billsportsmaps.com

May 12, 2011

League Championship, 2010-11 season: the 2 automatically-promoted clubs, and the 4 play-off clubs.

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2010-11 Football League Championship, Top of the Table


2011 Football League Championship Play-off Final – at Wembley Stadium in London, on Monday 30 May, Swansea City v. Reading, 3pm GMT/10am ET.
From Guardian.co.uk, on Wed. 18 May 2011, by Smon Burnton,’Reading possess the crucial ingredient for play-off final – form…Brendan Rodgers’ Swansea have enjoyed the double over Reading this season but the best stat belongs to his rivals‘.

Other 2011 English football promoted club(s)/play-off clubs maps …
6th Level/2011 Conference North – map posted Thursday, 28 April, at 12midnight GMT/7pm ET. – {click for post on Conference North}.
6th Level/2011 Conference South – map posted Sunday, 30 April, at 12noon GMT/7am ET. – { click for post on Conference South }.
5th Level/2011 Conference National – map posted Tuesday, 3 May, at 12midnight GMT/7pm ET. -{ click for post on Conference National }.
4th Level/2011 Football League Two – map posted Saturday, 7 May, at 7pm GMT/2pm ET. – { click for post on Football League Two }.
3rd Level/2011 Football League One – map posted Monday, 8 May, at 12midnight GMT/7pm ET. – ( a click for post on Football League One }.
2nd Level/2011 Football League Championship – map posted Thursday, 10 May, at 12noon GMT/7am ET.

From Guardian.co.uk/football, from Press Association on Saturday, 7 May, ‘
QPR crowned champions and promoted after escaping points deduction
• FA punish QPR with £875,000 fine
• London club escape points deduction
‘.

From Guardian.co.uk/football, from 3 May 2011, by Barney Ronay, ‘Paul Lambert one step ahead as he steers Norwich to Premier League‘.

Final 2010-11 Football League Championship table (Soccerway.com).


Top Scorers -Leading scorers in 2010-11 Football League Championship -
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Photo credits – Danny Graham photo from London Evening standard site (thisislondon.co.uk), ‘here‘. Shane Long photo from GetReading.co.uk. Grant Holt photo from Football365.com, here. Lucciano Becchio photo by PA via DailyMail.co.uk, here. Scott Sinclair photo by John Walton/EMPICS Sport/guardian.co.uk, here. Max Gradel photo from uk.eurosport.yahoo.com, here. Adel Taarabt photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images Europe/zimbio.com, here. Jay Bothroyd photo by Action Images from telegraph.co.uk, here [from article 'The 10 best footballers in the Coca Cola Championship in pictures'].

Photo credits on map page -
QPR/Loftus Road…Exterior photo of Loftus Road from FussballInLondon.de, here. Interior photo by ynysforgan_jack at Flickr.com, here. Interior photo of main stand from AwayGrounds.com, here. Aerial image of Loftus Road from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Norwich City/Carrow Road…Mskau at Panoramio.com, here. AwayGrounds.com/Championship Grounds. ColonelBlinker.blogspot.com.

Swansea City AFC/Liberty Stadium…Exterior photo of Liberty Stadium from 100 Football Grounds Club, http://100groundsclub.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-matchday-242-liberty-stadium.html. Tims92, ‘Swansea City – Liberty Stadium‘. InterestingPhoto.com. Aeral image of liberty stadium from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Cardiff City/Cardiff City Stadium…Interior photo with crowd by Phil Tucker at Flickr.com, Phil Tucker’s photostream @ flickr.com. Interior photo of empty stadium from Cardiff Blues.com, Cardiff Blues and Cardiff City FC sign stadium contract. Exterior photo from Cardiff City FC.co.uk, Cardiff City Stadium. Aerial photo from Colorcoat-online, Cardiff City Stadium, project summary/gallery.

Reading/Madejski Stadium… Exterior photo by LeamDavid at Fickr.com, here. East Stand photo by Shaun at 100GroundsClub.blogspot.com, ‘My Matcday – 150 Madejski Stadium‘, via Picasaweb.google.com, here. North Stand photo [from final home match in promotion season of 2005-06] by Jason Platt at Panoramio.com, here. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye S\satellite view, here.

Nottingham Forest/City Ground… Aerial photo of Notts County and Nottingham Forest grounds from BBC/Nottingham, Aerial photographs of Nottingham. Photo of irregular-shaped roof of Main Stand from Inderendent Yeovil Town fansite Ciderspace.co.uk, Ciderspace-the independant Yeovil Town FC website. Photo of City Ground exterior from across the Trent River by NffcChris at en.wikipedia.org, City Ground by NffcChris. Aerial image of City ground from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Thanks to Historical Football kits for the kit illustrations, http://www.historicalkits.co.uk/
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Football League Championship‘.
Thanks to FootballGroundGuide.com, for stadium capacities.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for attendance figures.

May 9, 2011

League One, 2010-11 season. The 2 automatically-promoted clubs, and the 4 play-off clubs.

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2010-11 Football League One, Top of the Table


League One Play-off Final at Old Trafford in Greater Manchester on Sunday, 29 May 2011 – Huddersfield Town 0-3 Peterborough United. Peterborough United win promotion the the 2011-12 Football League Championship (their second time promoted to the 2nd Level in 3 seasons), attendance 48,410.
From Guardian.co.uk, by Louise Taylor, ‘Three second-half goals see promoted Peterborough past Huddersfield‘.

2010-11 Football League One final table (Soccerway.com).

Brighton & Hove Albion FC, managed by the Uruguayan Gus Poyet, ran away with the title. The Seagulls could not have timed their storybook season any better, because the club will be moving in to their fantastic new stadium in August. Falmer Stadium (aka American Express Community Stadium) looks a bit like Huddersfield Town’s Galpharm Stadium (as well as Bolton’s Reebok Stadium). Falmer will seat 22,374, and has the capability to be expanded to around 30,000. Brighton, and their fans, had to endure two seasons of playing over an hour’s travel time away, in Gillingham, Kent in the late 1990s, followed by 12 seasons in the purgatory of the running track-scarred Withdean Stadium, an inadequate facility that only had a capacity of around 8,000. But that is now in the past, and Brighton & Hove Albion look to have a good future. The Seagulls have historically spent the most time in the third tier that they are now leaving, with 51 seasons in the 3rd Level. Brighton has spent 14 seasons previously in the 2nd Level, most recently for a 2-season spell from 2004 to 2006. Brighton has only played 4 seasons in the first division, from 1979-80 to 1982-83, with a 13th place finish in 1982 being the Seagulls’ highest league placement. When Brighton were in the First Division, they drew 24,745 in 79/80; 18,984 in 80/81; 18,244 in 81/82; and 14,662 in their relegation season of 82/83. It remains to be seen if Brighton can still draw in the 20,000-range, but I feel that if Brighton can make it through next season by avoiding the drop, they will be in a good position to cultivate a fan base that can regularly fill the 23,000-capacity Falmer Stadium. Brighton’s metro area is 12th largest in Britain {see this,’List of urban areas in the United Kingdom‘, from en.wikipedia.org}.

The other automatically-promoted club from League One to the League Championship are another club from the south coast of England, Southampton FC. Southampton returns to the second tier after 2 seasons in the wilderness of the third tier, which is a level that Saints supporters would have thought the club had outgrown. Because prior to their 2 seasons in the 3rd Level, Southampton had a 4-season spell in the 2nd Level, and prior to that, the club spent 23 consecutive seasons in the top flight. Southampton spent from 1978-79 to 2004-05 in the First Division/Premier League.Southampton’s highest league placement was in 2nd place in the First Division in 1983-84, while their best finish in the last 20 years was in 8th place in the 2002-03 Premier League. Southampton has an FA Cup title – they won the FA Cup in 1976, when the club was in the Second Division (they are one of only 8 teams to have ever won the FA Cup while not in the top flight. {see this, ‘FA Cup/Winners from outside the top flight‘, from en.wikipedia.org}). Southampton, who averaged 22,161 per game this season (up 5.6% from 09/10) have a pretty decent-sized fan base, and can come pretty close to filling their 32,689-seat St. Mary’s Stadium on a regular basis when the team is playing well, and even when they are not. For example, they drew 30,680 per game when they finished in 8th in the Premier League in 2002-03. And they were drawing almost exactly that figure (30,610 per game) when they got relegated from the Premier League on the last day of the 2004-05 season. Southampton fans must be pretty optimistic, because they have a solid manager, ex-Scunthorpe physio and ex-Scunthorpe manager Nigel Adkins, who took over in September 2010, and got the Saints first in to the play-off places by November 2010, and then into 2nd place on New Year’s Day. The club effectively clinched automatic promotion with 2 games to spare on 2nd May, 2011 (because their lead with 2 games to play was 6 points and a goal difference of over 15 more than the third place team). Adkins’ Saints broke the club record for clean sheets, with 20 out of 46 clean sheets this season. The other reason Southampton supporters will be looking forward to their return to the second tier is that this time, their arch-enemies, the nearby Portsmouth FC, are also in the second division, so the South Coast derby will resume next season. Portsmouth and Southamprton played in the FA Cup in 2009-10, but besides that there hasn’t been a regular league South Coast derby match since 2005.
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Photo credits on the map page -
Brighton…Withdean Stadium photos by Colin Smith at en.wikipedia.org, here. Falmer Stadium under construction, July, 2010, by Tescoid at en.wikipedia.org, here. Aerial photo from England.Brighton.blogspot.com, here.

Southampton…Exterior photo of St. May’s Stadium by Marcsfc at Flickr.com, here. Interior photo from Urban75.og/blog. Aerial view from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Huddersfield Town…Interior photo of the Galpahrm Stadium from Sky Sports.com, Huddersfield Town. Extreior night-time photo of the Galpharm by Matthew Ashton at The Guardian, “Huddersfield’s community stadium dream sours in ownership wrangle [6 May, 2009]“. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Peterborough United…Photo of London Road Terrace by ynysforgan_jack at Flickr.com, here. Photo of Norwich and Peterborough South Stand from ExtremeGroundhopping.blogspot.com, here/new address at ExtremeGroundhopping.woedpress.com, here. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Milton Keynes Dons…Exterior photo of Stadium mk from Rowecord structural Engineering site, RoweCord.com. Interior photo from SportyDesktops.com. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Bournemouth… Photo of Main Stand at Dean Court from Tims92.webs.com, here. Photo of parts of the three stands at Dean Court from DATM.info (Huddersfield Town fansite), here. Aerial image of Dean Court from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Huddersfield Town…Interior photo of Galpharm Stadium from SkySports.com/Huddersfield Town page. Exterior photo of Galpharm Stadium at night, by Matthew Ashton/EMPICS Sport, at guardian.co.uk, here. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Thanks to HistoricalFootballKits.co.uk, for the kit illustrationa, ‘Npower League One 2010-11‘.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Football League One‘.
Thanks to Soccerway, for for attendances.

May 7, 2011

League Two, 2010-11 season: the 3 automatically-promoted clubs, and the 4 play-off clubs.

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2010-11 League Two, Top of the Table


2010-11 Football League Two final table (Soccerway.com).
League Two Play-Offs.
1st Legs,
Saturday, 14 May – Torquay United v. Shrewsbury Town.
Sunday, 15 May – Stevenage v. Accrington Stanley.
2nd Legs,
Friday, 20 May – Shrewsbury Town v. Torquay United.
Friday, 20 May – Accrington Stanley v. Stevenage.
League Two Play-off Final, Saturday, 28 May at Old Trafford in Greater Manchester – Stevenage 1-0 Torquay, attendance: 11,484.
From BBC.co.uk, ‘Stevenage 1 – 0 Torquay‘.
Stevenage win promotion to League One. [That makes it back-to-back promotions for Stevenage...a club that had never been in the Football League before 2010.]


Chesterfield FC won the 2010-11 League Two title. The Spireites rode the wave of an inaugural season in their new 10,338-seat b2net Stadium in Chesterfield, north Derbyshire, and were energized by the 3,123 per game increase in crowds. Chesterfield ended up averaging 6,834 per game, which was third best in the 2010-11 League Two season (Bradford City and just-promoted Oxford United drew first and second highest in the league this season {2010-11 League Two average attendance (ESPN Soccernet.com)}. In John Sheridan‘s third season as manager, Chesterfield returns to the third tier for the first time in 4 years. The Spireites last spell in the 3rd Level lasted 6 seasons (2001-02 to 2006-07), and only saw Chesterfield reach a high of 16th place [in 2005-06]. The third tier is where Chesterfield has spent the bulk of their seasons {Chesterfield League history, here (Chesterfield-Mad site)}. Chesterfield has spent 51 seasons in the third division, but have never managed to win promotion to the 2nd Level.

The other two automatically-promoted clubs this season in League Two were Greater Manchester’s Bury FC; and, qualifying on the last day of the season, 3rd Level/4th Level yo-yo club Wycombe Wanders, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Wycombe manager Gary Waddock, who took over in October 2009, has returned the Chairboys back to the third tier. Wycombe has a larger fan base than Bury, and were pulling in 5,544 per game in 2009-10, when they had just won promotion to League One (they went straight back down that season). Wycombe have spent 11 seasons previously in the third tier. The Wanderers drew 9th highest in League Two this season, pulling in 4,495 per game. At their 10,000-capacity Adams Park, Wycombe Wanderers have a ground share with the Rugby Union club London Wasps (Wycombe Wanderers own the ground).

Bury are pretty strongly overshadowed by the red and the light blue halves of Manchester, and they must fight for fans with Rochdale AFC, who are fron the adjacent town to Bury, and will renew their deby matches when Bury join ‘Dale in League One next season. Bury have considerable first division history (having spent 22 seasons there) and also own two FA Cup titles (won in 1900 and 1903). But the Shakers have not been in the top flight since 1929. Their last, two-season spell in the second division ended in 1999. Bury survived the abrupt departure of manager Alan Knill to Scunthorpe earlier this spring, and kept their league form under Knill’s replacement, caretaker manager Richard Barker, who had been Bury’s youth team coach. Bury drew 3,313 per game (13th highest in the league), which was an 13.5 percent increase from 2009-10. Bury play at Gigg Lane, which the club owns. They ground-share with supporter-owned 7th Level club FC United of Manchester.
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Photo credits for the map page -
Chesterfield…Exterior photo and first interior photo of b2net Stadium from 100groundclub.blogspot.com, here. West Stand of b2net Stadium photo by Kate Hall (aka ginger kate) at Flickr.com, here. Aerial photo of b2net Stadium from Chesterfield.co.uk, here.

Bury… Gigg Lane photo (furthest on the left) from PitchCare.com, here. Photo of Gigg Lane under the roof of the Main Stand from AwayGrounds.com, here. Aerial photo of Gigg Lane from BuryFCyouth.co.uk, here.

Wycombe… Interior photo of Adams Park from VisitBuckinghamshire.org, here. Exterior photo of Adams Park from Geograph.co.uk, here. Aerial image of Adams Park from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Shrewsbury Town…Exterior photo of the New Meadow [aka Greenhous Meadow] from TheGroundhog.wordpress.com, here. Interior photo of New Meadow by ChrisBrookesPhotography.co.uk at Flicker.com here. Aerial photo of the New Meadow by James Humphreys [aka Colds7ream], at en.wikipedia.org, here; Colds7ream’s wikipedia user page, user:Colds7ream.

Accrington Stanley…Photo of the Crown Ground [aka Fraser Eagle Stadium] with sign by Robert Wade, from Geograph.org.uk, here. Photo taken from the terrace from forums.electronicarts.co.uk, here. Aerial image of the Crown Ground from Bing.cpm.maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Stevenage…Main Stand of Broadhall Way by Campdavemorecambe at Flickr.com, here. Photo of terrace by Ray Stanton at Panoramio.com, here. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Torquay United…Exterior photo of Plainmoor from EMPICS Sport, via DailyMail.co.uk. Photo of Plainmoor with terrace in foreground from ImageShack.us, here. Aerial photo of Plainmoor from Stadiums.Football.co.uk, here.

Thanks to HistoricalFootballKits.co.uk, for the kit illustrationa, ‘Npower League Two 2010-11‘.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Football League Two‘.
Thanks to ESPN Soccernet for attendances.

May 3, 2011

Conference National, 2010-11 season: the 1 automatically-promoted club, and the 4 play-off clubs.

Filed under: 2010-11 English Football,Eng. Non-League,Football Stadia — admin @ 7:00 pm

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2011 Conference, top of the table


Play-off Final – AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Luton Town in AET/Wimbledon 4-3 on penalties/AFC Wimbledon are promoted to the Football League (!!!). On 21 May 2011 at City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester, attendance 18,195.
From Guardian.co.uk, by Sachin Nakrani, ‘AFC Wimbledon beat Luton on penalties to reach the Football League‘.

Play-off results…
[Wrexham 0-3 Luton Town, at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, Wales, attendance 7,211]
From Conference National site, ‘Luton Take Commanding First-Leg Lead‘.
[Luton Town 2-1 Wrexhan / Luton Town wins on 5-1 aggregate, at Kenilworth Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, attendance 9,078']
From Guardian.co.uk, by Sachim Nakrani, ‘AFC Wimbledon beat Luton on penalties to reach the Football League‘.

[Fleetwood Town 0-2 AFC Wimbledon, at Highbury Stadium in Fleetwood, Lancashire, attendance 4,112]
From BBC.co.uk, ‘Fleetwood 0-2 AFC Wimbledon‘.
[AFC Wimbledon 6-1 Fleetwood Town / Wimbledon wins on 8-1 aggregate, at Kingsmeadow, Kingston upon Thames, southwest London, attendance 4,538.]
From Bluesqfootball.com, ‘ AFC Wimbledon 6-1 Fleetwood (agg 8-1) ‘.

Leading scorers in 2010-11 Conference National (goals scored in all competitions)…
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Photo credits – Matt Tubbs – crawleyobserver.co.uk . Alan Connell – thisisgrimsby.co.uk . Danny Kedwell – surreyherald.co.uk – ‘AFC Wimbledon skipper Danny Kedwell taunts big-spending Crawley Town’ . Magno Vieira – Derrick Thomas at picasaweb.google.com, via fleetwoodtownfc.com/Photo Gallery .

In the play-offs, second-place AFC Wimbledon’s grassroots-supporters-versus-club-stealing-franchise-operators creation-story and somewhat meteoric rise through the lower reaches of Non-League Football is pretty well known {see this, ‘Wimbledon march onwards and upwards with firm grasp of history – AFC Wimbledon, owned entirely by fans, have risen from adversity to be in touching distance of the Football League‘, from Guardian.co.uk, 4 Sept 2010, by Louise Taylor.}. AFC Wimbledon will face Fleetwood Town, a club who also have been progressing up the football pyramid in an impressive manner. Now Fleetwood Town has a visible monument to this rise…just look, on the map page, at that swank new curved-roof main stand (now called the Parkside Stand) at Fleetwood’s Highbury Stadium in coastal Lancashire.

Fleetwood Town FC are known (brilliantly) as The Cod Army. This incarnation of the club is it’s third, with the first FTFC existing from 1908 to 1976, and FTFC (II) existing from 1977 to 1996. FTFC (III) began in 1997-98 in the North West Counties Football League Division Two, [then a 9th Level league/now a 10th Level League], as Fleetwood Freeport FC (for sponsorship reasons). The club’s first promotion ensued in their second season, in 1999, and in 2002, their name became Fleetwood Town FC (III). Successive promotions in 2005, and then in 2006 saw Fleetwood Town reach the 7th Level in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. Two seasons later, in 2008, Fleetwood Town won automatic promotion to the Conference North by winning the Unibond Norhern Premier League. At this point, the Cod Army already had an impressive fan base for a club at this level, drawing 721 per game in 2007-08 – this in a league that was averaging 313 per game {see these tables from Tony’s Non-League Football site, here}.

Fleetwood Town had a rough go of it initially in the 6th Level in 2008-09, and had to replace their manager with Burnley youth team manager (and former Blackpool and Tranmere midfielder) Micky Mellon. By January, 2010, Mellon became the first full-time manager at Fleetwood, and began introducing a number of new signings that upped the talent quotient in this corner of Lancashire. That season included Fleetwood Town’s first-ever appearance in the FA Cup Second Round Proper, with a then-record-crowd of 3,280 at Highbury Stadium seeing them fall to League One’s Harlepool United by a score of 2-3. Fleetwood Town’s fan base had grown to the point where the club was averaging 920 per game in league matches, and further progress on the pitch was shown by their 8th place finish in their first season in Conference North.

As a pre-season favorite for promotion in 2009-10, Fleetwood Town established themselves as one of the two strongest teams in the league, with the other being their very nearby rivals, Southport FC (who are 28 km./17 miles down the road in Merseyside). Because of the demise of Leeds-based Farsley Celtic during the 2009-10 Conference North season, that club’s matches were expunged, and this led to Fleetwood Town losing 3 points and missing out on automatic promotion, with Southport instead winning the league title [Southport are now back down, having been relegated, by goal difference, out of the Conference National on Saturday, 30 April, 2011]. Fleetwood won promotion via the play-offs, though, winning it over Alfreton Town at Highbury Stadium last May in front of 3,592 (the current record crowd there).

Chairman Andy Pilley announced that the club would go full-time for 2010-11. The club’s best acquisition after their squad went full-time was Brazilian-born striker Magno Vieira, whom Fleetwood Town purchased from then-relegated Ebbsfleet United. [Vieira went on to score 22 goals for Fleetwood Town this season, which was fourth-best in the league.] By September, Fleetwood Town were in 3rd place. Captain George Milligan, out the door after the full-time policy began, returned in November, 2010. But a string of poor results led them to drop to the edge of the play-off places by the new year. However, Fleetwood Town caught fire near the close of the season and finished with 7 wins in their last 8 matches, and with the late season stumbling of Darlington. York City, and Kidderminster, Fleetwood ended up in the final play-off spot. Fleetwood Town ended up with a 1,753 per game average attendance, up 29 percent from last season.

The other play-off match-up features two clubs both with over three-quarters of a Century of League history, but each with recent financial melt-downs… Bedfordshire’s Luton Town FC and Wrexham FC, of North Wales. Of the two, Luton Town have the bigger fan base – biggest in all of Non-League, currently, having drawn above 6,000 per game in both seasons the club has spent outside the League since their near-extinction, administration, and 30-point deduction in 2008-09. Luton Town, known as the Hatters, are the second club in the modern era to have First Division history (with 16 seasons in the English top flight, last in 1991-92) and then subsequent Non-League status [the other one was Oxford United]. Wrexham’s League history only goes up to the 2nd Level (with 4 seasons there, between 1978 and 1982), but the Red Dragons, North Wales biggest club, have 100 seasons of League history, versus 84 seasons accumulated by Luton Town. Wrexham drew 3,061 per game this season (up 7 percent), and are probably hurt by the fact that their Racecourse Ground (capacity 15,500) is too large for their current fan base. Luton Town actually have the exact opposite problem… because of how built-up the area is around their ground, Kenilworth Road (Luton being part of the heavily-populated commuter belt north of London), the club cannot expand or realistically renovate there. This has been a problem at Luton Town for decades. This is how cramped Kenilworth Road is…one of the ground’s entrances is through a portal under a block of flats! That is the Oak Stand entrance, and you can see that entrance-way in one of the three photos for Luton Town on the map page.

Meanwhile, Luton Town look to be of the woods, financial-crisis-wise, but it looks like Wrexham’s problems have only begun. So much so that there was talk for a while that the Conference top brass would not even allow Wrexham to compete in the play-offs, but they will.

Crawley Town FC spent 500,000 pounds on a now-successful bid for promotion to the Football League. This was more than all 23 other Conference National clubs, combined, spent on new signings this season. This was in fact more than all 24 League Two clubs, combined, spent on new signings. Their manager, Steve Evans, is a manners-challenged convicted felon who got his previous for cooking the books at Boston United a decade ago {see this, ‘Shamed manager keeps his job‘ (bbc.co.uk/Lincolnshire, 4 Nov. 2006).

As noted in the following article from TwoFootedTackle.com…’There’s a genuine feeling within the lower levels of the game that Evans’ criminal record should have resulted in a lifetime ban.’ {see this article from Jan.30 2011, ‘Why many neutrals won’t be cheering on Crawley in the FA Cup’}.

From When Saturday Comes site, ‘Creepy Crawley buying their way out of the Conference‘ (WSC.co.uk, 13 Jan. 2011, by Matt Ramsay).

Photo credits for map page -
Crawley Town/Broadfield Stadium…Broadfield Stadium interior photo with railing in foreground from WorldGroundHop.blogspot.com, here. Main Stand photo by Peer Pawelczyk at EuroPlan-online.de, here, via Soccerway.com,, here. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

AFC Wimbledon/Kingsmeadow…Tempest Stand at Kingmeadow photo from DoingThe106.com, here, via ConferenceGrounds.co.uk, here. Main Stand from 100groundsclub.blogspot.com, here. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Luton Town/Kenilworth Road…Oak Stand entrance (between row houses) from SoccerWord.com. Kenilworth Road interior photo from Stadiums.Football.co.uk, here. Aerial image of Kenilworth Road from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Wrexham/Racecourse Ground… Interior photo from WikiStadiums.org, here. Photo of Mold Road Stand with The Kop (terrace) in foreground from Soccerway.com, here. Aerial image of Racecourse Ground from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Fleetwood Town/Highbury Stadium…New stand [construction on parts of the is stadium still ongoing] photo from Flower Design Events sire, here. Architect’s rendering of Highbury Stadium with new Main Stand from FWP Group.co.uk, here. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Conference National‘.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for attendance figures.
Thanks to the BBC London Non-League Football show.

May 1, 2011

England, Non-League Football/6th Level – Conference South: the 1 promoted club, and the 4 Play-off clubs.

Filed under: 2010-11 English Football,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 7:00 am

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2010-11 Conference South, top of the table




Play-off Final result – Farnborough 2-4 Ebbsfleet United, at Rushmoor Stadium in Farnborough, Hampshire, attendance 3,365.
From Bluesqfootball.com, ‘Farnborough 2-4 Ebbsfleet‘.

1st Leg match reports, from the Football Conference site, from 4th May, 2011…
[Chelmsford City 1-4 Ebbsfleet United, at Melbourne Stadium in Chelmsford, Essex, attendance 1,701.]
Fleet Take 3 Goal Advantage Home‘.
[Woking 0-1 Farnborough, at Kingfield Stadium in Woking, Sussex, attendance 2,726.]
Boro Take Single Goal Advantage‘.
2nd Leg match reports,
[Ebbsfleet United 2-1 Chelmsford City / Aggregate 6-2 to Ebbsfleet United. At Stonebridge Road in Gravesend, Kent, attendance 1,538.]
No Miracle Comeback for Chelmsford‘.
[Farnborough 1-1 Woking in AET / Aggregate 2-1 to Farnborough. At Rushmoor Stadium, in Farnborough, Hampshire, attendance 2,137.]
Extra-Time Winner for Boro

The promoted club – Braintree Town – had clinched the title on 23rd April, but the play-off places were not decided until the final day of the season on Saturday, 30th April. Chelmsford City needed a win to qualify for the play-offs, and they did, with a 3-1 result over lowly Hampton & Richmond, in front of 1,178 at the running-track-marred Melbourne Stadium in Chelmsford, Essex. The host of the BBC Non-League Football Show, Caroline Barker, a Chemlsford City board member, will be pretty relieved about that result, but the Clarets have their work cut out for them now, as they must face former Conference side Ebbsfleet United, who have been ably managed by Liam DaIsh in spite of the impediments put in front of the team by the experiment-gone-awry that was and is the MyFootballClub.com ownership of Ebbsfleet United {see this, ‘What happened to MyFootballClub and Ebbsfleet United?‘, from BBC.co.uk, from 6 September, 2010, by Dave Lee}. Maybe, without this sideshow, Ebbsfleet United would never have lost their Conference status. The club finished in 7th place in the Conference National in 2006-07, and a month later were taken over by MyFootballClub.com – it has been downhill since. Chelmsford City have never been higher than the 6th Level; the Clarets averaged 868 per game this season (but have averaged above 1,000 per game for the previous three seasons). Ebbsfleet were similarly drawing slightly above 1,000 per game (at their Stonebridge Road ground in the Thames Estuary town of Gravesend, Kent) when they were in the Conference National, and they drew 1,007 per game this season in the Conference South [3rd highest], so their relegation has barely affected attendances. But actually, 4 of the 5 clubs at the top of the table in the Conference South drew worse this season than last [Conference North was the opposite...every club in the top 5 had attendance increases compared to 2009-10]. The especially harsh winter in Britain, and the cancellation of scores of Saturday matches (and the matches being re-scheduled for poorer-drawing weekday dates) probably had a dampening effect on attendances Specifically with Chelmsford City, I would add that the club’s failure to progress past the play-off stages for two straight seasons has likely kept a percentage of their supporters away – plus, I can’t see their stadium helping.

The other play-off match-up is between Hampshire’s Farnborough, and the Sussex club Woking. These two clubs are only about 15 km. (9 miles) apart. Farnborough FC are a phoenix-club that replaced, in 2007, Farnborough Town FC, who had 13 seasons of Conference history in 4 separate spells. The current incarnation of Farnborough won promotion to the Conference South last season after winning the 7th Level Southern League Premier Division. Farnborough drew 782 per game this season [6th highest in the league]. Woking FC, nicknamed the Cards (or the Cardinals) also have considerable Conference history, with 18 consecutive seasons in the 5th Level, from 1991-92 to 2008-09. A decade-and-a-half ago, Woking came up agonizingly short of automatic promotion to the League, with back-to-back 2nd place finishes in 1994-95 and 1995-96 [That was in the era of one solitary promotion spot to the Football League. A second promotion spot to the 4th Level (via the play-offs), was instituted in 2002-03.]. Woking do have some Non-League success to brag about, though, as they are one of only 3 clubs to have won 3 FA Trophy titles. Woking won the FA Trophy (which is a competition for clubs from Levels 5 through 8) in 1994, 1995, and 1997. [The other 2 clubs who have won the FA Trophy three times are actually both defunct - Telford United and Scarborough.] Woking have maintained their 5th Level-sized fan base and draw well for the 6th Level – the Cards had the second-highest average attendance in the Conference South this season, pulling in 1,167 per game [the highest drawing club was Dartford, who pulled in 1,171 per game to their magnificent Princes Park]. Woking have an unusual ground, Kingfield Stadium. It features one rather large (for this level, at least), all-seater stand behind one goal, and mostly terrace/standing capacity in the other 3 sides. {Here is Woking FC’s Kingfield Stadium page at ConferenceGrounds.co.uk.}

The north Essex-based Braintree Town, known as the Iron, are a pretty small club to be finding themselves moving up to the 5th Level. I am not saying they have a fan base as small as the mighty minnows that are Hayes & Yeading United FC, who drew only 385 per game this season in the Conference. But Braintree Town’s fan base is only marginally bigger. Braintree were only drawing around 500 or so for most of their home matches this season. They ended up with an average attendance of 661 per game, a number inflated by 2 matches – one versus Chelmsford in August that drew 1,265 (and which was an Essex derby), and their final home match, after they had clinched promotion, which drew 1,645. But it is testament to the squad that a team representing such a small club could methodically march to promotion like Braintree Town did. And this is no fluke promotion-run by Braintree Town, because last season, the Iron missed out on the play-offs by just one point. Here is part of what the chairman, Lee Harding, wrote this week in the Braintree Town website… ‘We may not have the best facilities in the Premier Division next season, nor the highest attendances, but one promise I will make to our League is that we will not embarrass our competition by getting ourselves into financial trouble. There will be no administrations, CVAs or liquidations at Cressing Road! In my eight years at the Club we have made sustainable progress, we continue to have substantial assets behind us and are working towards a new stadium.’

Braintree Town are managed by Rod Stringer, who was appointed manager just under 12 months ago, coming over from the south Essex 7th Level club Aveley FC, after revitalizing that club and leading them to promotion from the 8th Level to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2008-09. Braintree Town’s leading scorer this season was Sean Marks, who had the second-highest goal tally in the Conference South (second only to Dover Athletic’s Sam Birchall [who had 32 goals]). Marks scored 22 goals this season for Braintree Town (in all competitions).

braintree-town_cressing-road_sean-marks_north-essex-on-tour.gif

Photo credits – NorthEssexOnTour. Pixel8photos.photoshelter.com.

Photo credits on the map page [including each club's official site]-

Braintree Town [braintreetownfc.org ]
Panoramic image of Cressing Road Stadium from NorthEssexOnTour.blogspot.com, here.. Main Stand photo by David Bauckman at PyramidPassion.co.uk, here.

Farnborough [ farnboroughfc.co.uk ].
Photo of Main Stand at Rushmoor stadium from farnboroughfc.co.uk, here. Interior photo of Rushroom Stadium by Stewart Tree at Flickr.com, here.

Ebbsfleet United [ebbsfleetunited.co.uk]
Aerial image of Stonebridge Road from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. Stonebridge Road Stand (terrace) photo by Phil Moss at Flickr.com, here.

Woking [ wokingfc.co.uk ]
Aerial image of Kingfield Stadium from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. Photo with Leslie Gosden Stand in background by PL Chadwick at Geograph.org, here.

Chelmsford City [ chelmsfordcityfootballclub.co.uk ]
Aerial image of Melbourne Stadium from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. Main Stand photo from BlueSquareSouth.com, here.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Conference South‘.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for attendances.
Thanks to the Braintree Town site.
Thanks to NorthEssexOnTour.com.
Thanks to the BBC London Non-League Football Show.

April 28, 2011

England, Non-League Football/6th Level – Conference North: the 1 promoted club, and the 4 play-off clubs.

Filed under: 2010-11 English Football,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 7:00 pm

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2010-11 Conference North, top of the table


Play-off Final result – AFC Telford United 3-2 Guiseley AFC, at New Bucks Head in Telford, Shropshire, attendance 5,436.
From Bluesqfootball.com, ‘AFC Telford 3-2 Guiseley‘.

1st Leg match reports (from the Football Conference site, from 4th May,2011)…
[Nuneaton Town 1-1 AFC Telford United, at Liberty Way in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, attendance 2,089]
Advantage AFC Telford After First-Leg‘.
[Guiseley 1-0 Boston United, at Nethermoor in Guiseley, Greater Leeds, West Yorkshire, attendance 1,022]
Lions Take Slender Lead Into Second Leg‘.
2nd Leg match reports …
[AFC Telford 2-1 Nuneaton Town / Aggregate 3-2 to AFC Telford United. At New Bucks Head in Telford, Shropshire, attendance 3,442.]
AFC Telford Win Through to Host Final’.
[Boston United 3-2 Guiseley in AET / Aggregate 3-3...Decided by Penalties: won by Guiseley, 3-2. At York Street, Boston, Lincolshire, attendance 2,640.]
Guiseley are Spot-On

The Conference North ends it’s 2010-11 season on Saturday, but the promoted club – Alfreton Town – and the 4 play-off clubs have already been determined. Eastwood Town (currently in 4th place in the table) was ruled to have a ground that did not meet the criteria for Conference National standards, so they will not be in the play-offs regardless. That left the door open for the Greater Leeds-based club Guiseley AFC (currently in 6th place). Guiseley were in the 7th Level last season, and draw around 400 per game, so if Guiseley were to win promotion to the Conference, it would definitely be a case of a club punching above their weight. The same would not be said of the other 3 clubs in the play-offs here, particularly in the case of Boston United, who have history in the League (with 5 seasons in League Two, from 2002-03 to 2006-07), and are drawing over 1,300 per game this season. As for the other two clubs in the play-offs here, Nuneaton Town have drawn around 900 per game this season, and AFC Telford United have drawn around 1,800 per game this season. Telford lead the Conference North in attendance. The other thing about AFC Telford United is that Telford itself, which serves in some respects as as a bedroom community for the West Midlands and the city of Birmingham (it being 45 km./28 milles west of Birmingham), is a pretty large municipality for this level. Telford is a new town and is one of the fastest growing towns in the UK, with a population of around 162,000 {2009 estimate}. Telford is Shropshire’s largest town. It really has the potential to be the home of a lower-League club, and AFC Telford has the facilities to match such a potential, as the New Bucks Head is a pretty nice ground. The Wolverhampton Wanderers reserves play there, and the New Bucks Head is generally considered to one of the best Non-League grounds in the country. Here is a report on a visit there from the Tims92 site, ‘AFC Telford United, New Bucks Head [July, 2005]‘.

This is the first time I have covered the 6th Level play-offs. Sunday I will have the corresponding map for the other 6th Level league, the Conference South.

At the upper left of the map page is the promoted club, Alfreton Town, with club info, 2010-11 kits, and 3 photos of their Impact Arena (North Street) ground. Below Alfreton Town on the map page are the 4 play-of clubs, with club info, 2010-11 kits, and 2 photos of their grounds. On the map itself, the 5 clubs’ locations are shown. At the upper right on the map page are the 2010-11 and 2009-10 average attendances of the 5 clubs.

Derbyshire’s Alfreton Town lost last season in the play-off final to Fleetwood Town, so their clinching of this season’s title is a natural progression. Next season will be Alfreton Town’s first-ever in the 5th Level, and their chairman has confirmed that the club intends to have their squad go full-time, in stages {see this, ‘Reds facing some big decisions following promotion to the top flight”, from ThisIsNottingham.co.uk}.

Alfreton’s manager is Nicky Law (senior). Alfreton Town, known as the Reds, had been usually drawing between 600 to 800 per game this season, but they pulled in 1,364 at their Impact Arena on 23rd April, when they clinched promotion with a 4-nil victory over Redditch United. [Those 4 goals included a brace scored by the Conference North's leading scorer, the Nottingham-born Liam Hearn, who has scored 25 league goals for the Reds this season.] The gate figure at that match was Alfreton Town’s highest in 45 years. It is hoped the crowd size will be similar Saturday, when promotion-chasing Nuneaton Town visit.
Below are photos from Alfreton Town’s promotion-clinching match on 23rd April [note: click on images below to see an enlarged version]…
alfreton-town_conference-north-champions2011_c.gif
Photo credits – all 6 photos by Dave Purseglove [aka kevmiles1] at Flickr.com, here.
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Below, are photo credits from the map page, along with a link to all 5 clubs’ official sites-
Alfreton Town [ http://www.alfretontownfc.com/ ]…
Aerial image of Impact Arena (North Street) from Alfretontownfc.com, here. Photo of field and terrace by clubbability at Flickr.com, here.Terrace photo from WheresTheTeaHut.blogspot.com, here.

AFC Telford United [ http://www.telfordutd.co.uk/ ]
Interior image from from Youtube video posted by telfordtillidie, ‘the new bucks head stadium‘..Aerial image of the New Bucks Head ground from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Boston United [ http://www.bufc.co.uk/ ]
Exterior photo of York Street ground from bufc.com, here. (via woswws.webs.com/Guide to Blue square north {2010-11}, here]. Interior photo from 100GroundsClub.blogspot.com, here.

Nuneaton Town [ http://www.nuneatontownfc.com/ ] Aerial photo from nuneatontownfc.com/ , here. Interior photo by LearnDavid at Flickr.com, here.

Guiseley AFC [ http://www.guiseleyafc.co.uk/ ]
Aerial photo from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. Photo of main stand from GuisleyAFC.com, here.
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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Conference North‘.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for 2009-10 attendances. Thanks to HarrogateTown.com, for 2010-11 attendances.
Thanks to Alfreton Town FC site.
Thanks to kevmiles1 @ Flickr.com, kevmiles1 photostream, here.
Thanks to the BBC London Non-League Football Show.

January 30, 2011

England, Non-League Football: 2010-11 Conference South [a 6th Level league].

Filed under: 2010-11 English Football,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 1:37 pm

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2010-11 Conference South




Conference South table, fixtures, results (Soccerway.com).

The Conference South is one of two leagues that comprise the 6th Level of the English Football Pyramid. The Conference South’s sister league is the Conference North {to see my recent map of and post on the 2010-11 Conference North, click here}. These two leagues were instituted in 2004-05. Clubs were drawn from the Northern Premier League, the Southern League, and the Isthmian League [those three leagues now make up the 7th Level]. After each season, two promoted clubs go up to the Conference National (5th Level) – the league winner and the winner of the 4-team playoff. Three relegated clubs go down to the 7th Level, to the Southern Football League Premier Division, which is composed of clubs from the South West, the South Central, and the Midlands; or the Isthmian Football League Premier Division, which is composed of clubs from the East of England (particularly Hertfordshire and Essex), Greater London, and the South East. [Theoretically, a club relegated from the Conference South could go to the Northern Premier League Premier Division (which is composed of clubs from the North East and the North West), but there would have be real unusual circumstances for that to happen].

There are 22 clubs in the Conference South.


The map page shows the clubs’ profile boxes placed from top to bottom in the order of the current Conference South table (as of Sunday, 30 January, 2011). The profile boxes include the club’s home kit badge, nickname, year of formation, stadium and capacity, location, 2009-10 final placement, and all-time highest league placement. Current average attendances (from home league matches) and 2009-10 average attendances are shown at the right of the map.


Current leaders are the north Essex club Braintree Town FC (est. 1898), who hail from Braintree, which is 63 km. (39 mi.) north-east of London, and has a population of around 42,000 {2001 census figure}. Braintree Town have now won 6 straight matches, and are 6 points ahead of 2nd-place Bromley, with 4 games in hand. Braintree Town are known as the Iron, and the club’s origins are as Manor Works, the works team of the Crittall Window Company, who were once the leading window makers in the country (the Iron name refers to the company’s iron window frames). The factory overlooked the Cressing Road ground that Braintree Town play at, and though it was demolished in 2005, its image is still part of the club’s crest. Braintree Town were promoted to Conference South as champions of the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2005-06. The Iron play these days in orange jerseys (previously yellow) and blue pants. Their manager is Rod Stringer, who came over from the south Essex/Thames Estuary 7th Level club Aveley FC in May, 2010, after revitalizing that club and leading them to promotion from the 8th Level to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2008-09. Here is an article from This Is Essex.co.uk, from 20 January, by David Ward, ‘BRAINTREE TOWN: Iron progress a surprise for boss‘. Here is the official Braintree Town site, www.braintreetownfc.org.uk/. The site features highlights from their previous match. Also, at the Braintree Town site you can see the ambition the club have, with an architect’s rendering of the club’s proposed new stadium.

Pyramid Passion.co.uk’s page on Braintree Town, here.
braintree-town_.gif
Photo credits – David Bauckman at Pyramid Passion.co.uk, here. Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. BraintreeTownFC.com, here.


Median average attendance this season in Conference South is currently (30 Jan.) 616 per game. This puts Conference South as a higher draw than Conference North, whose current median avg. attendance is 443 per game. There are currently 3 clubs drawing over 1,000 per game and 13 clubs drawing over 500 per game in Conference South. In Conference North, there are currently 2 clubs drawing over 1,000 per game and 7 clubs drawing over 500 per game.

The best-drawing club in Conference South this season is Dartford FC, who won promotion, as champions, from the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2009-10. Dartford is on the edge of Greater London, in Kent, on the Thames Estuary, and is 24 km. (15 mi.) south-east of London city center. Dartford has a population of around 89,000, and is perhaps best known as the location of the main thoroughfares which connect South East England to East London and Essex, via the Dartford Crossing and the Dartford Tunnel.

The Darts are currently in a relegation battle, in 17th place, but they have won 2 straight. Dartford FC are averaging 1,320 per game this season, which is a pretty impressive figure for a club that had never been in the 6th Level before this season. The primary reason for their good turnstile count is that the Darts play at Princes Park, a ground that is pretty unique, to say the least. It has been described as the most ecologically sound football ground ever built. Princes Park, which is constructed primarily of wood, maintains an open-air feeling underscored by the large glass windows of the club house behind parts of the main stand, and features a living roof (with sedum growing on it – sedum is a plant commonly used in green roofs, with water-retention characteristics that make it preferable to grass). The ‘green roof’ allows rainwater to be collected (and stored in two ponds on the site) and re-used for watering the pitch. Solar panels are employed for energy saving. Designed by Alexander Sedgley Architects, Princes Park opened in 2006. It has a capacity of 4,100 (642 seated) and is located close to the Dartford town center.
A Park Fit For A Prince‘, from SPAOTP.com.
Tims92.co.uk’s page on Dartford’s Princes Park, here.

dartford-fc_princes-park_kent-.gif
Photo credits-Groundtastic.co.uk. Tims 92.co.uk. SomePeopleAreOnThePirch. Bluesqsouth.com.

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Thanks to Soccerway.com, for attendance figures.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Conference South‘.

January 19, 2011

England, Non-League Football: 2010-11 Conference North [a 6th Level league].

Filed under: 2010-11 English Football,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 10:09 am

2010-11conference-north_post_e.gif
2010-11 Conference North



Conference North/South tables, fixtures, results (Soccerway.com), here.
The Conference North is one of two leagues that comprise the 6th Level of the English Football Pyramid. The Conference North’s sister league is the Conference South. These two leagues were instituted in 2004-05. Clubs were drawn from the Northern Premier League, the Southern League, and the Isthmian League [those three leagues now make up the 7th Level]. After each season, two promoted clubs go up to the Conference National (5th Level) – the league winner and the winner of the 4-team playoff. Three relegated clubs go down to the 7th Level, to the Northern Premier League Premier Division or the Southern Football League Premier Division (which is composed of clubs from the South West, the South Central, and the Midlands). [Theoretically, a club relegated from the Conference North could go to the Isthmian Football League Premier Division (which is composed of clubs from Greater London and the South East), but there would have be real unusual circumstances for that to happen].

There are 22 clubs in the Conference North, but because of Ilkeston Town’s demise last September, the 2010-11 Conference North season has 21 clubs, and only two clubs will be relegated.

The map page shows the clubs’ profile boxes placed from top to bottom in the order of the current Conference North table (as of Wednesday, 19 January, 2011). The profile boxes include the club’s home kit badges, nickname, year of formation, stadium and capacity, location, 2009-10 final placement, and all-time highest league placement. Current average attendances and 2009-10 average attendances (from home league matches) are shown at the right of the map.

Current leaders are phoenix club Nuneaton Town, who hail from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, which is 14 km. (9 mi.) north of Coventry and 31 km. (19 mi.) east of Birmingham. Nuneaton has a population of around 70,000 {2001 figure}. Nuneaton Town FC are heir to another phoenix club, Nuneaton Borough AFC, who had 4 seasons in the Conference (5th Level) from 1999-2000 to 2002-03, and existed from 1937 to 2007. They were wound up in May 2007. Nuneaton Town were then formed in 2008. The club plays at tiny Liberty Way, which has a capacity of 3,800 (with just 300 seated). They wear royal blue and white halves, and still go by the nickname of Boro. Nuneaton won promotion from the Southern Football League Premier Division in 2009-10, and are one of three clubs in Conference North this season that have the chance of winning back-to-back promotions (the other two are talked about in the last paragraph). Nuneaton have been managed by Kevin Wilkin since 2006 (ie, in the last days of Nuneaton Borough, and also as the sole manager of the re-formed Nuneaton Town). Nuneaton Town draw well for this league, pulling in 1,002 per game currently.
nuneaton-town_-.gif
[Photo credits - Nuneatontownfc.com, here. I-want-football-2009.blogspot.com, here.]

Second place, two points back with 3 games in hand, are the Derbyshire club Alfreton Town. Alferton Town FC were formed from the merger of Alfreton Miners Welfare and Alfreton United, in 1959. Alfreton is 20 km. (12 mi.) north of both the cities of Derby and Nottingham, and serves somewhat as a bedroom community of both. It has a population of 22,000. Alfreton Town FC have never had a higher final placement than their current spot. Crowds are up 50% this season, to 746 per game.
alfreton-town_.gif
[Photo credits - parkin1s at PhotoBucket.com, here. Wherestheteahut.blogspot.com, here. Southport FC fansite at btinternet.com/~portconnection, here.]

Alfreton Town are managed by Nicky Law, who had an extensive career in the lower half of the Football League including captaining Chesterfield to a Division Three playoff final win over Bury at Wembley in 1995. Law has been Alferton’s manager since 2007. Alfreton Town play at North Street, which has a capacity of 3,600 (1,500 seated). That size of stadium is pretty much the norm in the 6th Level. It is one example of how the new gulf between English football levels is no longer between Levels 4 and 5 (the League/Non-League dividing line), but between Levels 5 and 6. Most clubs these days that play in the Conference National (5th Level) play in grounds of 5,000 to 6,000 or larger; while most clubs that play in the Conference North and Conference South play in grounds that are 3,000 to 4,500, with more standing capacity than seated capacity. 15 of the 21 Conference North clubs this season play in grounds that are smaller than 4,500 capacity; and 15 of the 22 Conference South clubs this season have grounds at or smaller than 4,500 capacity.

Another way that Conferences North/South are separated by a wide gulf from the Conference National is that most clubs in the Conference are full-time, and virtually all Conference North/South clubs are part-time. It is pretty much the normal routine these days for clubs that are relegated to Conference North or South to revert to part-time status once they get the drop. Not all clubs conversely go full-time immediately after getting promoted up to the Conference, though, but it usually happens by a couple seasons in.

Median average attendance for the Conference North is currently {19 Jan.} 443 this season; median average attendance for last season (2009-10) was 435 per game. The biggest club in Conference North this season are #1 draw Shropshire phoenix club AFC Telford United, who pull in pretty large crowds for this level…they currently are seeing 1,976 pass the turnstiles each game at the New Bucks Head in Telford {click here and zoom in for a Bing.com/Bird’;s Eye satellite view…you can see that the ground is pretty up-to-date}. The other club that is frankly too big for this level is Lincolnshire club Boston United FC, who played 5 seasons in the League (2002-03 to 2006-07). Boston United are now 3 seasons on from recovering from a two-level-relegation – one relegation from on-field performance and one relegation thanks to Steve Evans and his cooked books. [In 2007, Manager Evans and then-Boston Utd. chairman Pat Milkinson were charged with conspiracy to cheat the public revenue {see this, from BBC.co.uk from June 2007/11th and 12th paragraphs}. Evans is currently practicing his house-of-cards financing at Crawley Town in the Conference, and again, no one knows where the money is coming from. But I digress.] Boston United, who won promotion from the Northern Premier League Premier Division in 09/10, are drawing 1,477 per game this season, and, at fifth place, are in the running for a twice-promoted run. There is one other just-promoted club that could make it back-to-back promotions – Greater Leeds-based Guisely FC, who are in third place currently in Conference North, yet are only drawing at the league median, at 443 per game.
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Thanks to Mike Avery.co.uk, for 2009-10 average attendances, here. Thanks to HarrogateTown.com, for 2010-11 average attendances, here.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Conference North‘.

December 20, 2010

England: Football League Championship, 2010-11 – Stadia map.

Please note: to see my most recent map-and-post of the English 2nd division, click on the following: category: Eng-2nd level/Championship.
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League Championship Stadia map


Football League Championship table, here (Soccerway.com).
The map page, as is usual with this category of map, shows an aerial or exterior shot of each club’s stadium. Included in each club’s profile box are club info…the year the club was established, location, name of their football ground and it’s capacity, major domestic titles, and seasons spent at this level. ['This level', in this case of course means the 2nd Level of English Football.] At the far right on the map page are the clubs’ locations on the map, and below that are 2009-10 attendance figures (average attendance of home league matches). Also listed is percent change in attendance from 2008-09.

Queens Park Rangers have held the lead since late August, but have now lost two straight matches. They were QPR’s first two defeats of the season, and came a week ago against mid-table Watford, and last weekend, versus Leeds United. There were 29,426 at Elland Road Saturday to see Leeds beat QPR 2-0 (on a brace by 23-year old Ivorian MF Max Gradel), which is a darn good turnout for United, especially when one considers the horrible weather that had descended upon Britain that day. Leeds are now unbeaten in 9 league matches (6 wins and 3 draws), their last defeat was at home versus Cardiff City. Few would have thought Leeds would be in such a good position come Christmas, after that 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the Bluebirds in mid-October. The following article explains what has happened since (basically manager Simon Grayson has got the midfielders and forwards to better support the defenders)…from The Guardian.co.uk/Football League blog, 20 December, 2010, by Richard Rae, ‘Great expectations as Leeds begin to see good times‘.

Clubs have played from 20 to 22 matches at this point in the season. QPR leads with 41 points (and a league-best +22 goal difference) and have a game in hand on second-place Leeds, who are at 38 points. Third are Cardiff City (also with a game in hand) at 37 points/+13 goal difference. The Bluebird’s fellow Welsh club and hated rivals Swansea City sit fourth at 37 points/+9 goal difference. Rounding out the playoff spots are the Canaries of Norwich City in 5th place, at 36 points; and the Sky Blues of Coventry City, who sit sixth and who are at 34 points. Coventry City are perhaps the biggest surprise of the top 6. Coventry are managed by Aidy Boothroyd, who got the job after his strong performance managing League One’s Colchester United to 5th place last season. His reputation was as a purveyor of ugly Route 1 football…hoof it up and smash and grab a goal. That’s how he got Watford into the Premier League 6 seasons ago. This reputation seems to be changing a bit, as he has Coventry City playing a more flowing game.

Back to Leeds United. The squad is playing with assurance under Simon Grayson, and features 3 players that look to have bright futures: Argentinian FW Luciano Becchio, hometown talent MF Jonny Howson, and Glasgow-born (but strangely overlooked as a Scotland international) MF/FW Robert Snodgrass. I think Leeds are going up. If you asked me a week ago, I must confess that my one lock for promotion would be Neil Warnock’s QPR, but that midweek, 3-nil home loss to Watford puts the Hoops in a less flattering light. The criticism about QPR is that if their mercurial wunderkind Adel Taarabt is not ‘on’, the team is not nearly the threat as when the Moroccan midfielder is on all cylinders. At any rate, QPR are a lot easier for the neutral observer to pull for, now that the egregious Flavio Briatore is gone from the QPR ownership ranks. Do you think it’s any coincidence that the now-three-years-on-’richest club in the world’-QPR finally got it’s on-field act together only once that imperious, bimbo groping, micro managing, blue-tinted-sunglasses-wearing, Formula 1 race-fixing sack of lard was forced to step down as chairman and drop his share in the club? There were ten managerial changes in less than 2 1/2 years at Loftus Road when Briatore was running the show.

Here are current average attendances…note: click on ‘Attendance’ which is above the league table, on the far right click here {Soccerway.com}. Cardiff City are the one club in the second tier this season that has seen a significant, more-than-two-thousand-per-game attendance increase…the Bluebirds are pulling in 23,150 this season, which is 2,433 better than last season, when they finished 4th. Of course this increase can be attributed mostly to the fact that this is the first full season that the Bluebirds are playing in their new ground. But Cardiff are doing well, and might finally have it in them to become the first Welsh club to play in the Premier League. Those capacity crowds will certainly energize the Bluebirds in their promotion campaign. The second-best numerical attendance increase is by QPR, who are drawing 1,547 more per game this season than last season. They still are only filling the bandbox that is Loftus Road to just 78% capacity, though, at 14,896 per game.

Last season only one second level club drew higher than Derby County – the en route-to-promotion Newcastle United. Currently, Derby County are the highest-drawing club in the Championship, only this season they are actually decent. They feature one of the league’s top scorers in Kris Commons, a Mansfield, Nottinghamshire-born Scottish international, who has 12 league goals. [That tally is currently second best, behind Cardiff's Jay Bothroyd...photos of the top 8 goal leaders can be seen below.] The funny thing is attendance is down by 3,059 per game at Pride Park, despite the fact that the Rams were in the playoff places prior to their current 4-game losing slump (yet are still just 4 points off the playoff places). The Derby v. Nottingham Forest match has yet to be played, though, so that will fill the place up and push up that average gate.

As Yorkshire’s biggest club, the just-promoted Leeds United would be expected to see attendance increases, and Leeds has the third biggest numerical attendance increase in the league this season, up 1,139 per game. They are drawing the second best in the league this season, currently seeing an average of 25,957 pass their turnstiles. Third best drawing club are perennial capacity-fillers Norwich City. I think they could add 5,000 seats to Carrow Road and the Canaries would still be playing to an above 90% capacity. Rounding out the top five best drawing clubs this season are the aforementioned Cardiff City, then Leicester City. No, I am not going to talk about the charmed Swedish lothario who runs the Foxes these days (well I guess I just did). Incidentally, Leicester’s gates are down, but that can be explained by the fact that their gates were up last season because they had just won promotion, and this season they started out horribly.

Leading scorers in the League Championship…
[Note: Below are leading scorers as of 25th December, 2010/Current leading scorers can be seen here (BBC)]
eng-league-championship_top-scorers-18dec2010_c.gif

eng-league-championship_top-scorers-18dec2010-fifth-thru-eighth_c.gif

Photo credits for leading scorers- Yahoo Sport/PA images; Ross Kinniard/Getty Images at zimbio.com; SkySports.com; BBC/Getty Images. PA at DailyMail.co.uk; unattributed; ThisIsNottinghamshire.co.uk; Independant.co.uk.

Photo credits for map page…
Thanks to the Daily Mail.co.uk (Bristol City/Ashton Gate photo, here).

Thanks to Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view [set at Swansea City/Liberty Stadium, here].

Thanks to Colorcoat-online.com (Cardiff city/Cardiff city Stadium photo, here ).

Thanks to Noostairz at Skyscrapercity.com, in the Preston/Deepdale Redvelopment Thread ~May, 2008, for the Preston North End/Deepdale photo, here.

Thanks to Rob Dannatt at WorldStadia.com, for the Doncaster Rovers/Keepmoat Stadium photo, here.

Thanks to Premier Football Books.co.uk (Scunthorpe United/Glanford Park photo, here).

Thanks to the Norwich online newspaper The Pinkun.com (Norwich City/Carrow Road photo [wallpaper, second from bottom, here].

Thanks to SouthBank at the Skyscrapercity.com thread ‘Favorite Small Stadium (-20,000)’, here (Millwall/The Den photo, here).

Thanks to the E-F-S site, for attendance figures.
Thanks to Historical Football Kits site for the kits, historicalkits.co.uk.

November 22, 2010

The English 2nd Level (currently known as the Football League Championship) – All-time 2nd Level…the clubs that have spent the most seasons in the 2nd Level, which has been called…the Second Division (1892-93 to 1991-92) / Football League Division One (1992-93 to 2003-04) / Football League Championship (2004-05 to 2010-11). Also included is a chart of All-time 1st Level.

english-2nd-level_all-time-10-clubs_e.gif

[Note: to see my latest map-&-post on the English 2nd division (the Football League Championship), click on the following, category: Eng-2nd level cham'ship.

...
Please note: All information below is accurate up to the close of the 2010-11 Football League season [June 2011].

    The English 2nd Level (aka the Football League Championship) – All-time 2nd Level…

The clubs that have spent the most seasons in the 2nd Level, which has been called…the Second Division (1892-93 to 1991-92) / Football League Division One (1992-93 to 2003-04) / Football League Championship (2004-05 to 2010-11)…
By Bill Turianski on 22 November 2010; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.com.

The first chart is shown in partial form further above, with just the top 10 all-time 2nd Level clubs. Click on it and the full first chart will show the 35-club All-time 2nd Level list. Clubs which have the tan horizontal bar running across are the 16 clubs that are on the All-time 2nd Level list and are currently in the 2nd Level (2010-11 season).
Those 16 Clubs on the all-time 2nd Level list that are currently [2010-11] in the 2nd Level are…
Barnsley, Leicester City, Hull City, Nottingham Forest, Bristol City, Derby County, Burnley, Sheffield United, Preston North End, Cardiff City, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Millwall, Swansea City, Crystal Palace, and Norwich City.

Below is the full, 5-level chart. It is also for 35 clubs, and has full League history…5 columns (1st Level, 2nd Level, 3rd Level, 4th Level, and Non-League). So when you click to go to the full chart, if you focus on the greyish-blue vertical stripe in the center, you will see the seasons spent in the 2nd Level. I will explain why the chart goes to 35 clubs, below, 2 paragraphs down.

england-2nd-level_all-time-40-clubs_w-league-history_segment.gif


The second tier began as the English Football League Second Division, in 1892-93. That name held for exactly 100 years (89 seasons, minus the war years [ with 4 seasons stricken due to WW I; and then 7 seasons stricken due to WW II ]). When the Premier League was formed, in the summer of 1992, the second tier became known as Division One. This lasted just 12 seasons, from 1992-93 to 2003-04. Then the current name of the Football League Championship began. With sponsor name, the 2010-11 season of the 2nd Level of English Football is known as the N-Power League Championship.

As I began compiling the 2nd Level All-time list, while keeping one eye on the much-easier to compile First Level All-time list [ data sources at bottom of this post ], it became apparent that there would be overlap. 9 clubs are on the 1st Level All-time top 20 list, and are also in the top of the All-time 2nd Level list. Clubs which fall into this category are Nottingham Forest (56 seasons in 1st Level/47 seasons in 2nd Level), Birmingham City (57 seasons in 1st Level/47 seasons in 2nd Level), Wolverhampton Wanderers (62 seasons in 1st Level/45 seasons in 2nd Level), Derby County (65 seasons in 1st Level/43 seasons in 2nd Level), Sheffield United (60 seasons in 1st Level/42 seasons in 2nd Level), Middlesbrough (60 seasons in 1st Level/39 seasons in 2nd Level), West Bromwich Albion (73 seasons in 1st Level/37 seasons in 2nd Level), Blackburn Rovers (71 seasons in 1st Level/36 seasons in 2nd Level), and Sheffield Wednesday (66 seasons in 1st Level/34 seasons in 2nd Level). All of these clubs have spent 60 or more seasons in the 1st Level, and are among the top 20 in that category, and are also among the top of the All-time 2nd Level list.

So I am going to stick to the Physics 101 principle that you can’t be in two places at one time. So those aforementioned 9 clubs that are near to the top of the all-time 1st AND 2nd Level lists…they go to the 1st Level All-time list of 20 clubs. That opened up 9 more spaces in the All-time Second Division. Then this All-time 2nd Level, which would logically be a 24 club-theoretical league…became a temporary 26-team league due to a three-way tie for the 24th spot, between Norwich City, Lincoln City, and Luton Town…all with 34 seasons spent in the second tier.
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All-time 1st Level
(20 football clubs)…
First, we will start with the 20 English football clubs with the most seasons spent in the 1st Level (aka the top flight, aka the first division), which is currently known as the Premier League -
All-time 1st Level…

england_all-time-1st-level-chart-segment_.gif

Here are the 20 clubs with the most seasons spent in the 1st Level…
1. Everton, 108 seasons.
2. Aston Villa, 100.
3. Liverpool, 96.
4. Arsenal, 94
5. Manchester United, 86.
6. Manchester City, 82.
7. Newcastle United, 80.
7. Sunderland AFC, 80.
9. Tottenham Hotspur, 76.
9. Chelsea, 76.
11.West Bromwich Albion, 73.
12.Bolton Wanderers, 72.
13.Blackburn Rovers, 71.
14.Sheffield Wednesday, 66.
15.Derby County, 65.
16.Wolverhampton Wanderers, 62.
17.Middlesbrough, 60.
17.Sheffield United, 60.
19.Nottingham Forest, 57.
20.Birmingham City, 56.

just missing out on the All-time 1st Level list…Stoke City, 55 seasons; West Ham United, 54; Burnley, 52; Leeds United, 50; Leicester City and Preston North End, 46.

That makes this the all-time 2nd Level…
(ideally 24 football clubs, but currently with a 3-way tie for 24th-most seasons, making it a temporary 26-club list)…
1. Barnsley, 74 seasons.
2. Leicester City, 59.
3. Hull City, 54.
4. Grimsby Town, 52.
5. Fulham, 50.
6. Blackpool, 46.
7. Bristol City, 45.
8. Burnley, 42.
8. Preston North End, 42.
10.Stoke City, 41.
10.Charlton Athletic, 41.
10. Leyton Orient, 41
10.Port Vale, 41.
14.Cardiff City, 40.
14.Plymouth Argyle, 40.
16.Portsmouth, 39.
16.Bury, 39.
18.Southampton, 38.
19.Notts County, 37.
19.Swansea City, 37.
21.Millwall, 36.
21.Oldham Athletic, 36.
23.Crystal Palace, 35.
24.Lincoln City, 34.
24.Luton Town, 34.
24.Norwich City, 34.

Just missing out on the All-time 2nd Level list…Huddersfield Town, 33 seasons; Leeds United and West Ham United, 31; Ipswich Town and Bradford City, 29.

The club that has spent the longest time in the 2nd Level is the South Yorkshire-based Barnsley FC. Barnsley have spent 74 seasons in the second tier, yet only one season in the top flight…in the sixth season of the Premiership, in 1997-98.
{Barnsley League History, from one of the 116 Footy Mad siteswww.barnsley-mad.co.uk, here}. That’s gotta be a tough thing to swallow for longtime Tykes fans, but at least the club, and it’s supporters, got that one season in the sun. Unlike Port Vale, who are the football club in England which has spent the most seasons, 41 seasons, in the 2nd Level without ever winning promotion to the top flight. Or Plymouth Argyle, who have spent 40 seasons in the 2nd Level without ever winning promotion to the top flight.

barnsley-fc_oakwell_74seasons-in-2nd-levelmost.gif

Thanks to Lanterne Rouge, who writes for the excellent Football League site, The Two Unfortunates.
Lanterne Rouge coined the phrase ‘The Greater Championship’ earlier this year. In the following article, from 9th January, 2010, he talks about the idea of which teams belong in ‘The Greater Championship

Since then, I had been thinking about compiling the stats. Before I got too deep into this, I contacted Lanterne Rouge, and he responded with the caveat that…’I must admit [the article] was shamelessly speculative and designed partly to wind up friends who support other clubs!’
Btw, Leeds is talked about in the article, but Leeds United are not on the All-time 1st or 2nd Level lists, due to Leeds United AFC’s somewhat late formation. Leeds United were established in 1919, and were elected to the Football League Second Division in 1920-21, and first won promotion to the First Division in 1924-25. So Yorkshire’s biggest club is not in the top 20 of the All-time 1st Level list (Leeds have spent 50 seasons in the 1st Level, 6 seasons shy of being in the top 20), nor are Leeds United in the top 24 of the All-time 2nd Level list (Leeds has spent 31 seasons in the 2nd Level).

Here are the lists and the data source I used. The best I could find for all-time / all clubs was from 9 seasons ago, at the Football365 site, here (http://stats.football365.com/hist/tier2/attable.html).

First Division seasons list, at RSSSF.com, under ‘Historical Domestic League History – Countrywise’ / then at ‘England – First Level All-Time Tables’, here.

For all-time season-by-season histories by club, I referred to the ‘League History’ section at each club’s Footy-Mad.net page… http://www.footy-mad.net/championship-news/ .

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