams of 1955. (Alternate uniforms and alternate helmets can be seen in the links to Gridiron Uniform Database pages, in the 1955 NFL teams section further below.) Final standings for the 1955 NFL season, along with team-colors worn that season, can be seen at the lower-right of the map. At the top-right of the map is a small section devoted to the 1955 Sporting News & UPI Most Valuable Player, Otto Graham (QB of the Cleveland Browns). At the far-right/center are offensive leaders: QB Rating (Otto Graham), Receiving Yards (Pete Pihos of the Eagles), Rushing Yards (Alan Ameche of the Colts).

The 1955 NFL season was the 36th season of the league. Defending champions the Cleveland Browns, who had beaten Detroit 56-10 in the 1954 NFL Championship Game, won the NFL title for the second-straight year, again in convincing fashion…on December 26, 1955, before 87 thousand at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Browns, led by QB Otto Graham, beat the LA Rams 34-10. Graham was voted the UPI and the Sporting News MVP for the 1955 NFL season. Otto Graham had thus led the Cleveland Browns to 10 straight pro football title games, winning 7 of them (all 4 AAFC titles [1946-49], then NFL titles in 1950, 1954, and 1955). Graham, who had retired after the 1954 season, came out of retirement during the 1955 pre-season, when it was apparent that the Browns had no suitable replacement for him. Graham retired for good after the 1955 title game, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame a decade later, in 1965 (which was the third year that the HoF, est. 1963, inducted players).

The NFL of this era (1951 to ’59) featured just 12 teams. There had been 10 teams during the late 1940s, when the NFL was competing with the All-America Football Conference. When the AAFC “merged” with the NFL for the 1950 season, three AAFC teams joined the NFL…the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, and the first Baltimore Colts (I/est. 1947 in the AAFC and est. 1950 in the NFL). That made the NFL a 13-team league, but only for one year (1950). That was because the original Baltimore Colts team (who wore green-and-silver) only lasted one season in the NFL, going 1-11 and playing to lackluster support in 1950, then folded. But the NFL gave the city of Baltimore another shot a couple years later, and this time, the blue-and-white Baltimore Colts (II/est. 1953), who were formed out of the remains of the ill-fated 1952 Dallas Texans, became an established and successful franchise in Baltimore, before moving to Indiana in 1984 as the Indianapolis Colts.

The NFL of 1955 was a league right on the cusp of success. That success in the following decades would be tied to television broadcasts of NFL games, but for now, the NFL was not that much of a profitable enterprise, was resistant to expansion, and still played second fiddle to both Major League Baseball and College football – in terms of media exposure, popularity, and revenue. In this era, the only truly stable NFL franchises were the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins, the Chicago Bears, and the highest-drawing teams, the Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns. The watershed moment for the NFL in terms of becoming a popular American institution was three years in the future. That would be the 1958 NFL Championship Game, dubbed the Greatest Game Ever Played.

This time period (mid-1950s) saw only 3 NFL teams sporting helmet logos…
nfl_1955_the-only-3-teams-with-helmet-logos_rams_eagles_colts_b_.gif1955 NFL teams’ uniforms at Gridiron Uniform Database

Up to 1957, there were only 3 NFL teams with logos on their helmets…the trail-blazing Rams (ram horns helmet logo introduced in 1948), the Eagles (eagle-wings helmet logo introduced in 1954), and the Colts (horseshoe-logo introduced in 1954, albeit a smaller white-horseshoe-on-blue helmet, with the now-famous big-blue-horseshoe-on-white-helmet not being introduced until 1957). By the late 1950s, the proliferation of helmet-logos in the NFL was about to begin. And again, this is also tied to television broadcasting, because by the late 1950s, NFL front offices began to realize that a helmet with a logo would add immeasurably to the team’s brand-value. By 1963, every NFL team (with the exception of the Cleveland Browns) would sport a television-friendly helmet-logo.

-From Todd Radom.com, How TV and Roy Rogers Helped Put Logos on NFL Team Helmets (by Todd Radom on Feb. 23 2016 at toddradom.com).

    NFL teams in 1955 (listed in order of 1955 NFL standings), with helmet histories noted…
    1955 NFL teams’ uniforms at Gridiron Uniform Database

1955 NFL Eastern Conference
1. Cleveland Browns 1955: (9-2-1/1955 NFL champions), QB: Otto Graham.
{1955 Browns’ uniforms.} Under innovative head coach Paul Brown (whom the team was named after), the Browns simply dominated pro football in the immediate post-War era, first in the rebel-league the AAFC (winning all 4 AAFC titles), then playing in 6 consecutive NFL title games (1950-55), winning 3 of them. I don’t think many younger NFL fans understand this salient point…the Cleveland Browns of the AAFC joined the NFL in 1950, and promptly won the NFL title in their first season there! The Browns wore white helmets in their AAFC years (this being some of the last few years that leather helmets were worn). Then Paul Brown introduced a higher-visibility orange helmet for the Browns, upon entering the NFL in 1950. A white center-stripe was added to the orange helmet in 1952, which was the first year the Browns wore the modern plastic-shell helmets. Flanking center-stripes of brown were added in 1960. The Browns wore player-numbers on their helmets for a few years (1957-60), but switched back to the iconic plain-orange helmet that the franchise wears to this day. Although now the hapless Browns wear ugly brown facemasks (and appalling gear now), instead of the classic grey facemasks and understated uniforms they sported previously.
{Cleveland Browns uniforms history at Gridiron Uniform Database.}
Below is an illustration I put together in 2012 [originally, here...
NFL, AFC North - Map, with short league-history side-bar & titles list (up to 2012 season) / Logo and helmet history of the 4 teams (Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Steelers).]
cleveland-browns_paul-brown_otto-graham_lou-groza_jim-brown_marion-motley_helmets-1946-61_b_.gif
Image and Photo credits above – Helmet and uniform illustrations from Gridiron Uniforms Database. Photo of 1951 Bowman Paul Brown trading card from vintagecardprices.com. Tinted b&w photo of Otto Graham unattributed at gregandmark.blogspot.com/2009/12/otto-graham-episode. Photo of 1950 Bowman trading card of Lou Groza at vintagecardprices.com. Photo of Jim Brown from top100.nfl.com/all-time-100. Photo of Marion Motley in 1948 AAFC championship game from Cleveland Plain Dealer archive via cleveland.com.

2. Washington 1955: (8-4), QB: Eddie LeBaron.
{1955 Washington uniforms.} Washington wore a duller shade of burgandy in this mid-1950s time period. Actually Washingtons’ burgandy color back then had more brown in it, and less red, and was more like plum. Washington’s modern-day burgandy color dates back to 1969, which was also when their gold color stopped being old-gold (brownish-gold) and was switched to the brighter yellow-orange gold they still wear {1969 Washington uniforms}. 3 years after 1955, in 1958, Washington were the fourth NFL team to introduce a helmet-logo…it was an unusual back-of-the-helmet-oriented logo – of a large feather, in red-and-white, on a brownish-burgandy helmet {1958 Washington}. The weird feather-logo helmet lasted 7 years, and that was replaced by a diagonally-positioned gold-spear-with-feather logo {1965 Redskins uniforms}. Washington wore the spear helmet-logo for just 5 seasons. They should have kept it: in my opinion it is a very strong emblem, and proof of this can be seen in the fact that Florida State have basically created their brand on the back of this now iconic symbol. Washington switched from burgandy helmets to yellow-orange helmets with a capital-R-with-feathers logo, for a two-year period, in the early 1970s, when former Packers head coach Vince Lombardi was the Washington GM and head coach. Then Washington switched back to burgandy helmets in 1972, with the Indian-in-profile-with-feathers logo they still use to this day, and with white-burgandy-gold-burgandy-white center-striping. Yellow facemasks were introduced in 1978. {See a condensed evolution of Redskins’ helmets in this nice illustration, unattributed at pinterest, here.}
{Washington uniforms history at Gridiron Uniform Database.}

3. New York Giants 1955: (6-5-1), QB: Charley Conerly.
{1955 Giants’ uniforms}. The New York football Giants have worn helmets of dark-royal-blue-with-red-accents for over 80 years. The first year with that color-scheme for their headgear was all the way back in 1931 (their 7th season) {1931 Giants’ uniforms}. The Giants tried white-helmets-with-blue-accents for a few years (1934-36), but went back to the much stronger blue-with-red, and have stayed that way since 1937. In 1949, the Giants introduced a subtle but effective red center-stripe on their dark royal blue helmets, and that look has stood the test of time {1949 Giants’ uniforms}. The similarly subtle-yet-effective small-case-‘ny’ logo was introduced in 1961 {1961 Giants’ uniforms}. They tried messing with their helmet in 1975 {1975 Giants’ uniforms}, adding white facemasks and needlessly adding flanking white center-stripes to their 1975 helmet, but which importantly had a very poorly-thought-out new NY-logo in a hideous font (that font can be described as dystopian-future-sans-serif). What a headache. That abomination lasted exactly one season, and then the all-caps-italicized-GIANTS logo was introduced in 1976. That logo lasted 24 years. Then, in 2000, the Giants went retro and futuristic simultaneously, reviving the small-case-‘ny’ logo, as well as the white-jerseys-with-red-numbers-/-silver-pants look they sported in the 1950s and early 1960s, plus adding a modern touch with a metallic sheen to their blue helmets, which were once again combined with grey facemasks.
new-york-giants_helmet-history_1925-2012_segment_.gif
Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/giants.
{New York Giants’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniform Database.}

4. Chicago Cardinals 1955: (4-7-1), QB: Lamar McHan.
{1955 Cardinals’ uniforms}. The Chicago Cardinals usually wore white helmets, but through most of the 1950s they primarily wore deep-red helmets, and 1955 was one of those years. The Chicago Cardinals were always obscured by the more-dominant Chicago Bears, and it was only a matter of time before the franchise moved to greener pastures…5 years after 1955, the franchise relocated to St. Louis, MO. And 28 years after that, the franchise moved from Missouri to Arizona (in 1988). Both times they moved, they kept their colors of deep-red-and-white (with black trim). When they moved from Chicago to St. Louis in 1960, the Cardinals introduced their bold frowning-cardinal-head logo, which in my opinion is one of the best helmet logos ever. They tweaked it in 2005, making the cardinal more frowny and more cartoon-like. But at least they kept the grey facemasks. The Cardinals still sport one of the best helmets. {Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

5. Philadelphia Eagles 1955: (4-7-1), QBs: Adrian Burk & Bobby Thomason.
{1955 Eagles’ uniforms.} A Depression-era expansion franchise (est. 1933), the Eagles were named after the National Recovery Acts’ emblem, which was an eagle (see this article, The Other NRA (Or How the Philadelphia Eagles Got Their Name), by Rebecca Onion at slate.com). As mentioned earlier, the Eagles, in 1954, were the second-ever NFL team to introduce a helmet logo. This was a few years after the Eagles had sported an unusual helmet-design, sort of a proto-logo, which some call the feather logo {see this, 1948 Eagles’ uniforms}. But it wasn’t really a feather, it was simply the silver top-and-center-section of the helmet, painted in along a seam-line of their primarily green leather MacGregor helmets; {Steve Van Buren circa 1948}. This design lasted from 1941 to 1949; it was on those quirky MacGregor helmets from ’41 to ’48, then the last year they wore it, in ’49, they were playing with the new plastic-shell helmets {helmethut.com/Eagles49 [Pete Pihos 1949]}. It looked pretty cool. The Eagles, perhaps not incidentally, won titles with this helmet (1948 & ’49 NFL titles). I don’t really think it was a coincidence that the eagle-wings helmet logo the Eagles came up with a few years later very closely resembles the general wavy-line shape of that “feather” helmet of the late 1940s. {1954 Eagles’ helmet.} It also, of course, looks pretty cool. And the Eagles of this era also, perhaps not incidentally, were title-winners (1960 NFL title) So why mess with it? They have tweaked it several times, though, starting in the early 1970s, when they reversed the colors so it was a green-eagle-wings on a white helmet (plus sweet black-bordered numbers on the jerseys) – a very under-rated uniform {1973 Eagles}. In 1974, the Eagles went back to green helmets, and re-introduced silver into the uniforms. Since 1996, the Eagles have worn a much darker shade of green, dubbed midnight-green, and introduced black facemasks; these days the Eagles now feature black more prominently {2016 Eagles}.
{Philadelphia Eagles’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

6. Pittsburgh Steelers 1955: (4-8), QB: Jim Finks (led 1955 NFL in passing yardage).
{1955 Steelers uniform.} Pittsburgh only wore one uniform in 1955. In the pre-Super Bowl era (before 1965), the Steelers were a cash-strapped and perennial last-place team most seasons. They always wore yellow-orange (gold) helmets. In 1953, they added a black center-stripe to the helmets, then added player-numbers for a few years (1957-61). In November 1962, the Steelers introduced their now-famous US-Steel-with-starbursts logo {1962 Steelers.} It was also on a yellow-orange helmet, with a narrow black center-stripe. The Steelers wore that design for the last couple games of the 1962 season, but they just put the helmet-logo-decals on one side of the helmet, in case it didn’t look too good and then they wouldn’t have to scrape off so my decals (true story). Turned out the logo (and the blank-side of the helmet) looked good, {1962 Steelers helmet.}. A few months later, in a post-season exhibition game in January 1963, the Steelers decided to try the logo out on a black helmet, and then the Steelers debuted the black-helmet-with-Steel-logo-one-one-side for the 1963 regular season, and the Steelers never did end up putting a logo on the left side of their helmet. That was a genius move.
{History of the Steelers logo (steelers.com/history).}
{Pittsburgh Steelers’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database

1955 NFL Western Conference
1. Los Angeles Rams 1955: (8-3-1), QB: Norm Van Brocklin.
{1955 Rams uniform.} Like the Steelers, the Rams only wore one uniform in 1955, but the LA Rams could easily afford more gear, seeing as the Rams were hands-down the top draw in the NFL back then (often drawing well above 60 K at the then-100-K+-capacity LA Memorial Coliseum). The Rams started out in Cleveland and wore red-and-black their first season in the NFL {1937 Cleveland Rams.} The Cleveland Rams are one of the only Major League teams to ever win a title and then re-locate before the following season. This happened in 1945/46, when the 1945-title-winning Cleveland Rams decided to move to Los Angeles rather than face the prospect of being out-drawn and overshadowed in 1946 by the brand-new Cleveland Browns of the AAFC. So the Cleveland Rams moved to LA in 1946 and became the first Major League team on the West Coast. And a couple year later the Rams became the first team to sport a helmet-logo. The first helmet logo in the NFL was the famous golden Rams horns worn by the 1948 Los Angeles Rams (and are worn to this day by the franchise). The Ram’s-horns logo was created by LA Rams halfback and defensive back and off-season commercial artist Fred Gehrke. He came up with the idea, presented it to the Rams owner, and ended up painting every Rams player’s leather helmet in the dark-blue-and-yellow-orange ram’s-horn design (this took Gehrke the whole summer of 1948, and he got paid 1 buck per helmet, and then he was obliged to keep pots of blue and gold paint in his locker that whole 1948 season in order to repair and repaint scuffs and dings on his teammates’ helmets.
{Article on Rams 1948 helmet here, billsportsmaps.com/[category/nfl-1948-season].} The next year {1949}, the Rams front office tried to tweak the uniform by getting rid of the dark blue and playing in red, but that garish look lasted just the one year, and the Rams wisely went back to blue the next year (1950). By then the Rams were playing in the plastic-shell helmets and the ram’s-horns were decals. The Rams got rid of the yellow-orange and wore white Ram’s-horns for 9 years (1964-72). After moving to St. Louis, MO in 1995, the Rams kept their dark-blue-/-yellow-orange uniforms the same for several years, then switched their yellow-orange to metallic-gold in 2000, which was the season after the franchise won its first and only Super Bowl title (in 1999). When the Rams moved back to LA in 2016, they re-introduced the white ram’s horns in an alternate uniform, and in 2017 re-adopted the white ram’s-horns look.
{Los Angeles Rams’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

2. Chicago Bears 1955: (8-4), QB: Ed Brown (also: George Blanda).
{1955 Bears uniform}.
The Bears were one of the strongest NFL franchises all through the first 4 decades of the NFL (1920s-50s), and the Bears are still the second-most-successful NFL franchise (with 9 NFL titles, behind only the Packers’ 13 NFL titles). The Bears won their 8th NFL title in 1963, but by the early 1970s the rot of the late George Halas era had set in. It then took the Bears 22 years to win their 9th title (and only Super Bowl title), in the 1985 season. And it is now 31 more years without another title. The Bears have not actually always worn midnight-blue-and-orange. Gridiron Uniforms Database has shown, through research into old news clippings, that the franchise, which started out in Decatur, Illinois as the Decatur Staleys, wore red jerseys for their first three seasons (1920-22). {1921 Chicago Staleys [Bears].} {1922 Chicago Bears.} {See this article at the Uni-Watch.com site from June 2014, The Chicago Bears Weren’t Always Blue-and-Orange, by Phil Hencken and Bill Schaefer [of the Gridiron Uniform Database] at uni-watch.com.)} The Bears also have not always only worn plain dark-navy-blue helmets…in the 1930s, their helmet designs varied wildly, from Michigan-Wolverine-type striping {1932 Bears}, to white helmets or bizarre orange-helmets-with-starburst-navy-blue-converging-stripes {1934 Bears}, to plain orange helmets or rather nice navy-blue-helmets-with-3-orange-center-stripes {1937 Bears}. But by 1940, the Bears had gotten rid of the excess flourishes in their gear, and their modern-day look was established {1940 Bears}. And right when they had finally nailed down their (very solid) look, in the early 1940s, the Bears began their greatest era ever, with 4 NFL titles in 7 seasons (NFL titles in 1940, ’41, ’43, and ’46). {George Halas with Sid Luckman, ca. 1947.} From 1941 to 1954, the Bears did not wear a white jersey (for 15 years). {Here is a nice color photo from 1948, Bears v Cardinals.} In the early 1950s, the Bears began sporting their unique rounded-and-sans-serif numbers (as opposed to the block-shaped-and-serif numbers that were standard template for the rest of the NFL teams). And for a long time, like up to the early-1990s, the Bears were the only NFL team that had a significantly different font for the numbers on their jerseys {Bears 1958 uniform illustration by Heritage Sports Art.com/Bears} {Mike Ditka ca. 1962}. The Bears’ pointed-C- helmet-logo was introduced in 1962 (a white C); the orange-pointed-C-with-white-trim helmet-logo was introduced in 1973; midnight-blue facemasks were introduced in 1982.
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Chicago Bears Helmet History
Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/bears.
{Chicago Bears’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

3. Green Bay Packers 1955: (6-6), QB: Tobin Rote.
{1955 Packers uniforms.}
The Green Bay Packers pre-date the NFL by one year, and started out in 1919, as the company-team of a central Wisconsin meat-packing concern called the Indian Packing Co. The semi-pro Packers turned pro 2 years later, joining the NFL in the league’s second season, in 1921. As you can see in the next link, {1921 Green Bay Packers}, the Packers did not originally have green in their uniforms. Why did the Packers wear navy-blue-and-gold originally? Probably in emulation of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish college football team, who of course, have always worn navy-blue-with-plain-gold-helmets, and who were, without any doubt, the most famous football team in the USA in the 1920s (and on). Here is what the Packers looked like when they were in the middle of their still-unprecedented 3-straight-title-wins of 1929/’30/’31 {1930 Packers.} The Packers first sported green in their color-scheme in 1935 {1935 Packers.} For a 23-year stretch (1934 to 1957), the Packers basically couldn’t decide whether to wear blue-and-gold or green-and-gold, switching between the two color-schemes 8 times…but they never wore navy-blue along with green on the same article of clothing (also sort of like the Notre Dame college football team, which only brings out the green gear once in a while, for big games). This latter part of this time period, from the late 1940s to the late 1950s – when the Packers had an identity-crisis in regards to their colors – also just happens to coincide with the Packers most futile years. When the Packers were in the middle of a basement-dwelling 7-season/23-wins-and-60-losses stretch (from 1948 to ’54), here is what they wore {1951 Packers.} Those green pants the Packers wore in 1951 look pretty bush-league. It got worse, as you can see in the following link…{1958 Packers.} White helmets for the Packers? Talk about erasing your brand-identity for no good reason! Oh, and by the way, the 1958 Packers, in that wishy-washy dark-greyish-green-and-white gear, had their worst season ever (1-10-1). Coincidence? I think not. But salvation was just around the corner, because Vince Lombardi arrived in Green Bay the next season, and he put the team in the uniforms-of-champions that we all associate with the Pack {1959 Packers.} Two season later the Packers’ football-shaped-G logo was introduced {1961 Packers/first season with football-shaped-G-logo}. And since then, the Green Bay Packers, the biggest community-owned pro sports team in the world, have not messed with their uniforms in any fundamental way…except for one small detail: in 1983, dark-green facemasks were introduced.
{Green Bay Packers’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

4. Baltimore Colts 1955: (5-6-1), QB: George Shaw.
{1955 Colts uniforms.}
The Baltimore Colts of 1955 were a 3-year-old-expansion team. Circa 1955, the Colts still had not yet established themselves…both in terms of on-field success, or in terms of a visual identity. Their uniforms then did feature the soon-to-be iconic horseshoe-logo (although in reverse colors to what it later became). But the horsehoe logo circa 1954-56 was not prominently displayed – it was placed on the lower-back of each side of the helmet (behind the ears). It was as if the franchise was unsure of the logo, and was hiding it. I mean, why even bother having a helmet logo if you are going to place it on the lower-back part of the helmet, where it is hard to see? Well, the Colts finally realized this, and two seasons later, in 1957, they placed the horseshoe-logo, now much larger, front-and-center on the helmet. Also in 1957, the Colts introduced the uniform design that has been in use by the franchise ever since. This uniform design features jerseys that look simple but are rather brilliant: the jersey has two arced stripes on the shoulders, which mirror (in reverse) the arc of the horseshoe on the helmet. You don’t even have to notice that to notice how bold-yet-understated the Colts’ uniform-design looks. I mean, I spent over 40 years looking at Colts uniforms before I realized that their jersey-stripes mirrored the horsehoe’s shape on their helmet. (I finally realized that when I put together this Colts uniform-history-chart… billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/indianapolis-colts-helmet-history_logos_1953-2013_2v.gif, which is from this post from 2013.) Exactly one year after they introduced these built-to-last uniforms, and led by QB Johnny Unitas, the Baltimore Colts were NFL champions (in 1958 and 1959). In 1984, the Baltimore Colts moved to Indiana, as the Indianapolis Colts; they did not mess with their uniforms when they moved. In fact, there have been very few changes in the Colts’ uniforms in the 60 years since 1957 (and you can see them in the chart I made at the link in the previous sentence). But for all intents and purposes, the look the Colts established in 1957 remains to this day. Colts’ facemasks: white facemasks from 1978-94; blue facemasks from 1995-2003; grey facemasks re-instated since 2004. Some might say the Colts uniforms are boring. I say they look like champions.
{Indianapolis Colts’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

5. San Francisco 49ers 1955: (4-8), QB: YA Tittle.
{1955 49ers uniforms.}
Like the Browns, the 49ers were an AAFC team before they joined the NFL in 1950. The San Francisco 49ers changed their helmet-color 9 times before they finally settled on the gold helmets that all NFL fans know. It seems obvious that a gridiron football team named after a gold rush would wear gold helmets, and the Niners actually did wear gold (leather) helmets in their second season {1947 49ers}. But in their early days, the 49ers wore helmets that were usually white {1946}, or red {1954}, or silver {1962}. That last link shows the first year the 49ers had a helmet-logo {again, 1962}. That lasted two seasons, then the 49ers finally went with gold helmets in 1964 {in 1964 49ers}. So in 1964, the 49ers trademark look was introduced…a gold helmet with grey facemasks and with the plain-but-dignified football-shaped-SF-logo and with red-white-red center-stripes, and a jersey with 3 stripes on the upper-arms that had no gold in it at all, and with gold pants. That classic uniform-design was used for 32 years. The helmet-logo got a black oval outline in 1996 {1996 49ers}. But in 1996, the 49ers changed a whole lot more as well, and, in my opinion, the changes were not for the better…the helmet got center-stripes of black-red-black, plus they made the facemasks deep-red. And they also messed with their jerseys and pants in 1996: to a garish look with drop-shadow numbers in gold and black. Now, I know the Niners had worn drop-shadow numbers before (in 1955 and ’56, as a matter of fact), but after they had worn their classic gear for over 3 decades, it just didn’t work. The additions really ruined the 49ers’ look in this time period. The red facemasks and the loud jerseys made them look like an arena football league team. It also broke their visual link to their championship-glory-days. The lack of gold pants for the 49ers only existed for 2 seasons (1996 and ’97), but those tacky jerseys lasted another 11 years. Then the 49ers wisely went back to their classic look in 2009 {2009 49ers}. I guess you could say less is more. And grey facemasks always look better.
{San Francisco 49ers’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}

6. Detroit Lions 1955: (3-9), QB: Bobby Layne (also, Harry Gilmer).
{1955 Lions uniforms.}
The Detroit Lions started out as the southern-Ohio-based Portsmouth Spartans, who wore purple-and-gold and were one of the last vestiges of the small-town-era of the early NFL (the Green Bay Packers of course being the last vestige of small-town NFL teams). After 4 NFL seasons (1930-33), and just missing out on the 1932 NFL title, the Portsmouth Spartans moved to Detroit as the Lions, and switched to their now trademark “Honolulu Blue” and Silver. In their second season in Detroit, the Lions won the 1935 NFL title {1935 Lions uniforms}, then stayed competetive on into the late 1930s, but were basement-dwellers through most of the 1940s. But the 1950s were the glory days of the Detroit Lions. The Lions have a modern history of failure, but in the 1950s, led by QB Bobby Layne, the Lions won 3 NFL titles (1952, ’53, ’57), beating the Browns all three times in the title games. Even so, several seasons in the 1950s saw the Lions with 3-or-4-win seasons, and 1955 was one of those seasons. The odd thing about the 1950s Lions was that for a while, the team ended up having gold helmets (and not their customary silver helmets). This happened in 1953 (and the Lions won their second NFL title that year) {1953 Lions}. Not only was the entire Lions squad in 1953 wearing gold helmets, but there is photographic evidence that as late as 3 seasons later (1956), some players on the Lions were still wearing a gold helmet, instead of a silver helmet (see link 5 sentences below for that photo, and an article). How the helmet turned gold probably wasn’t intentional (initially), and can be attributed to the fact that circa 1953, the plastic-shell helmets were still new, and processes for turning the blank helmets into an NFL team’s colors had not been perfected (the process back then involved spray-painting the insides of the clear-plastic-shell helmets). The Lions’ gold helmets of the 1953-56 era was the unintended result of a helmet-painting process where the paint turned from a silver color to a definite gold color (and then the paint degraded further, so that all the Lions 1953 helmets now show green splotches where a copper-colored pigment in the helmet paint turned green {1953 Bobby Layne game-worn helmet}. And then in the following seasons some Lions players opted to keep wearing their 1953-issue (gold) helmet, while the rest of the Lions squad were wearing newly issued ’54 and ’55 silver helmets. The following article at the Gridiron Uniform Database Blog goes very deep into this {…“Silver and Gold, Silver and Gold…” by Bill Schaefer from November 2013 at nfluniforms.blogspot.com).} The Lions introduced their rampant-blue-lion logo in 1961, on a helmet with blue-silver-blue center-stripes {1961 Lions}; the silver center-stripe turned white in 1968 (and was augmented by thin black stripes in 2009). Blue facemasks were worn from 1984-2002. Black facemasks were worn from 2003-16. The rampant-lion was given detail in 2009. Grey facemasks were re-introduced in 2017, when the Lions went back to a just-silver-and-blue helmet (good move) {2017 Lions helmet}.
{Detroit Lions’ uniforms history at Gridiron Uniforms Database.}
___
Thanks to all at the following links…
-1953 NFL [Illustrations of 1953 NFL teams' uniforms] (gridiron-uniforms.com).
-Blank maps… USA, worksheeto.com/post_50-states-and-capitals-printable-worksheet.
Section of Mexico, and coastlines-&-oceans, lib.utexas.edu/maps/hist-us.
Otto Graham photos: color photo unattributed at ottograham.net/proc.html; shot of Graham scoring TD in 1955 NFL Championship Game, photo by AP at si.com/nfl/photos/2012/12/16-4cleveland-browns-epic-moments.
-NFL 1955 stats leaders photos: Alan Ameche (961 yds rushing), [photo from 1955 (v 49ers)], photo by Frank Rippon/NFL at nfl.com. Pete Pihos of Philadelphia Eagles (864 yds receiving), [photo from circa 1948 (v Rams)], photo by AP via pennlive.com/philadelphiaeagles. jpg Otto Graham (94.0 QB Rating), photo [from 1954] unattributed at pinterest.com.
Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving billsportsmaps.com the permission to use football uniforms illustrations from Gridiron Uniform Database {GUD}.

September 3, 2017

2017-18 Football League Two (4th division England, incl Wales): map w/ 16/17-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division./+ 2 promoted clubs for the 2017-18 4th division (Lincoln City, Forest Green Rovers).

2017-18_football-league-two_map_w-2017-crowds_titles_seasons-in-1st-division_post_b_.gif
2017-18 Football League Two (4th division England, incl Wales): map w/ 16/17-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division




By Bill Turianski on 2 September 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-2017–18 EFL League Two (en.wikipedia.org).
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…LEAGUE TWO [Summary] (soccerway.com).
-Sky Bet League Two 2017 – 2018 [kits] (historicalkits.co.uk).
-League Two 2017-18 season preview (by Ben Fisher at theguardian.com/football).

A brief re-cap of 2016-17 League Two [the 4th division]…
Promoted to 3rd Div…Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool {see this post: 17/18 EFL League One, featuring: Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool}.

Relegated from the 3rd division down to the 4th division are…Port Vale, Swindon Town, Coventry City, Chesterfield.

Promoted up from the non-League 5th division and into the 4th division are the two clubs profiled below…

    Below: the 2 promoted clubs for the 2017-18 fourth division (Lincoln City, Forest Green Rovers)
    • Lincoln City FC.

Est. 1884. Nickname: the Imps (or Red Imps). Colours: Red-and-White [vertically-striped jerseys]. Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire, situated (by road) 39 miles (63 km) NE of Nottingham; and situated (by road) 156 miles (261 km) N of London. Population of Lincoln: city population of around 97,000; built-up-area-population of around 114,000 {2015 estimate}. Lincoln, Lincolnshire is the 69nd-largest Urban Area in the UK {en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_urban_areas_in_the_United_Kingdom}.

Manager of Lincoln City: Danny Cowley (age 38; born in Havering, East London). Danny Cowley has absolutely revitalised Lincoln City. Cowley is a 38-year-old who was formerly the manager of two small-and-overachieving Essex-based clubs. First, with the now-6th-tier-side Concord Rangers (from 2007 to 2015, which included 3 promotions, from the 9th level to the 6th level). And then Cowley had one year at the helm of the then-5th-tier-side Braintree Town (two seasons ago in 2015-16, when Braintree punched above their weight and finished in 3rd place in the 5th division; Braintree has since been relegated to the 6th tier). Then Lincoln City signed Cowley in the summer of 2016. Then Cowley led Lincoln City to both FA Cup glory (first non-League team into the 6th round in over a century), and Cowley also guided Lincoln City back into the Football League by winning the 2016-17 Natinal League title.

Counting 2017-18, Lincoln City have played 105 seasons in the Football League (previously in 2010-11). {Source.} Lincoln City have the unenviable distinction of being the club with the all-time-most demotions/relegations into Non-League Football – the Red Imps have been sent down into the non-League Wilderness 5 times. Lincoln were voted out of the Football League in 1908, in 1911, and in 1920; and Lincoln were relegated out of the Football League in 1987, and in 2011. In all but the last of these (2011), Lincoln City had bounced back to the Football League the following season. But for the 5 seasons after their most-recent drop (from 2011-12 to 2015-16), the club had been mired in the lower-half of the Conference/National League table, with no real hope in sight of getting back into the League. And Lincoln City’s attendances had dropped off from 5.1 K ten years ago, to just 2.5 K in 2015-16.

Then, in May 2016, Danny Cowley was hired as Lincoln City’s manager, and the hard-working Cowley, along with his brother-and-assistant-manager Nicky, invigorated the Red Imps. The Lincoln City gig was the Cowley brothers’ first full-time job in football: the two were previously PE teachers in Essex, when both were also part-time employees of Concord Rangers and then Braintree Town. The Cowley brothers introduced novel training techniques…“…‘The benefit of having been PE teachers is we can transfer little bits of other sports into football,’ Nicky, 34, the Lincoln assistant manager, says while sitting in their modest office a few hours before kick-off. ‘Game calls, for example: they’re used in rugby and basketball — there’s never a lineout taken in rugby without a game call. It amazes me that there’s never any in football. He proceeds to flick through a book of set pieces (corners and free kicks), with names such as Cluster, Stagger, Box, Shoehorn . . . ‘On a Friday in training, I’ll shout, ‘Shoehorn!’ and the players all have to run and show me their starting positions. Then from there, they have to show me their runs’…An app called Hudl, which allows clips to be sent to each player’s mobile or tablet after a game, is a tool they used at Braintree as well as with the Lincoln players and, an average of 45 minutes is spent on team video analysis every day before training”…{-excerpts from From playground to dugout: PE teaching brothers schooling Lincoln in ‘Moneyball’, on 19 Sept. 2016 by Gregor Robertson at thetimes.co.uk / link to article at a Braintree-Town-fans’-forum site, here).

The thorough preparation that the Cowley brothers introduced to the Lincoln squad showed, and Lincoln were in 1st place by late November 2016. And then the Imps continued their great FA Cup-run, holding their own – and then some – against upper-League opposition. Meanwhile, Lincoln remained atop the 5th division table despite strong pursuit by Tranmere and Forest Green. Lincoln City ended a dreary 6-season-stint in non-League football by winning the 2016-17 National League title, four points ahead of Tranmere Rovers, clinching the title and automatic promotion with 2 games to spare. As the 16/17 season progressed, they saw large crowds at their 10.1-K ground, Sincil Bank, with consecutive 9-K-plus crowds in January and February FA Cup matches, and then a full-capacity crowd of 10,031 at their promotion-clinching game on 22 April 2017 {see screenshot below}. Lincoln City’s average attendance (for their National League matches) very nearly doubled – it went up 98%: from 2,594 two seasons ago, to 5,162 (which was the second-best best average attendance in non-League football last season, marginally behind only Tranmere [11 less per game than Tranmere]).

And Lincoln City became the first non-League side to reach the FA Cup Quarter-finals in 103 years (since 1914, when a then-non-League Queens Park Rangers did it). Lincoln beat two 2nd-division sides: Ipswich Town 1-0 in the 3rd round replay, before 9.0 K at Sincil Bank {see photo below}, and then they beat Brighton 3-1 in the 4th round, before 9.4 K at Sincil Bank. And then they beat Premier League side Burnley 0-1 in the 5th round, away at Turf Moor. In the 6th round, occupying one of the last 8 spots in the competition, Lincoln City then bowed out to the eventual FA Cup champions, Arsenal.

Lincoln City’s two runs – their successful promotion-run and their historic Cup-run – fed off each other. In 2016-17, Lincoln City, under Danny Cowley, showed that a team can try for a good FA Cup-run AND conduct a successful league campaign. And can make a town fall back in love with its football club. And the love affair continues…as of the 2nd of September 2017, Lincoln City is drawing second-best in the 4th tier (behind only Coventry City), averaging 8.5-K-per-game at Sincil Bank, after 3 home matches.

lincoln-city_promoted-2017_sincil-bank_danny-cowley_matt-rhead_nathan-arnold_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Lincoln City 2016-17 home and away jerseys, photos unattributed at uksoccershop.com/blog. Steep street in Lincoln with Lincoln Cathedral in background, photo by Barry Samuels at beenthere-donethat.org.uk/lincolnshire. Photo of Lincoln Cathedral, photo by Richard Croft via geograph.org.uk. Photo of street in Lincoln by a canal, with Lincoln Cathedral in background, photo by YTFC independent site ciderspace.co.uk/[match gallery 23 May 2004, Lincoln City 2-3 Yeovil Town (3rd Div match)]. Photo from June 2015: Lincoln Cathedral (in background) seen from a stream adjacent to the Sincil Bank ground, photo by clivecatton.co.uk; also see clivecatton.co.uk/tag/lincoln-city-football-club/. Aerial shot of Sincil Bank, photo unattributed at 68.media.tumblr.com. Exterior shot looking in to Sincil Bank, photo by Andrew Scott at thelincolnite.co.uk. Danny Cowley and Nicky Cowley, photo by Ben Queenborough/BPI via dailymail.co.uk/football. Nathan Arnold, photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com. Matt Rhead, photo by Andrew Vaughan/CameraSport via gettyimages.com. Lincoln fans’ pitch-invasion-/-celebration for clinching promotion, screenshot from video uploaded by TwistedxLion at Lincoln v Macclesfield! – Vlog – All Goals + Highlights – CHAMPIONS AT LAST! – ABSOLUTE SCENES (youtube.com). Danny Cowley and Nicky Cowley with National League title-winners’ trophy, photo by CameraSport/Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/football.

    • Forest Green Rovers FC.

Est. 1889. Nicknames: the Rovers; the Little Club on the Hill; the Green Devils. Colours: Lime-Green-and-Black [hoop-striped jerseys]; away kit: White-and-Black [hoop-striped jerseys]. Location: Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, situated (by road) 29 miles (47 km) N of Bristol, and is situated (by road) 106 miles (171 km) W of London. Population of Nailsworth: around 5,794 {2011 census}. Population of Stroud, which is 4 miles (7 km) to the south of Nailsworth, and which is the nearest larger town to Nailsworth: around 13,200 {2011 census}.

Manager of Forest Green Rovers: Mark Cooper (age 48, born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire). ‘We’ve had a lot of animosity towards Forest Green. When I played for them, they were a friendly little club, part-time. Everyone loved them because they weren’t a threat.’ -{quote by Mark Cooper from article linked to at second link below [South Wales Argus]…}

-From Guardian/football, Forest Green: the eco-friendly club with a robot mower and big ambitions (by Stuart James on 31 July at theguardian.com/football).
-From the South Wales Argus, Forest Green Rovers should ignore the critics and keep dreaming big (by Andrew Penham on 16 May 2017 at southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/columnists).
-Forest Green Rovers shake up league with big dreams — and a vegan menu (by Ian Chadband on 3 Aug. 2017 at espnfc.com).
-From the UN Climate Action twitter feed, [Video]…exclusive interview w/ @DaleVince owner of the #greenest #football club on Earth @FGRFC_Official! (twitter.com/UNFCCC).
-So where is Forest Green? [infographic from dailymail.co.uk/sport/football].

forest-green-rovers_promoted-2017_mark-cooper_christian-doidge_kainye-woolery_wembley_fgr_3-1_tranmere_d_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
FGR 17/18 jerseys, photos from shop.forestgreenroversfc.com. Road to Nailsworth, photo from nailsworthtowncouncil.gov.uk. Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, photo from stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk. The New Lawn, aerial shot unattributed at Forest Green Rovers – the little club on the hill! (by Stuart Ward on 13 Sept. 2013 at pitchcare.com [Pitchcare Magazine #50]) jpg. Solar panels on roof of New Lawn, image from screenshot of video by UN Climate Council at twitter.com/ [UN Climate Action]. Robotic lawn mower at New Lawn, photo by ITV West Country at itv.com/news/westcountry/2017-08-01/meet-the-vegans-forest-green-rovers-prepare-for-life-in-the-football-league/. Exterior shot of New Lawn, with electric-car-spots in lot, photo by Martin Godwin for the Guardian at theguardian.com/football. Christian Doidge, photo from Forest Green Rovers FC at twitter.com/fgrfc_official jpg jpg. Mark Cooper, photo unattributed at sport.co.uk. Kainye Woolery 1st goal, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/football. Chris Jennings (Tranmere) goal celebration (with Tranmere fans), photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images via liverpoolecho.co.uk/football. C Doidge goal (2nd FGR goal), photo unattributed at walesonline.co.uk/football. Kainye Woolery, photo of celebration after his 2nd goal by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images via guardian.com/football. Kainye Woolery celebrates with FGR fans at Wembley (3rd goal/winning goal), photo by Press Association via dailymail.co.uk/wires.

___
Thanks to the following…
-Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.

-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-5th division attendances from us.soccerway.com/[conference-national/2016-17].
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia, at 2017-18 EFL League Two.

August 18, 2017

2017-18 Football League One (3rd division England): map w/ 16/17-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division./+ 4 promoted clubs for the 2017-18 3rd division (Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool).

2017-18_football-league-one_map_w-2017-crowds_titles_seasons-in-1st-division_post_c_.gif
2017-18 Football League One (3rd division England): map w/ 16/17-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division




By Bill Turianski on 18 August 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-2017–18 EFL League One (en.wikipedia.org).
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…LEAGUE ONE [Summary] (soccerway.com).
-Sky Bet League One 2017 – 2018 [kits] (historicalkits.co.uk).
-League One 2017-18 season preview (by Lawrence Ostleer at theguardian.com/football/blog).

-sports.vice.com/en_uk/article/passion-progression-and-the-future-of-fan-ownership-now-is-the-time-for-afc-wimbledon?.

A brief re-cap of 2016-17 League One [the 3rd division]…
Promoted to 2nd Div…Sheffield Utd, Bolton Wanderers, Millwall {see this post: 17/18 EFL Championship, featuring: Sheffield Utd, Bolton, Millwall}.

Relegated from the 2nd division down to the 3rd division are…Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic, Rotherham United.

Promoted up from the 4th division and into the 3rd division are the four clubs profiled below…

    Below: the 4 promoted clubs for the 2017-18 3rd division
    (Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool)…

Portsmouth won the 2016-17 League Two title, and now return to the 3rd division after being stuck in the 4th division for 4 seasons. Plymouth Argyle won automatic promotion as 2nd-place-finishers and return to the 3rd division after being stuck in the 4th division for 6 seasons. Doncaster Rovers won the third automatic promotion as 3rd-place-finishers and bounce straight back to the 3rd division. The fourth promotion place went to Blackpool, who won the 2017 League Two play-off Final at Wembley, defeating Exeter City 2-1; Blackpool also bounce straight back to the 3rd division.

    • Portsmouth FC.

Est. 1898. Nickname: Pompey. Colours: Blue shirts, White pants, Red socks. Location: Portsmouth, Portsea Island, Hampshire, situated (by road) 22 miles (36 km) SE of Southampton; and Portsmouth is situated (by road) 73 miles (118 km) SW of London. Population of Portsmouth: city-population: around 115,000 {2011 census}; urban-area-population: around 855,000 [Southampton, Portsmouth, Eastleigh, Gosport, Fareham, Havant, Horndean]. Portsmouth, along with Southampton and adjacent towns, are part of the South Hampshire Built Up Area, which is the 7th-largest Urban Area in the UK {en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_urban_areas_in_the_United_Kingdom}.

Question: Why is Portsmouth FC nicknamed Pompey? Answer: “Portsmouth Football Club are nicknamed ‘Pompey’, a name which it shares with the English port city of Portsmouth and its historic naval base. The ‘Pompey’ nickname is thought most likely to originate from the historic nautical location known as Portsmouth Point, which is commonly abbreviated to ‘Po’m. P.’ when written in shortened form into a ships logbook.” {-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portsmouth_F.C..} Portsmouth was the traditional home base of the British Navy, all through the years of Empire, and the naval presence there is still strong. It is a very working-class town, as opposed to the more upper-middle class Southampton, 15 miles northwest. Portsmouth’s colours are a nod to its naval presence and its military heritage, with the blue of their jersey symbolizing the British Navy, and their red socks represent the British Army (the home of the British Army is in Aldershot, Hampshire, 45 miles up the road from Portsmouth).

Portsmouth FC were formed in 1898, and joined the Southern League the following year. As of 2017-18, Portsmouth have played 33 seasons in the 1st division, and 91 seasons in the Football League/Premier League. Portsmouth were a non-League/Southern League side for a little over two decades. Then in 1920-21, Portsmouth, along with the entire 1919-20 Southern League Division One, joined the Football League, comprising most of the new Third Division. It took Portsmouth 7 seasons to win the two promotions that put them in the First Division, which Pompey first joined in 1927-28. In this time period, Portsmouth made it to two FA Cup finals, losing to Bolton 2-0 in the 1928 final, and losing to Manchester City 2-1 in the 1934 FA Cup final. Their third FA Cup final came in 1939, and this time Portsmouth were the victors, beating a heavily-favoured Wolves team 4-1, this despite the fact that Portsmouth were battling relegation, and ended up finishing only in 17th place in the league that season.

Back-to-back English titles for Portsmouth (1949 & 1950).
In 1946-47, with the resumption in Football League play following World War II, Portsmouth FC benefited from the town’s naval base…“Portsmouth capitalised on the footballers called up to serve in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in the war years and recruited some of them. In this way, Portsmouth had the pick of some of the best.” {-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portsmouth_F.C..} This was the start of Portsmouth’s glory days. Former chief scout Bob Jackson was appointed manager of Portsmouth in May 1947. The squad, which was filled with no recognised stars and very few international players, began to gel. Coming off a 12th-place finish in the first post-War season (1946-47), Pompey finished in 8th place with Jackson at the helm (1947-48). Then it all came together in 1948-49: Jackson had Pompey play in the W-M formation that Herbert Chapman (and his assistant coach Charles Buchan) had developed at Arsenal a decade earlier. Portsmouth had the best defense (1.0 goals allowed per game), and also led the league in scoring (84 goals/2.0 avg), with all 5 forwards racking up double figures and Portsmouth-born Outside-Right Peter Harris scoring 18, and Scottish Inside Forward Duggie Reid scoring 17. Portsmouth won the title with 2 games to spare, and ended up 5 points ahead of Manchester United. Then Portsmouth repeated as champions in 1949-50, though by a much tighter margin. Portsmouth had the second best defense (.90 goals allowed per game, behind 7th-place-finishers Blackpool’s .83 avg). And four other teams scored more. Portsmouth barely edged out Wolves for first place, thanks to a better goal-average of about 0.4 (but Portsmouth would still have won the title if the more-equitable goal-difference tie-breaker was used back then). Top scorer for Portsmouth’s repeat title-win was Kent-born Inside Forward Ike Harris, with 17 goals.

(In the post-War era, since Portsmouth’s back-to-back title wins, only 4 other clubs have won two straight titles: Manchester United [six times], Wolverhampton, Liverpool [three times], and Chelsea.)

Bob Jackson left Portsmouth in 1952, to manage Hull City. Portsmouth stayed competitive for the next few seasons, but by the late 1950s, their title-winning and locally-nurtured squad had aged, and were not replaced with enough quality players to keep the team in the top tier. Portsmouth were relegated out of the 1st division in 1959 (the same season that longtime Left Half Jimmy Dickinson played in his 500th game for Pompey). For the next 44 years (1959 to 2003), the club would only play only one season in the top flight (in 1987-88).

-From the Equaliser blog, 1940s Month: Bob Jackson’s Pompey (written on 9 Feb.2011 at equaliserblog.wordpress.com).

Portsmouth: back-to-back titles (1949 & 1950 First Division titles).
portsmouth_1949-1950_back-to-back-english-titles_bob-jackson_peter-harris_duggie-reid_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Old Portsmouth kits, illustrations from historicalkits.co.uk/Portsmouth. Bob Jackson, photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images via gettyimages.com. Peter Harris, photo by Daily Mirror at mirrorfootball.mediastorehouse.com/peter-harris/print. Duggie Reid, photo unattributed at frattonparkhomeofportsmouthfc.wordpress.com/legends. Portsmouth 1948-49 tinted photo (team photo), unattributed at uttonfromuddersfield.blogspot.com.

Portsmouth, 2003 to 2010: 7 seasons in the Premier League, including one great escape (in 2006), and their second FA Cup title (in 2008).
Portsmouth, under former Bournemouth and West Ham manager Harry Redknapp, won promotion into the Premier League in 2003. Their ramshackle home cauldron, Fratton Park, was the smallest home-venue in the league back then (capacity 20,600). Pompey had a 7-year-spell in the Premier League. In their 3rd season there (2005-06), Portsmouth were almost relegated, but pulled off one of the great escapes in Premier League history, going from the bottom of the table and 8 points down in the relegation zone in March, to safety and a 17th-place-finish, in the last 10 games. A last-gasp 30-yard dipping volley by MF Pedro Mendes v Man City on the 11th of March ignited a 6-wins-2-draws-2-loss finish in 05/06, and they escaped the drop with 4 points to spare. {Here is Mendes’ brace that day [via a tweet from @premierleague].}. The next season (06/07), Portsmouth finished 8 places higher, in 9th. Pompey were averaging 19.8 K and playing to 96 percent-capacity at their fortress, Fratton Park. Portsmouth finished as high as 8th place, in the following season of 2007-08. And they won their second FA Cup title that same season, beating 2nd-division side Cardiff City 1-0 at Wembley, thanks to a Kanu tap-in. This, after beating Manchester United at Old Trafford in the 6th round, thanks to a Glen Johnson goal-saving goal-line tackle-and-block, a Glen Johnson goal-saving line-clearing header, a Sylvain Distin goal-saving goal-line block, two David James full-stretch diving glove-tip-saves, and a Sully Muntari penalty conversion. {Video highlights: Manchester United 0-1 Portsmouth – 2008 FA Cup Quarter-Final (8 March 2008) (6:39 video uploaded by DCDJ18 at youtube.com).}

But boardroom graft and incompetence led to financial problems which were worsened by the 2009 global economic recession. So, due to automatic points deductions while being in administration, a cash-strapped Portsmouth suffered back-to-back relegations in 2012 (to the 3rd division), and in 2013 (to the 4th division). This happened amidst the messy and protracted supporters-trust-takeover-battle. In April 2013, Portsmouth became the largest supporter-owned club in England, after the Pompey Supporters Trust successfully gained possession of Fratton Park. Even as a 4th division side, Pompey saw little drop-off in support, and Portsmouth drew in the 15-16-K-range in League Two. But Portsmouth, now a parsimonious supporter-owned club, needed four seasons to get out of the 4th division, and it was former Chesterfield manager Paul Cook who led them out. In 2015-16, Cook took the reins at Portsmouth, bringing MF/playmaker Gary Roberts over from Chesterfield. But Pompey could not stay in the automatic promotion places, kept on dropping points by conceding late goals, and then flamed out in the 2016 play-off semifinals, losing to Plymouth. The following season, Portsmouth fielded a squad that did catch fire late on. Pompey moved into the automatic promotion spots by March 2017, and won the 4th division crown on the last day of the season, pipping Plymouth for the title. 3 Portsmouth players made the 2017 League Two Team of the Year (GK David Forde, CB Christian Burgess, and CB Enda Stevens). Portsmouth had the best defense in the 4th division (40 goals allowed/0.86 avg), and the second most prolific offense (with 79 goals; only Doncaster scored more).

Then, 6 weeks after Portsmouth’s promotion, Paul Cook up and left – for a fatter contract at Wigan. It was during this time that Portsmouth Supporters Trust voted to sell their shares to an investment company headed by former Disney chairman Michael Eisner. The rationale for most of the shareholders’ ‘yes’ votes was this…Portsmouth would need a considerable cash outlay to fuel any more promotion-campaigns, and would probably not be able to do so as a supporter-owned club. Plus Fratton Park needs some serious upgrades to avoid closure – like £4.1m worth {see this}. In June 2017, former Millwall and Wolves manager Kenney Jackett was hired as Portsmouth manager, a choice widely applauded, as Jackett has had real success in the 3rd division (see next paragraph)…

Manager of Portsmouth: Kenny Jackett (age 55; born in Watford). Jackett was a DF/MF who played in 11 seasons for his home town club, Watford (1980-90/337 league app/35 goals). Jackett has previously managed: Watford (1996-97), Swansea (2004–07), Millwall (2007–13), Wolverhampton (2014-16), and Rotherham (2016). Jackett has gotten two of his teams promoted to the 2nd division: Millwall in 2010, and Wolves in 2014.

portsmouth_promoted-2017_fratton-park_christian-burgess_enda-stevens_gary-roberts_k_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
Portsmouth 16/17 jersey, photo from
pompeystore.com. Portsmouth Harbour, photo unattributed at newhistorian.com. Old Portsmouth viewed from Spinnaker Tower, photo by eNil at File:Old Portsmouth.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Fratton Park (aerial view, with new Tesco supermarket next door), by Shaun Roster via twitter.com/teamlocals. Fratton Park (aerial view), by 1080pfc at mobile.twitter.com/1080pfc jpg. Aerial view of Fratton Park main entrance, photo by PA at telegraph.co.uk/sport/football. Fratton Park main entrance, photo by manygameshaveiseen.blogspot.com. Facade at Fratton Park, photo from Paul Greer at bbc.co.uk/blogs/5live/2011/04/the-rjs-the-south-of-england… . David Forde, screenshot from video uploaded by officialpfc at youtube.com. Christian Burgess, photo by TSG Photo/Rex/Shutterstock via dailymail.co.uk/football. Enda Stevens, image from screenshot of video uploaded by officialpfc at youtube.com jpg. Gary Roberts, photo by Joe Pepler at portsmouth.co.uk/football. Promotion/league title-winners-celebration, screenshot from video uploaded by rjellcome at youtube.com jpg.

• Plymouth Argyle FC.
Est. 1886. Nicknames: Argyle, the Pilgrims. Colours: Dark-Green-with-Black (which is in honor of the colours of the flag of Devon). Location: Plymouth, Devon, situated (by road) 45 miles (72 km) SW of Exeter; and Plymouth is 237 miles (382 km) SW of London. Population of Plymouth: around 264,000 {2016 estimate}; urban-area-population: around 260,000 {2011 census}, making Plymouth the 32nd-largset Urban Area in the UK {en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_urban_areas_in_the_United_Kingdom}.

Plymouth Argyle, located near the south-western corner of England, are one of the most isolated Football League clubs…
Probably the biggest hurdle Plymouth Argyle faces as a team in the Football League is the sheer isolation that Plymouth has with the rest of the teams in the League. There is only one League team close by to Plymouth, and that is Exeter City, which is 45 miles away. And Plymouth, way out on the south-west coast in Devon, is a whopping 237 miles down the road from London. Which means that it is further away from London (by road) than almost every other League club, including every Northern club except for Carlisle, Newcastle, Blackpool, Burnley, Accrington, and Morecambe. (Plymouth is only about 10 miles or so by road closer to London than Newcastle or Blackpool or Burnley are.)

Plymouth Argyle joined the Football League in 1920, along with the entire 1919-20 Southern Football League Division One. 15 of those 22 teams in that 1919/20 Southern League D1 have made it to the first division since then, including 5 current [2017-18] Premier League clubs (Brighton, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Swansea, Watford). But Plymouth Argyle is not among them. In fact Plymouth Argyle have played the second-most 2nd division seasons without ever winning promotion to the top flight – 40 seasons in the 2nd division. Only Port Vale has played more 2nd division seasons without ever winning promotion to the first division (41 seasons). {Source: see this list, myfootballfacts.com/ClubLeagueHistorySummary.}

The last time Plymouth Argyle were in the second division was a 6-season spell there from 2004-10, when Argyle drew primarily in the 13-K-range. They went down to the 3rd tier in May 2010 with serious financial problems, and that turned into a crisis in late 2010, with £760,000 in unpaid tax to HM Revenue & Customs. Plymouth went into administration in February 2011, with a 10 points deduction, and then they suffered their second-straight relegation in May 2011, down to the 4th division. The local council saved Plymouth by buying their ground, Home Park, in October 2011. At this point, new ownership came in, in the form of an investment/development company called the Akkeron Group, headed by James Brent. By this time (2011-12), support had dwindled to 6.9 K, and Plymouth escaped relegation out of the League by only a 2-point-margin, finishing in 21st place in League Two. The next season was an even closer relegation battle as Argyle escaped relegation by just a single point, again finishing in 21st. Argyle improved a great deal the next year to 10th place (in 2013-14). In 2014-15 Argyle made the play-offs as 7th place finishers, but lost to Wycombe in the first round. The next season (2015-16), under new manager Derek Adams, Plymouth improved enough again to be in the automatic promotion places for some of the season, but fell into the play-off places and finished in 5th, and then were beaten by AFC Wimbledon in the 2015 League Two play-off Final, 2-0. By this time, crowds had increased a couple thousand at Home Park, up to 8.7 K. In 2016-17, Plymouth Argyle improved once again, and led League Two for much of season, but again fell away – but only marginally, and Argyle ended up finally winning promotion back to the 3rd division, finishing in 2nd place, and drawing 9.6 K. An indication of the positive vibe down there on the Devon coast is that in 2016-17 Argyle drew one thousand more than they were drawing in 2011-12, when they went down to the 4th tier. It took Plymouth Argyle 6 seasons to get out of the 4th division, and they did so under Scottish manager Derek Adams.

Manager of Plymouth: Derek Adams (age 42; born in Glasgow, Scotland). Derek Adams played as a midfielder, primarily with Motherwell and a then-second-division Ross County. In his second spell at Ross County, Adams was player-manager (2007-10), then was briefly an assistant coach at Hibernian in 2010-11. He returned to Ross County as manager 6 months later (May 2011), and led the tiny Dingwall, Highlands-based club to its first-ever promotion to the Scottish 1st division. (Dingwall, Highland is a town of only around 5,400, located a few miles west of Inverness, and 180 miles N of Glasgow by road.) Then Ross County overachieved in the Scottish top flight, finishing in 5th place in 2012-13, and in 7th in 2013-14. Adams stepped down from the Ross County job in August, 2014, took a year’s hiatus, and then signed on as Plymouth Argyle manager in June 2015. A month later he brought over a Ross County play-maker/attacking-midfielder: Graham Carey (see photo/caption below). Plymouth were much improved in 2015-16, with Adams at the helm, and Carey was voted Player of the Year by Argyle fans in 2015-16, but they fell short of promotion. The following year (2016-17), Plymouth shot out of the gate and were at the top of the table by September. Graham Carey had another fine season, ending up with 14 league goals and 15 assists (second-most assists, behind only Accrington MF Sean McConville). Carey, and teammate Sonny Bradley (see photo/caption below), a 25-year old centre-back who scored 7 league goals, both made the 2017 League Two Team of the Year. On Monday 17 April 2017, Plymouth Argyle beat Newport County 6-1 in front of 13,971 at Home Park, and Plymouth Argyle clinched automatic promotion to the 3rd division, with 3 games to spare.
plymouth-argyle_promoted-2017_home-park_derek-adams_sonny-bradley_graham-carey_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
Plymouth Argyle 2016-17 jersey, illustration unattributed at footballkitnews.com. Aerial shot of Plymouth Harbour, photo unattributed at images.archant.co.uk. Plymouth Harbour, photo by devoncam.co.uk via pinterest.com jpg. Home Park, aerial photo unattributed at pinterest.com jpg. Argyle fans with giant PAFC/Green Army banner, photo by Getty Images via express.co.uk/football. Sonny Bradley, photo unattributed at sportskeeda.com/fa-cup-2016-17-liverpool-vs-plymouth-player-ratings. Graham Carey, photo from pafc.co.uk. Promotion-celebration, photo unattributed at upsu.com/media. Derek Adams, photo by Action Images via theleaguepaper.com.

• Doncaster Rovers FC.
Est. 1879. Nicknames: Donny; the Rovers. Colours: Red-&-White hoops [horizontally-striped jerseys]. Location: Doncaster, South Yorkshire, situated (by road) 23 miles (37 km) NE of Sheffield; and Doncaster is situated (by road) 177 miles (285 km) N of London. Population of Doncaster: around 109,000 {2011 census}.

Doncaster fanzine/podcast, Popular Stand (‘a football fanzine for the likes of Doncaster’).
-Great match report-with-photos from Doncaster’s promotion-clinching win in week 41, from a Mansfield Town fan, Doncaster Rovers 1 v Mansfield Town 0 – EFL League 2 (the66pow.blogspot.com)

Counting 2017-18, Doncaster Rovers have played 83 seasons in the Football League.
Doncaster have never played in the 1st division, but have played 16 seasons in the 2nd division, including 5 seasons in the recent past (2008-12; and in 2013-14). But for the majority of its time, Doncaster have been a lower-League club (with 35 seasons in the 3rd division, and 32 seasons in the 4th division). Doncaster Rovers were first elected to the Football League in 1901, but only lasted 2 seasons. They won re-election in 1903, but failed to be re-elected after a single season (1903-04). They had to wait two decades before returning to the League: Doncaster were elected back to the Football League in 1923 (replacing Stalybridge Celtic), and joined the Football League Third Division North in 1923-24. This time, Doncaster stayed in the League for a little over 8 decades. Their heyday was in the early 1950s, when, as a just-promoted-to-the-2nd-division side, in 1950-51, Doncaster drew a peak 20.8 K and finished in 11th. Donny played 8 seasons in the 2nd tier in the 1950s, but would not return to the second division for over half a century (51 years). After bouncing between the 3rd and 4th tiers all through the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, Doncaster were relegated out of the 4th division and into non-League football in 1997-98.

After 5 seasons in non-League football, in the 5th division/Conference National, Doncaster won promotion back to the Football League in 2003. That was the first season that there were 2 non-League teams promoted from the 5th division. And in the new Conference play-off Final of 2003, at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke, in front of 13 thousand, Doncaster beat Dagenham & Redbridge 3-2 in aet, with the winner scored in the 110th minute by Francis Tierney. Since then, Doncaster have remained in the League, and have had two spells in the 2nd division: a 4-season spell from 2008–09 to 2011–12, and in 2013–14. During this time period, as a second-division-side, Doncaster were drawing in the 9-to-10-K-range, at their 15.2-K-capacity ground, Keepmoat Stadium (which opened in 2007 and is owned by the club). But it all came unstuck in their most recent stint in the second tier: Doncaster ended up suffering 2 relegations in 3 seasons, and thus found themselves in the 4th division for 2016-17, with home crowds shrunk over four thousand, to 5.5 K. The thing about Doncaster is, they always seem to have just been relegated or promoted…and in fact, Doncaster have changed divisions 5 times in 6 seasons (2012: relegated to 3rd Div/ 2013: promoted to 2nd Div/ 2014: relegated to 3rd Div/ 2015: remained in 3rd Div/ 2016: relegated to 4th Div/ 2017: promoted to 3rd Div).

Manager of Doncaster: Darren Ferguson (age 45; born in Glasgow, Scotland). In October of 2015, Doncaster had hired Darren Ferguson as manager, when Rovers were hovering right above the relegation zone in the 3rd division. But Ferguson could not improve things, and Rovers went down. However, things changed in 2016-17, with Darren Ferguson’s first full year in charge at the Keepmoat Stadium. Consistency became their hallmark, and Doncaster did not lose two straight league matches all through the first 41 games of the season. On 8th April, 2017, with a 1-0 home win versus nearby rivals Mansfield Town, before 9.9 K, Doncaster clinched an immediate return to the 3rd tier (see photos and captions below). They did this with an impressive 5 games to spare. Darren Ferguson, son of Sir Alex, has now led his teams to promotion on 4 separate occasions: in 2008, 2009, and 2011 with Peterborough, and now in 2017 with Doncaster. Darren Ferguson was named League Two manager of the year. Two Rovers players (see photos and captions below) were named to the 2017 League Two Team of the Year: 36-year-old captain and attacking midfielder James Coppinger, and 25-year-old striker John Marquis. James Coppinger has been with Doncaster for 13 years now (since 2004), and the North Yorkshire/Teeside-born Coppinger has amassed over 500 appearances for Doncaster Rovers (most ever). To make the League Two Team of the Year at 36 years old is a remarkable accomplishment. John Marquis, who previously had 6 different loan spells as a Millwall player, was League Two joint-top-scorer (along with Barnet’s John Akinde), scoring 26 goals (and 2 assists). The 16/17 Doncaster Rovers had the most potent offense in the 4th division, scoring 85 goals (1.84 avg.). In addition to John Marquis, 3 other Rovers players scored in double figures: Tommy Rowe (13 goals/11 assists), Andrew Williams (11 goals/1 assist), and James Coppinger (10 goals/13 assists).
doncaster-rovers_promoted-2017_keepmoat-stadium_darren-ferguson_james-coppinger_john-marquis_tommy-rowe_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
Doncaster 16/17 jersey, photo unattributed at soccer365.com. Keepmoat Stadium, aerial photo unattributed at pinterest.com. James Coppinger, photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com. John Marquis, photo from twitter.com/johnmarquis09 jpg. Goal (T. Rowe), photo by Davy Lamp at the66pow.blogspot.com/2017/04/doncaster-rovers-1-v-mansfield-town-0. Doncaster fans’ pitch invasion celebrating promotion: 1st photo [Doncaster 1-0 Mansfield Town, 8 April 2017], photo by PA via thes*n.co.uk; 2nd photo: by Davy Lamp at the66pow.blogspot.com. Darren Ferguson saluting Donny fans as Doncaster clinches promotion, photo by PA via yorkshirepost.co.uk/football.

• Blackpool FC.
Est. 1887. Nicknames: the Tangerines; the Seasiders. Colours: Tangerine [pale Orange] jerseys and White pants. Location: Blackpool, west Lancashire, situated (by road) 55 miles (86 km) N of Liverpool; and situated (by road) 248 miles (399 km) NW of London. Population of Blackpool: around 142,000 {2016 estimate}.

    Blackpool, winners of the 1953 FA Cup Final (aka the Matthews Final) (Blackpool 4-3 Bolton)…

1953 FA Cup Final (en.wikipedia.org).
blackpool_1953-fa-cup_winners_stan-mortensen_stanley-matthews_bill-perry_d_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -Stanley Matthews, photos: circa late 1940s, Matthews faking out defender, photo unattributed at dailymail.co.uk/football. 1953 tinted photo of Matthews in 1953 FA Cup Final, image unattributed at dailymail.co.uk/football; Matthews back at Stoke circa 1963, photo by PA at dailymail.co.uk/football.
Stan Mortenson: tinted print [ca. early 1950s], unattributed at ebay.com; 2nd photo (b/w), photo by PA via gettyimages.fi. Blackpool and Bolton 1953 badges from historicalkits.co.uk. Matthews dribbling in 1953 FA Cup final, photo by PA Wire/Press Association Images via dailymail.co.uk. Stan Mortensen scoring 2nd of 3 goals in 1953 FA Cup Final, photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images at theguardian.com/football. 2 shots of Matthews with winning cross (to Bill Perry in the 92nd minute): screenshot from video uploaded by Soccertackle at youtube.com; 2nd photo of Matthews’ cross to Perry, photo by PA via dailymail.co.uk/football. 2 shots of winning goal scored by Bill Perry, 1st photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images via gettyimages.de; 2nd photo of Bill Perry’s winning goal, by PA via dailymail.co.uk/football. Blackpool 1953 Cup final badge, photo by toffs.com/[Blackpool]. Captain Johnston, and Matthews, hoisted in celebration by Blackpool teammates, photo unattributed at intosport.co.uk/blackpool-1953-fa-cup-final-team-photo-memorabilia. Blackpool 1953 victory parade, photo unattributed at intosport.co.uk/blackpool-1953-fa-cup-final-open-top-bus-photo-memorabilia..

Manager of Blackpool: Gary Bowyer (age 46; born in Manchester).

Blackpool FC supporters’ boycott of Blackpool FC owners (the Oystons)…
Blackpool began fielding a threadbare squads which eventually saw back-to-back relegations to the 4th division by May 2016. Going back 7 years, when Blackpool had won promotion to the Premier League (in May 2010), there were over 35,000 Blackpool fans at Wembley, to watch their thrilling 3-2 League Championship play-off final victory over Cardiff City (total attendance that day was 82,244). This time, in Blackpool’s 2017 League Two play-off final versus Exeter City (which Blackpool won 2-1), there were only about 5,000 Blackpool supporters there (total attendance that day was 23,380). Now granted, a 4th-division play-off final at Wembley will invariably draw much less than a 2nd division final there would. But there should have been at least 40 K there, not the 23.3 K that were there.

And Blackpool’s home crowds at Bloomfield Road have dropped from 14.2 K to 3.4 K – a more than 10-thousand-per-game drop-off, in just 4 years. For context here are the last 7 seasons of home average attendance for Blackpool: 15.7 K in 2010-11 [1st Div]; 12.7 K in 2011-12 [2nd Div]; 13.9 K in 2012-13; 14.2 K in 2013-14 [2nd Div]; 11.1 K in 2014-15 [2nd Div]; 7.0 K in 2015-16 [3rd Div]; 3.4 K in 2016-17 [4th Div].

What changed? The answer is simply this: the absolutely poisonous atmosphere that the Oyston family has fomented up there on the Lancashire coast. A poisonous atmosphere which all began because the Oystons pocketed virtually all the millions in parachute cash after relegation out of the Premier League in 2011, and then went after fans who criticised their actions.
…“Oyston has had a poor relationship with Blackpool’s fans, mostly since the club’s relegation from the Premier League, due to a perceived lack of funding for the club’s stadium, playing staff and training ground. The relationship was described as being ‘at breaking point’ by Tim Fielding, the chair of the Blackpool Supporters Trust, in December 2014. Fielding resigned from his position the following month after the Oystons began legal action against him for comments he made on the internet, even though it was revealed that Karl Oyston had labelled Blackpool fan Stephen Smith a ‘massive retard’ and an ‘intellectual cripple’ in a text-message exchange two months earlier. The local newspaper, the Blackpool Gazette, subsequently decided to scrap Oyston’s weekly column ‘given such disgusting and offensive comments’. He was later charged with misconduct by the Football Association, a charge he appealed. The appeal was rejected by a tribunal, and he was given a ban from all footballing activities for six weeks and fined £40,000.” {-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Oyston.}

-From Medium.com, Most Blackpool fans will boycott Wembley, you should know why (by Peter Wells on 21 May 2017 at medium.com)

Here is quote about the boycott of the Wembley match…“There’ll be plenty of Oyston Out scarves in the ground,” Andy Higgins, a member of the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, [said]. “Most of us think that if you’re going to go and finance that family, who are intent on suing supporters, you’re financing litigation. That’s when they went too far. Litigation against your own fans is beyond the pale.” {-quote from article written by Jacob Steinberg at theguardian.com/football.}

And as John Ashdown at the Guardian said, “That so few Blackpool fans – only just over 5,000 – were here to witness what should have been a celebratory occasion is testament to the depth of resentment against the Oyston family’s ownership of the club. This result will prompt mixed feelings for those on the Fylde coast who fear a victory for the team is a victory for the regime.” {-excerpt from Blackpool’s Mark Cullen sinks Exeter City in League Two play-off final, by John Ashdown on 28 May 2017 at theguardian.com/football}.
blackpool_promoted-2017_bloomfield-road_kelvin-mellor_brad-potts_mark-cullen_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
16/17 Blackpool jersey, photo unattrributed at afcblackpool.co.uk. Blackpool Tower, photo by zergo512 at File:Blackpool tower from central pier ferris wheel.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Bloomfield Road, photo by Footyawaydays via lets-hang-on.com. Kelvin Mellor, photo by camerasport.photoshelter.com jpg. Brad Potts, photo by CameraSport/Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/football. Empty seats at Wembley because of Blackpool supporter-boycott, photo by Daniel Storey at twitter.com/danielstorey85 jpg. Mark Cullen celebrating winning goal, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/football.
___
Thanks to the following…
-Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.
-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-England – First Level All-Time Tables 1888/89-2015/16 (rsssf.com).
-Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia, at EFL League One (en.wikipedia.org).

August 2, 2017

2017-18 EFL Championship (2nd division England, incl. Wales): map w/ 16/17-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division./+ 3 promoted clubs for the 2017-18 2nd division (Sheffield Utd, Bolton Wanderers, Millwall).

2017-18_football-league-championship_map_w-2017-crowds_titles_seasons-in-1st-division_post-b_b_.gif
2017-18 Football League Championship (2nd division England, incl. Wales): map w/ 16/17-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division




By Bill Turianski on 2 August 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-2017-18 Football League Championship (en.wikipedia.org).
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…CHAMPIONSHIP [Summary] (soccerway.com).
-Sky Bet Championship 2017 – 2018 [kits] (historicalkits.co.uk).
-EFL Championship preview 2017-18 (thesetpieces.com).
-Championship 2017-18 season preview (by Ben Fisher at theguardian.com/football/blog).

A brief re-cap of the 2016-17 League Championship [the 2nd division]…
Promoted…Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town {see this post [17/18 Premier League, featuring Newcastle, Brighton & Huddersfield]}.

Relegated from the Premier League down to the 2nd division are…Hull City, Middlesbrough, and Sunderland. Hull City and Middlesbrough both went back down to the 2nd tier after a one-season-spell in the Premier League, while Sunderland are back in the 2nd tier after a 10-season-spell in the Premier League.

Promoted up from the 3rd division and into the 2nd division are the three clubs profiled below…

    Below: the 3 promoted clubs to the 2017-18 EFL Championship (England, 2nd division)
    (Sheffield United, Bolton Wanderers, Millwall)

Sheffield United won the 2016-17 EFL League One [3rd division], winning automatic promotion back to the Championship, after 6 seasons stuck in the 3rd division. Bolton Wanderers won the other automatic promotion, by finishing in 2nd place, thus bouncing straight back to the 2nd division on the first try. The third promotion place went to Millwall, who won the 2017 League One play-off Final, beating Bradford City 1-0 at Wembley. Millwall returns to the 2nd tier after 2 seasons in the 3rd tier.

    • Sheffield United FC.

Est. 1889. Nickname: the Blades. Colours: Red-and-White vertical striped jerseys, Black pants and Black trim. Location: Sheffield, West Yorkshire, situated (by road) 35 miles (57 km) S of Leeds; and situated (by road) 169 miles (272 km) N of London. Distance between Sheffield United (Bramall Lane) and Sheffield Wednesday (Hillsborough Stadium) is 3 miles (5 km) {sportmapworld.com}. Population of Sheffield: city-population of around 518,000; urban-area population of around 685,000 {2011 census figures}. Sheffield, along with Rotherham and adjacent towns, is part of the Sheffield Built-Up Area, which is the 10th-largest Urban Area in the UK. {Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_urban_areas_in_the_United_Kingdom.}

Question: Why is Sheffield United nicknamed the Blades? Answer: Because of the large role that the steel industry and the cutlery-making industry have had in Sheffield. {see: Steel-making industry in Sheffield, a section in the illustration, further below.} Excerpt from Wikipedia…“The steel industry [of Sheffield] dates back to at least the 14th century. In 1740 Benjamin Huntsman discovered the crucible technique for steel manufacture, at his workshop in the district of Handsworth [in south-eastern Sheffield]. This process had an enormous impact on the quantity and quality of steel production and was only made obsolete, a century later, in 1856 by Henry Bessemer’s invention of the Bessemer converter which allowed the true mass production of steel. Bessemer had moved his Bessemer Steel Company to Sheffield to be at the heart of the industry. Thomas Boulsover invented Sheffield Plate (silver-plated copper), in the early 18th century. A major Sheffield steel invention was that of stainless steel by Harry Brearley in 1912, and the work of Profs. F. B. Pickering and T. Gladman throughout the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s was fundamental to the development of modern high strength low alloy steels.”…{-from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Sheffield}.
-Here is an article on Sheffield’s industrial past, and archeological research on that subject, Steel City: an Archaeology of Sheffield’s Industrial Past (hrionline.ac.uk).

Sheffield United have spent 60 seasons in the 1st division (last in 2006-07). Counting 2017-18, Sheffield United have spent 115 seasons in the Football League/Premier League. Sheffield United were created in 1889 because the cricket team who played at Bramall Lane, Sheffield United Cricket Club (est. 1854), needed to find a new renter, because their previous renter, the football club The Wednesday [Sheffield Wednesday], had moved to a new ground nearby…“Sheffield Wednesday…had vacated Bramall Lane after a dispute over rent. It was at this time that the now infamous ‘Pig’ nickname was aimed at the club by their Wednesday counterparts in reference to Pig Iron, an intermediate product in Steel production, hinting that Wednesday were there first so they were the Steel of the City and United were the Pig Iron.”…{-excerpts from Sheffield United F.C./Name origins_and nicknames, and en.wikipedia.org/History of Sheffield United F.C.}.

Sheffield United have not played in the same division as Sheffield Wednesday for five years (last in 2011-12, when both were in the 3rd division). So I thought it was a good time to post this small map (below), which shows the locations of Bramall Lane (near the Sheffield city centre), Hillsborough (in the Owlerton district in NW Sheffield), and Olive Grove. Olive Grove was the ground that The Wednesday left Bramall Lane for, and played at, for twelve years in the late nineteenth century (1887-99). Olive Grove was very close nearby to Bramall Lane, both just to the south of Sheffield city centre. So, in the late nineteenth century, Wednesday and United were playing within a half-mile of each other. Now they are a bit more separated…the distance between Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane and Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough is 3 miles (5 km).
Venues of Football League clubs from Sheffield, South Yorkshire: Sheffield Wednesday (est. 1867). Sheffield United (est. 1889).
sheffield_wednesday_sheffield-united_map-with_locations-of-grounds_bramall-lane_olive-grove_hillsborough_i_.gif
Image credit above – blank map of Sheffield by JeremyA at File:Sheffield outline map with UK.svg (en.wikipedia.org).

Sheffield United were one of the clubs which comprised the new Second Division, in 1892-93. (1892-93 was the fifth season of the Football League.) Sheffield United were elected to join the First Division for the following season of 1893-94. Sheffield United won their first and only English title in their fifth top-flight season, in 1897-98, finishing 5 points ahead of Sunderland. Here is an excerpt, about Sheffield United’s title-winning season of 1897-98, from the Sheffield Football.co.uk site’s page on SUFC…“United had become a real spectators team pulling in large audiences to not only watch the football but the characters on the pitch such as Bill “Fatty” Foulke the heavyweight goal keeper, Ernest Needham and Walter Bennett. In their first home game of the [1897-98] season against Derby a 2-1 victory drew in crowds of 2,500 and a month later 10,000 watched a 4-3 victory over Stoke. Sheffield managed a staggering unbeaten run of 14 matches until a mid season slump and a draw against rivals Wednesday in front of 37,289 fans. But after regaining form in the New Year, Sheffield United beat league rivals for the top spot Aston Villa in a monumental game in front of 43,000 spectators.” {-excerpt from History of Sheffield United (sheffieldfootball.co.uk/history-of-sufc).}

A season later (1898-99), Sheffield United won its first FA Cup title, with a 4-1 win over Derby County, before 70 thousand at the Crystal Palace in South London. Sheffield United won 3 more FA Cup titles (in 1902 over Southampton 2-1, in the replay at the Crystal Palace; in 1915 over Chelsea 3-0 at Old Trafford in Manchester; and in 1925 over Cardiff City 1-0 at Wembley). Sheffield United’s best finish in the post-War era was in fifth place, and this happened twice: in 1961-62 and in 1996-97. The Blades have not been in an FA Cup final since 1936 (losing to Arsenal 1-0). The Blades last time in the top-flight was a one-season-spell that ended disastrously in May 2007, when they needed to win their final game to secure safety, but lost to Wigan at home, while West Ham won away versus Manchester United. The way West Ham won that game was salt in the wound for Blades fans, because the winning goal scorer was Carlos Tevez, who was playing for West Ham under illegal circumstances (third-party ownership was involved in the Tevez transfer). But in the weeks that followed, the football authorities only saw fit to slap West Ham with a cash penalty – instead of the points deduction that the premeditated breach of rules deserved. So the cheating West Ham stayed up. And Sheffield United were relegated unfairly. Then Sheffield United got relegated again four seasons later, to the third division, in the spring of 2011.

Manager of Sheffield United: Chris Wilder (age 49, born in Sheffield; Wilder was a defender who played for Sheffield United from 1986-92 and in 1999).
After 6 seasons stuck in the 3rd division, it all came together for Sheffield United under Sheffield-born manager Chris Wilder. Wilder, who had made his name getting Oxford United back into the Football League (in 2010), took over the reins at Sheffield United in May 2016. This was just after Wilder had performed a stunning turn-around at Northampton Town, saving the relegation-threatened and cash-strapped Cobblers from almost-certain relegation (in 2014-15), then turning them into the 2015-16 League-Two-champions – all in a space of 16 months.

With Sheffield United, Wilder again put together an effective squad. Sheffield United ended up winning the 3rd division title with ease, finishing 14 points above Bolton, and 18 points above 3rd place. They clinched automatic promotion with 4 games to spare, on 8 April 2017, away to Northampton {see images below). Two Blades players made the 3rd division {EFL League One Team of the Year}, FW Billy Sharp and MF John Fleck. The 31-year-old Sheffield-born Billy Sharp, back in his second spell with the Blades after an uninspiring stint at Leeds United, netted a league-best 30 goals in 2016-17. The Glasgow-born John Fleck (age 25) had 17 assists (and 4 goals). That 17 assists was good enough for joint-best in the 3rd division (along with Peterborough’s Marcus Maddison). John Fleck also scored the promotion-clinching goal {see screenshots below}.

In 2010-11 Sheffield United were drawing 20.6 K when they were relegated to the 3rd tier. In the 3rd division (2011-17) the Blades drew…18.7 K, 18.1 K, 17.5 K, 19.8 K, 19.8 K, and last season 21.8 K. As they were drawing 8-and-9-years-ago, Sheffield United will probably draw in the 25-26-K range now that they are back in the 2nd division.
sheffield-united_promoted-back-to-2nd-division-2017_sheffield-steel-industry_bramall-lane_chris-wilder_billy-sharp_john-fleck_s_.gif
Photo and Image credits below – 16/17 Sheffield Utd jersey, photo from uksoccershop.com.File:Sheffield skyline.png, photo by St BC at commons.wikimedia.org. Central Sheffield, photo from sheffield-made.com. Original Bessemer Converter crucible, photo by Wikityke at File:Bessemer Converter Sheffield.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Mural of Harry Brearley by Faunographic/photo from creativetourist.com/articles/design/sheffield/the-making-of-a-metal-magnate-harry-brearley-stainless-steel-street-art. Painting of foundry in Sheffield, image from Sheffield Local Studies Library (Picture Sheffield Collection) via sheffieldindexers.com/SheffieldSteelWorks. Sheffield stainless steel cufflinks, photo from sheffield-made.com. Aerial shot of Bramall Lane, photo unattributed at embed.scribblelive.com/[Sheffield United/Blades Wall (message board)] jpg. Exterior shot of Brammal Lane main entrance, photo by Richard Barrett-Small [CC BY 2.0] at Wikimedia Commons via football-stadiums.co.uk/grounds/england/bramall-lane. Fans at Bramall Lane celebrating a goal [18 Feb. 2017 v Scunthorpe], photo by Simon Gill for When Saturday Comes at Photo of the week ~ Sheffield United fans celebrate against Scunthorpe (wsc.co.uk). John Fleck, photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images at zimbio.com. Billy Sharp, photo by Pete Norton at gettyimages.com. 16/17 Sheffield Utd away jersey, photo from uksoccershop.com. Promotion-clinching goal [4 April 2017 away to Northampton], 2 screenshots of video uploaded by Kezza Blade at PROMOTION AT LAST (Sheffield United seal promotion at Northampton) (youtube.com). Captain Billy Sharp and manager Chris Wilder (with trophy), photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via gettyimages.com.

    • Bolton Wanderers FC.

Est. 1874. Nicknames: the Trotters, the Wanderers, the Whites. Colours: White jerseys, often with Dark-Blue pants and Dark-Blue-and-Red trim. Location: Horwich, which is 5.8 miles (9.3 km) NW of Bolton, in Greater Manchester. (Note: Bolton is historically part of Lancashire, but is now officially part of Greater Manchester.). Bolton is situated (by road) 10 miles (16 km) NW of central Manchester; and situated (by road) 221 miles (356 km) NW of London. Population of Bolton: around 128,000 {2011 census}.

Bolton Wanderers were formed in 1874 as Christ Church FC. ‘The club left the location following a dispute with the vicar, and changed its name to Bolton Wanderers in 1877. The name was chosen as the club initially had a lot of difficulty finding a permanent ground to play on, having used three venues in its first four years of existence.’ {-excerpt from Bolton Wanderers F.C./Early history (en.wikipedia.org).} Bolton were a founding member of the Football League in 1888-89, along with eleven other clubs from the North of England and from the Midlands. Bolton Wanderers are one of 10 clubs that have played every season of League football (119 seasons as of 2017-18), meaning they were Football League co-founders in 1888-89, and have never been elected-out or relegated-out of the League. (Those ten clubs are: Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers.)

Bolton Wanderers have played 73 seasons of 1st division football (last in 2011-12). Bolton have never won an English 1st division title, but have won 4 FA Cup titles. Their first FA Cup win was in the historic 1923 FA Cup Final , aka the White Horse Final…

    Article: The White Horse Final
    (1923 FA Cup Final: the first-ever match played at the original Wembley Stadium, attendance estimated at over 200,000)
    Bolton Wanderers 2, West Ham United 0

The match was played on 28 April 1923, and was the first FA Cup final to be played at the original Wembley Stadium in London (which operated from 1923 to 2000). It was, in fact, the first-ever match played at Wembley, and construction had only been completed four days earlier. The match ended up having a fantastically huge overflow crowd estimated as more than 200,000. {See photos and captions in the illustration below.} Because of the novelty of the brand-new and gigantic 127,000-capacity venue, vast droves from all over the country turned up…without tickets. And soon there were no more tickets to be had. So vast throngs started to simply push their way into the stadium. The crush forced people already in the stands to seek the safety of the pitch. So the match could not begin until the pitch was cleared of thousands and thousands of fans. And so policemen, along with mounted police, painstakingly cleared the overflow crowd off of the pitch. The ‘White Horse’ was a grey steed named Billie. It became famous for its work helping to clear the huge crowd off the touch-lines {see caption and images further below; see this article at the FA site, Wembley’s First Ever Match}. Excerpt from that link…“One police horse called ‘Billie’ had more success than most, probably because of its colouring, and the match subsequently became known as ‘The White Horse Final’. Its rider, PC George Scorey, recalled the scene in a BBC Radio interview…
“The horse was very good, easing them back with his nose and his tail until we got the crowd back along one of the goal-lines. We continued up the touch-lines until some of them got a bit stubborn. ‘Don’t you want to see the game?’ I said. They said ‘Yes’ and I said ‘So do I. Now those in front join hands.’ Then I gave the word to heave and they went back, step by step, until they reached the line.”
It was virtually impossible to observe the laws of the game. When a player took a corner kick, for example, the crowd was so close to the touch-line that he could not take his run until a policeman had forced people away from that corner of the field”…{-excerpt from wembleystadium.com/The-First-Ever-Match-At-Wembley.}

In the aerial photo at the top of the illustration below, you can see how the process of clearing the crowd from the playing field had begun (three corners of the pitch have been cleared, while stragglers fill the other part of the field). Once the playing field was more-or-less cleared, there was basically no room between the fans and the playing-rectangle, and fans encroached onto edges of the pitch the whole game. Once the match finally started, there was a goal right away. Inside-Right David Jack scored for Bolton in the 2nd minute. (David Jack, who was born in Bolton, scored 144 goals for Bolton [1920-28] and 114 goals for Arsenal [1928-34].) The goal occurred when West Ham Half-Back Jack Tresadern had become entangled in the crowd while attempting a throw-in. Before he could get back onto the field, the ball was sent into the West Ham United penalty box, where Bolton Half-Back Jimmy Seddon won possession and then passed to David Jack. Jack feinted a pass, then dribbled close to the goal and scored with a hard shot into the right-hand-corner of the net. A spectator, who was pressed right up against the goal net, was knocked unconscious by the ball. Eleven minutes in, the crowd surged forward again, and a large number of fans were back on the pitch, leading to the suspension of play while the mounted police again cleared the pitch.

At halftime, the teams could not exit the field for the dressing rooms, and the break was only 8 minutes. Right after the second half, West Ham nearly scored. Then Bolton took a 2-0 lead, when, in the 53rd minute, Glasgow-born Bolton Centre-Forward Joe Smith received a pass from Welsh Winger Ted Vizard, and volleyed the ball against the underside of the cross-bar. The ball then slammed back down to the pitch in an almost-perpendicular way. West Ham players insisted the ball did not completely cross the line, but the referee said it did, and the goal stood. Bolton was up 2-0, and that was how the score remained, with very few scoring chances by either side in the final 30 minutes of the match…and Bolton Wanderers had won their first major title, in very remarkable circumstances. West Ham, the swifter and more attack-oriented of the two teams, were hampered by the churned up field…West Ham trainer Charlie Paynter blamed his team’s defeat on the damage the pitch had suffered before kick-off, saying “It was that white horse thumping its big feet into the pitch that made it hopeless. Our wingers were tumbling all over the place, tripping up in great ruts and holes”. {-excerpt from 1923 FA Cup Final/Summary (en.wikipedia.org).}

Only 22 people at the match were injured enough to be hospitalised, but the London Times estimated there were over a thousand who were slightly injured. Two policemen were also injured. But, amazingly, no one died. An official inquiry was considered, but the House of Commons praised the entire way the Metropolitan Police handled the incident. The FA re-imbursed ticket holders who claimed to have never reached their seats. Officials also publicly stated that had it not been for PC Scorey and his white horse, The Final might never have gone ahead that afternoon. And the FA started doing something different after that…they started selling advance tickets to big matches, beforehand.

Bolton won two more FA Cup titles in the 1920s – in 1926 (winning 1-0 over Manchester City) and in 1929 (winning 2-0 over Portsmouth). Charles Foweraker was at the helm when Bolton won their 3 FA Cup titles in the 1920s (Foweraker was Bolton manager for 25 years [1919-44]). Three decades later, Bolton won their last major title, winning the 1958 FA Cup Final, 2-0 over Manchester United. Bolton’s 1958 FA Cup title was won with Bill Ridding as manager (Ridding was Bolton manager for 18 years [1950-68]). Bolton Wanderers’ highest-ever league-placement was at 3rd place (in 1890-91, in 1920-21, and in 1924-25). Their best post-War league-finish was in the season after their last Cup-triumph, in 1958-59, finishing in 4th place. The best-1st-division-finish that Bolton have had in the Premier League era (since 1990-91), was in 6th place in 2004-05 under manager Sam Allardyce. Bolton’s last spell in the top flight was an eleven-season-spell from 2001-02 to 2011-12.

Below: Bolton’s first FA Cup title was won in the famous 1923 FA Cup Final (aka the White Horse Final)…
1923_fa-cup_final_bolton_2-0_west-ham_white-horse-final_200-k-crowd_old-wembley_david-jack_capt-joe-smith_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – 1923 FA Cup Final, Bolton & West Ham kits, illustrations by Historical Football Kits site at historicalkits.co.uk/English_Football_League/FA_Cup_Finals/1920-1929. Vast overflow crowd at the new Wembley (1923 FA Cup Final], photo from mirror-photos.co.uk/west-ham-v-bolton-fa-cup-final-1923. Crowd near a goal-mouth prior to being pushed back, photographer unknown/Scanned in from The History of the Wembley FA Cup Final by Andrew Thraves at File:White Horse Final1923.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). The White Horse keeping crowd at bay, screenshot from video at youtube.com via yahoo.com/blogs; photo unattributed at dailymail.co.uk/gallery. Cops keeping crowd back with Bolton players watching, photo unattributed at sports.yahoo.com/blogs/soccer-dirty-tackle/spectacular-images-madness-first-fa-cup-final-wembley. Action-shot, photographer unknown/Scanned in from The History of the Wembley FA Cup Final by Andrew Thraves at File:White Horse Final1923.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). David Jack, trading card from flickr.com/cigcardpix <. Bolton crest from 1920s, from historicalkits.co.uk/Bolton_Wanderers. Bolton team (1923 FA Cup team), photo unattributed at spartacus-educational.com/WHcup1923. Joe Smith (captain) with FA Cup, photo by Bob Thomas/Popperfoto via gettyimages.com.

Manager of Bolton: Phil Parkinson (age 49, born in Chorley, Lancashire).
It might have come as a surprise to some that Phil Parkinson left the relative safety of the Bradford City set-up to take over the mess that Bolton Wanderers had gotten into. When Parkinson took the Bolton manager’s job in June 2016, Bolton had just been relegated – finishing 19 points adrift at the bottom of the 2nd division table – and there were considerable financial problems there. This cash problem later manifested itself in instances of delayed salary payments for Bolton players during the 16/17 campaign. Plus there were boardroom squabbles. And a transfer embargo. And if you think it’s not so hard for former-top-flight-/potentially-20-K-drawing clubs to get out of the 3rd division and back into the upper leagues, ask Sheffield United about that. It just took Sheffield United 6 years to get out of the 3rd division. A decade ago, it took Leeds United 3 seasons to get out of the 3rd division. But it only took Bolton Wanderers one year.

Two Bolton Wanderers players made the EFL League One Team of the Year for 2016-17: centre-backs David Wheater and Mark Beevers {see photos below}. David Wheater was voted EFL League One Player of the Year. Bolton had the stingiest defense in the 3rd division, allowing just 0.78 goals per game (36 goals allowed). They needed that solid defense, too, because Bolton only scored 68 goals (joint-5th-best), and there was not a single Bolton player who scored in double-figures…their joint-top-scorers were the following four: DF David Wheater, FW Gary Medine, MF Josh Vela, and FW Zach Clough, all of whom scored 9 league goals. Top in assists for Bolton was 31-year-old Portuguese-born/London-raised MF/Right-Winger Filipe Morais {see photo below}. Morais followed Phil Parkinson over from Bradford City, joining on 2 Feb. 2017. Then Morais caught fire for Bolton, racking up 13 assists (and 2 goals) in just 19 league matches for Bolton. He won the March League One Player of the Month award, with 10 assists and two goals in just that month. Bolton sealed their promotion campaign on the final day of the 2016-17 League One season [30 April 2017], with a 3-0 home win over Peterborough at the 28.7-K-capacity Macron Stadium (formerly called the Reebok Stadium). So Bolton clinched automatic promotion by finishing in 2nd place, 4 points above Scunthorpe and Fleetwood. Attendance on that promotion-clinching day was 22,590. Which is a good sign that Bolton will probably start to see crowds returning back toward the 20-K-range, now that the Wanderers have bounced right back to the second division. Bolton has not drawn above 20 K since their relegation from the Premier League (2011-12).

bolton-wanderers_2017-promoted_macron-park_phil-parkinson_david-wheater_mark-beevers_filipe-morais_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Bolton 16/17 jersey, photo unattributed at footyheadlines.com. View of Reebok Stadium [now called Macron Stadium] from Horwich, photo by Ed O’Keefe Photography at edwud.com. Phil Parkinson with League One Runners-Up trophy, photo Reuters via hitc.com. David Wheater, photo unattributed at skysports.com. Mark Beevers, photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com. Filipe Morais, photo from theboltonnews.co.uk.

    • Millwall FC.

Est. 1885, as Millwall Rovers, in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs [a small industrial peninsula on the north bank of the River Thames in East London, and part of the London Docklands]. “Millwall Rovers were formed by the workers of J.T. Morton’s canning and preserve factory in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs in London’s East End in 1885” {-Millwall F.C./Beginnings and relocation}. / 1889: changed name to Millwall Athletic. / 1910: club moved from East London, to south of the Thames in South East London at New Cross [Lewisham borough], and began play at the Den [now referred to as the Old Den (1910-1993)]. / 1920: changed name to Millwall FC. / 1993: moved to an adjacent borough [Southwark], in Bermondsey, and began play at the New Den [now called the Den].

Nickname: the Lions. Colours: Navy-Blue-with-White. Location: Bermondsey, London Borough of Southwark, South London, situated (by road) about 5 miles (8 km) SE of central London. Population of London Borough of Southwark: around 313,000 {2016 estimate}.

2017-18 will be Millwall’s 91st season in the Football League. (Millwall joined the Football League when the Third Division was created, in 1920–21.) Millwall have been promoted eleven times and relegated ten times. The majority of their League time has been spent yo-yoing between the 2nd and 3rd divisions. Millwall have spent 5 seasons in the 4th division, 43 seasons in the 3rd division, and 41 seasons in the 2nd division (including 2017-18). Millwall spent two seasons in the 1st division (1988 to ’90), and had their best finish, of 10th place in the First Division, in 1988-89. That season (’88/89), they also drew their highest in the modern era, drawing 15.4 K. (Millwall’s all-time best crowd-size was in 1938-39, when they had just won promotion back to the Second division, drawing 27.3 K [11th best attendance in the Football League that season] {source}.) In 2004, Millwall made it to the FA Cup final (losing to Manchester United 3-0), and qualified for the following season’s UEFA Cup, playing in Europe for the first time in their history [in September 2004, versus Hungarian side Ferencváros, losing 4-2 aggregate]. The club have reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 1900, 1903, 1937, 2013. These days, Millwall averages between 9-to-11-K most seasons, and drew 9,340 last season [2017-18]. The last time Millwall got promoted back to the 2nd tier, they drew 12.4 K (in the 2010-11 League Championship).

Map below:
Millwall FC’s locations: Isle of Dogs (London’s East End)>New Cross (Lewisham, SE London)>Bermondsey (Southwark SE London).
millwall-fc_grounds_1885-2017_isle-of-dogs_east-london_south-east-london_the-old-den_the-new-den_map_the-den_neil-harris_i_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Millwall 17/18 jersey, unattributed at footyheadlines.com. Old map [ca. 1900] of Isle of Dogs in London Docklands, from Encyclopedia Britannica at britannica.com/place/London-Docklands. Aerial shots of the Old Den, photos unattributed at pinterest.com/Millwall/old English stadia]; pinterest.com/[old English stadia]. Exterior shot of the New Den, photo by Reuters via thes*n.co.uk/football. Neil Harris, photo by Brian Tonks at londonnewsonline.co.uk.

Manager of Millwall: Neil Harris (age 39; born in Orset, Thurrock, Essex). Harris is Millwall’s all-time record goalscorer, with 138 goals in all competitions (1998-2004; 2007-2011). After retiring from the pitch in June 2013, Harris joined the coaching set-up at Millwall. Harris replaced Ian Holloway as Millwall manager on 29 April 2015, one day after the club were relegated to the 3rd division. In his first season in charge, Harris led Millwall to the 2016 League One play-off Final, but Millwall lost to Barnsley 3-1. In his 2nd season in charge, Harris led Millwall back to the play-off Final, this time winning 1-0 over Bradford City, to win promotion back to the 2nd division. 33-year-old striker James Morison scored the winner in the 85th minute (see photo below). One Millwall player was selected for the 2017 League One Team of the Year, MF Lee Gregory (see photo below). The ex-FC Halifax Town striker has now scored 42 goals for Millwall in 114 league appearances (since 2014).

Below: 2017 League One play-off Final at Wembley: Millwall 1-0 Bradford City. Attendance: 53,320.
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Photo and Image credits above – Steve Morison scores for Millwall in play-off Final at Wembley, photo unattributed at nwemail.co.uk. Millwall fans at Wembley May 2017, photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images via express.co.uk. Lee Gregory with trophy, photo by Michael Zemanek/BPI via dailymail.co.uk.

___
Thanks to the following…
-Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.

-England – First Level All-Time Tables 1888/89-2015/16 (rsssf.com).
-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.

Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia, at EFL Championship 2017-18.

July 17, 2017

2017-18 Premier League (1st division England, including Wales) – location-map with chart, including 16/17-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division./+ the three promoted clubs for 2017-18 (Newcastle Utd, Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town).

2017-18_premier-league_map_w-2017-crowds_all-time-seasons-in-1st-div_titles-listed_post_c_.gif
2017-18 Premier League (1st division England, including Wales) – location-map with chart with: 16/17-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division




By Bill Turianski on 17 July 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-2017–18 Premier League (en.wikipedia.org).
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…SUMMARY – Premier League [2017-18] (us.soccerway.com).
-theguardian.com/premier-league.
-Kits…Premier League 2017 – 2018 (historicalkits.co.uk).

A brief re-cap of 2016-17…
Champions…Chelsea: under their new manager Antonio Conte, Chelsea won the 2016-17 English title with ease, clinching with 2 games to spare and finishing 7 points above Tottenham.
Teams that qualified for Europe…Champions League Group Stage: Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United (via winning Europa League title). CL GS play-off round: Liverpool. Europa League Group Stage: Arsenal. EL GS 3rd qualifying round: Everton.
Teams that were relegated to the 2nd division…Hull City, Middlesbrough, Sunderland.
Teams that were promoted from the 2nd division to the Premier League…the 3 clubs profiled below…

    Below: illustrated articles for the 3 promoted clubs
    (Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town)

Newcastle bounced straight back to the Premier League as 2016-17 EFL Championship winners. Brighton & Hove Albion finished in second and won the other automatic promotion to the Premier League, meaning Brighton will play in the top flight for the first time in 34 years. Huddersfield Town won the 2017 Championship play-off Final at Wembley, beating Reading 0-0/4-3 in penalties; this means Huddersfield will play in the top flight for the first time in 45 years…

    •Newcastle United FC.

Est. 1892. Nicknames: the Magpies; Geordies; the Toon (or the Toon Army). Colours: Black-&-White [vertically-striped jerseys]. Location: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, situated (by road) 289 miles (465 km) N of London; and situated (by road) 98 miles (158 km) N of Leeds. Population of Newcastle: metro-area population of around 1.6 million (6th-largest in the UK) {2011 census}.

NUFC, est. 1892: location, colours, nicknames…
Newcastle United are from Newcastle upon Tyne, in the county of Tyne and Wear. Newcastle is the 6th-largest metro-area in the UK (with a population of around 1.6 million). Newcastle is located in the north east of England, a few miles inland from the North Sea, about 30 miles south of the Scottish border, and 15 miles north of their hated rivals, Sunderland AFC. {NUFC and SAFC contest the Tyne and Wear derby/ Newcastle vs Sunderland: Why is the Tyne-Wear derby such a big deal? (by Luke Edwards at telegraph.co.uk/football, from Dec. 2014).}

Newcastle wear Black-&-White [vertically-striped jerseys], and have done so since 1894 {since their 3rd year of existence/see NUFC home-kit-&-crest-history (historicalkits.co.uk)}. Newcastle are nicknamed the Magpies (magpies, a large bird from the Corvid [crow] family, have black-and-white feathers). Newcastle United, and especially their local supporters, also go by the name Geordies (a term dating back to the 18th century, see this, Geordie/Etymology). There is a third moniker for NUFC (and their fans), and that is Toon (or Toon Army)…Toon is how Geordies (Newcastle-area locals) pronounce the word “town”. {See this, quora.com/Why-is-Newcastle-United-called-Toon-Army.}

Newcastle United: a gigantic club, with cobwebs in their trophy cabinet…
‘The club has been owned by Mike Ashley since 2007, succeeding long term chairman and owner Sir John Hall. The club is the seventeenth highest revenue producing club in the world in terms of annual revenue, generating €169.3m in 2015.’ {-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newcastle_United_F.C.}. Newcastle’s stadium, St James’ Park is the 7th-largest football venue in England (seated capacity: 52,405; last expanded in 1998-2000). Newcastle United have a gigantic fanbase, and usually draw between 49-and-52-K. Newcastle are the sixth-highest-drawing club in England (after Manchester Utd, Arsenal, West Ham Utd, Manchester City, and Liverpool).

Newcastle United have 4 English titles and 5 FA Cup titles to their name, but they have not won a major domestic title in over 60 years…no domestic titles since 1955 (1955 FA Cup title). (Though Newcastle did win an international title in 1969 – the Fairs Cup, which was the predecessor to the UEFA Cup/Europa League.) So, I’m not gonna say it – but this guy will…Newcastle United – Specialists in failure (by Matt North on 13 Feb. 2015 at themag.co.uk [the Independent voice of Newcastle Utd since 1988]).

Newcastle United have been relegated from the Premier League twice in the last 8 years (in 2009 and in 2016)
Newcastle have been relegated twice in the last 8 years, but have immediately bounced back from the 2nd division both times. In 2009-10, they won the 2nd division easily (by 11 points), under current-Brighton-manager Chris Hughton. But then they sacked Hughton half a year later, despite being a just-promoted side which was sitting in 11th place in the Premier League in mid-December of 2010 (see more on this time-period in the Chris Hughton part of the Brighton & Hove Albion section, further below).

Newcastle finishd in 12th that season (2010-11). The following season, under Alan Pardew, Newcastle finished 5th, and it looked like Newcastle were on the cusp of returning to the solid form they had in the early years of the 2000s (when they qualified for the Champions League in 2002 and in 2003, under Sir Bobby Robson). But the next season the bottom fell out, the atmosphere poisoned, and Newcastle finished in 16th place…they went from competing for a Champions League spot to a relegation-scrap in less than 12 months. Newcastle finished in 10th place the following season (2013-14), but it was much worse than it looked on paper, because the team ended the season losing 15 of their last 21 Premier League matches, and the Toon Army heaped further abuse on Pardew. A website called SackPardew.com was created. However, Pardew maintained the support of owner Mike Ashley into the following season (2014-15), but then Pardew jumped ship to Crystal Palace in January 2015…“with assistant manager John Carver taking over until the end of the season. He presided over some of Newcastle’s worst ever league form, including a run of eight consecutive defeats. A win over West Ham on the final day of the season ultimately secured Newcastle survival.” {-excerpt from 2014–15 Newcastle United F.C. season}. Overrated manager Steve McClaren was hired by Newcastle in June 2015. Bad move. By March 2016, Newcastle were in jeopardy of relegation, with only 24 points from 28 Premier League matches (an all-time club low). And this, despite the fact that Newcastle had spent about £100m in the past two transfer windows (Aug. 2015/Jan. 2016).

Enter Rafael Benitez as manager, replacing the sacked McClaren on 11 March 2016. But it was too late, and Newcastle went down to the 2nd division as 19th-place finishers, despite going 3 wins/4 draws/3 losses under Benitez. The one bright spot was that Benitez, who won two Spanish titles with Valencia, the Champions League and the FA Cup with Liverpool, and who could get a top flight job in most any league on the planet, decided to stay with the project at Newcastle. So in 2015-16, under Rafa Benitez, Newcastle won automatic promotion straight back to the top flight by winning the EFL Championship (edging out Chris Hughton’s Brighton, for the 2nd division title, on the last day of the season). Newcastle were in the automatic-promotion-places virtually the entire season. And they actually drew about 1.7-K-per-game higher in the 2nd division last season than they did 2 seasons ago in the Premier League (51.0 K in 16/17 versus 49.7 K in 15/16). Stand-out players for Newcastle in their successful promotion-campaign of 2016-17 were midfielder/playmaker Jonjo Shelvey, and striker Dwight Gayle, both of whom were selected to the EFL Championship Team of the Year {see photos/captions of both Shelvey and Gayle, further below}.

Newcastle United, 1st-place-finishers in the 2016-17 League Championship (automatic-promotion to the 2017-18 Premier League)…
newcastle-utd_st-james-park_promoted-2017_rafa-benitez_jonjo-shelvey_dwight-gayle_i_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
NUFC 2016-17 jersey, photo from u90soccer.com. Aerial shot of St James’ Park, photo unattributed at pinterest.com. sc. Distant-exterior shot of Newcastle with St James Park in background, photo by Getty Images at gettyimages.com jpg Exterior/panorama shot of St James’ Park, photo unattributed at openbuildings.com. Exterior/close-up shot of St James’ Park, photo by Getty Images via chroniclelive.co.uk. Toon fans outside St James Park, pre-match, photo unattributed at themag.co.uk/the-siege-of-st-james-park.
Jojo Shelvey gives shout-out to cheering Toon fans, photo by Reuters via hitc.com/poll-who-is-the-best-centre-midfielder-in-the-championship jpg. Jonjo Shelvey, photo by Getty Images via express.co.uk/football. Dwight Gayle celebrating goal with teammates, photo unattributed at chroniclelive.co.uk/football. Inset: Dwight Gayle after an away-goal, photo by Reuters via the s*n. Rafael Benitez with players, celebrating away win at Brighton (Feb. 2017), photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com. Screenshot of image from video in caption-form [chant by Toon fans mocking Mackems/Toon fans as NUFC clinch promotion], image by mirror.co.uk/football. Newcastle players celebrating in dressing room after clinching promotion, photo by Getty Images via the s*n.

    • Brighton & Hove Albion FC.

Est. 1901. Nickname: the Seagulls. Colours: Blue-&-White [vertically-striped jerseys]. Location: As the crow flies, Brighton & Hove is situated 47 miles (76 km) S of central London/By road, Brighton & Hove is situated 77 miles (123 km) S of central London. Population of Brighton & Hove: city pop., around 273,000/ metro-area pop., around 769,000 (15th largest in UK) {2011 census figures}.

-From the Guardian.com/football, Brighton’s long march ends in Chris Hughton’s completion of a job well done
- Twenty years ago it looked all over but an unflappable manager, a sparkling French winger and special team spirit have taken them back to the promised land
(by Nick Miller on 18 April 2017 at theguardian.co.uk/football/blog).

Question: Why is the city (and the club) called Brighton and Hove ?
Answer: “The towns of Brighton and Hove formed a unitary authority in 1997 and in 2001 were granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II. “Brighton” is often referred to synonymously with the official “Brighton and Hove” although many locals still consider the two to be separate towns.” (-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brighton_and_Hove). Also, Brighton & Hove Albion’s original ground, the Goldstone Ground (which the club played in from 1902 to 1997), was located in the town of Hove (and not in Brighton), so the club has always gone by the Brighton & Hove moniker.

Brighton & Hove Albion were founded in 1901…
Brighton & Hove Albion played in the Southern League for two decades before they and the rest of the 1919/20 Southern League Division 1 were absorbed into the Football League as the new Third Division, in 1920-21. Since then, overall (and counting 2017-18), Brighton has played 91 seasons of League football, with the vast majority of its Football League seasons as a 3rd division side – 53 seasons in the 3rd division, most recently in 2010-11 {all-time Eng. Div. Movement (1888-2016), here at rsssf.com}. Before 2017-18, Brighton had only played 4 seasons in the 1st division, and that was in one 4-year spell in the early 1980s.

Before 2017-18, Brighton & Hove Albion had only played 4 seasons in the English 1st division (1979-80 to 1982-83).
Brighton drew decent as a First Division team in the 1979-to-’83 time period, averaging 19.1 K per game, in that four year span {source: E-F-S site}. But the Seagulls never reached the top-half of the table in that 4-season stint, and 34 years ago, the frustration of finishing in last place in the First Division in 1982-83 was compounded by the fact that Brighton made it to the FA Cup Final that season, only to lose to Manchester United 2-2/0-4 in the replay {1982-83 FA Cup Final (en.wikipedia.org)}.

In the following 13 seasons, Brighton gradually slid down the divisional ladder, and fell into the 4th division, in 1995-96. The 1996-97 season in the fourth tier was the start of the club’s most difficult period. Not only were the Seagulls in jeopardy of losing their League place, but the club had severe financial problems, and owners that were only looking for profits…profits at the expense of the club itself (see next paragraph). Brighton were at one point 13 points adrift that season, and only avoided relegation out of the 4th division of the Football League by drawing with Hereford United on the final match of 96/97.

But for the Brighton faithful, their troubles were far from over. Because right at this point in time (spring of 1997), ownership sold their home, the Goldstone Ground, to developers (it is now the site of a row of retail outlets including a Toys R Us and a Burger King). In 1997, the mephistophelian owners of Brighton & Hove Albion (Greg Stanley, Bill Archer, and David Bellotti), sold their ground and pocketed the money… despite the team having NOWHERE ELSE TO PLAY. And the local council in Hove did nothing to stop this outrageous act. So Brighton & Hove Albion were made homeless – by their owners. (There was precedent for the local authorities to stop this, because, back in the mid-1980s, the local government in southeast London where Charlton Athletic play effectively saved Charlton Athletic from becoming homeless…“[The local council] told the builders they could build whatever they wished but not until [Charlton Athletic] had played their first league fixture in their new stadium, obviously never built, in the same borough. The ground stood derelict for a number of years while Charlton played at Palace and West Ham, before the developers realised they had been outfoxed and sold the ground back to a now solvent club. So why didn’t Hove Council do the same thing? It was all legal and above board, yet not one local political figure even suggested such a move.”…{-excerpt from Still missing the Goldstone Ground from 2007 at worthingherald.co.uk}.)

Thus began Brighton & Hove Albion’s homeless years – 14 seasons without a ground…
-Here is a youtube video, 20 REMARKABLE YEARS AT BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION (3:43 video uploaded by Official Brighton & Hove Albion FC on 24 April 2017 at youtube.com).
First Brighton played two seasons at Gillingham’s charmless Priestfield Stadium in Kent (from 1997-to-’99), which was an unworkable 75 miles away. Then for 12 long seasons, they found accommodation at a local municipal venue, one that was completely unsuitable. That was the much reviled Withdean Stadium, which was a converted athletics facility that still had a running track, and which seated only 7-K, and which was not at all suitable for a Football League team, let alone any Non-League club worth its salt. The stands at the Withdean were at a shallow incline and were, thanks to the stupid running track, over 50 feet from the touchline {here is a shot of the North Stand at the Withdean}. In 2004, the Withdean was declared, by the Observer, the 4th-worst Football League venue {see this, Simply the worst, by Gemma Clarke on 9 Oct. 2004 at theguardian.com/football)}.

In 1998, the site for Brighton’s new venue at Falmer was identified. (Falmer is located 5 miles north-east of central Brighton.) But delays in getting planning permission kept pushing the start of the construction back. Meanwhile…“Because of the cost of the public enquiry into planning permission for a new stadium, rent on Withdean Stadium, fees paid to use Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium, and a general running deficit due to the low ticket sales inherent with a small ground, the club had an accumulated deficit of £9.5 million in 2004.” {-excerpt from Brighton & Hove Albion F.C./Stadium (en.wikipedia.org)}. This debt was paid up by late 2005, which was also when the planning for the Falmer project was approved. Another delay set the project back even further, when it was revealed that some of the projected venue’s parking lot would be in the adjacent town of Lewes. Finally, construction of the Falmer Stadium began in 2008. A year later, in May 2009, new ownership (and the cash to fuel the ambitious new stadium project), came into Brighton and Hove Albion: Brighton-born property-investor/-pro-poker-player/-bookmaker Tony Bloom. “Since 2009 Bloom has been the chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion…/…He succeeded Dick Knight after securing a 75% shareholding in the club and investing £93 million in the development of the club’s new ground, the American Express Community Stadium at Falmer.” {-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Bloom}.

So instead of the early-to-mid-2000s, it wasn’t until the summer of 2011 that Falmer Stadium was completed…
As you can see in the illustration further below, Falmer Stadium is breathtaking. The venue, with a 30-K-capacity, is both space-age and fan-friendly. Through some asymmetrical design features (see 3rd stadium-photo below), it avoids the cookie-cutter look that afflicts some modern football stadiums in England (like Bolton’s stadium). And Seagulls fans have responded to the long-sought-after venue by producing some of the largest attendances in England outside of the top flight…
20.0 K in 2011-12,
26.2 K in 2012-13,
27.2 K in 2013-14,
25.6 K in 2014-15,
25.5 K in 2016-17,
27.9 K in 2016-17.
Basically, the only perennially-2nd-division club that has drawn higher than Brighton in the last half-decade (2012-13 to 2016-17) has been Derby County, and even so, Brighton drew highest in the 2nd tier in 12/13 and 13/14. Now that they have a proper football ground again, and after a 34-year absence from the 1st division, Brighton’s return to the top flight in 2017-18 will probably end up producing a percent-capacity figure above 95%.

Manager of Brighton: Chris Hughton (age 58).
Chris Hughton was born in Forest Gate, Essex (which is now situated in East London), the mixed-race son of a Ghanaian postman. Hughton was a left-back, making 361 league appearances (with 12 goals). Because of Irish roots on his mother’s side, Hughton was able to play for the Republic of Ireland (1979-91), with 53 caps (and 1 goal). Hughton’s whole pro playing career was spent with London-based clubs…primarily with Tottenham Hotspur (1977-90), but also with West Ham, and then with Brentford, the latter being where he hung up his boots in 1993. Hughton had always been a bit different than most footballers, and that manifested itself early on in his football career, in the late 1970s, with a sideline as a writer for the Workers Revolutionary Party (UK). These days, as it says in his Wikipedia page, Hughton plays down the Trotskyist aspect of that gig, saying “it’s probably not as dramatic as it sounds. I’ve always had strong views on social issues such as hospitals – I think we should have a good health system – and the education system, too…These days, players can do as many interviews and columns as they want. Back in the day, it wasn’t like that. Anyway, I’m sure I wrote about football and football issues. Nothing else.”. Be that as it may, Hughton has retained his left-wing convictions – he is a member of the Labour Party.

After retiring from the pitch, Hughton got into coaching and returned to Tottenham…
Hughton was in the Spurs coaching set-up for 14 years (June 1993 to October 2007) – first as the U-21 team coach, then the reserves coach, then as first team coach in 2001. Serving under 10 different managers, Hughton also had 2 short stints as caretaker-manager with Spurs back then. He lost his job when Spurs’ boss Daniel Levy sacked both him and manager Martin Jol, after Spurs fell to Spanish minnows Getafe in the UEFA Cup, in October 2007. Hughton then was hired by Newcastle United 5 months later, in February 2008, again as a first team coach. This was during the last reign of Kevin Keegan, who at that point could not hack it, so when Keegan bailed out, in September 2008, Hughton got his third gig as a caretaker-manager. That did not work out, and he was replaced by the bonkers Joe Kinnear (Newcastle were particularly tumultuous back then, and ended up relegated in that 2008-09 season). As the season wore on, in desperation, Newcastle tried out another former-hero-who-ended-up-a-managerial-flop (Alan Shearer), and were relegated to the 2nd division as 18th-place-finisher that season. Then owner Mike Ashley once again went back to Hughton. This time, in the 2nd tier in 2009-10, things clicked for the calm-and-preparation-focused Hughton, and after back-to-back Manager of the Month awards, he was hired as Newcastle’s full-time manager in October 2009. Newcastle easily won promotion straight back to the Premier League on 5 April 2010, finishing 11 points above the 2nd-place-finishers (West Brom). Then in 2010-11, with Hughton as a top-flight manager for the first time, Newcastle did well enough in the first-40-percent of the season. But Ashley and the Newcastle top brass didn’t think so, and after the team lost to West Bromwich 3-1, they sacked Hughton, in December 2010…when Newcastle, a just-promoted-team, were in a respectable 11th place (what?). The move was widely condemned by the vast majority of observers, and by a significant amount of Newcastle fans…“Before the match against Liverpool, on 11 December, campaigners from United For Newcastle organised a protest outside St James’ Park as an opportunity for supporters to thank Hughton and to show their anger towards Ashley’s decision.” {-excerpt from Chris Hughton (en.wikipedia.org)}.

But Hughton landed on his feet, and after being linked to many clubs, he signed on with just-relegated Birmingham City in the summer of 2011. Hughton led Birmingham to a 4th place finish in the 2011-12 League Championship, but the Blues lost to eventual promotion-winners Blackpool, in the play-off semifinals in May 2012. When Birmingham gave him permission to talk to other clubs, Hughton was hired by then-top-flight-side Norwich City, in the summer of 2012. In 2012-13, inheriting a team that finished 12th in the top flight, he kept the Canaries at about the same position, finishing in 11th. That was actually Norwich City’s best finish in 24 years (since 1988-89). But the following season, Norwich reverted to their all-too-frequent relegation-embattled mode, and Norwich dismissed Hughton when the Canaries sat 17th, in early April 2014 (Norwich went down that season as 18th-place finishers).

Brighton hires Hughton after a disastrous start to their 2014-15 season…
Through the 2014 off-season, several upper-division clubs then offered Hughton a job as the second-in-command, but Hughton held out for a gaffer’s role, and 8 months later, in late December 2014, 2nd-division-side Brighton and Hove Albion hired Hughton as their manager. Brighton, who at that point had been back in the 2nd tier for a third season, were in total disarray. They were in the relegation zone, in 21st place, and had won only once in 18 matches under manager Sami Hyypia. This, after Brighton had had a solid 4th-place finish the previous season (in 2013-14). So starting in January 2015, Hughton righted the ship and lead the Seagulls out of danger, and Brighton finished in 17th place. The following season [2015-16], Hughton’s first full seaon at Brighton, they finished agonizingly close to automatic promotion, only losing out to Middlesbrough on a goal difference of just of 2. Then the disheartened Brighton squad flamed out in the 15/16 play-offs semifinals, losing to Sheffield Wednesday 1-3 aggregate.

2016-17: Brighton wins promotion to the Premier League…
But in the following season of 2016-17, there was no letdown on the south coast. Hughton shored up the Brighton squad, bringing back the aging-but-still-effective poacher Glenn Murray (who had scored 53 goals in 118 appearances for the then-3rd-tier Brighton in the 2007-11 time frame, and who had scored 30 goals in 12/13 to help get Crystal Palace promoted to the Premier League). Hughton also signed fullback Shane Duffy (an Ireland international), for Brighton’s highest-ever transfer fee (£4 million). Both have proven to be adept as 2nd division players. Hughton convinced much-in-demand mercurial French winger Anthony Knockaert to keep with the project, rather than opt for a transfer to a bigger club (such as Newcastle). With stellar contributions from both goalkeeper David Stockdale and the 25-year old centre-back/vice-captain Lewis Dunk, Brighton were joint-top-best-defense in the 2nd division last season along with Newcastle (both teams conceded just 40 goals, or 0.86 allowed per game). {See photos/captions further below of both David Stockdale and of the local-born/Brighton-youth-product Lewis Dunk.} The Brighton offense, while not the most prolific (Newcastle, Fulham, Norwich, and Brentford scored more), did enough to get the job done. The Seagulls’ attack featured the 2016-17 Championship Player of the Year, the aforementioned Knockaert, a 25-year-old playmaker with huge potential. Knockaert scored 13 goals, added 8 assists, and generally ran the opposition to distraction. {Knockaert and Murray were also selected by the EFL to the Championship’s best 11/see photos below. There were 4 Brighton players in the official Best 11, which was the most of any team in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th divisions in 2016-17.}

Had Brighton not clinched with 3 matches remaining, they probably would have ended up with an even better record, seeing as how they lost their last 3, and ended up being pipped by Newcastle for the 2016-17 EFL Championship title. But the bottom line is that, come mid-August 2017, Brighton and Hove Albion will be playing in the first division for the first time in 34 years. And in a majestic and state-of-the-art venue to boot.

Brighton & Hove Albion: 2nd-place-finishers in the 2016-17 League Championship (automatic-promotion to the 2017-18 Premier League)…
brighton-and-hove-albion_falmer-stadium_aka-the-amex_chris-hughton_anthony-knockaert_glenn-murray_lewis-dunk_david-stockdale_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
B7HAFC 16/17 jersey, photo unattributed at footyheadlines.com/jpg. Exterior shot of Falmer Stadium, photo by Graeme Rolf via footballgroundguide.com. Falmer Stadium at night, exterior shot by Dominic Alves at File:Falmer Stadium – night.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Interior shot of (empty) Falmer Stadium, photo by Daniel Hambury/Focus Images Ltd. via marcadorint.com. Interior shot of full house at Falmere [ca.2013], unattributed at images.cdn.stuff.tv/jpg. Chris Hughton, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/football. David Stockdale (GK), photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com. Lewis Dunk (CB), photo from seagulls.co.uk jpg. Anthony Knockaert (RW) & Glenn Murray (FW) photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com. Screenshot of pitch invasion from video uploaded by Official Brighton & Hove Albion FC at youtube.com. Shot of Jiri Skalak and Anthony Knockaert taking a selfie during promotion/pitch invasion celebration, photo unattributed at pressreader.com/uk.

    •Huddersfield Town AFC.

Est. 1908. Nickname: the Terriers. Colours: Blue-and-White [vertically-striped shirts]. Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, situated (by road) 20 miles (33 km) SW of Leeds; and situated (by road) 191 miles (397 km) N of London. Population of Huddersfield: around 168,000 {2015 estimate}.

Huddersfield Town are from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, about 14 miles (as the crow flies) south-west of Leeds. They are nicknamed the Terriers and wear blue-and-white vertically-striped jerseys. They play at the John Smith’s Stadium (aka the Kirklees Stadium), which has a capacity of 24,500. Huddersfield Town has a ground-share with 1st division rugby league club Huddersfield Giants, and have been doing so since the venue opened in 1994. Last season [2016-17] Huddersfield Town drew 20.3 K, which was a whopping 7.5-K-increase over 2015-16. (In case you are wondering, Huddersfield Giants RLFC drew in the 7.0-K-to-7.7-K-range 6 years ago and have lost about 2.5-K of fans since then, now drawing around 5 K.)

Huddersfield Town won 3 straight English First Division football titles in the 1920s.
Counting 2017-18, Huddersfield have played 31 seasons of top flight football (previously in 1971-72). And although they have not played in the 1st division in 45 years, Huddersfield Town have a storied past. In the mid-1920s, Huddersfield Town became the first club to win 3 consecutive English titles (it has since been done by only 3 other clubs: Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United). Under manager Herbert Chapman, and for the third title, under manager Cecil Potter, Huddersfield Town won 3 straight English First Division titles in 1923-24, 1924-25, and 1925-26. Huddersfield also won the 1922 FA Cup title (also under the innovative Chapman). At Huddersfield in the 1920s, Herbert Chapman emphasized a quick, short passing game, and pioneered the use of the counter-attack as a scoring weapon. “The most opportune time for scoring is immediately after repelling an attack, because opponents are then strung out in the wrong half of the field.” – Herbert Chapman. Lured by a doubling of his wages (and no doubt the chance of a larger stage), Chapman joined Arsenal after Huddersfield Town’s second League title (following the 1924-25 season), and there, along with assistant coach Charles Buchan, went on to further tactical innovations {see this, The Question: Did Herbert Chapman really invent the W-M formation?, by Jonathan Wilson at theguardian.com/football}. In London, Chapman was instrumental in helping to turn Arsenal into the giant club they are today, leading Arsenal to their first FA Cup title (1930), and Arsenal’s first two English First Division titles (in 1930-31 and in 1932-33). But at the height of his success, Chapman died suddenly of pneumonia, at age 55, in 1934. The following two links touch on the huge legacy of Herbert Chapman.
-From Football Paradise.com, by Ashree Nande, The Gentleman from Kiveton Park – Herbert Chapman, part 1 (footballparadise.com).
-From the DailyMail.co.uk/football, Huddersfield Town may be the Premier League’s new boys, but they were once the best team in England… they dominated the 1920s during the reign of Herbert Chapman (dailymail.co.uk/sport/football).

Huddersfield Town of the 1920s: the first back-to-back-to-back champions of England…
huddersfield-town_1923-24_1924-25_1925-26_first-3-times-straight-champions-of-england_herbert-chapman_clem-peterson_charlie-wilson_edward-taylor_v_.gif
Image and Photo credits above – HTAFC 1st crest [1920], and HTAFC 1924-25 kit illustration, both images from historicalkits.co.uk/Huddersfield_Town. Arsenal 1932 crest from historicalkits.co.uk/Arsenal. Herbert Chapman, photo by Rex/Mail Pix via dailymail.co.uk/football. 3 players’ trading cards [Clem Stephenson, Edward Taylor, Charlie Wilson], from huddersfieldtowncards.co.uk/1924. 1924-25 Huddersfield team photo, from huddersfieldtowncards.co.uk/1925.

Manager of Huddersfield Town: David Wagner, age 45, born in Trebur, Greater Mainz, Hesse, West Germany. Wagner is the son of an American father and a German mother. Wagner was a striker who had 94 league appearances for Mainz (a then-2nd-division side) and played in 29 league matches (scoring 2 goals) from 1995-97 for Bundesliga side Schalke. Wagner made 8 international appearances for the USA national team (1996-98).

Upon retiring from the pitch, Wagner took up coaching, getting his start with the coaching set-up at then-2nd-division side Hoffenheim in the 2007-09 time frame. Wagner moved on to Borussia Dortmund, and had been coach of Dortmund’s reserves (Dortmund-II) under Jürgen Klopp (from 2011-15). Some thought he would follow Klopp to Liverpool, but Wagner signed on as Huddersfield Town manager in November 2015. Huddersfield finished in 19th place in 2015-16 (Town had finished in 16th place the previous season [2014-15]). {The following 3 sentences are an excerpt from Wagner’s page at Wikipedia.}… “In the summer of 2016, Wagner brought in 13 players from across the continent – with Danny Ward, Chris Löwe and Aaron Mooy amongst these. Wagner took his players on a bonding tour of Sweden, where they had to survive with only basic equipment for a few days. The team’s success in the early 2016–17 season was largely accredited to the squad’s tight bond, something that Wagner claimed was a direct result of this Sweden trip.”

So in his first full season as Huddersfield Town manager, David Wagner got Town promoted to the 1st division for the first time in 45 years (Huddersfield Town were last in the First Division in 1971-72). Wagner did this despite Huddersfield Town having a minus-2 goal difference. And that includes the play-offs, because Huddersfield Town drew all 3 of their 2016-17 play-off games, going to a penalty shoot-out in both the semifinals (v Sheffield Wednesday) and in the Final (v Reading). Making this the first time – ever – that a team has gotten promoted to the 1st division with a negative goal difference (I checked). In fact, this feat has never been done in the English 3rd division or the 4th division either: see this article, Terriers out to prove that points make the difference (by Kevin Pullein at racingpost.com).

Huddersfield Town may have a hard time of it staying in the top flight this season, but they have ensured that two of the key figures in getting them there will remain…Wagner has signed a new contract despite more lucrative offers from Aston Villa and Wolfsburg, and the fan-voted player of the season in 16/17, Australian MF Aaron Mooy (see photo below), has been bought outright from Manchester City. {See this article, David Wagner sticks with Huddersfield Town for Premier League adventure (by Paul Doyle at theguardian.com/football).}

huddersfield-town_promoted-2017_david-wagner_elias-kachunga_aaron-mooy_tommy-smith_christopher-schindler_k_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
16/17 HTAFC home jersey, photo unattributed at uksoccershop.com/blog. 16/17 HTAFC away (neon yellow) jersey, photo unattributed at footballshirtculture.com. Aerial shot of Kirklees Stadium, unattributed at the mag.co.uk. jpg Exterior shot of Kirklees Stadium, photo by tweek at 28dayslater.co.uk. Shot of roof-pylons, photo by Neil Turner at flickr.com. Elias Kachunga, age 25, b. Haan, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany [Rep. Congo national team], photo from htafc.com/news/2017/march/signing-kachunga-joins-htafc-permanently. Tommy Smith (DF), age 25, b. Warrington, Cheshire, photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com. Aaron Mooy (MF), age 26, b. Sydney, Australia [Australia national team], photo by John Clifton/Reuters via abc.net.au/news/one-way-or-another-aaron-mooy-destined-for-premier-league. Christopher Schindler scoring winning penalty kick, photo by Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley Livepic via thescore.com. David Wagner with trophy, photo unattributed at espnfc.com.
___
Thanks to the following…
-Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.
-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-England – First Level All-Time Tables 1888/89-2015/16 (rsssf.com).
-Thanks to the contributors at 2017-18 Premier League & Premier_League/2017-18 season (en.wikipedia.org).

Note on seasons in 1st division:
It is rather hard to pin down how many seasons any given club has been in the top flight, because so few places online seem to want the responsibility of maintaining an accurate and up-to-date list. It is even hard now to actually add up the seasons yourself, now that the Footy-mad sites have dumbed-down their entire network of sites and have scrapped their all-time-seasons lists for each club (you can find most via the Wayback Machine, though, such as this [Huddersfield Town-mad.co.uk/Club/League History from March 2016]).

The only error-free list that I have been able to find that is currently available online has not been updated since 2015-16 (two seasons ago), and that is at RSSSF.com {here}.

The current Wikipedia list of seasons in English 1st division {here: Premier_League/2017-18 season} has several errors…
West Bromwich Albion’s total seasons in 1st division is wrong, by 1 too many seasons (2017-18 will be West Brom’s 80th season in the 1st Div, not their 81st).
And Huddersfield Town’s total seasons in 1st division is wrong, by 1 too many seasons (2017-18 will be Huddersfield’s 31st season in the 1st Div, not their 32nd).
And Watford’s total seasons in 1st division is also wrong, by 4 too many seasons (2017-18 will be Watford’s 11th season in the 1st Div, not their 15th).
And Brighton & Hove Albion’s total seasons in 1st division is also wrong, by 1 too many seasons (2017-18 will be Brighton’s 5th season in the 1st Div, not their 6th).
And Leicester City’s total seasons in 1st division is also wrong, by 1 too few seasons (2017-18 will be Leicester’s 50th season in the 1st Div, not their 49th).

This list at MyFootballFacts.com is really nice {myfootballfacts.com/ClubLeagueHistorySummary}, especially because it doesn’t just show seasons in top flight, it also includes all-time seasons in all 4 divisions of the League…but it looks like this list, like Wikipedia’s list, has both West Brom and Leicester’s numbers also wrong (for Leicester: 50 seasons in top flight, not 49; for West Brom, 80 seasons in top flight, not 81). I’ve counted several times, but if you want to count for yourself, via the Wayback Machine, here is West Brom’s and Leicester’s old pages at Footy-mad, when League History of both clubs was there…
{https://web.archive.org/web/20160323150053/http://www.westbromwichalbion-mad.co.uk/league_history/west_bromwich_albion/index.shtml}
{https://web.archive.org/web/20160506213518/http://www.leicestercity-mad.co.uk:80/league_history/leicester_city/index.shtml}.

…So if you really want to know how many seasons a club has been in the English 1st division, don’t rely on Wikipedia, instead go here {http://www.rsssf.com/tablese/engalltime.html}, then add zero or one or two to that figure (depending on the club in question’s divisional status in 2016-17 and 2017-18).

July 3, 2017

2017-18 [Non-League] National League (aka the Conference) [5th division England], map with 16/17-crowds-&-finishes chart./+ features on the 4 promoted clubs (AFC Fylde, FC Halifax Town, Maidenhead United, Ebbsfleet United).

Filed under: >2017-18 English football,Eng-5th level,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 1:09 pm

2017-18_national-league_aka-conference_map_w-2017-attendances_post_i_.gif
2017-18 [Non-League] National League (aka the Conference) [5th division England], map with 16/17-crowds-&-finishes chart



By Bill Turianski on 3 July 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-2017–18 National League (en.wikipedia.org).
-Official site…thenationalleague.org.uk.
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…SUMMARY – National League [2017-18] (us.soccerway.com).
-5th division/National League page at BBC.com…bbc.com/sport/football/national-league.

-Hartlepool United’s new crest(s): 17/18 white home badge, twitter.com/BLKSportUK;
template badges, twitter.com/Official_HUFC.

-Maidstone United FC’s Gallagher Stadium is getting bigger with a £400k investment (kentlive.news).

-Preview…Michael Triffitt’s National League 2017/18 Preview (by Michael Victor on 25 May 2017 at sports.betvictor.com).

2016-17 brief re-cap…
Promoted…Lincoln City won the 2016-17 National League, winning automatic promotion back to the Football League, after 6 seasons stuck in Non-League. Forest Green Rovers won promotion to the Football League for their first time ever, after they defeated Tranmere Rovers 3-1 at Wembley to win the 2017 National League play-off final.

Now relegated down to Non-League/5th division/National League are…Leyton Orient and Hartlepool United. Both will be playing in Non-League football for the first time in many decades, with Leyton Orient in Non-League football for the first time since 1905; and Hartlepool Utd in Non-League football for the first time since 1921…

Promoted up from the 6th division and into the National League/5th division are the four clubs profiled below…

    Clubs promoted to National League for 2017-18, from National League North (2 teams) & promoted from National League South (2 teams)…
    (promoted from National League North: AFC Fylde & FC Halifax Town / promoted from National League South: Maidenhead United & Ebbsfleet United)
    AFC Fylde.

(Est. 1988, as Kirkham & Wesham FC, following a merger of Kirkham Town FC and Wesham FC; name changed to AFC Fylde in 2008.) Location: Wesham (in the Borough of Fylde), Lancashire (population: around 3,500/2011 figure). Wesham, Lancashire is located, by road, 7 miles (11 km) SE of Blackpool. Wesham is located, by road, 49 miles (79 km) N of Liverpool. Colours: White jerseys and pants, Blue trim. Nickname: the Coasters. Manager: Dave Challinor (age 41).

-From The Set Pieces.com, The Rise and Rise of AFC Fylde (by David Cowlishaw on 30 Jan. 2017 at thesetpieces.com).

AFC Fylde are from western Lancashire, just south-east of Blackpool, in an area known as the Fylde. Their opulent new stadium is in the very small town of Wesham (population of just 3,500 or so). AFC Fylde are owned by Lancashire-based businessman David Haythornthwaite, who made his considerable fortune in the animal feed business {see this interview, from the Lancashire Post, from 2015}. Haythornthwaite had twice tried to buy Blackpool FC, first in the late 1990s, and later around 2006. But he then decided to just take over a small Non-League club nearby: the then 10th-level side Kirkham & Wesham FC. Haythornthwaite took over the club in 2007, when Kirkham and Wesham were in the North West Counties League. The following year [2008], he changed the club’s name to AFC Fylde, and stated his intention for the club to achieve Football League status by 2022 – a proclamation the club have been wearing ever since, on the sleeves of their home jerseys {see photo below, of their 2008-09 jersey, as well as their 2016-17 jerseys, with the “2022” shoulder-patch}. Since 2007-08, AFC Fylde have won 5 promotions, and now draw 1.9 K per game. And it is starting to look like their 2022 target for promotion to the Football League will be attained ahead of schedule. In 2017-18, AFC Fylde won the league and the sole automatic promotion, beating out Kidderminster by 8 points. Led by Chester-born manager Dave Challinor (age 41), Fylde finished with a plus-46 goal difference, a number that was bulked up by the league’s top scorer, the local-born Tommy Rowe (age 27, born in nearby Blackpool), who netted an astounding 48 goals in 42 league appearances {see photo and caption below}.

AFC Fylde have benefited from the fan unrest at Blackpool FC (which is about 13 km, or 8 miles, up the road). There, the ownership (the Oystons) have so polarized Tangerines supporters, that the Blackpool average gate has plummeted over twelve thousand per game in 6 seasons (from 15.7 K in 2010-11, to 3.4 K in 2016-17). And it looks like AFC Fylde have picked up some of those disaffected Blackpool supporters. But nevertheless, AFC Fylde did not really start building a sizable fanbase until their swank new stadium opened. Their third-most recent promotion (in 2011-12, going up from the 8th level to the 7th level), saw only a tiny attendance increase of a couple dozen or so (from 322 to 345 per game). Their second-most-recent promotion did see a decent crowd-size-increase (a 200-odd-increase, going from 318 per game in 2013-14, to 531 per game when they went up to the National League North in 2014-15). But the minute Mill Farm opened [in August 2016], AFC Fylde saw crowds, for the first time, well above one thousand-per-game (they drew 1.9 K in 2016-17). (Below, in the illustration, there is a small chart showing AFC Fylde’s finishes-and-crowd-sizes for the past 6 seasons.) Now that they are in the 5th division, I think AFC Fylde’s crowds will certainly increase some more. But I think Fylde will soon end up hitting a ceiling with respect to their crowd-size growth.

A few years ago, we saw another tiny western Lancashire club, with a Sugar-daddy owner (Fleetwood Town), rise the ranks and build a thousands-strong fanbase. But even though the now-3rd-division-side Fleetwood Town continue to excel on the pitch (with a 4th place/playoffs-qualifying season in 2016-17), their crowd-size has plateaued at about 3.2-K-per-game. Actually, despite a very solid season, Fleetwood’s attendance actually dipped slightly in 2016-17, from 3.3 to 3.2 K. I think that this is what very well might happen with AFC Fylde. They almost certainly will get into the Football League, and probably before their 2022 target. But then I think they’ll stop being able to increase their crowd-size much more than to 3 K or 4 K or maybe 5 K per game. There is simply an overwhelming glut of Football-League/Premier-League-cailbre clubs in this northwestern corner of England, and there is, perhaps, not enough willing customers to fuel the continued rise of once small clubs like Fleetwood and Fylde. But I could be wrong. The one thing that Fylde has over Fleetwood is a more central location (Fleetwood is on a dead-end spit of land north of Blackpool, while Fylde [in Wesham] is situated more inland, right between Blackpool and Preston. That means Fylde, in Wesham, is smack between two 100-thousand-plus cities, each less than 15 minutes away by road {see that on a map, here}. At the following link there are photos of that new venue in Wesham, Fylde, Lancashire……{Gallery: Mill Farm Sports Village / AFC Fylde} (fwgroup.co.uk)}.
afc-fylde_mill-farm_dave-challinor_danny-rowe_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of Mill Farm and surrounding countryside, photo by Mill Farm Sports Village at mfsv.co.uk. Mill Farm, aerial shot by AFC Fylde at afcfylde.co.uk/mill-farm. Interior/match-day shot of Mill Farm from touch-line, photo by fwpgroup.co.uk/job/mill-farm-sports-village-afc-fylde. Football-League-by-2022 patch on jersey [since 2007], photo unattributed at timetoast.com/timelines/the-history-of-afc-fyldes-2022-campaign; 2022. 2016-17 AFC Fylde Jerseys, photos by afcfylde.co.uk/official-online-store/replica-kits. Dave Challinor, photo from afcfylde.co.uk. Danny Rowe, photo from afcfylde.co.uk/rowey-eyes-records.

    FC Halifax Town.

(Est. 2008/Phoenix-club of Halifax Town AFC [1911-2008].) Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire (population: around 90,000 /2015 estimate). Halifax is located, by road, 14 miles (22 km) W of Leeds. Halifax is located, by road, 205 miles (331 km) N of London. Colours: Blue (jerseys and pants) with white trim. Nickname: the Shaymen. Manager: Billy Heath.

From the Yorkshire Post, FC Halifax Town 2 Chorley 1 (AET) – Garner’s strike extra special as Shaymen earn return at first attempt (by Leon Wobschall on 13 May 2017 at yorkshirepost.co.uk/sport/football).

Halifax is, by road, 22 miles west of Leeds, in West Yorkshire. FC Halifax Town play at the Shay Stadium (opened 1921; capacity 14,000). FC Halifax Town share the ground with 2nd-division rugby league side Halifax Town RLFC (see caption in illustration below). The Halifax Town rugby league team has played at the Shay for 20 years now [since 1998], while the Halifax Town association football club has played at the ground since they were formed as a Phoenix-club in 2008.

FC Halifax Town are the Phoenix-club of Halifax Town AFC (1921-2008), who were dissolved in 2008 due to massive debts (with over £800,000 owed to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). Halifax Town had played in the Football League from 1921 to 1993, and from 1998 to 2002 (69 seasons in the League, with 40 seasons in the 3rd division and 29 seasons in the 4th division). The old club’s best finish was in 3rd place in the Third Division in 1970-71. Halifax Town were drawing in the 5-K-range back then in the late-60s/early-70s {historical attendance at european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn}. And the old Halifax Town drew as high as 6.9 K in the late 1940s. The original club’s peak-attendance in modern times was in 1998-99, at 3.0 K per game (which was the season after they had won promotion back to the Football League). But the original Halifax Town folded a decade later, in 2008.

A new club to take its place was formed that same year (2008), and the new FC Halifax Town were assigned to the 8th level, in the Northern Premier League Division One North. Since then, the new club has won 4 promotions and suffered one relegation (in 2016). And after one season back in the 6th tier, and under former North Ferriby United manager Billy Heath (age 46), FC Halifax Town have now returned to the 5th division, after winning the 2017 National League North play-offs. The Shaymen won promotion with a 2-1 aet victory over Lancashire side Chorley, in front of a 6th-division attendance record of 7,920 at The Shay {see photos below}.

Since re-forming, Halifax has averaged between 1.1 K [in their first season, in the 8th division] to 1.8 K [last season, in the 6th division]. The Shay is owned by the local authority in this part of West Yorkshire, the Calderdale Metropolitan Council. The Shay has been in a constant state of redevelopment since 2008 {the ongoing development of which you can see in the background of the last photo below}. The Shay was built into the side of a somewhat steep hill, a quarter-mile south of the town centre. The Shay currently features 4 largish roofed stands, two of which were built into the side of the hill. It is frankly too large for Non-League, but it must be pointed out again that Halifax just recorded the largest-ever crowd in the 6th tier, when they won that play-off final in May 2017. Granted, one needs to factor in the short travel-distance to that match for the traveling Chorley supporters (distance between Chorley and Halifax is about 49 miles by road). But still, that 7.9 K figure points to the fact that this Non-League club from West Yorkshire definitely has the potential to draw much higher than the 1.8 K they drew in 2016-17. {Here is a video…2017 National League North play-off final at Halifax, W Yorkshire, video uploaded by FC Halifax Town at We’re On Our Way ! Behind The Scenes-Play-Off Special vs Chorley (12:31 video at youtube.com).}
fc-halifax-town_promoted-2017_the-shay_scott-garner_billy-heath_k_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Shot of Halifax (from Beacon Hill), photo by Mr Barndoor at File:Halifax view from Beacon Hill.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). The Shay (rugby-league-configuration), photo unattributed a totalrl.com jpg. The Shay (w/ large crowd for football match), photo by Pliny Harris at onefootballforum.co.uk/threads/the-shay-halifax-town-ground-guide. Screenshot of crowd at 2017 NL-N play-off final, from video uploaded by FC Halifax Town at We’re On Our Way ! Behind The Scenes-Play-Off Special vs Chorley [12:31 video at youtube.com]. Scott Garner scores winner in extra time v Chorley (National League North 2017 play-off final), photo by Tony Johnson at yorkshirepost.co.uk. Billy Heath, photo from yorkshirepost.co.uk/football. Halifax Town fans’ pitch invasion following promotion (play-off win), screenshot from video uploaded by twitter.com/ThomasFeaheny.

    Maidenhead United FC.

(Est. 1870.) Location: Maidenhead, Berkshire (population: around 73,000 /2011 figure). Maidenhead is located, by road, 30 miles (47 km) W of central London. Colours: Black-and-White [vertical stripes]. Nickname: the Magpies. Manager: Alan Devonshire (age 61).

Maidenhead United are from Berkshire, on the River Thames, located, by road, 7 miles north-west of Windsor Castle, and 30 miles west of central London. They play at York Road, and have done so since their second year of existence, all the way back in 1871 (146 years ago). Maidenhead’s York Road has now been officially acknowledged as the “oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club” {see this, Country’s ‘oldest’ football ground in Maidenhead gets plaque (bbc.com, from Oct. 2012)}. You can see a photo of the English Heritage blue-plaque displayed at Maidenhead’s York Road, in the illustration below.

Manager of Maidenhead United is Alan Devonshire (age 61), who was a midfielder at West Ham United (with 370 league appearances and 30 goals, from 1976 to 1990). In his second spell as Maidenhead manager, Devonshire has just led the club to to their highest level, with automatic promotion, to the 5th division, as the 2016-17 National League South champions. Maidenhead United were the leaders of the National League South for most of the 2016-17 season, but almost lost that lead to Ebbsfleet United down the stretch. Ebbsfleet had beaten beat Maidenhead 1-2 in front of 3.3 K at York Road in Maidenhead, in the penultimate match. But, the following week, thanks to a final-match-fixture versus an already-relegated Margate, Maidenhead won 0-4 and sealed promotion to the National League automatically.

In the process, Maidenhead saw their crowd-size more than double – from 482 per game in 2015-16, to 1,012 per game in 2016-17. Further below, you can see a photo of their manager, Devonshire, as well as a photo-and-caption of the 2016-17 National League South top scorer, Dave Tarpey, who ended up with an incredible 1.07-goals-per-game work-rate (44 goals in 41 league matches). The photo of Tarpey is of him celebrating with teammates and fans, after a spectacular goal in December 2016. Here is a video of Tarpey scoring that sweet goal…{Maidenhead United’s Dave Tarpey scores wondergoal (0:22 video uploaded by Proper Sport at youtube.com)}.
maidenhead-utd_york-road_alan-devonshire_dave-tarpey_f_.gif
Photo and image credits above –
Maidenhead Bridge, photo by Tom Bastin at File:Maidenhead Bridge (1).jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Action-shot [2011] of match at York Road, photo by Paul Paxford at flickr.com/paxie via pitchinvasion.net/a-year-in-non-league-football-photos [Jan. 2012]. Photo of UK historical plaque, by ChrisTheDude at File:YorkRoadplaque.jpg (en.wikipedia.org). Bell Street End, photo by Antti’s Football Scarves at saturday3.com/[york_road_maidenhead_united_18.08.2012]. Railway Stand (opened 2014), photo by Maidenhead United FC at footballgroundguide.com/leagues/conference/conference-south/maidenhead-united-york-road. Action-shot [April 2017], photo by Marc Keinch at pitchero.com/clubs/maidenheadunited/photos/[14 Apr. 2017 Maidenhead Utd 2-0 Concord Rangers]. Alan Devonshire, photo by PA at dailymail.co.uk/football. David Tarpey, photo unattributed at twitter.com/toptargets.

    Ebbsfleet United FC.

(Est. 1946 (as Gravesend & Northfleet FC). Northfleet, Kent (population: around 29,000/2011 figure). Northfleet is 25 miles (40 km) E of central London. Colours: Red shirts and White pants. Nickname: the Fleet. Manager: Daryl McMahon (age 33; born in Dublin, Ireland).

-From Kent Online.co.uk, Ebbsfleet United 2 Chelmsford City 1 National League South play-off final match report (by Steve Tervet on 13 May 2017 at kentonline.co.uk).
-Also from Kent Online.co.uk, Ebbsfleet United unveil further plans for Stonebridge Road as owners prepare for a Football League future (by Tom Acres on 14 March 2017 at kentonline.co.uk).

Ebbsfleet United are from Northfleet in northwestern Kent, which is on the south side of the Thames Estuary. Northfleet is located 25 miles east of central London, and just east of Dartford, Kent and the busy Dartford bridge/tunnel crossing there. This part of Kent is part of the High Speed 1 rail link to the Channel Tunnel and to Europe (at the Ebbsfleet International Railway Station/ see photos below).

This season [2017-18] will be Ebbsfleet’s 14th season in the 5th division. Previously Ebbsfleet had spent 13 seasons in the 5th division in three separate spells (1979-82 [the first 3 seasons of the 5th division], 2002-10 [an 8-season spell], and 2012-14 [a 2-season-spell]). They were relegated to the Conference South (now called the National League South) in April 2013. That point in time (early 2013) was right when the failed club-ownership venture known as MyFootballClub.com was winding down. Excerpt from Wikipedia…“Between 2008 and 2013, the club was owned by the web-based venture MyFootballClub, whose members voted on player transfers, budgets and ticket prices among other things instead of those decisions being made exclusively by the club’s management and staff as at most other clubs.” {excerpt from Ebbsfleet United F.C.}

Ebbsfleet United was established in 1946, from a merger between Gravesend United (est. 1893) and Northfleet United (est. 1890). They are known as the Fleet and wear red jerseys with white pants and trim. They play at Stonebridge Road, which abuts heavy industry (a shipping terminal and a metal refinery are nearby). Four years ago in 2013, following the end of the aforementioned web-based ownership experiment, Ebbsfleet United were bought by Kuwaiti investors fronted by new owner Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi (who is now Chairman of the club).

Now, with the new (and deep-pocketed) ownership, Ebbsfleet’s Stonebridge Road is currently under a comprehensive renovation and expansion, and all 4 sides of the ground are planned to be re-built. The first rebuilt stand, the new Main Stand (see it below in mid-construction), is slated for an opening at the start of the 2017-18 season, with the other 3 sides all set for similar refurbishment. The region is also seeing a regeneration, {see this: Green light for major Ebbsfleet redevelopment scheme (by Muhammad Aldalou on 22 May 2017 at insidermedia.com)}.

Ebbsfleet just missed out on promotion two seasons ago, losing the 2016 National League South play-off final to fellow Kent side Maidstone United. But in 2016-17, after narrowly missing out on automatic promotion, the 2nd-place-finishing Ebbsfleet went the extra step and won promotion in the play-offs, with a 2-1 win over Chelmsford City, on 13th May 2017. Before a solid 3.1-K-crowd at Stonebridge Road, in the 75th minute, Ebbsfleet MF Darren McQueen took an Andy Drury volleyed cross, and bundled the ball into the net, for the promotion-winning goal (see photos below).

Ebbsfleet had been drawing in the 1.1-K-range the last time they were competitive at this level (in 2011-12, when they finished in 14th place in the 5th division). The season they were last relegated (2012-13), they drew .8 K. Then they drew .9 K in the 6th division in both 2013-14 and in 2014-15, then drew a decent 1.2 K in 2015-16, and then Ebbsfleet increased their crowd-size a bit more to 1.3 K last season. Now, back in the 5th tier for 2017-18, and owing to the revitalisation of their ground, the Fleet will probably see their average attendance continue to incrementally rise, maybe to near 1.5 K (or maybe even higher, if they start the season well). I can’t confirm it, owing to the hard-to-find status of Non-League attendance figures from the 1979-to-2010 era, but if Ebbsfleet United do draw above 1.5 K this season, it will probably be their best-ever average attendance.
ebbsfleet-utd_promoted-2017_stonebridge-road_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Northfleet/Gravesend shoreline at Thames Estuary, photo by Clem Rutter at File:NorthfleetThames8810.JPG (commons.wikimedia.org). Ebbsfleet International Railway Station, photo by eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-info/stations/ebbsfleet-international. Train, photo by mattbuck at File:Ebbsfleet International railway station MMB 08 395004.jpg. Exterior of Stonebridge Road ground, photo by Clem Rutter at File:NorthfleetStadium8833.JPG (commons.wikimedia.org). New Main Stand [photo from early 2017], photo by Alan Woods at footballgroundguide.com/ebbsfleet-united-stonebridge-road. Interior shot of round [from 2014], photo by Joseph Gibbons at gibbos92.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/ebbsfleet-united-fc-stonebridge-road. Screenshots of 2nd goal in final (Darren McQueen from an assist by Andy Drury, images from Highlights – Ebbsfleet United vs Chelmsford City – Play-Off Final (video uploaded by Clarets TV at youtube.com). Darren McQueen winning goal, photo from TSG Photoshelter at tgsphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery/Ebbsfleet-United-vs-Chelmsford-City-13-05-17. Ebbsfleet captain Danny Kedwell and manager Daryl McMahon lift trophy, photo by Andy Payton at kentonline.co.uk.
___

-Thanks to the contributors at 2016–17 National League (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to Nilfanion…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org). Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.
-Thanks to Soccerway for upper-division-Non-League attendance figures, uk.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-national.

June 19, 2017

Canadian Football League: CFL location-map for 2017, with 2016 attendance & titles-listed-by-team + photo of each of the 9 CFL venues.

Filed under: Canada,Canadian Football League — admin @ 12:28 pm

canadian-football-league_2017-map_attendance_titles-by-team_stadiums_post_d_.gif
Canadian Football League: CFL location-map for 2017, with 2016 attendance & titles-listed-by-team + photo of each of the 9 venues



By Bill Turianski on 19 June 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Teams…Canadian Football League/Teams;
-2017 CFL season (en.wikipedia.org).
-Official site…cfl.ca.
-Schedule, scores, standings, etc…flashscores.co.uk/american-football/canada/cfl/.
-Here is a great blog, Collecting Canadian Football (collectingcanadianfootball.blogspot.com).

The 2017 CFL season will be the 60th season since the CFL was founded, but the competition predates that by many decades, and teams in Canada have been competing for the Grey Cup title since 1909. As it says in Wikipedia, “The CFL was officially founded on January 19, 1958. The league was formed from a merger between the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union [Eastern Canada] founded in 1907 and the Western Interprovincial Football Union [Western Canada] founded in 1936.” {Excerpt from Canadian Football League (en.wikipedia.org).}

For most of its existence, and still today, the CFL has been comprised of 9 teams…
West Division: the BC Lions, the Calgary Stampeders, the Edmonton Eskimos, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
East Division: the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Toronto Argonauts, the Ottawa RedBlacks, the Montreal Alouettes.
The teams play a 20-game regular season, which spans from late June to mid-November; and the playoffs sees 6 of the teams compete for the Grey Cup title, which is held in a different venue each year. Last season saw the relatively new team the Ottawa RedBlacks (est. 2014) win their first Grey Cup title, defeating Calgary 39-33 at BMO Field in Toronto, on Sunday November 27, 2016. Ottawa will host the 2017 Grey Cup, to be played on Sunday the 26th of November.

In 2016, the CFL, overall, averaged 24,691 per game…
That 24,691 per game figure was almost exactly the same as in 2015 (just 46 per game lower than the 2015 overall average attendance of 24,737). The highest-drawing team in the CFL is usually the Edmonton Eskimos, with average crowds in the 30-32-K-range most seasons, but they never have a decent percent-capacity figure because the Eskimos play in the much too large Commonwealth Stadium (which was built for the Commonwealth Games in 1978, and was expanded in 1982, and currently has a capacity of 56.2 K, meaning the Eskimos play to over 24 thousand empty seats most games). But last year, the Saskatchewan Roughriders had the highest attendance, at 31.1 K. And because the Roughriders are about to move into their brand-new purpose-built stadium (Mosaic Stadium, capacity 33,000), Saskatchewan will probably have the highest attendance in 2017 as well. {See this, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_CFL_season#Saskatchewan_Roughriders_new_stadium.}

Toronto: the largest city in Canada, yet the home of the worst-drawing CFL team…
The CFL draws pretty well. Most teams draw easily above 20 K, the glaring exception being Toronto. And last season [2016], two teams – Ottawa and Hamilton – played to above 100-percent-capacity, while two other teams played to near-full-house-capacities (Saskatchewan at 93%, and Montreal at 87%). If you are new to the CFL, and are wondering why Toronto, the largest city by far in Canada, is home to the worst-drawing CFL team, well that is because a vast amount of sports fans in Toronto consider the CFL to be a bush-league organization that is beneath them. And a significant amount of people in Toronto think that a major World-Class city, such as Toronto, deserves major-league things…things like NFL franchises. They don’t know what they are missing, because, having attended CFL games myself, I am here to tell you that the CFL is a great league, with exciting games, offense-friendly rules, passionate fans, cool logos and uniforms, and, by-and-large, excellent venues that host affordable outings. But that is ignored by the majority of Toronto sports fans, and to many in Canada’s largest city, the priority is in attaining an NFL franchise, whether by hook or crook…Toronto has been trying to steal the NFL’s Buffalo Bills for years now. Hey Toronto: you are in Canada, not the United States. And your country already HAS a major-league pro football league. So get over yourselves and live with it. ‘Cuz the Buffalo Bills ain’t moving to Toronto. Maybe you should be more concerned with the major-league teams you already have, Toronto…because that hockey team you got, the one with the idiotic misspelling in their name – the ‘Leafs’ [sic] – they haven’t won a Stanley Cup title in over half a century. That doesn’t sound very major league to me.


Note on CFL titles… The CFL pretends that the Montreal Alouettes (II), who folded on June 24 1987, actually went into dormancy. They say this today, after the fact, even though the CFL front office back then didn’t say so at the time, when it was announced that the Montreal Alouettes franchise had folded, at a press conference, organized by the CFL itself. But now the CFL pretends that the CFL team the Baltimore Stallions, who, nine-and-a-half years later, moved to Montreal in 1996 and adopted the Alouettes name (right after the Stallions had became the first team ever from the USA to win a Grey Cup title, in 1995). What really happened was that the Baltimore Stallions ownership and front office and coaching staff and many Stallions players moved to Montreal as the organization which adopted the Alouettes name. And magically this franchise morphs into the original Montreal Alouettes. You know, like how the NFL’s Cleveland Browns of today, who were formed and stocked by an expansion draft in 1999, pretend they are the same franchise as the Cleveland Browns of 1995 who moved the whole squad to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Ravens of 1996. Historical revisionism, arbitrarily changing things after the fact to serve selfish and sentimental reasons, must be opposed. How come there are 3 seperate Ottawa CFL franchises, but Montreal gets to revive a dead franchise? Montreal gets to revive a dead franchise and that organization gets to pretend they never won a Grey Cup title in the US. This, after that franchise was pronounced dead, by the CFL itself, two days before the start of the 1987 CFL season. You can read more on this subject in my previous post on the CFL, which includes an editorial on the present-day Montreal Alouettes’ bogus claim to the 4 CFL titles won by the original Montreal Alouettes (I) (1961-81)…
(click on the following link)…
Canadian Football League: CFL location-map for 2015, with 2014 attendances, percent-capacities, and titles-listed-by-team./ Plus illustrations for the 3 new stadiums in the CFL (Ottawa, Hamilton, Winnipeg)./ Plus an editorial on the present-day Montreal Alouettes’ bogus claim to the 4 CFL titles won by the original Montreal Alouettes (I) (1961-81).
___
Photo and Image credits on map page -
-BC Lions/BC Place, photo from infrasave.com/case-studies/case-study-bc-place. jpg.
-Calgary Stampeders/McMahon Stadium, photo from stampeders.com/mcmahon. jpg.
-Edmonton Eskimos/The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium, photo unattributed from stockaerialphotos.com.
-Saskatchewan Roughriders/Mosaic Stadium, photo from leaderpost.com.
-Winnipeg Blue Bombers/Investors Group Field, image from screenshot of video at Ranking CFL Stadiums (video uploaded by WorldWideSportsStadiums at youtube.com).
-Hamilton Tiger-Cats/Tim Horton’s Field, photo by Moe Masoudi/Moetion Picture for The Globe and Mail at theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/the-high-cost-of-pan-am-what-legacy-will-hamiltons-new-stadium-leave-behind.
-Toronto Argonauts/BMO Field, photo by Thomas Makacek Photography via gensler.com/projects/bmo-field.
-Ottawa RedBlacks/TD Place Stadium, photo from Front Page Media Group via skyscrapercity.com/[thread: Ottawa - TD Place Stadium].
-Montreal Alouettes/Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, photo from en.montrealalouettes.com.

Thanks to all at the following links…
-Globe-map of Canada by: Aquarius.geomar.de at File:Canada (orthographic projection).svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Blank map of Canada by: S Tyx and Sémhur and Riba, at File:Blank map of Canada.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Provinces-map of Canada by E Pluribus Anthony at File:Political map of Canada.png.

-CLF teams’ helmet-illustrations from MG’s Helmets.com (8 ofthe 9 teams); new BC Lions helmet-illustrations from MG Helmets’ template, with new logo drawn in by NY_CFL_fan at boards.sportslogos.net/topic/108075-my-personal-continental-football-league-more-recent-champs. Thank you NY_CFL_fan, you saved me a big headache with that illustration!
-Helmet-and-dark-uniforms illustrations on lower-centre-of-map-page by: Cmm3 at each CFL team’s page at en.wikipedia, such as File:CFL MTL Jersey with alternate.png.
-Several CFL team logos were found at sportslogos.net/Canadian_Football_League.
-Updated Montreal helmet, texashelmets.com. jpg
-2015 & 2016 CFL teams’ attendance figures from stats.cfldb.ca/league/cfl/attendance/2016.

June 3, 2017

Independent leagues (unaffiliated minor league baseball): map and chart of the 38 Independent leagues teams in USA & Canada from the top 4 Independent leagues which reported attendance figures (American Association, Atlantic League, Frontier League, Can-Am League)./ +CHS Field, the home of the St. Paul Saints, the best-drawing Independent baseball club in North America.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: Independent Leagues — admin @ 2:00 pm

/baseball_independent-leagues_2016-attendance-map_american-association_atlantic-league_can-am-league_frontier-league_post_f_.gif
Independent leagues: 2016 attendance-map, 38 Independent leagues teams in USA & Canada (American Association, Atlantic League, Can-Am League, Frontier League)



By Bill Turianski on 23 April 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-2016 Independent Attendance by Average (by Kevin Reichard on September 19, 2016 at ballparkdigest.com).
-Independent baseball league/Current_leagues (en.wikipedia.org).
-independentbaseball.net.
-twitter.com/independentball.

    Major League Baseball, and by extension, Organized Baseball, has an antitrust exemption…

Organized Baseball is: the 30 Major League Baseball teams {2016 MLB paid-atttendance map}, plus all the 234 affiliated minor league baseball teams [aka MiLB teams], which the MLB teams co-fund and use as developmental teams for their rosters; plus the 16 unaffiliated Mexican League teams / {my latest map of the Mexican League}.

Independent leagues are, by definition, completely comprised of pro baseball teams which operate outside of Organized Baseball.
The Independent leagues are technically not even really minor leagues…but everybody considers them as such, and most observers within the world of pro baseball consider them to be equivalent to a caliber of play between Double-A and Advanced-A level minor league ball [ie, a caliber of skill between two and three levels below the Major Leagues]).

Major League Baseball (MLB) has antitrust exemption, dating back to a 1922 ruling that centered on the suit brought about by the owners of the defunct 1914 Federal League team the Baltimore Terrapins {see this article, Baseball’s Con Game – How did America’s pastime get an antitrust exemption?, from 2002 by David Greenberg at slate.com}. Basically, in 1922, the Supreme Court justices maintained – naively – that Major League Baseball is a game, not a business. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that “personal effort, not related to production, is not a subject of commerce”. What? Personal effort (ie, major league baseball players competing against each other) sure is related to production…just look at all that ticket revenue that MLB produces. Just look at those lucrative television contracts that MLB gets. Where did all that revenue come from? It came from personal effort (major league baseball players competing against each other). As Kavitha Dividson remarked at Bloomberg.com, “Nine decades later, the notion that professional baseball wouldn’t be considered commerce seems rather quaint. Not only is the “personal effort” of Major Leaguers an $8 billion product in and of itself, the lucrative national broadcast deals and growing audience for online streaming clearly place a significant chunk of business operations across state lines. Professional baseball can no longer be considered a local business, if it really ever could have been.” {Quote from, Antitrust Exemption Holds Baseball Back a Century (by Kavitha Davidson on April 8 2014 at bloomberg.com).}

There are many ways that this antitrust exemption affects things in the world of pro baseball. One is how the Oakland A’s franchise continues to get screwed by MLB and the San Francisco Giants…because the SF franchise owns the territory of San Jose, and MLB and the Giants have succeeded – in courts – from preventing the A’s from moving to San Jose. {See this: U.S. Supreme Court rejects San Jose’s bid to lure Oakland A’s (by Bob Egelko from Oct. 2015 at sfgate.com).} One of the latest ways the MLB antitrust exemption affects people within Organized Baseball is this: MLB scouts maintaining that they are being exploited {see this, Scouts Tell 2nd Circ. MLB Antitrust Exemption Doesn’t Apply (by Zachary Zagger on Jan. 23 2017 at law360.com)}. But here, I am only going to talk about how MLB’s antitrust exemption has inadvertently led to the success of most of the highest-drawing Independent leagues teams.

    Independent leagues (unaffiliated minor league baseball)…

Independent leagues have no affiliation with Major League Baseball – no player development contracts means the Independent leagues teams must pay for personnel and equipment. On the other hand, affiliated minor league teams have their WHOLE PAYROLL paid for them, by the Major League team…as it says in Wikipedia’s page on affiliated minor league baseball…“Generally, the parent major league club pays the salaries and benefits of uniformed personnel (players and coaches) and bats and balls, while the minor league club pays for in-season travel and other operational expenses…” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor League Baseball/Current system).

Independent leagues exist because MLB/Organized Baseball can actually ignore market forces…
There is essentially one reason why an Independent leagues team springs up in any given place. That is because the the ownership group in the municipality in question was unable to to secure an affiliated minor league team within Organized Baseball. With a few exceptions (the most prominent exception being the Sugar Land Skeeters of Greater Houston, TX), the highest-drawing of these Independent teams are located in the Upper Midwest and in the Northeast (and to a lesser extent, in Canada). Generally, here and there, in Organized Baseball, there are poorly-drawing teams within the affiliated leagues above the Short-Season-A and the Rookie levels (like two A-level teams in the Midwest League, in Burlington, Iowa and in Beloit, Wisconsin, both of whom draw below 1.2 K in a league which drew 3.8 overall in 2016). But the real dead weight with respect to bad drawing mid-and-upper-level-MiLB teams can be found in two warm-weather locales. You see, MLB/MiLB/Organized Baseball has two leagues that are, attendance-wise, real under-performers. Two leagues that are, to put it bluntly, a waste of space. I am speaking of two of the three Advanced-A-level leagues: the California League and the Florida State League. Year in, year out, these two leagues are chock full of teams that draw abysmally, especially since both regions have considerable populations. Last season [2016], 7 of the 10 California League teams drew below 2.5 K. And last season, 11 of the 12 Florida State League teams drew below the even lower bar of just 2.0 K. That is really bad attendance for a product that is just 3 levels below the Major Leagues. And this is happening in regions where hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people live nearby. Actually, most of those bad drawing teams in the California and Florida Advance-A-level leagues have over a million people within an hours’ drive. And they still draw poorly.

How pathetic is the attendance in the California League and Florida State League?
Look at it this way…
-California League overall average attendance in 2016 was 2.1 K…worse than 23 Independent leagues teams.
-Florida State League overall average attendance in 2016 was 1.3 K…worse than 34 Independent leagues teams.
{Source of figures in last two paragraphs: 2016 Affiliated Attendance by League (ballparkdigest.com).}

Meanwhile, there are municipalities all over the Upper Midwest and the Northeast that could EASILY maintain successful affiliated minor league teams. But for one legitimate reason (Spring training ballparks/facilities in Florida that are already there anyways), and one bogus reason (the hidebound notion that California deserves an affiliated minor league of its own), MLB/Organized Baseball – thanks to its antitrust exemption – can afford to ignore market forces. And ignore the fact that there are scores of minor league franchises which would have far better support…if they relocated out of Florida and California. And into Midwestern and Northeastern towns which are dying for affiliated minor league ball.

So, though ignored by Organized Baseball, Independent leagues teams, located in places off-the-beaten-track, thrive. Like in Winnipeg, Manitoba; and in Fargo, North Dakota; and in Lincoln, Nebraska; and in Marion, southern Illinois. And Independent leagues teams located very near to MLB franchises? They really thrive (see next 3 paragraphs). If the vast majority of the fine folks of Florida and California could not give a rat’s ass about a great and affordable product (affiliated minor league baseball), then why the heck don’t these dead-weight teams move to where people would appreciate such a great product? Successful Independent leagues teams prove that there are an abundance of locales which Organized Baseball has ignored, thanks to its de-facto-monopoly status. And don’t forget, these are Independent teams with basically no brand-name drawing-power. Yet they are outdrawing teams – affiliated minor league ball clubs – that are part of world-renowned brand-names (the Major League teams).

The positive side of no MLB affiliation…
The positive side of no MLB affiliation means Independent leagues franchises are not bound to abide by MLB’s onerous territorial mandates. Mandates which MLB/Organized Baseball can only enforce because of their antitrust exemption. For example, MLB allows no affiliated minor league baseball teams to be located in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, NY (ie, Long Island) [to protect the NY Mets]; as well as no other affiliated teams in southeast-central-Pennsylvania [to protect the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the affiliated minor league baseball teams the Reading Fightin Phils and the Harrisburg Senators]. So Independent leagues teams have sprung up in those 2 areas and have done very well drawing customers [the Long Island Ducks in Nassau County, New York; the York Revolution and the Lancaster Barnstormers in south-eastern Pennsylvania].

Basically, Organized Baseball usually does not put its affiliated minor league teams within the 75-mile-radius territory of the 30 MLB teams – with a few exceptions such as in: Tacoma, WA; Reading, PA; Toledo, OH; San Jose, CA; Tampa and Clearwater, FL; and, recently (in the last 20 years), in Dayton, OH; and in Bridgewater Township, NJ; and in Brooklyn, NY and in Staten Island, NY. But Independent leagues teams, again, can ignore MLB’s territorial edicts. Hence the (successful) Independent leagues teams such as…the St. Paul Saints of St. Paul, MN (right next to MLB’s Minnesota Twins); and the Kansas City T-Bones of Kansas City, KS (right next to MLB’s Kansas City Royals); and the Sugar Land Skeeters of Greater Houston, TX (right next to MLB’s Houston Astros); and the Somerset Patriots of Somerset County, NJ (relatively close by to MLB’s New York Yankees and New York Mets).

It is no coincidence that 5 of the 6 the top-drawing Independent teams would not be allowed to exist within Organized Baseball…
Five of the six highest-drawing Independent leagues teams (which all draw above 4-K-per-game) are located in places very near to MLB teams (ie, well within the 75-mile-radius protected areas [thanks to their antitrust exemption], which MLB/Organized Baseball can only enforce with respect to affiliated minor league teams):
1). St. Paul Saints: drawing 8.4 K/ St. Paul, MN [Minnesota Twins' territory].
2). Long Island Ducks: 5.2 K/ Nassau County, Long Island, NY [NY Mets' territory].
3). Somerset Patriots: 5.2 K/ Somerset County, NJ. [NY Yankees'/NY Mets' territory].
4). Winnipeg Goldeyes: 4.8 K/ Winnipeg, MB, Canada [no MLB team nearby].
5). Sugar Land Skeeters: 4.4 K/ Sugar Land, TX [Houston Astros' territory].
6). Kansas City T-Bones: 4.2 K/ Kansas City, KS [Kansas City Royals' territory].

The biggest problem Independent leagues teams face is overhead…
Again, Independent leagues teams get zero support from MLB/Organized Baseball, whereas affiliated minor league teams (being part of MLB/Organized Baseball) basically get their whole teams’ salaries (and some of their gear) paid for. So Independent leagues teams live a precarious financial existence, and are very prone to becoming defunct, and are almost completely reliant on ticket revenue and concessions to remain in business. In fact, last season [2016], the two lowest-drawing teams, of the four Independent leagues featured on the map here, both went out of business (Joplin and Laredo/see next section below). The following article from the Wall Street Journal explores just how precarious Independent baseball teams’ finances are…
-{How Independent Baseball Teams Make Money. Or Don’t. For unaffiliated teams, it takes gimmicks, cost cutting and a lot of luck (by Andrew Beaton on Aug. 24 2105 from wsj.com)}.

    What the map-and-chart of Independent ball clubs shows…

The main map is of USA and Canada; the inset-map is of the Northeast of the US. The two maps show the 38 Independent leagues teams in the USA & Canada which reported attendances figures (from home regular season games) in 2016, and which drew over 500-per-game…plus 2 new teams (see next paragraph). The 500-per-game cut-off is why I did not include the 4 teams from the Pacific Association, whose 4 teams only drew between 437 and 69 per game. The fact that some Independent league do not report attendance figures is why the map-and-chart does not feature teams from 3 other Independent leagues…the Empire League, the Pecos League, and the United Shore League {for info on those leagues, see this, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_baseball_league#Current_leagues}. If you are wondering why those three Independent leagues don’t report attendance figures, well, it is almost certainly because those teams in those leagues do not draw very well.

On the map, two of the teams [from the American Association] are now defunct: the Joplin Blasters, and the Laredo Lemurs. It is no coincidence that those two teams happened to be the two worst-drawing teams in the 4 leagues that the map depicts. Because, as mentioned earlier, Independent leagues teams basically live or die by their attendance figures, that being their only real source of revenue. Those two teams have been replaced in the American Association by one expansion team and one team that has moved over from the aforementioned Pecos League. The brand-new franchise for 2017 is the Cleburne Railroaders of Greater Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX. The franchise that has jumped over from the Pecos League to the American Association is the Salina Stockade (of Salina, Kansas). And finally, there is one franchise, in the Atlantic League, that has been recently relocated – the New Britain Bees (est. 2016) [of Greater Hartford, CT], who were the Camden Riversharks previously, but moved from Camden, NJ [Greater Philadelphia, PA] to Connecticut after the 2015 season. Here is an example of an Independent team filling the gap left by the lack of an affiliated MiLB team, because New Britain, CT had a Double-A MiLB team (the New Britain Rock Cats), until that franchise moved 12 miles up the road to Hartford, as the Hartford YardGoats, in 2016 {here’s a Double-A [affiliated MiLB] map I made in 2016, which mentions the new Hartford ball club}. That Camden-NJ-to-New-Britain-CT-franchise-move is shown on the map-page in the inset-map of the Northeast US.

The teams on the map have their primary cap-logo shown, as well as a circle in their team-colors.
The team-color-circles are sized to depict each team’s drawing-power (the higher their average attendance is, the larger their team-colors-circle is).

At the right-hand side of the map page is a chart that lists 5 things:
A). Teams’ attendance-rank within Independent leagues baseball.
B). The Independent league which each team is in.
C). The teams’ 2016 average attendance…regular season home games/ source: 2016 Independent Attendance by Average (ballparkdigest.com).
D). Teams’ year-of-establishment [first season they played].
E). Teams’ City-and-State-location (plus County-location, if that is part of any given team’s name).

The teams on the map are from the following 4 Independent leagues…
-American Association [American Association of Independent Professional Baseball], all 12 teams, including 2 defunct teams (see 3 paragraphs above), and including 2 new teams: the Cleburne Railroaders (est. 2017) [of Greater Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX], and the Salina Stockade (est. 2016/former Pecos League team) [of Salina, KS]). (American Association est. 2006/ 12 teams in 2017/ range: Plains States (Dakotas to Texas); one team from Indiana; one team from Manitoba, Canada.) 2016 overall average attendance: 3,156.
-Atlantic League [Atlantic League Professional Baseball], all 8 teams (including the 2016-relocated-team the New Britain Bees [of Greater Hartford, CT]). (Atlantic League est. 1998/ 8 teams in 2017/ range: Northeast; and Greater Houston, Texas.) 2016 overall average attendance: 3,939 [best-drawing Independent league].
-Frontier League, all 12 teams. (Frontier League est. 1993/ 12 teams in 2017/ range: half the teams [6 teams] from Illinois; one team each from: Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, western Pennsylvania.) 2016 overall average attendance: 2,390.
-Can-Am League [Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball], all 6 teams. (Can-Am League est. 2005, but from 2012-15 it played an interlocking schedule with the American Association/ 6 teams in 2017/ range: 2 teams in New Jersey, one team in New York; 2 teams in Quebec, Canada, one team in Ontario, Canada. 2016 overall average attendance: 2,241.

[Note: to see other high-drawing Independent leagues teams (illustrations for 5 other teams), see my earlier post on Independent leagues baseball (from 2014).]

    The St. Paul Saints – the highest-drawing Independent baseball team (in 2015 and in 2016)…

In 2015, after 22 years at the inadequate Midway Stadium, the St. Paul Saints moved into CHS Field in the Lowerton district of downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, in area once full of industrial warehouses. The ballpark was opened on May 21, 2015. It was built with state funding of $25 million, combined with a $47.5 million outlay shared by the city of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Saints. The venue is owned by the city of Saint Paul, and is operated by the St. Paul Saints. It has a fixed-seating-capacity of 7,210. Plus, there is around another 1,000-or-so extra-capacity seating: on both a grass berm behind the left-field fence (see second-to-last photo below), and in bar-style seats all along the sprawling street-level concourse which makes up the main part of the stadium-structure (see 4th, 5th, and 6th photos, below). The stadium is breathtaking in a very understated way, with its light-steel-frame pavilion, its open-air layout, and its stunning full-length red-cedar-ceiling-canopy. The architect, Julie Snow, intended for the ballpark’s design to take a warehouse and “turn it inside-out” (see article linked to at the end of this paragraph, for more on that). The new venue is a remarkable step up from the ramshackle Midway Stadium, which co-owner Mike Veeck used to “boast” was “the ugliest ballpark in America!” {quote from the Wikipedia page, here}. Mike Veeck, son of legendary baseball-owner-and-maverick Bill Veeck, Jr., is co-owner of the St. Paul Saints, along with actor/comedian Bill Murray, and others who make up the The Goldklang Group, a consortium who have a controlling interest in 4 minor league teams. Mike Veeck’s motto is “Fun is Good”, which is a sentiment I think very few could argue with. Here is an article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, on the opening day in May 2015 at the CHS Field in St. Paul, If ‘Fun is good,’ opening a new ballpark’s way better (by Jim Souhan at startribune.com).

The St. Paul Saints had long been a top-draw in Independent leagues baseball, and in their last season at Midway Stadium (in 2014), the Saints had the third-best average attendance in the Independent leagues, at 5.2 K, behind fellow-American-Association team the Winnipeg Goldeyes (at 5.6 K), and the Atlantic League team the Sugar Land Skeeters (at 5.5 K). {2014 Independent attendances, baseballpilgrimages.com/ [2014 Independent leagues].} But since their new ballpark opened, the St. Paul Saints have now become the best-drawing Independent ball club, by a considerable margin, of over 3 thousand per game. The Saints drew 8.0 K in the ballpark’s first year (in 2015). That meant they played to over eight-hundred-standing-room-only each game (8.0 K in a 7.2-K-seated-capacity stadium). {2015 Independent leagues attendance, ballparkdigest.com [2015 Independent leagues].} Then last year, word-of-mouth must have spread through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, about the sweet new venue in town…because the Saints drew even better in 2016, at 8.4 K (which is an astounding 1.2-K-above-seated-capacity).

The second-best and third-best-drawing Independent leagues teams in 2016 were two Atlantic League teams from Greater New York City…the Long Island Ducks (est. 2000), of Central Islip, NY, at 5.2 K, and the Somerset Patriots (est. 1998), of Bridgewater Township, Somerset County, NJ, who also drew 5.2 K. {2016 Independent leagues attendance, ballparkdigest.com/ [2015 Independent leagues].} {Again, if you would like to see illustrations for the Long Island Ducks and the Somerset Patriots (and 3 of the other best-drawing Independent leagues teams, click here.}

Below: CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints, the best-drawing Independent baseball club in North America…
independent-leagues_highest-drawing-team-2016_st-paul-saints_chs-field_st-paul_mn_r_.gif"
Photo and Image credits above –
Saints ball cap, photo from St. Paul Saints team store, saints-crossing.com. Aerial shot of ballpark, photo by John Autey/Pioneer Prees via twincities.com/2016/05/07/photos-the-twin-cities-from-the-air. Exterior shot of main entrance, photo by snowkreilich.com/work/chs-field. Photo of main entrance on opening day, photo by St Paul Saints at saintsbaseball.com/the-saints-experience/2017-schedule. Interior shot of concourse (empty), photo by Paul Crosby via aia-mn.org/chs-field. Interior shots of concourse during a game-day, photos by hsnowkreilich.com/work/chs-field. Shot of Saints players warming up with main stand in background, photo by snowkreilich.com/work/chs-field. Photo of outfield lawn seating, photo by CHS Field via postbulletin.com/chs-field-combines-art-baseball-in-st-paul. Shot of full-capacity-crowd at sunset, photo by Paul Crosby at archdaily.com/chs-field-snow-kreilich-architects.
___
Thanks to all at the following links…
Some logos on the map page are from photos…
-Schaumburg Boomers cap logo, from photo at: boomersbaseball.com/fanzone/news/2013/288/boomers-end-of-season-clearance-sale/.
-Sugar Land Skeeters cap logo, from photo at: cdn3.volusion.com/zvscs.sfcdt/v/vspfiles/photos/OC100-1.jpg.
-Winnipeg Goldeyes cap logo, from photo at: pinterest.com/pin/384987468116306796/.

-Thanks to NuclearVacuum, at Wikimedia Commons, for the base map (blank map) of North America, at ‘File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Thanks to the contributors at Independent baseball/Current leagues (en.wikipedia.org).

May 27, 2017

Canadian Hockey League: 2017-18 CHL location-map, including 2016-17 attendance chart with titles listed.

chl_2017-18_location-map_2016-17_attendance-chart_for_whl_ohl_qmjhl_60-teams_w-titles_post_e_.gif
CHL location-map with 2016-17 attendance chart





By Bill Turianski on 27 May 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-CHL official site, chl.ca [live scores at top banner]
-Canadian Hockey League (en.wikipedia.org),

Links for 2016-17 attendances (home regular season) (from HockeyDatabase.com)…
-Ontario Hockey League 2016-17 Attendance Graph.
-Quebec Major Junior Hockey League 2016-17 Attendance Graph.
-Western Hockey League 2016-17 Attendance Graph.


Best percent-capacity figures in the CHL in 2016-17…
Below are the 12 teams in the CHL that were best at filling their arena, in 2016-17. (Best Percent-Capacity, or: Average Attendance divided-by Seated Capacity.) 7 of these teams are in the OHL. 3 of these teams are in the WHL. 2 of these teams are in the QMJHL. The top 2 played to SRO (standing-room-only)…the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL, and the Oshawa Generals of the OHL.
#1). Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL): 103.6 percent-capacity (2,228 per game in their 2,150-capacity arena [ie, 78-standing-room-only-customers-per-game]).
#2). Oshawa Generals (OHL): 100.5 percent-capacity (5,209 per game in their 5,180-capacity arena [ie, 29-standing-room-only-customers-per-game]).
#3). London Knights (OHL): 99.5 percent-capacity (9,003 per game in their 9,046-capacity arena).
#4). Kitchener Rangers (OHL): 98.3 percent-capacity (7,015 per game in their 7,131-capacity arena).
#5). Kelowna Rockets (WHL): 93.7 percent-capacity (5,162 per game in their 5,507-capacity arena).
#6). Niagara IceDogs (OHL): 90.6 percent-capacity (4,804 per game in their 5,300-capacity arena).
#7). Barrie Colts (OHL): 88.4 percent-capacity (3,709 per game in their 4,195-capacity arena).
#8). Guelph Storm (OHL): 86.1 percent-capacity (4,063 per game in their 4,715-capacity arena).
#9). Shawingan Cataractes (QMJHL): 85.9 percent-capacity (3,545 per game in their 4,125-capacity arena).
#10). Regina Pats (WHL): 84.1 percent-capacity (5,456 per game in their 6,484-capacity arena).
#11). Owen Sound Attack (OHL): 82.8 percent-capacity (2,898 per game in their 3,500-capacity arena).
#12). Prince Albert Raiders (WHL): 82.6 percent-capacity (2,133 per game in their 2,580-capacity arena).
___
Thanks to all at the following links…
-List of Memorial Cup champions/Tournament appearances by current CHL teams.
-WHL/ Ed Chynoweth Cup.
-OHL/ J. Ross Robertson Cup.
-QMJHL/ President’s Cup (en.wikipedia.org).
-Hockey Data Base.com.

May 17, 2017

2017 CHL Memorial Cup tournament (in Windsor, Ontario/ May 19 to May 28) – the 4 teams: Windsor Spitfires (host team), Erie Otters (OHL), Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL): photo-illustrations with standout players in 2016-17.

Filed under: Canada,Hockey — admin @ 7:39 pm

By Bill Turianski on 17 May 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-2017 CHL Memorial Cup (en.wikipedia.org).
-CHL official site, chl.ca.

Windsor, Ontario will host the 2017 Memorial Cup…
The 2017 Memorial Cup tournament will be held at the 6,450-capacity WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires the host-team. Windsor is just across the border from Detroit, Michigan {see illustration below}. The tournament will run from May 19th to May 28th, 2017. Here is a preview, from the Hockey Writers.com,
2017 Memorial Cup Teams Preview (by David Jewell on Wednesday May 17 2017 at thehockeywriters.com).

    the 4 teams that have qualified for the 2017 CHL Memorial Cup tournament…
    Windsor Spitfires (host team) , Erie Otters (OHL), Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)…

Host team: Windsor Spitfires…
Windsor Spitfires, host of 2017 CHL Memorial Cup tournament…
windsor-spitfires_2017-memorial-cup_wfcu-centre_r_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Windsor Spitfires logos/info via sportslogos.net/Windsor_Spitfires.
Windsor home jersey, illustration from sportslogos.net/Windsor_Spitfires. Night-time shot of downtown Windsor with Detroit skyline in background, photo by Owen Wolter at flickr.com via windsorite.ca. View of Windsor skyline, photo by Tim Fraser/Windsor Star via windsorstar.com. Exterior-shot of WFCU Centre, photo from citywindsor.ca. Interior-shot of WFCU Centre [ca. 2009], photo by Kevin Jordan at ohlarenaguide.com/spitfires.
Players…Jeremy Bracco, photo by Tim Jarrold at inplaymagazine.com/windsor-spitfires-vs-saginaw-spirit-february-23 [2017]. Mikhail Sergachev, photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images via gettyimages.com. Michael DiPietro, photo by Jason Kryk/Windsor Star at windsorstar.com/hockey.

Erie Otters (OHL champions in 2017).
From The Hockey Writers.com, Celebrating the Erie Otters’ OHL Championship (by Mark Scheg on May 13 2017, at thehockeywriters.com).
erie-otters_2017-ohl-champions__2017-memorial-cup_i_.gif
Otters’ jersey illustration, from sportslogos.net/Erie_Otters. Erie (aerial shot), unattributed at pinterest.com. Erie Insurance Arena, photo from goerie.com jpg. Game-action photo, by MountaindewPSU at aviewfrommyseat.com/Erie+Insurance+Arena/section-119/row-E/seat-2.
Players: Dylan Strome-3AZ, photo by Terry Wilson/OHL via sportsnet.ca. Alex DeBrincat-39Chi, photo by Keith Dotson/OHL at ontariohockeyleague.com jpg. Taylor Raddysh-58Tam, photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com. Anthony Cirelli-72TB, photo by Claus Anderson at gettyimages.com. Darren Raddysh-un, photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images via ohlwriters.me jpg. Warren Foegele, photo by Dave Mead Photography via ontariohockeyleague.com. On-ice post-game celebration, photo by Dan Hickling/OHL Images via ohlwriters.me. Anthony Cirelli holds Robertson Trophy aloft, photo by Greg Wohlford/ETN at goerie.com/sports/champions-otters-win-ohl-title-on-cirellis-ot-goal. Erie players celebratory pose, photo by Dan Hickling/OHL Images via chl.ca/erie-otters-are-2017-ohl-champions jpg.




Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL champions in 2017).
From CHL.ca, Saint John Sea Dogs are 2017 QMJHL Champions (chl.ca on May 11 2017).
saint-john-seadogs_2017-memorial-cup_n_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Sea Dogs jersey, photo from saintjohnseadogs.com/adult-replica-jersey-blue; illustration from sportslogos.net/Saint_John_Sea_Dogs. Saint John near arena, photo by Jaroslaw Binczarowski File:Stjohnpanoramo.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Harbour Station, photo by Andrew Touchakis Photography from facebook.com/Harbour-Station. Saint John skyline at twilight, photo by DDD DDD~commonswiki at File:Saint_John,_NB,_skyline_at_dusk5.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Players: Mathieu Joseph, photo from sjseadogs.com. Matthew Highmore, photo by François Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Thomas Chabot , photo unattributed at stationnation.blogspot.com. Callum Booth, photo from twitter.com/SJSeaDogs. Team photo after title-win, photo by Vincent Ethier/LHJMQ Média at theqmjhl.ca/sea-dogs-crowned-presidents-cup-champs-again.

Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL champions in 2017).
From the Seattle Times, Seattle Thunderbirds beat Regina in OT to take WHL title (seattletimes.com/sports on May 14 2017).
seattle-thunderbirds_showare-center_2017-whl-champions__2017-memorial-cup_m_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Thunderbirds’ jersey illustration, from sportslogos.net/Seattle_Thunderbirds.
Aerial shot of Kent, WA with Mt. Rainier in background, photo from City of Kent, Washington at Linkedin.com. ShoWare Center, two exterior-shots, photos by Lara Swimmer at djc.com.
Players: Keegan Kolesar, photo by Doug Westcott via eliteprospects.com. Mathew Barzal, photo unattributed at alchetron.com/Mathew-Barzal. Ethan Bear, photo from seattlethunderbirds.com/ethan-bear-named-chl-player-of-the-week.Carl Stankowski, photo from seattlethunderbirds.com. Alexander True scoring winner in OT, photo by Keith Hershmiller at kentreporter.com/thunderbirds-rally-capture-first-whl-crown-with-dramatic-ot-win-at-regina. On-ice celebration, photo by Troy Fleece/Regina Leader-Post via seattletimes.com/sports/seattle-thunderbirds-beat-regina-in-ot-to-take-whl-title.

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Thanks to the contributors at the following limks…
- Western Hockey League;
-Ontario Hockey League;
-Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
-Canadian metro-areas.
-USA metro-areas (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to The Hockey Writers.com site, now on my blogroll, at thehockeywriters.com.
-Thanks to the fine site known as Elite Prospects.com (Hockey Prospects), for player info…eliteprospects.com.

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