billsportsmaps.com

April 2, 2017

MLB: Paid-Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2016 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2015 and percent-capacity figures./+ Illustration for: Toronto Blue Jays: 12.5-K-attendance-increase in 2 year span./+ Illustration for: Chicago Cubs (2016 World Series champions).

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MLB: Paid Attendance (tickets-sold) map for 2016 (home/regular season average tickets-sold), including change from 2015 and percent-capacity figures



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

Links…
-Official site…mlb.com.
-Teams, etc…Major League Baseball (en.wikipedia.org).
-[Current] MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report [current] (espn.go.com).
-2016 MLB attendance at ESPN…MLB Attendance Report – 2016 (espn.go.com).
-Attendance change (2016 v. 2015)…Change in Baseball Attendance (2016 vs. 2015) (baseball-reference.com).

-From Baseball Pilgrimages.com…2016 MLB Ballpark Attendance [with notes] (baseballpilgrimages.com).

-From Forbes.com…MLB Hits 73.159 Million In Attendance, 11th Highest All-Time, Down Slightly From 2015 (by Maury Brown at forbes.com).

-From Waiting For Next Year.com…Let’s talk about Cleveland Indians attendance (by Jacob Rosen at waitingfornextyear.com).

    For the fourth-straight season, the Los Angeles Dodgers had the highest average paid-attendance, at 45,719 per game.

Last season [2016], the Dodgers drew 45.7 K, and played to 81.6 percent-capacity at Dodger Stadium. And also for the 4th-straight year, the St. Louis Cardinals had the second-highest attendance, at 42.5 K at Busch Stadium (III). The San Francisco Giants filled their ballpark, AT&T park, the best, at 99.1 percent-capacity, and they drew 41.5 K (the 4th-highest attendance). Three other teams also played to near-full-capacity…the St. Louis Cardinals at 96.7 precent-capacity, the Chicago Cubs at 96.6 percent-capacity at the renovated Wrigley Field, and the Boston Red Sox at 96.1 percent-capacity at Fenway Park. The 5th-best at filling their venue was the Toronto Blue Jays, who played to an 84.9 percent-capacity, and have now increased their crowds at Rogers Centre [aka Skydome] by over 12 thousand per game in the past two seasons [since 2014] (see below)…

Best attendance increases in 2016…2016 average paid-attendance versus 2015 average paid-attendance [with attendance-rank shown]…
Toronto Blue Jays +7,376…41,880 in 2016 [#3] vs. 34,504 in 2015 [#8].
Chicago Cubs +3,366…39,906 in 2016 [#5] vs. 36,540 in 2015 [#6].
New York Mets +3,145…34,870 in 2016 [#9] vs. 31,725 [#12].
Texas Rangers +2,698…33,461 in 2016 [#10] vs. 30,763 [#16].
Houston Astros +1,889…28,476 in 2016 [#17] vs. 26,587 [#22].
Cleveland Indians +1,844…19,650 in 2016 [#28] vs. 17,806 in 2015 [#29].

Toronto Blue Jays: 12.5 K attendance increase in 2 years…
Not only did Toronto have a 7.37 K increase in attendance in 2016, Toronto had a 5.17 K increase in 2015 (versus 29,327 per game in 2014). So, that means the Toronto Blue Jays have increased their paid-attendance by a little over 12,500 per game in two years! Talk about reviving a moribund franchise. That just goes to show you that investing in a competitive team (as the Blue Jays have done these past 3 seasons) usually pays off at the turnstile. (Usually, but definitely not in the case of the Cleveland Indians, who had a banner season in 2016, winning the AL pennant and coming up just short of a championship, yet the Tribe failed to even draw 20 K per game during the regular season. Cleveland is simply NOT a baseball town; see link to article on the Indians’ bad attendance, further above. But I digress.)

In 2016, Toronto drew over 3 million for the first time in 23 years. [Note: drawing over 3 million means the team averages above 36.5 K per game.] As the following article at SB Nation points out, “comparing 2016 to 2014, average attendance at Rogers Centre was up 43%, or over 1,000,000 fans for the season.” (quote by Jon Shell from this article: A Business Case For A Much Higher Payroll at bluebirdbanter.com from Nov. 6 2016).

toronto-blue-jays_2014-to-2016_12-k-attendance-increase_rogers-centre_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Blue Jays home cap, illustration from sportslogos.net. Aerial shot of CN Tower and Rogers Centre, photo by destinocanadatoronto.blogspot.com. Exterior shot of Rogers Centre at night, photo by Empty Quarter at Toronto Flickr Pool via torontoist.com. Aerial shot of Rogers Centre, photo unattributed at blogto.com. Shot of full house at Rogers Centre [circa 2015], photo unattributed at engineeringharmonics.com. Fans cheering at Rogers Centre during 2015 playoffs, photo by Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via citynews.ca.

Notes on stadium capacities…
-Boston Red Sox’ Fenway Park has different capacities for night games (37,673) and day games (37,227). {See this article I wrote from 2016/scroll half-way down text for Fenway section}.
-Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field has been undergoing extensive renovations, and the renovations are planned to continue on up to spring 2019. In 2016, capacity was increased slightly, by 329, from 40,929 to 41,268. The capacity will most likely change again in the next 2-to-3 years, but probably not by a significant amount.
-Atlanta Braves played their final season at Turner Field in Atlanta in 2016. The team has moved into the suburbs, into Cumberland, Cobb County, GA (10 miles NW of downtown Atlanta). Their new ballpark, SunTrust Park, will have a capacity of 41,500 (That is a significant capacity-reduction, of around 4.4 K, as Turner Field’s seated-capacity was 45,986.)
-Both the teams below (Oakland and Tampa Bay) have tarps covering their upper-deck seats, which doesn’t change the fact that those seats are empty…
-O.co Coliseum, home of the Oakland Athletics, has tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 35,067, which is about 20,800 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 55,945). (That would make them having a real 2016 percent-capacity figure of around 33.5.)
-Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, has tarps covering the upper decks for MLB games, making the seating “capacity” for baseball 31,042, which is about 11,600 less than the real capacity (real seating capacity of the stadium is 42,735). (That would make them having a real 2016 percent-capacity figure of around 37.1.).

    Chicago Cubs – 2016 World Series winners (the Cubs’ first World Series title in 108 years)…

Best Cubs players in 2016 as measured by WAR (wins after replacement)…
Kris Bryant (3B) 7.7 WAR (39 HR, 121 RBI, .385 OBP).
Anthony Rizzo (1B) 5.7 WAR (32 HR, 109 RBI, .385 OBP).
Jon Lester (LHP) 5.2 WAR (19-5, 2.44 ERA, 202.7 IP).
Kyle Hendricks (RHP) 4.9 WAR (16-8, 2.13 ERA, 190 IP).
Addison Russell (SS) 4.3 WAR (21 HR, 95 RBI, .321 OBP).

Cubs win ! Cubs win ! Cubs win !
chicago-cubs_2016-ws-champions_joe-maddon_kris-bryant_anthony-rizzo_jon-lester_kyle-hendricks_addison-russell_javier-baez_ben-zobrist_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of Wrigley Field with “CHAMPIONS” displayed on jumbotron-scoreboard, photo by Nick Ulivieri at flickr.com.
Joe Maddon, photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Kris Bryant, screenshot from video (uploaded by Sporting Videos at youtube.com.
Anthony Rizzo, photos by John Durr/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com & zimbio.com.
Jon Lester, photo by David Kohl/USA Today via usatoday.com/mlb.
Kyle Hendricks, photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Addison Russell, photo by Elsa/Gety Images via wgntv.com. aru
Shot of Cubs players and coaching staff after game 5 win over Dodgers in 2016 NLCS (with traveling Cubs fans’ “W” banners held aloft in background), photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images via chron.com/sports. Shot of Cubs players’ celebration after final out, photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images via sports.yahoo.com. Shot of Cubs fans outside Wrigley after final out, screenshot of NBC News video, at nbcnews.com/news/sports. Shot of Javier Báez stealing home (v Dodgers in Game 1 of NLCS), photo by AP at dailyherald.com. Shot of Ben Zobrist on 2nd base, after doubling in lead run in 10th inning of WS Game 7, photo by Al Tielemans at gettyimages.com. Shot of brick wall outside of Wrigley that fans decorated with chalk and paint, photo by Nick Ulivieri at flickr.com.

___
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to ESPN for attendances & percent capacities, espn.go.com/mlb/attendance.
Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos.net, for several (~17) of the cap logos, sportslogos.net.
Thanks to Baseball-reference.com, for stats.
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball#Current_teams.

February 21, 2017

Colombia: Categoría Primera A (Colombia/1st division), location-map with 2016 attendances, and titles listed.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Colombia — admin @ 1:21 pm

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Colombia: Categoría Primera A (Colombia/1st division), location-map with 2015-16 attendances and titles listed

Links…
-Teams, etc…2017 Categoría Primera A season (en.wikipedia.org).
-Table, etc…Categoría Primera A – Summary (soccerway.com/national/colombia).
-Attendances… worldfootball.net/attendance/col-primera-a-2017-apertura (worldfootball.net/south america).
-Populations [of Colombian cities] (in Spanish)…Anexo:Municipios de Colombia por población (es.wikipedia.org).

Format in the Colombian 1st division:
For sponsorship reasons, the Colombian 1st division is currently [2017] called Liga Águila. There are 20 teams in the Colombian top flight, playing in 2 half-seasons each year, with two distinct champions, each coming out of an 8-team play-off round. The two half-seasons are called the Apertura [I] (played from ~early February to late May), and the Finalización [II] (played from ~early July to late November). The play-offs see large crowds in the 30-K range for many matches. Last year [2016], in regular-season matches, the Colombian 1st division averaged around 8.0 K per game, overall. There are about 8 teams in Colombia that can draw above 10-K or more, and the league is filled out with a dozen or so small clubs who draw in the 1-K-to-5-K-range. The 8 biggest clubs will be mentioned below, with crest and current kits shown. Then, further below near the foot of the post, all the small clubs who have won a title since 2000 will be briefly mentioned (4 clubs).

There can be wildly divergent crowd-sizes, year to year…the bigger Colombian clubs can draw very high one season, then have a massive drop in attendance the following year if the team does poorly – like up to seven or eight thousands-per-game drop-offs in crowd size. As for relegation/promotion, it is 2 teams-promoted and 2-teams-relegated per year, with the relegations based on a three-year average (like in Argentina). Just promoted for 2017 are the following two clubs: Colombian giants América de Cali (who have won 13 Colombian titles), and Tigres, a small club from a suburb of Bogotá called Soacha, who are making their top-flight debut in 2017, and who will be playing in a municipal-stadium-share with the another small club from the capial, La Equidad. There are two other stadium-shares in the league, currently. The other two Bogotá-based clubs, Millonarios and Santa Fe (the capital’s biggest two clubs), share the 36-K-capacity Estadio Nemesio Camacho (aka El Campín). Millonarios have been playing there since 1938; Santa Fe since 1952. And the two highest-drawing clubs in the country, Independiente Medellín and Atlético Nacional, both play at the 40-K-capacity Estadio Atanasio Girardot in Medellín, which opened in 1953.

Here is a very simplified history of the 1st division format in Colombia (1948 to 2017).
Although there have been 69 seasons of Colombian 1st Division football played [with 2017 to be the 70th season], there have been 84 Colombian 1st Division titles awarded (from 1948 to 2016).
-From 1948 to 1995, one title per season was awarded (1 title per year)…a February to December schedule (generally).
-Then a European-style schedule was tried (August to May), but that only lasted 2 seasons (in 1995-96 and in 1996-97).
-For the next 4 seasons – 1998 to 2001 – the format reverted back to the original 1 year/1 season format.
-Then in 2002, split seasons were introduced…with the Apertura (I) and Finalización (II) tournaments becoming separate, (two champions per year), but with the season containing both titles. A play-off is used to decide each split-season title (currently: 8-team play-off, with seeded head-to-head match-ups in a bracket-format).

Colombian 1st division: probably the 3rd-best in the Americas…
The Colombian 1st division is considered by most observers to be the third-best fútbol league in South America (or third-best in all the Americas for that matter) – after, of course, Argentina and Brazil {citation, IFFHS site from Jan. 2016}. Another indication of the relative strength of the Colombian 1st division can be seen by the fact that a Colombian club – Atlético Nacional – are the current champions of the most prestigious tournament in South America, the Copa Libertadores…

Atlético Nacional – the 2016 Copa Libertadores champions…
-From World Soccer.com, Tim Vickery’s Notes from South America: Reflections on Atletico Nacional’s Libertadores triumph (from 1 Aug. 2016 by Tim Vickery at worldsoccer.com).
-{My map-and-post for the 2017 Copa Libertadores, featuring an illustration for the 2016 Copa Libertadores champions, Atlético Nacional, here.}
Atlético Nacional beat Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle on 27 July 2016, 2-1 aggregate, for the club’s second Copa Libertadores title. (Atlético Nacional’s first Copa Liberadores title was won in 1989, when they defeated Paraguay’s Olimpia.) For the 2nd leg of the 2016 Finals, in Medellín, there was an overflow crowd of 46 K in the 40-K-capacity Estadio Atanasio Girardot. Atlético Nacional striker Miguel Borja scored in the 7th minute for the winner. Atlético Nacional are one of only two Colombian clubs to have won the Copa Libertadores. (The other Colombian club which has won a Copa Libertadores title is Once Caldas, in 2004/see Once Caldas section further below.)

2017/02/colombian-clubs_atletico-nacional_c_.gif

Atlético Nacional were formed in 1947, one year before the pro era in Colombia began (in 1948). Atlético Nacional wear green-and-white. Their colors are derived from the flag of their home-region, Antioquia Department. Atlético Nacional are from Medellín, which has a metro-area-population of around 2.5 million, and is the 2nd-largest city in the country, after the capital, Bogotá. If you measure by ticket-paying fans, Medellín boasts the two biggest clubs in Colombia, one of which is Atlético Nacional, and the other being their main rival, Independiente (see next section, below). Both can very often draw above 25-K. Atlético Nacional, who draw in the 20K-to-29K-per-game range (most seasons), and who drew 27.9-K in 2016, are also the most-titled club in Colombia, having won the 1st-division title 15 times (last in 2015-II).

The two champions in the Colombian 1st division in 2016: Independiente Medellín and Santa Fe …
colombian-clubs_independiente-de-medellin_d_.gif
Independiente Medellín won the Apertura-2016-I. Independiente wear red-jerseys-with-blue-pants. Independiente are one of the oldest clubs in Colombia, founded over three decades before the professional era there, in 1913. Their original kit featured black shirts, but the club have always sported a red-and-blue-shield device as their crest. At the club’s Spanish Wikipedia page, {here}, you can see Independiente’s original/1913-era crest, as well as a really nice version of the Independiente crest from the late 1990s (that turns the shape of the M in the badge into a symbolized-mountain-range). As mentioned, Independiente share a stadium with, and are the big local rivals of, the aforementioned Atlético Nacional. In terms of fanbase-size, it is hard to say which of the two is the bigger club, because like Atlético Nacional, Independiente also can draw in the mid-20K-to-low-30K-per-game range (and both clubs can definitely draw above 30-K come play-off time). En route to their Apertura title, Independiente ended up drawing highest in Colombia in 2016, at 28.2-K.

colombian-clubs_santa-fe_b_.gif
Santa Fe are from the capital, Bogotá (the largest city in the country, at around 8.0 million). Santa Fe won the Clausura-2016-II. Santa Fe wear Arsenal-style red-and-white, and sport a wonderfully minimalist crest (it is a simple blank-white-shield, with only their name and a small, red, off-center football on it). Santa Fe were formed in 1941, and 7 years later won the first pro title in Colombia in the inaugural 1948 season; they have won 9 titles (tied for fourth-most, with Deportivo Cali). Santa Fe, who draw between 9K-and-15K (most seasons), and drew 10.4-K in 2016, are not the biggest club in Bogotá – that would be their stadium-share-rivals Millonarios (see next paragraph). Santa Fe and Millonarios, as well as the aforementioned Atlético Nacional, are the only 3 clubs to never have been relegated and to have played every season of Colombian top flight football (70 seasons, including 2017).

colombian-clubs_millonarios_b_.gif"
Millonarios roots go back to the late 1930s, with a team formed in Bogotá by students of the Colegio San Bartolomé; they began being called Millonarios circa 1939, and the club was officially established in 1947. As their name suggests, Millonarios have historically had the larger share of middle-and-upper-class support amongst football fans in the capital, with Santa Fe having the larger share of working-class support in Bogotá. Millonarios wear blue-and-white, and are the second-most-titled club in Colombia, with 14 titles (last in 2012-II, but also with a recent long title-drought of 24 years, with no titles won between 1988 and 2014). Millonarios can draw between 14K-to-26K, and drew 15.0-K in 2016. And, like the two big Medellín teams, Millonarios can pull 30K+ when in the playoffs. Millonarios’ golden age was also the golden age of Colombian football, a time that has become known as the El Dorado – back in the early 1950s. {Here is an article-with-map that I posted in 2010: Colombia: Categoria Primera A, 2010 season, with a chart of the Colombian all-time champions list, from the professional era, spanning 1948 to 2009-II; and an overview of the El Dorado era (1949-1953).}

Rounding out the list of the 8-highest-drawing/8-most-successful Colombian clubs…
colombian-clubs_america-de-cali_b_.gif
América de Cali are from Cali (the 3rd-largest city in Colombia, at around 2.4 million). America de Cali are known as the Red Devils, and have just won promotion back to the 1st division. America can draw in the mid-20K-range when playing well (and they drew above 30K for their last home matches in late 2016, just before winning promotion). America have won the third-most Colombian titles, with 13 (last in 2008-II). Their best years also happened to coincide with the narco-trafficking era in Colombia (back in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s).

colombian-clubs_junior_b_.gif
Junior are from up north on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, in Barranquilla (the nation’s 4th-largest city, at around 1.2 million). Being a port city, it was in Barranquilla that Colombian football most likely first began being played, about 110 years ago {see this from the Spanish Wikipedia, es.wikipedia.org/Primera A/Historia; translation: ”
It is not known for sure how soccer came to the country, although the first official match was played on March 6, 1908, an organized party and referee in the coastal city of Barranquilla.”}. Junior were formed in 1924, with the name Juventus (which is Latin for “Youth”) – the team was initially comprised mainly of Italian immigrants. By the early 1940s, the club’s name had morphed from Juventus to the Spanish term for youth, Juventude, then to the Anglicized version: Junior. Junior wear Atlético Madrid-style kits (red-and-white-stripes-atop-blue-pants). Junior draw pretty well…between 12K-and-20K (most seasons), and they drew third-best in the country last season, at 19.0-K. Junior have won the sixth-most Colombian titles, with 7 titles (last in 2011-II). Junior were runner-up in the Apertura-2016-I, losing out to Independiente.

colombian-clubs_deportivo-cali_d_.gif
Deportivo Cali are also from Cali (like America). Deportivo Cali are one of the oldest Colombian clubs (est. 1908; re-formed 1912), and wear green-and-white. They can draw in the 8K-to-12K range (most seasons), and drew 10.8-K in 2016. Deportivo Cali are one of the few Colombian clubs to own their own stadium, which opened in 2101. They play in the very large (too large, actually, at 52-K) Estadio Deportivo Cali, which is way out on the eastern edge of Greater Cali (in Palmira, which is 28 km/17 mi east of central Cali). Deportivo Cali are tied with Santa Fe for having won the fourth-most Colombian titles, 9 (last in 2015-I).

colombian-clubs_once-caldas_b_.gif
Once Caldas are from Manizales, which is not very large (it is the 19th-largest city in Colombia, with a population of around 370,000). Manizales is located within the triangle formed by Colombia’s 3 largest cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali. Manizales is an important center of the coffee industry. Once Caldas usually draw around 8-to-9K, and can draw above 10-K in a good season (they drew 9.3-K in 2016). As it says at their Wikipedia page {here}, “The club was founded in 1961 after the fusion of Deportes Caldas and Deportivo Manizales (also known as Once Deportivo).” Once Caldas have won 4 Colombian titles (last in 2010-II). Once Caldas are known as El Blanco (the White), and sport a shield-crest that features the Italian flag. Once Caldas were shock winners of the 2004 Copa Libertadores, coming out of nowhere to beat Argentina’s Boca Juniors in the Finals by a score of 1-1 aggregate/2-0 penalties.

After that, the league roster is filled with about a dozen clubs which can only reach about 4-to-5-K per game in a good season.
But some of these smaller 1st division clubs can actually win titles, and the following 4 clubs all draw regularly below 5-K, yet have managed to win national titles in the 21st century…
-Deportes Tolima are from the 8th-largest city in Colombia, Ibagué (population of around .56 million). Tolima won the 2003-I title, and have been runner-up 6 times, including in the last campaign (in 2016-II, when they lost out to Santa Fe). Like Once Caldas in Manizales, Tolima is located within the triangle formed by Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali. Tolima wear dark-red-with-yellow; they drew 3.7-K in 2016.
-Deportivo Pasto are from Pasto (the 17th-largest city in the country, at about .45 million population). The city of Pasto is situated at the foot of a 1.5-mile-high volcano. Pasto are the southern-most and western-most top-flight club, located in the department of Nariño. Pasto won the 2006-I title. Like Tolima, Pasto also drew 3.7-K last season. They wear red-with-blue.
-Another small club that has won the title in relatively recent times is the currently-2nd-division side Boyacá Chicó, of Tunja (which is a pretty small city of only around 183,000). Boyacá Chicó were formed very recently, in Bogatá, in 2002, then won promotion to the top flight in 2003, then moved 130 km (80 mi) north-east to Tunja, in 2004, then won the 2008-I title. But after 13 seasons in the 1st division, Boyacá Chicó were relegated at the end of 2016.
-Another recent-title-winner currently stuck in the second division is Cúcuta Deportivo, who are from the 6th-largest city in Colombia, Cúcuta (population of around .64 million). Cúcuta Deportivo won the 2006-II title, but have been a bit of a yo-yo club since, and were relegated once again, in 2013.

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Thanks to all at the following links…
-Blank map of Colombia by Shadowfox and Alxrk2 at File:Colombia_relief_location_map.jpg.
-Orthographic [globe] map showingh Colombia, by Addicted04 at File:COL orthographic (San Andrés and Providencia special).svg.
-Thanks to World football.net for hard-to-get Colombian 1st division attendance figures, http://www.worldfootball.net/attendance/col-primera-a-2017-apertura/1/.
-Thanks to the contributors at 2017 Categoría Primera A season/teams (en.wikipedia.org), including small current kit illustrations, found at each team’s page there.

December 14, 2016

2016–17 Scottish Premiership (Scotland/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Scotland — admin @ 8:45 am

scotland_premiership_2016-17_map_w-crowds_seasons-in-1st-div_titles_post_f_.gif
2016–17 Scottish Premiership (Scotland/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed




By Bill Turianski on 14 December 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-Teams, etc…2016–17 Scottish Premiership (en.wikipedia.org).
-Fixtures, results, table, stats…Premiership [Summary] (soccerway.com/national/scotland/premier-league).
-Kits…Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership 2016 – 2017 [Scottish 1st division kits] (historicalkits.co.uk).


List of all-time seasons in the Scottish 1st division by club (1890-91 to 2016-17)…
I could not find any media outlet that had a list for Scotland – All-time 1st division seasons by club. That is including RSSSF and Wikipedia (well, I couldn’t find one, anyway). Although RSSSF does have a very confusing season-by-season list that only goes up to 2011-12, and regardless, that page at RSSSF does not tally the Scottish clubs’ seasons-in-the-1st-division into any form of readable list {see it here, Scotland – All-Time Table (since 1890/91) [and ending at 2011-12]}. So I made a list myself.

First off, counting 2016-17, there have been 120 seasons of top-flight (aka 1st division) football in Scotland.
The first season of Scottish top-flight football was in 1890-91, and the first Scottish national title was won jointly by Rangers FC and Dumbarton FC. Rangers and Dumbarton were declared joint champions after both teams finished even on points and then a play-off between the two – for the title – finished in a 2–2 draw. (Note: Dumbarton is 13 miles west of central Glasgow; Dumbarton FC are currently a 2nd division side, after having won promotion last season.) Dumbarton were champions outright in the second season of organized Scottish top-flight football (in 1891-92), and Celtic FC won their first Scottish title in the third season (in 1892-93). Then came re-organization into the Scottish League First Division (1893–1975). [Note: there were 6 seasons stricken due to World War II (1939-40 through 1945-46).]

By the 1950s, the Old Firm (Celtic and Rangers) had become the entrenched mega-clubs they are today, but even so, in the early post-War period there were several instances of clubs challenging the Old Firm’s dominance. First it was Hibernian, who won 3 titles in a 5-season-stretch (in 1948, in 1951, and in 1952). Then Aberdeen won the first of their 4 titles, when they were champions in 1955. Then Hearts were champions twice in 3 years (in 1958 and in 1960). And then, two much-smaller clubs were unlikely champions in the 1960s…with Dundee FC winning their only national title in 1962, then Kilmarnock winning their only national title in 1965.

Then came another re-organization with the Scottish Football League Premier Division (1975–98). The next 17 seasons – from 1966 to 1982 – saw the Old Firm more dominant than ever, and claim every title. But then in the 1980s, for a brief time, it looked like clubs were going to finally challenge the nigh-insurmountable Old Firm duopoly. That occurred in a 6-season spell in the first half of the 1980s, with Aberdeen winning their second title in 1980, then 3 years later Dundee United won their only national title in 1983. And then that was followed by the Alex Ferguson-led Aberdeen winning the next two national titles (in 1984 and ’85). But that was the last time neither Rangers or Celtic were champions.

The next re-organization saw the creation of the Scottish Premier League (1998–2013). And then the most recent re-organization brings us to the present-day, with the institution of the Scottish Premiership in 2013-14. Rangers were relegated down 4 divisions due to financial improprieties in May 2012. Rangers regained top-flight status in 2016-17, after one season in the 4th division, one season in the 3rd division, and two seasons in the 2nd division. So the Old Firm is back, and the last time another club has been the champions of Scotland has been 31 years ago…and counting.

The chart below shows the clubs in the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish Championship (2016-17 season)…
scotland_all-time-1st-division_seasons-by-club_titles_1890-91-to-2016-17_h_.gif
Sources for chart:
-Scotland – All-Time Table (since 1890/91) [and ending at 2011-12] (rssst.com).
-List of Scottish football champions (en.wikipedia.org).
-Scottish Premiership/Clubs (en.wikipedia.org).

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Thanks to all at…
-Blank map of Scotland, by NordNordWest at File:Scotland location map.svg (en.wikipedia.org).
-Blank map of Greater Glasgow [segment], by Nilfanion at File:Glasgow UK location map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Rangers’ kit badge, from photo at fruugo.us.
-Partick Thistle kit badge, from photo at teamwearscotland.com.
-St Johnstone kit badge, segment from photo at St Johnstone FC shop.
-Kilmarnock kit badge, segment from unattributed photo at footballkitnews.com/jpg

November 15, 2016

NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey – 2015-16 average attendance map of all 60 teams in D1-hockey (with arena capacities & percent capacities).

ncaa_ice-hockey_attendance-map_2015-16_60-teams_post_b_.gif
NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey – 2015-16 average attendance map of all 60 teams in Division I (with arena capacities & percent capacities)



By Bill Turianski on 15 November 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-D1 Men’s Hockey coverage…uscho.com.
-Teams, etc…College ice hockey/Division I (en.wikipedia.org).

-Conference-maps for NCAA Division I (aka D1) men’s ice hockey
(Note: already-posted D1-hockey conference maps are linked-to, below.)
I am making a location-map for each of the 6 D1-hockey conferences, which are…
Atlantic Hockey Association (11 teams/est. 1998-99/ zero titles).
Big Ten Conference hockey (6 teams [7-teams in 2017-18]/est. 2013-14/ 23 titles won amongst its six teams).
ECAC Hockey (12 teams/est. 1961-62/ 7 titles won amongst its twelve teams).
∙Hockey East Association (12 teams [11 teams in 2017-18]/est. 1984-85/ 13 titles won amongst its twelve teams).
National Collegiate Hockey Conference (aka NCHC) (8 teams/est. 2013-14/ 18 titles won amongst its eight teams).
Western Collegiate Hockey Association (aka WCHA) (10 teams/est. 1951-52/ 8 titles won amongst its ten teams).

Here is a list of all D1-hockey teams (14 teams) which drew above 90 percent-capacity in 2015-16…
Team [location], percent-capacity, average attendance, (D-1 attendance-rank).
Penn State Nittany Lions [of University Park, PA], 105.4% at 6,093 per game (#7 in attendance).
Quinnipiac Bobcats [of Hamden, Greater New Haven, CT], 105.2% at 3,247 per game (#27 in attendance).
North Dakota Fighting Hawks [of Grand Forks, ND], 100.5%, at 11,675 per game (#1-best attendance).
Mercyhurst Lakers [of Erie, PA], 98.7%, at 1,283 per game (#54 in attendance).
Minnesota Golden Gophers [of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN], 98.5% (#2 in attendance.
Providence Friars [of Providence, RI], 98.3%, at 2,980 per game (#29 in attendance).
Yale Bulldogs [of New Haven, CT], 97.1%, at 3,385 per game (#23 in attendance).
Vermont Catamounts [of Burlington, VT], 95.7%, at 3,860 per game (#21 in attendance).
Notre Dame Fighting Irish [of Notre Dame, IN], 94.6%, at 4,749 per game (#16 in attendance).
Cornell Big Red [of Ithaca, NY], 94.3%, at 4,022 per game (#19 in attendance).
Michigan Wolverines [of Ann Arbor, MI], 94.1%, at 5,457 per game (#10 in attendance).
UMass-Lowell River Hawks [of Lowell, Greater Boston, MA], 93.2%, at 5,592 per game, at 6,111 per game (#5 in attendance).
Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs [of Duluth, MN], 92.6%, at 6,111 per game (#5 in attendance).
Merrimack College Warriors [of North Andover, Greater Boston, MA], 92.5, at 2,359 per game (#39 in attendance).

Division I NCAA hockey was instituted in 1948.
(Division I NCAA hockey titles, 1948 to 2015-16/ 69 titles.)
The inclusion of Penn State as a D1-hockey team (who debuted in 2012-13), led to the 2011-2013-era realignment in D1-hockey. The shakeup in D1-hockey conferences occurred in much the same way (and in nearly the same time-period) as the recent realignments in NCAA D1-football and in NCAA D1-basketball. After the dust had settled in D1-hockey, there was 6 conferences instead of 5, and one conference was dissolved – the Central Collegiate Hockey Associaition (CCHA). (The CCHA existed as a D1-hockey conference from 1973-2013.) (Note: there is one D1-hockey team that is currently an Independent, newcomers Arizona State.)

Since 2013-14, there are two new conferences in D1-hockey:
Big Ten Conference hockey,
National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC).

    The highest-drawing NCAA college hockey team & the 2016 NCAA Division I champions:
    The University of North Dakota (of Grand Forks, ND
    ).

-From USA Today.com from April 10, 2016, North Dakota beats Quinnipiac 5-1 to capture NCAA hockey title (usatoday.com).
-From the official UND site, Ralph Englestad Arena (article, with photos, at undsports.com).
University of North Dakota hockey team – 2016 Division I champions…
north-dakota_fighting-hawks_hockey_2016-div1-champs_2016-best-attendance_ralph-engelstad-arena_grand-forks-nd_d_.gif

Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial view of Grand Forks [video image] from Smithsonian via gettyimages.com/video/view-of-grand-forks-town-square-and-red-river-grand-stock-footage. Shot of exterior of Ralph Englestad Arena at twilight, photo by undsports.com. Aerial shot, photo by Northern Technologies, LLC at ntigeo.com/projects/project-example-two-2 [Ralph Englestad Arena]. Interior shot of full crowd at the Ralph, photo by undsports.com. Game-action shot of 2016 Final, photo unattributed at fox61.com [New Haven, CT]. 4 game-action shots of 2016 Final, photos by UNDsports.com at undsports.com/PhotoAlbum [2016 Final]. Drake Caggiula slapping teammates gloves, photo by Tampa Bay Times at live.tampabay.com/Event/Live_blog_2016_Frozen_Four_in_Tampa. North Dakota players getting the trophy, photo by Elsa/Getty Images via chicagotribune.com/sports/college.

__
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Thanks to AMK1211 for blank map of USA, ‘File:Blank US Map with borders.svg”>File:Blank US Map with borders.svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Thanks to Two Hearted River at en.wikipedia.org/[each teams' page at Wikipedia], for small segments of jersey illustrations of several teams (Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth, Cornell, Maine, Minnesota State, Vermont, Yale, UMass, Western Michigan, Canisius College, American International), such as at File:ECAC-Uniform-Cornell.png.
-Thanks to USCHO site for attendance data, Men’s Division I Hockey Attendance: 2015-2016 (uscho.com).

October 22, 2016

2016-17 Ligue 1 (France/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./ Plus the 3 promoted clubs (Nancy, Dijon, Metz).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,France — admin @ 8:07 pm

france_2016-17_ligue-1_map_w-15-16-attendance_seasons-in-1st-div_titles-listed_post_d.gif
2016-17 Ligue Un [1] (France/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed



By Bill Turianski on 22 October 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-Teams, etc…2016-17 Ligue 1 (en.wikipedia.org).
-Fixtures, results, table, stats…Ligue 1 [summary] (soccerway.com).
-Ligue 1 official site (in English)…ligue1.com.

New Regions of France (effective 1 Jan 2016/final decree of names on 1 Oct 2016).
…Regions in France have been reduced from 27 regions to 18 regions…Regions of France [1982-2016] (en.wikipedia.org).

    The 3 promoted clubs in the 2016-17 Ligue Un (Nancy, Dijon, Metz)

Nancy won the 2015-16 Ligue 2. Dijon finished in 2nd place in the 15/16 Ligue 2. Metz finished in 3rd place in the 15/16 Ligue 2, bouncing straight back up to Ligue 1.

    • AS Nancy

(Est. 1967). City-population of Nancy: around 104,000/ 38th-largest city in France {see this}; metro-area population: around 434,000/ 20th-largest urban area in France {see this} {2012 estimates}. Nancy is, by road, 59 km (37 mi) S of Metz. Nancy is, by road, 160 km (99 mi) W of Strasbourg. Nancy is, by road, 385 km (239 mi) E of Paris.

Colours: Red-and White. Nicknames: ASNL, Les Chardons (The Thistles).

Manager: Pablo Correa (age 49), born in Montevideo, Uruguay. (See photo of Pablo Correa, and caption, further below.)

Major titles: 1 Coupe de France title (1978) (with Nancy winning 1-0 over Nice, the goal scored by Michel Platini in the 57th minute).
Seasons in the 1st division: counting 2016-17, Nancy have spent 30 seasons in the French 1st division. Their first season in the top flight was in 1970-71 (which was just 4 years after the club was formed, in 1967). The previous spell AS Nancy had in Ligue 1 was an eight-season spell from 2005-06 to 2012-13.

Thus far, up to 10 games (on 22 October), Nancy have had a horrible time of it back in Ligue 1, and have only won once, and sit in the relegation zone. Nancy are drawing pretty well, though, at 17.7 K per game. That is an increase of 2.6 K from last year. They are filling their stadium well, playing to 88.2 percent-capacity.

nancy_stade-marcel-picot_promoted2016_m-dalé_a-robic_y-hadji_p-correa_i.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Photo of 16/17 Nancy jersey unattributed at footballkitnews.com/jpg. Aerial photo of Foire de Nancy 2010 (2010 Fair of Nancy) -Cours Léopold, photo by François Bernardin at File:Foire-de-Nancy Cours-Léopold.JPG (commons.wikimedia.org). Skyline view of central Nancy, photo by Toltek at File:NancycentreEst.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Aerial shot of Stade Marcel Picot, photo by AS Nancy at asnl.net/stade_presentation. Shot of AS Nancy supporters with scarves held up, photo by Lolotho at File:Supporter asnl.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Photo of MauriFred Marvaux at gettyimages.in. Photo of Antony Robic celebrating with fans, photo unattributed at football365.fr.
Photo of coach Pablo Correa celebrating promotion (April 25 2016), photo by Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP at zimbio.com. Photo of AS Nancy players and staff singing as they celebrate promotion (April 2016), photo by Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP at zimbio.com. Promotion celebration in Nancy city centre, photo by Fans Of Nancy (@asnlfans) | Twitter.

    • Dijon

(Est. 1998). City-population of Dijon: around 152,000/ 17th-largest city in France {see this}; metro-area population: around 239,000 {2012 estimates}. Dijon is, by road, 263 km (163 mi) SE of Paris.

Colours: Red-and White-with-Black-trim. Nicknames: DFCO, Les Rouges.

Manager: Olivier Dall’Oglio (age 52), born in Alès, southern France.

Major titles: (none).
Seasons in the 1st division: counting 2016-17, Dijon have spent 2 seasons in the French 1st division. Their first season in the top flight was in 2012-13.

Dijon have been renovating their stadium, and due to the demolition and rebuilding of one of the stands at the Stade Gaston Gérard, capacity for 2016-17 has been reduced by about 5.3 K, to 10,578. Dijon began the 16/17 campaign poorly, but have recently improved their form and are unbeaten in 4 – with a win and then 2 draws, then a 1-0 win (v Lorient on 22 October), and Dijon have moved above the relegation zone. Dijon currently (Oct. 22 2016) are playing to a decent 82.9 percent-capacity after 5 home matches, at 8,846 per game at their (temporarily-reduced-capacity) stadium.

Here is a map-and-post that I made, from 2011, which features Dijon, when they had gained promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time; it has more information on Dijon’s ongoing stadium re-build…France: the 3 promoted clubs from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1, for the 2011-12 season (Évian TG, Ajaccio, Dijon).

dijon-fco_promoted2016_stade-gaston-gerard_o-dall-aglio_j-tavares_l-diony_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
16/17 Dijon jersey, photo by Dijon FCO at dfco.fr/shop. Aerial photo of Dijon city centre, photo unattributed at kukly-bratc.ru/[Djon France] k.e. Interior-photo of stadium, photo unattributed at essma.eu e. Shot of recently-built stand, photo unattributed at stadedijonfootball.t.s.f.unblog.fr. Olivier Dall’Oglio, photo unattributed at sofoot.com. Júlio Tavares, photo by dijon-sportnews.fr. Loïs Diony, photo by Emmanuel Lelaidier at francetvsport.fr/football/ligue-2. Tavares jumping in celebration, photo by Ligue 1 at ligue1.com/ligue1/article/dijon-secure-promotion.

    • Metz

(Est. 1967). City-population of Metz: around 119,000/ 30th-largest city in France {see this}; metro-area population: around 389,000 {2012 estimates}. Metz is, by road, 59 km (37 mi) N of Nancy. Metz is, by road, 167 km (104 mi) NW of Strasbourg. Metz is, by road, 331 km (206 mi) E of Paris.

Colours: Garnet-Red-and-White. Nicknames: Les Grenats (the Maroons), les Messins, les Graoullys (the Dragons).

Manager: Philippe Hinschberger (age 56), born in Algrange, Lorraine (which located is 18 miles south of Metz). (For more on Philipe Hinschberger, who played his entire 15-year career with FC Metz, see photos and captions further below.) Hinschberger got Metz promoted back to Ligue 1 by the narrowest of margins, finishing in 3rd, even on points AND even on goal difference with Le Havre, but with 2 more goals scored than Le Havre.

Major titles: 2 Coupe de France titles (1984 & 1988). In the 1984 Coupe de France Final, Metz beat Monaco 2-0 (aet), with goals by (current-Metz-coach) Philippe Hinschberger in the 104th minute, and by Slovenian-German FW Tony Kurbos in the 108th minute. Four years later, Metz won the Coupe de France title again, this time in a 5-4 penalty shootout following a 1-1 score with FC Sochaux-Montbéliard. Scottish FW Eric Black had scored the Metz goal in the 45th minute, nine minutes after a Sochaux goal in the 36th minute. After the scoreless added extra time, all 5 Metz players scored their penalties (Bernard Zénier, Philippe Hinschberger, Jean-Louis Zanon, Christian Bracconi, Sylvain Kastendeuch). Metz have never won the French title, but came agonizingly close in 1997-98, when they finished even on points with RC Lens, but lost out on winning the league on a goal difference of 5 (Lens had 68 points and a goal difference of +35; while Metz had 68 points and a goal difference of +30).

Seasons in the 1st division: counting 2016-17, Metz have spent 59 seasons in the French 1st division. Their first season in the top flight was in 1935-36 (which was the fourth season of the professional French first division [ie, Ligue 1).

Metz might have barely squeaked into the 1st division last season, but seem to be holding their own in Ligue 1 in 2016-17. They started out strong, although they have lost two in a row as of 22 October, and Metz sit right at mid-table on 4 wins, one draw, and 4 losses. As of that date, Metz are drawing OK, as they have seen a 3.4 K-increase from last season (to 16.7 K)...but they are playing to just a 65.1 percent-capacity. So perhaps Metz' stadium is a bit too big (their Stade Saint-Symphorien has a 26.6-K-capacity, and was at a 2-K-reduced 24.5-K-capacity last season in Ligue 2, and is currently at a slightly-reduced 25.6-K-capacity for their Ligue 1 games this season). {From the excellent Ligue 1 official site, here are current attendances and capacities.}

Metz is the 30th-largest city in France. Metz is capital of the department of Moselle, and capital and largest city in the historical province of Lorraine. Metz is located at the confluence of the Moselle and Seille Rivers. Metz is very nearby another promoted club from Lorraine - Nancy.

Timeline of Metz, from the 12th century to the present-day...
In 1189, the city of Metz rose to the status of a Free Imperial City in the Holy Roman Empire (from 1189-1552).
In 1552, following the Siege of Metz, Metz was ceded by the Holy Roman Empire, and became part of the Kingdom of France (from 1552-1871).
In 1871, after the Franco-Prussian War, Metz was re-gained by Germanic-speaking people: Metz became part of the German Empire (from 1871-1918).
In 1919: after the First World War, and following the Treaty of Versailles, Metz became part of France again (from 1919-1940).
In 1940: during WW II, (with the Annexation of the Moselle), Metz was again re-gained by Germany [well, maybe not Germany per se, but by the Nazis] [and Metz briefly became part of the Third Reich].
On 13 Dec. 1944: the Battle of Metz ended; the Germans [Nazis] were ousted. Metz was re-gained by France for the third time.

metz_promoted2016_h-diallo_c-bekamenga_y-nbokato_p-hinschberger_h_.gif"
Photo and Image credits above –
16/17 Metz jersey, photo unattributed at 4.bp.blogspot.com/[jpg]. Photo at twilight of confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers in Metz, photo unattributed at militaryingermany.com/discover-metz-france. Aerial shot of Stade Saint-Symphorien, photo by FC Metz at thinkfoot.fr/stade-football [metz]. Panoramic interior shot of Stade Saint-Symphorien, photo by Yann Dupré at elsass-groundhopping.over-blog.com/2016/05/stade-saint-symphorien-metz. Photo of Habib Diallo, photo by Michel Dell’Aiera via wort.lu/fr/sport. Photo of Christian Bekamenga, photo by Fred Marvaux at gettyimages.com. Photo of Yeni N’Bakoto by Fred Marvaux/Icon Sport via footballclubdemarseille.fr. Photo of 1982 Panini trading card of Philipe Hinschberger, photo from oldschoolpanini.com. Photo of Philipe Hinscberger at FC Metz promotion celebration (30 April 2016), photo by Le Républicain Lorrain via forum-fcmetz.com/[promotion-celebration FC Metz April 2016].

___
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of France, by Eric Gaba (aka Sting)/Otourly/NordNordWest, at File:France adm-2 location map.svg (en.wikipedia.org).
-Attendances, from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-2015-16 stadium capacities (for league matches), from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015%E2%80%9316_Ligue_1#Stadia_and_locations.
-Coupe de France titles, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coupe_de_France#Performance_by_club.
-French 1st division titles, from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligue_1#Performance_by_club.

October 11, 2016

2016-17 Primera División (aka La Liga) (Spain/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./ Plus the 3 promoted clubs (Alavés, Leganés, Osasuna).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Spain — admin @ 4:06 pm

spain_2016-17_la-liga_map_w-15-16-attendance_seasons-in-1st-div_titles-listed_post_c_.gif
2016-17 La Liga (Spain/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed



By Bill Turianski on 11 October 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-Teams, etc…2016-17 La Liga (en.wikipedia.org).
-Fixtures, results, table, stats…Primera División [summary] (soccerway.com/national/spain/primera-division).
-Here is a great blog which I have had on my blogroll here since 2007…Spanish Football & Sports blog (spanishfootballsports.blogspot.com).
-Football Espana site…football-espana.net.

    The 3 promoted clubs for the 2016-17 Spanish 1st division
    (Alavés, Leganés, Osasuna)

Alavés won the 2015-16 Segunda División title and return to La Liga for the first time in 10 seasons. Leganés, who are from a southern suburb of Madrid, finished in 2nd place in the Segunda División last year, and will make their 1st division debut in 2016-17. Osasuna won the 15/16 Segunda División play-offs, and return to La Liga after two seasons in the 2nd division.

2015-16 Segunda División champions…

    • Deportivo Alavés.

Deportivo Alavés S.A.D., est. 1921.
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain. The city of Vitoria-Gastiez, founded in the 12th century, has a population of around 243,000 {2015 figure}, and is the capital of the Basque Country (autonomous community).
Ground: Mendizorrotza. Capacity 19,840 seated. Opened 1924; last renovated and expanded in 1999.
Colours: Blue-and-white vertically-striped jerseys. Nickname: Babazorros (Basque for ‘bean sacks’) / El Glorioso (The glorious one).
Seasons that Alavés have spent in La Liga [the Spanish 1st division]: 12 seasons [counting 2016-17]. Previous spell in Spanish 1st division: a one-season spell in 2005-06.
Major titles: (none), but Alavés were UEFA Cup runner-up in 2000-01 (losing to Liverpool 5-4 aet).

Coach: Mauricio Pellegrino (age 43), born in Córdoba, Argentina.

2016-17 Season Preview: Alaves (from 15 August 2016 by Euan McTear at football-espana.net).

Alavés return to La Liga after 10 seasons in the second division – then 3 games in, they beat Barcelona…
Alavés made an emphatic start to their first division return, drawing away to Atlético Madrid 1-1 in their first match (with a last-gasp goal by Manu Garcia in the 95th minute), then drawing 0-0 at home versus Sporting Gijón, and then shocking Barcelona away 1-2 (with goals by Deyverson in the 39th minute, and the winning goal by Ibai Gómez in the 69th minute). Alavés have cooled off a bit since then, but still sit 12th after 7 games, with 2 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses. After 3 home games, Alavés are playing to a decent 79.3 percent-capacity at their 19.8-K-capacity Estadio Mendizorrotza, drawing 15,751 per game.

Alavés made their top-flight debut in the early 1930s, back when La Liga had a very strong Basque presence (40%+ of the 1st division teams were Basque).
Deportivo Alavés first played in La Liga for a 3-season-spell in the early 1930s (1930-31 to 1932-33), back in the very early days of La Liga, when 40-to-50 percent of the Spanish first division was comprised of clubs from the Basque region. (La Liga – the professional Spanish first division – was established in the truncated season of 1929, as a 10-team league {see this}.) First-division Spanish football in its infancy was very Basque-centric. While the first Spanish football club was founded in the south of Spain (Recreativo Huleva, in 1896), one of the oldest clubs from Spain is Athletic Club [Bilbao] (est 1898). And Athletic Club were the first champions of organized Spanish football, when the club from Bilbao won the first Copa del Rey title in 1903 (beating Madrid FC [Real Madrid] 3-2). Basque football had such a strong presence in the early days of Spanish football that 40% of the charter-members of the Spanish first division in the inaugural season of La Liga in 1929 were Basque.

Those 4 Basque clubs that were founding members of the Spanish 1st division are…
-Athletic Club [Bilbao],
-Real Sociedad de Fútbol [of San Sebastian, the 2nd-largest Basque city],
-Arenas Club de Getxo [of Gexto, which is a suburb of Bilbao], and
-Real Unión Club de Irún [of Irún, a suburb of San Sebastian on the border with France].

Arenas de Gexto and Real Unión de Irún have never been in the 1st division since the 1930s, and are both currently in the 80-team/4 sub-division regionalized Spanish 3rd division, in Segunda B Group 2. It might surprise you (well, it surprised me) that all four of these clubs – and not just Athletic Club and Sociedad – have won major titles. Real Unión de Irún have won four Copa del Rey titles (in 1913 over fellow Basque-side Athletic, in 1922 over Barcelona, in 1924 over Real Madrid, and in 1927 over fellow Basque side Arenas de Gexto). And Arenas de Gexto have won one Copa del Rey title (in 1919 over Barcelona). There are only 14 clubs in Spain which have ever won a Copa del Rey title {see list here}, and two of them are present-day 3rd-division-clubs from the Basque Country.

The peak of percentage of Basque teams in La Liga came about with the promotion of Deportivo Alavés for the 1930-31 season…
{See this page, with map, at the Spanish Wikipedia, Primera División de España 1930-31}. In 1930-31, not only were half the teams in the Spanish top flight from the Basque lands, but that season a Basque side – Athletic Club [Bilbao] – was the first club in Spain to win the Double (the Primera División title and the Copa del Rey title). This 50%-Basque-first-division in La Liga lasted two seasons, as Real Unión Club de Irún were relegated the following season of 1931-32. And the next season of 1932-33, Alavés were relegated (and Alavés would not return to the top flight until a two-season spell in the mid-1950s). Then two years after that, in 1934-35 (when La Liga expanded by 2, to 12 teams), two more Basque sides also suffered relegation (Real Sociedad and Arenas de Gexto). The next season, a club within the greater Basque region, Osasuna, was promoted for the first time. At that point, right on the eve of the onset of the Spanish Civil War (which was fought from July 1936 to April 1939), the geographic distribution of Spanish 1st-division clubs began to more resemble the modern-day make-up of La Liga. You can see that by looking at the map of the 1935-36 season {here/1935-36 La Liga},

2016-17: there are 5 clubs from the Basque Country (Greater Region) in La Liga, once again…
Fast forward to 7 decades later, and now in 2016-17, the Basque football presence in La Liga is at its highest level since the mid-1930s. Because with the promotion of Alavés back to the Spanish 1st division, and the continued top-flight-survival of the smallest-ever La Liga club – SD Eibar – as well as the continued 1st division presence of Real Sociedad and, of course, the continued presence of the never-relegated Athletic Club [Bilbao], there are now once again four Basque clubs in La Liga. And if you count the region of Navarra as part of the Basque region – and most people do – then that number of Basque teams currently in La Liga is 5…because CA Osasuna, of Pamplona, Navarre, have also just gained promotion back to the first division (see Osasuna section further below).

Below,
Basque clubs in the 2016-17 Spanish top flight: 4 clubs from the Basque Country proper, plus Osasuna from the Basque Country (greater region)…

basque-clubs-in-la-liga_map-of-4-clubs_2016-17_alaves_athletic-club-bilbao_eibar_real-sociedad_plus-osasuna_c_.gif
Image credits above -
Road map of Basque Country from Google.com [image search].
Blank map of Spain [segment] by NordNordWest, at File:Spain location map.svg (en.wikipedia.org).
Original map by billsportsmaps.com, spain_2016-17_la-liga_map_w-15-16-attendance_seasons-in-1st-div_titles-listed_m_.gif.

alaves_promoted2016_estadio-mendizorrotza_vitoria-gasteiz-basque-country_v_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
Alaves badge, photo unattributed at 3.bp.blogspot.com. 16/17 Alaves jersey, photo unattributed at en.as.com/en/imagenes. Twilght in Gasteiz, photo by spain.info. Central city square, with Napoleanic War Memorial in Gasteiz at dusk, photo by Mikelcg at File:Plaza Virgen Blanca VITORIA-GASTEIZ tras reforma.JPG. Wide-view aerial photo, photo unattributed at elcorreo.com/alava/multimedia/fotos/alaves/20140423/mendizorroza-anos-historia. 2nd aerial photo by lfp.es at marca.com/futbol/segunda-division/album. 3rd aerial photo by @JCDrone at twitter.com/jcdrone.

2015-16 Segunda División runner-up…

    • Leganés.

Club Deportivo Leganés, S.A.D, est. 1928.
Leganés, Greater Madrid, Spain. Leganés is a suburb of Madrid located 11 km (7 mi) S of the city centre of Madrid.
Ground: Estadio Municipal de Butarque. Capacity 10,958 seated. Opened 1998, renovated and slightly expanded in 2016.
Colours: Blue-and-White vertically-striped jerseys. Nickname: los Pepineros (the Cucumber Growers).
Seasons that Leganés have spent in La Liga [the Spanish 1st division]: 1 season [counting 2016-17]. Top-flight debut for Leganés in 2016-17.
Major titles: (none).
Coach: Asier Garitano (age 46), born in Bergara, Basque Country. Asier Garitano has been the coach of Leganés since June 2013, when the club was in the Spanish 3rd division. He got Leganés promoted in his first season (2013-14). Then after 2 seasons in the Spanish second tier, Garitano got Leganés promoted again, as they finished in 2nd place in the 15/16 Segunda División, 3 points above Gimnàstic Tarragona.

Leganés make their La Liga debut in 2016-17…
So Leganés play in the first-division for the first time in their 88-year history, just as two of the four 1st division clubs in Greater Madrid have been relegated (Rayo Vallecano and Getafe). CD Leganés play at the small but rather decent Estadio Municipal de Butarque, which was opened in 1998, and which in early 2016 was renovated (with new seats installed), and was slightly expanded. Butarque now has a capacity of 10.9 K, which is about 2.8-K-more seated-capacity than the original stadium was. {See this article on Estadio Municipal de Butarque, from 2011, which has been updated to 2016; and see 6th paragraph at there, Leganés – Estadio Municipal de Butarque (by Chris Clements at estadiosdeespana.com).}

As of early October 2016, and after 7 games, Leganés have made a pretty decent start of it in La Liga, as they sit right at mid-table on 10 points, with 3 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses (all those 3 wins were away). And the turn-out by the home fans has been fantastic – Leganés are playing to solid 89.9 percent-capacity at Butarque (see last 2 photos below, which were taken in 2016 after the stadium renovation, the last photo of the full-capacity crowd there for their match versus Barcelona).

The municipalty of Leganés is a satellite-city just south-west of central Madrid, with a population of around 186,000. The suburb of Leganés is home to many high-yielding vegetable farms, and is particularly noted for its cucumbers, hence CD Leganes’ nickname of los Pepineros (the Cucumber Growers) (see photo of a Leganes fans’ banner-and-tifo-display, which references the Cucumber nickname). Visiting teams even have nice gift-baskets of cucumbers waiting for them in the Leganés club-house dressing room (also see photo below).

-Here is a great article on the first-division home debut of CD Leganés…
(Leganés 0-0 Atlético Madrid on 27 August 2016), from Sid Lowe at the Guardian/football, Noisy neighbours Leganés give Atlético blues to take back corner of Madrid (by Sid Lowe on 29 Aug. 2016 at theguardian.com/football/blog).

-2016-17 Season Preview: Leganes (from 21 August 2016 by Dave Redshaw at football-espana.net).

leganes_promoted2016_estadio-municipal-de-butarque_los-pepineros_the-cucumber-growers_i_.gif
Photos of 16/17 Leganes jersey and badge by satglobe.net. Aerial photo of Butarque by lfp.es at La LFP te descubre los 22 estadios de Segunda desde el aire(marca.com/futbol/segunda-division [Gallery]. Shot of promotion-celebration at Leganes, photo by EPA via dailymail.co.uk/football. Shot of Leganes fans tifo, photo unattributed at krge.tumblr.com. Shot of gift-basket of Leganes cucumbers, photo unattributed at soccerinfomania.com. Photo of interior of Butarque during a match (2014), photo by Miguelazo84 at File:Leganés-Bilbao Athletic 2014.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Photo of interior of Butarque following 2016 renovation (incl new seats), photo by Miguelazo84 at File:FondoNorteButarque.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Shot of crowd at a match in Sept. 2016 (v. Barcelona), photo by Miguelazo84 at File:LegaBarcelona2016gol.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org).

2015-16 Segunda División play-offs winner…

    • Osasuna.

Club Atlético Osasuna, est. 1920.
Pamplona, Navarre, Spain.
Ground: El Sadar. Capacity 18,761 seated. Opened 1967, last renovated and expanded in 2003.
Colours: Deep Red jerseys, Blue (or Dark Blue) trim and pants. Nickname: Los Rojillos / Gorritxoak (The Reds).
Seasons that Osasuna have spent in La Liga [the Spanish 1st division]: 37 seasons [counting 2016-17]. Previous spell in Spanish 1st division: a 14-season spell, from 2000-01 to 2013-14.
Major titles: (none), but Osasuna were runner-up in the 2004-05 Copa del Rey Final, losing to Betis 2-1 aet.
Coach: Enrique Martín (age 60), born in Pamplona.

2016-17 Season Preview: Osasuna (from 21 August 2016 by Euan McTear at football-espana.net).

Osasuna return to La Liga after 2 seasons in the second tier…
Osauna won promotion to La Liga for 2016-17 via the play-offs. Osasuna did this by finishing in 6th place in the 15/16 Segunda División, just squeaking in to the play-offs thanks to the the head-to-head tiebreaker rule that Spain uses (Osasuna ahead of Alcorcón and Zaragoza on head-to-head record: with on Osasuna 7 points, Alcorcón on 6 points, Zaragoza on 4 points). Then Osauna won the 15/16 play-offs by beating Gimnàstic Tarragona in the semifinals by 6-3 aggregate, and then they beat Girona in the finals by 3-1 aggregate.

CA Osauna are from Pamplona, which is most famous for its annual Running of the Bulls event (see photo below). While not part of the official region of the Basque Country, Pamplona is part of the Basque Country (greater region). Counting 2016-17, Osasuna have played 37 seasons in the Spanish top flight (their previous stint in La Liga was a 14-season spell, from 2000-01 to 2013-14). Osasuna’s best season was in 2005-06, when they actually finished in 4th place, and just missed out on qualifying for the 2006-07 Champions League Group Stage, losing to Hamburger SV 1-1 aggregate (away goals rule). But their great run didn’t end there, because Osauna were placed in the 2006-07 UEFA Cup Group Stage, where they advanced to the knockout stages and then beat Glasgow Rangers and then Bayer Leverkusen, before bowing out to eventual champions Sevilla. (Man are Spanish teams good in Europe.)

Osauna has a really nice little stadium, the 18.7-K-capacity Estadio El Sadar
El Sadar (formerly called Reyno de Navarra) opened in 1967 and was last renovated in 2003. It is sort of like a small Spanish version of Newcastle’s St James Park. El Sadar is all-roofed and with the seats very close to the pitch (as they do in Spain), with one much-larger stand dominating the rest of the structure (like at Newcastle), and with the other 3 stands being double-tiered, despite not being very large. It looks like there really is not a bad seat in the house. El Sadar might need a bit of a spruce-up, but it is nevertheless an underrated gem of a stadium.

Unfortunately for Osasuna, they are one of those clubs in Spain (like, currently, for example, Valencia) that have went through severe financial trouble. In 2014, Osauna were so far in debt (over €100 million in debt) that they had to sell their stadium – to the regional government of Navarre, in November 2014. That same season they were relegated. But less than two years later Osasuna have not only survived, but have bounced back. They settled their debt earlier this year {see this, from March 2016, Spanish Second Division Side Osasuna Presents Financial Viability Plan (sportsbusinessdaily.com)}.

But Osasuna have had a bad start back in the first division. Currently (second week of October 2016) they sit near the basement of La Liga, in 19th place after 7 games, with 0 wins, 3 draws and 4 losses. After 4 home games, Osasuna have been drawing OK, playing to 81.8 percent-capacity at 15,310 per game.

osasuna_pamplona-navarre_estadio-el-sadar_reyno-de-navarra_promoted2016_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Photo of 16/17 Osasuna jersey unattributed at 2.bp.blogspot.com. Photo of Pamplona, photo unattributed at archaeoccidens.com. Photo of running of the bulls in Pamplona, photo by AFP/Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk. Interior photo of stadium, photo by Stuart MacDonald at File:Inside Estadio Reyno de Navarra.JPG (commons.wikimedia.org). Strret-level photo of main tribune of stadium, photo by frank-jasperneite.de via stadiumdb.com. Aerial photo of El Sadar, photo by CA Osasuna at navarrainformacion.es.

___
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Spain, by NordNordWest, at File:Spain location map.svg (en.wikipedia.org).
-Blank map of Spain incl. Canary Islands [segment], Miguillen, at File:EspañaLoc.svg
-Blank map of Spain incl. Canary Islands, by Miguillen, at File:España-Canarias-loc.svg.
-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-2015-16 stadium capacities (for league matches) from Primera División de España 2015-16/Ascensos_y_descensos (es.wikipedia.org).
-Titles from La Liga (en.wikipedia.org).
-Seasons in Spanish 1st Division, Spanish Premier Division All-Time Table 1928-2016 (85 Leagues [85 seasons])
-Thanks to the contributors at 2015–16 La Liga (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to Football-Espana.net, for the nice team previews; Football-Espana.net can be found at the blogroll here.

September 30, 2016

2016-17 Bundesliga (Germany/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./+ promoted clubs from 2.Bundesliga (SC Freiburg, RasenBallsport Leipzig).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Germany — admin @ 3:56 pm

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Germany: 2016-17 Bundesliga location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed



By Bill Turianski on 30 September 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Teams, etc…2016-17 Bundesliga (en.wikipedia.org).
-English-speaking Bundesliga coverage…bundesligafanatic.com.
-Official site of the Bundesliga in English (offizielle webseite der Bundesliga)…bundesliga.com/en/.
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…Bundesliga – Summary (soccerway.com/national/germany/bundesliga).

    Below: the 2 promoted clubs from 2.Bundesliga to the Bundesliga for 2016-17
    (SC Freiburg, RB Leipzig)
    • SC Freiberg

(Est. 1904). City-population of Freiburg im Breisgau: around 220,000 {2014 figure}. Freiburg is, by road, 205 km (127 mi) SW of Stuttgart. Freiburg is, by road, 70 km (44 mi) N of Basel, Switzerland.

Colours: Red-with-Black. Nickname: (none). Coach: Christian Streich (age 51), born in Weil am Rhein, SW Baden-Württemberg.

-From Bundesliga official site, from May 2016, Youth-oriented Freiburg are back. After relegation to 2.Bundesliga in May 2015, SC Freiburg retained their coach, Christian Streich, and much of their young squad. In 2015-16, they bounced straight back up to the Bundesliga with relative ease, clinching automatic promotion with 2 games to spare. Seen below are the top two scoring threats for Freiburg last season: Nils Petersen and Vincenzo Grifo. Both return for 2016-17.

Counting 2016-17, Freiburg have spent 12 seasons in the Bundresliga…
Freiburg’s previous stint in the top flight was a 6-season spell from 2009-10 to 2015-16. Freiburg’s fanbase is pretty faithful, seeing as how the club these days pretty much always plays to near-capacity (above 97 percent-capacity since 2012-13 [4 seasons]). The club saw barely any drop-off in attendance at all when they were down in the second division last season (in 2015-16). Last season Freiburg drew 23.3 K in a 24.0-capacity stadium, and they only drew 473 less than they were drawing in the 1st division in 14/15. That less-than-one-percent drop-off in crowd-size reminds me of Norwich City. Norwich City also loses less than one-percent of their crowd-size when they (invariably) get relegated. So SC Freiburg are kind of like Norwich City in that way. Plus both clubs are from relatively small cities to be having a 1st division team (some seasons), and both clubs are from cities which are tucked in somewhat outlying corners of their respective countries.

Freiburg im Breisgau is located in far south-western Germany, about 18 km (11 mi) E of the French border, and about 67 km (42 mi) N of the Swiss border. Freiburg is situated on the western edge of the Black Forest, and the city is located within the Baden wine-growing region. Freiburg has one of the highest standards of living in Germany, and is renowned for its advanced environmental practices. An example of how green and eco-conscious Freiburg is can be seen in the fact that in 1996, SC Freiburg were the first football club in Germany to install solar panels on their stadium (on three-quarters of the roof-space [see photo below]). Freiburg is so green that the coach, Christian Streich (a Freiburg-area native), rides his bicycle to the team’s home games at the Schwarzwald-Stadion.

-From the Transition site [an academic site],
The Future for SC Freiburg’s stadium is still bright (by Jessica Porter on 24 June 2015 at transition.web.unc.edu).

freiburg_schwarzwald-stadion_2016-promoted_nils-petersen_vicenzo-grifo_christian-streich_i_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
16/17 Freiburg jersey, photo unattributed at 3.bp.blogspot.com. Freiburg, aerial photo by Thomas Maier at File:Freiburg-im-Breisgau-Luftaufnahme-16072004.jpg. Schwarzwald-Stadion, aerial shot, photo by badenova.de. Schwarzwald-Stadion, interior shot, photo by Picture Alliance via kicker.de. Photo of Vincenzo Grifo, photo by Joachim Hahne at suedkurier.de/sport/sport/Spielernoten-So-stuermte-der-SC-Freiburg-an-die-Spitze. Nils Petersen, photo by Alexander Scheuber/Bongarts via zimbio.com. Photo of Freiburg players still celebrating during post-game press conference of coach Christian Srteich, image from screenshot of animated gif at kretschmannland.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/sc_freiburg_celebrate_promotion_29_04_2016.gif; kretschmannland.wordpress.com/category/the-daily-prompt/page/2/.

    • RasenBallsport Leipzig

(Est. 2009). City-population of Leipzig: around 560,000; metro-area population: around 1.0 million/ 10th-largest city in Germany {2015 figures}. Leipzig is, by road, 149 km (93 mi) SSW of Berlin. Leipzig is, by road, about 152 km (95 mi) ENE of the Czech Republic border at the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge).

Colours: White-with-Taurine-Red-and-Dark-Blue-and-Gummy-Bear-Yellow. Nickname: die Roten Bullen (the Red Bulls). Manager: Ralph Hasenhüttl (age 49), born in Graz, Austria.

Only 5 teams from the former-East-Germany have ever played in the Bundesliga (1991-92 to 2016-17)…
RB Leipzig are the first team from the former-East-Germany to play in the Bundesliga in almost a decade, since Energie Cottbus (who were last in the German top flight in 2008-09). Now, counting RB Leipzig, since German reunification/football-leagues consolidation in 1991-92 (when the top 2 teams in the last season of DDR-Oberliga were promoted over into the Bundesliga), only 5 teams from the former-East-Germany have ever played in the Bundesliga…
Hansa Rostok (12 seasons in Bundesliga, last in 2007-08),
Dynamo Dresden (4 seasons in Bundesliga, from 1991-95),
VfB Leipzig (one season in Bundesliga in 1993-4),
Energie Cottbus (6 seasons in Bundesliga, last in 2008-09),
•and now, RB Leipzig.
RB Leipzig make their first-division debut in 2016-17. Seen further below are the top four scoring threats for RB Leipzig last season, when they finished in second place in 2.Bundesliga, clinching automatic promotion with one game to spare (by beating Karslruhrer 2-0 on 8 May 2016).

And for the first time in 22 years, there finally is a team in the Bundesliga from the 6th-largest metro-region in Germany – the Central German Metropolitan Region (Leipzig/Chemnitz/Halle/Dresden: population of around 4.6 million {2009 figure}, see this, Metropolitan regions in Germany). (The previous team in the Bundesliga from this metro-region was Dynamo Dresden, who last played in the Bundesliga from 1991-95.)

That is the good news. The rest is good news only if you like the concept of corporations taking over the sports world…
That is because the seven-year-old “club” RB Leipzig is part of the Red Bull pro sports empire, which is growing like a cancer. From Guardian/football, from 8 September 2016, by Phillp Oltermann, How RB Leipzig became the most hated club in German football (theguardian.com/football). From the Supporters Not Customers site, Against Red Bull Football (by Ben Dudley on 11 June 2013 at supportersnotcustomers.com).

In most of the following cases below, the energy-drink purveyors Red Bull took over a football club, changed its colours, crest, and name, thereby stripping the club of its history and re-branding it in the name of further corporate conquest. Three other teams were founded by Red Bull GmbH (a minor-league soccer team in NYC, a 5th-division Brazilian side, and a now-defunct Ghanain team)…

red-bull-teams_bull-scheiss_c_.gif
Image above originally appears as result of search query “red bull football teams” at google.com.

Football “clubs” and soccer franchises that Red Bull GmbH owns…
-RB Leipzig (Leipzig, Saxony, Germany/1st div/est 2009, re-branded from a club which dated back to 1990 [SSV Markranstädt].
-Red Bull Salzburg (Salzburg, Austria/1st div/est 2005, re-branded from a club which dated back to 1933 [SV Austria Salzburg]) (now is merely a feeder-”club” for RB Leipzig).
-New York Red Bulls (Harrison, New Jersey, USA/1st div [Major League Soccer]/est 2006, re-branded from a franchise which dated back to 1995 [the NY/NJ MetroStars]).
-FC Liefering (Grödig, Greater Salzburg, Austria/2nd div/est 2012, re-branded from a club which dated back to 1947 [FC Anif]) (feeder-”club” for other Red Bull teams).
The following are teams which Red Bull started from scratch…
-Red Bull Brasil (Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil/4th div/est 2007).
-Red Bull Ghana (2008-14/defunct).
-New York Red Bulls II (Harrison, New Jersey, USA/quasi-3rd div/est 2015) (feeder-minor-league-team in USL-1, for the New York Red Bulls of MLS).

-(Red Bull GmbH also owns 1st-division ice hockey teams in Munich and Salzburg; and Red Bull GmbH owns motor racing teams in Austria [F1], Italy [F1], and next year [2017] in Brisbane, Australia [Super-8].)

In the case of RB Leipzig, Red Bull GmbH took over the 5th division side SSV Markranstädt (1990-2009)…
The Red Bull corporation bought the 5th-division club SSV Markranstädt (of Markranstädt, Saxony near Leipzig), in 2009, with the announced intention of turning it into a Bundesliga team within 8 years. (They made it into the Bundesliga in 7 years.) The club was re-named RB Leipzig (RB is the shortened term for RasenBallsport, which translates as “LawnBallsport” [seriously]). Red Bull GmbH got around the 50+1 rule in Germany…and frankly have made a mockery of that rule…by making RB Leipzig a “club” that is so prohibitively expensive to join that there are only 17 members – virtually all of whom have financial-and/or-job-related ties to Red Bull GmbH (the club reserve the right to reject any application without a reason). It costs €1,000 a year to simply be a non-voting member of RB Leipzig. By comparison, it only costs around €70 per season to join Bayern Munich (and have full-voting-privileges). Bayern Munich is a club which has over 225,000 members. FC Schalke has over 140,000 members (also with voting privileges; as with the next few examples). Borussia Dortmund has around 139,000 members. Borussia Mönchengladbach has over 75,000 members. Hamburger SV has over 70,000 members. Even small-and-relative-newcomers-to-the-Bundesliga, clubs like FC Augsburg (12,200 members) and Darmstadt (5,500 members), have considerably more members than the less-than-two-dozen members which comprise the “club” known as RB Leipzig.

In the case of Red Bull Salzburg, in 2005 Red Bull GmbH took over a club – SV Austria Salzburg – with a long history in the Austrian 1st division including 4 Austrian titles…
SV Austria Salzburg wore purple and white colours; they averaged around 7-to-8 K per game (circa the mid-2000s); the supplanted team Red Bull Salzburg has ended up with about the same crowd-size, drawing 8.4 K in 2015-16. Back in 2005, when the fans of SV Austria Salzburg realized Red Bull GmbH’s identity-stripping intentions with the club they supported, and protested, Red Bull said something very condescending, to the effect that, If they liked purple so much then maybe the complaining fans would be happy if the Red Bull Salzburg goalkeeper wore purple socks. Here is an excerpt from the article linked to further above (and, again, here), entitled Against Red Bull Football…
“The Austrian Bundesliga side were purchased by Red Bull in the same way as their franchise in Leipzig, with the only part of the club the new owners truly cared about being the license to play. The violet and white colours of Austria Salzburg were replaced with a kit more suitable for the marketing of ‘the brand’, with supporters’ protests completely ignored by the clubs hierarchy. Also gone was the clubs traditional badge, once again replaced by a tawdry Red Bull infected logo without a shred of pride or passion. As supporters protested furiously for the return of Austria Salzburg’s soul, Red Bull’s offered a so-called compromise. “If colours are so important to the supporters, the goalkeeper can wear violet socks” said Red Bull.”…(excerpt by Ben Dudley at the Supporters Not Customers site).

So fans in Austria, upset with Red Bull, formed their own club in 2006, SV Austria Salzburg
Fan-owned protest club SV Austria Salzburg were placed in the 7th tier of Austrian football and initially had a good start, with 4 consecutive promotions and then five years later, a fifth promotion in to the Austrian 2nd division in 2015. But that promotion into the Austrian second-tier was so costly (debt of €900,000 by November 2015) that SV Austria Salzburg were relegated right back last season (2015-16), and are now again a 3rd-division-side, this time with severe financial problems. And meanwhile, the “club” that supplanted SV Austria Salzburg, Red Bull Salzburg, who after failing in 9 attempts to qualify for the UEFA Champions League Group Stage, have – as per orders from Red Bull corporate HQ – become merely a feeder club for Red Bull’s new flagship sports “brand”, the newly-promoted-to-the Bundesliga team RB Leipzig. So Red Bull took the identity of Salzburg’s biggest club from their supporters, then eleven years later, when that “product” failed to launch properly, turned that club into a mere feeder-team for their flagship brand (RB Leipzig).

Criticisms of RB Leipzig…
{The following excerpts are from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RB_Leipzig#Criticism.}…”The establishment of RB Leipzig has caused much controversy in Germany. The controversy has revolved around the apparent involvement of Red Bull GmbH and the restrictive membership policy. This has been seen as contrary to common practice in Germany, where football clubs have traditionally relied on voluntary registered associations, with sometimes very large number of members, and where the 50 + 1 rule has ensured that club members have a formal controlling stake.RB Leipzig has been criticized for allegedly being founded as a marketing tool and for allegedly taking commercialization of football in Germany to a new level. The club has been rejected as a “marketing club”, a “commercial club” or a “plastic club”. The criticism has been widespread. Critics have been found both in the management and among coaches and supporters of other clubs.
The introduction of RB Leipzig was met with protests from supporters of other Leipzig football clubs, notably 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig and FC Sachsen Leipzig. They feared a decline of traditional fan culture in Leipzig, and a commercialization of football in the region. After the partnership with SSV Markranstädt had become known, protests immediately appeared in Leipzig suburbs. Red Bull advertising boards at the Stadion am Bad in Markranstädt was smeared with graphitti and the pitch was purposely destroyed by a weed killer. Apart from these actions, protests in Leipzig were generally non-violent.”…/
…”The German economist Dr. Tobias Kollman said in 2009 that he saw Red Bull GmbH as a company with clear economic goals for its projects. Consequently, he described RB Leipzig as a “marketing club” and said that it was the first of this kind in Germany. He further described the activities of Red Bull GmbH in Leipzig a “sports political earthquake” in Germany. Borussia Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke and Eintracht Frankfurt chairman Heribet Bruchhagen warned in 2013 that clubs backed by major companies or financially strong patrons could pose a threat to the entire Bundesliga, talking of a “clash of culture”.

rb-leipzig_lawnballsport-leipzig_red-bull-arena_emil-forsberg_marcel-sabitzer_davie-selke_dominik-kaiser_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
16/17 RB Leipzig jersey, photo by RB Leipzig at redbullshop.com r. Aerial shot of Red Bull Arena, photo by Philip at flickr.com. Photo of central Leipzig, photo unattributed at independent.co.uk/travel. Shot of 2015-16 RB Leipzig players celebrating a goal at the Red Bull Arena, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/football/Borussia-Dortmund-supporters-groups-boycott-Red-Bull-Leipzig-visit. Emil Forsberg, photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts via zimbio.com. Marcel Sabitzer, photo by Katrina Hessland/Getty Images via zimbio.com. Davie Selke, photo by Boris Streubel via gettyimages.com. Dominik Kaiser, photo by Ullstein Bold via gettyimages.com.
___
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Germany by NordNordWest, File:Germany location map.svg (en.wikipedia.org).
-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-2015-16 stadium capacities (for league matches) from Fußball-Bundesliga 2015/16 (de.wikipedia.org).
-List of German football champions (en.wikipedia.org).
-Seasons-in-1st-division data from Bundesliga (en.wikipedia.org).

September 19, 2016

2016-17 Serie A (Italy/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./ Plus illustrations for the 3 promoted clubs (Cagliari, Crotone, Pescara).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Italy — admin @ 3:24 pm

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2016-17 Serie A (Italy/1st division) location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed




By Bill Turianski on 19 September 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links
-Teams, etc…2016-17 Serie A (en.wikipedia.org).
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…Serie A/summary (soccerway.com).
-English-speaking coverage of Italian football…Forza Italian football.com.
-Here is the archive-page of Serie A-focused Guardian.com/football writer Paolo Bandini, {archive page, Paolo Bandini (theguardian.com/profile/paolobandini).}
-16/17 Serie A jerseys…2016/17 SERIE A HOME SOCCER JERSEYS (soccer365.com).

From Forza Italian Football site, here is the Season Preview: Serie A 2016-17 (by Kevin Pogorzelski at forzaitalianfootball.com).

    The 3 promoted clubs in the 2016-17 Serie A (Cagliari, Crotone, Pescara)

Cagliari won the 2015-16 Serie B. Crotone finished in 2nd place in the 15/16 Serie B. Pescara won the 15/16 Serie B play-offs.

    Cagliari

Manager: Massimo Rastelli (age 47, born in Torre de Greico [12 mi SE of Naples]).

(Note: Cagliari is pronounced kaay AA ree [the G and the L are silent]; see/hear this.)
Cagliari Calcio are from the island of Sardinia (which is in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, about 240 miles off the Italian mainland). Cagliari, who play in a 16-K-capacity stadium (Stadio Sant’Elia), are the only club from Sardinia to have played in the Italian 1st division. The club is located in Cagliari (the largest city of Sardinia), which is on the southern coast of the island. Cagliari has a city population of around 154,000, and a metro-area population of around 451,000 {2015 figures}. The city of Cagliari is, by air, 413 km (257 mi) SW of Rome.

Cagliari won the 2015-16 Serie B by a point (and finished in the automatic places by a solid ten points over the 3rd place finishers). So Cagliari returns in strong form straight back up to the 1st division. Here is an article on the 16/17 Cagliari squad, Reasons To Believe Cagliari Can Defend Their Serie A Status (by Louis Gibberd-Thomas at forzaitalianfootball.com).

Counting the 2016-17 season, Cagliari have played 37 seasons in the Italian 1st division, which is the 13th-most, by club, in Italy. {See this, Serie A/Seasons in Serie A.} Cagliari’s previous stint in Serie A was for 11 seasons (from 2004-05 to 2014-15). The Rossoblu (the Red-Blue), as Calgiari are sometimes known, have been in existence since 1920.

Cagliari: the improbable title-winners of 1969-70…
Cagliari were historically a third-division club – or at best a second-division club…until the mid-1960s. Cagliari first won promotion to Serie A in June 1964. Then, 6 seasons later, led by goal-scoring powerhouse Luigi Riva, the side from the isolated island of Sardinia won the 1969-70 Italian title, in a very convincing fashion.

Luigi Riva was born in Leggiuno (near Lake Maggiore) in north-west Lombardy, near the Swiss border. In 1962 Riva got his start with nearby 3rd-division club Legnano. In the following season of 1963-64, Riva was signed by then-second-division Cagliari, and he was converted from a winger to a striker. Riva ended up playing 9 seasons for Cagliari, scoring 164 goals in 315 league appearances (1963 to 1976). (Riva was sold to Juventus in 1973, but had such loyalty to Cagliari that he famously refused to board the airplane for Turin, and the deal was nullified.) Riva was a natural left-footer and was very effective in the air {check out this brilliant horizontal header Riva scored for Italy versus East Germany in 1969, here}. (Luigi Riva ended up with some pretty impressive international stats…he scored 35 goals in 45 appearances for Italy.) Owing to his powerfully struck shots, Riva was nicknamed the Thunder-Clap (Rombo di Tuono). In 1969-70, Riva scored a league-best 21 goals in 30 games in Cagliari’s title-winning season (back then, Serie A had 16 teams in it).

The year before (1967-68), the Serie A title was a three-horse-race between Milan, Fiorentina, and Cagliari, with Cagliari losing out to Fiorentina by 4 points. In 1969-70, the title-race developed into three-way fight between Juventus, Internazionale, and Cagliari. Cagliari’s manager was the wily Manilo Scopigno, who was a native of far-north-eastern Italy in Friuli. Scopigno had Cagliari play in a variation of the newfangled Dutch total football, with a then-novel use of the sweeper position (the libero) in front of the defensive line (that role was performed by Pierluigi Cera; see photo below). Cagliari’s defense was led by starting Italy goalkeeper Enrico “Ricky” Albertosi, who had been lured over from Fiorentina in 1968. With Albertosi, the Cagliari defense was so impregnable that they only let in 11 goals in 30 games in 1969-70. That made for an astounding average of just 0.36 goals allowed per game, an all-time Italian 1st division record. Another key player for Cagliari was the Brazilian defensive midfielder Nene, who had played with Pele at Santos, and then came over to Italy first with Juventus, and then with Cagliari. Nene played for over a decade for Cagliari (1964-76) (you can see Nene below in the squad-photo, below, at the far upper-left). With the addition of right-winger/playmaker Albero Domenghini (who also can be seen in a photo below), it all came together for Cagliari in 1969-70. By March of 1970, Cagliari began to pull away from the pack, and in the end, the Rossoblu managed to clinch the title with two games to spare, on 12 April 1970 with a 2-0 win over Bari. Below you can see photos from that game. Then the inhabitants of the island of Sardinia celebrated and partied on, for days. Cagliari finished four points ahead of Inter and 7 ahead of Juventus.

The late 1960s was a time when many Sardinians did not have televisions or even radios. Many Sardinians in fact did purchase their first transistor radios in order to follow Cagliari’s title-run that season. It is said that Sardinia first united as an island and truly joined the modern age – and truly joined Italy, for that matter – when Cagliari won the Scudetto in 1970. Here is a great article on Cagliari’s amazing title-winning season, Cagliari 1969-70 (by Jon Spurling, from August 2007, at wsc.co.uk). {Here is a highly recommended book about Italian football which touches on the Cagliari title-win, Calcio: A History of Italian Football, by John Foot (amazon.com).}

Below: 1969-70 Cagliari – the improbable champions of Italy…
http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/cagliari_1969-70_italian-champions_luigi-riva_enrico-albertosi_pierluigi-cera_alberto-domenghini_manlio-scopigno_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Photo of 69/70 Cagliari home jersey, photo by retrofootballclub.com/cagliari-1969-70. Photo of Luigi Riva and coach Manlio Scopigno at Cagliari training pitch (circa 1968), photo’s author is unknown, posted at File:Cagliari – Gigi Riva e Manlio Scopigno.jpg (it.wikipedia.org). Photo of GK Enrico “Ricky” Albertosi, photo (circa 1969) unattibuted at magliarossonera.it/Albertosi. Photo of Pierluigi Cera, photo unattributed at repubblica.it. Photo of Angelo Domenghini, photo unattributed at sport.sky.it. Photo of Luigi “Sound of Thunder” Riva, photo’s author is unknown, posted at File:Serie A 1969-70 – Cagliari vs Bari – Pasquale Loseto e Gigi Riva.jpg (it.wikipedia.org). Black-and-white photo of Riva climbing riot fence and saluting Cagliari fans, photo unattributed at s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com. Color photo of Riva climbing riot fence and saluting Cagliari fans (as Carabineiri laugh), photo unattributed at s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com. Close-up shot of Riva saluting Cagliari fans, photo unattributed at gazzettaworld.com. Photo of Cagliari 1969-70 squad (taken before a game at San Siro in Milan), photo unattributed at gazzettaworld.com/leicesters-success-cagliari-memory.

Below: Cagliari Calcio, Stadio Sat’Elia (opened 1970)…
cagliari_stadio-sant-elia_promoted2016_n_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Photo of Cagliari 16/17 jersey, photo unattributed at 2.bp.blogspot.com. Photo of Cagliari, by azamaraclubcruises.com/cagliari-sardinia-italy-cruises. c
Aerial shot of Stadio Sant’Elia, photo unattributed at sardiniapost.it. c. Interior wide-angle sot of stadium, photo by Ansgar Speitz at soccerway.com/teams/italy/cagliari-calcio. Interior shot of main stand, photo by Gigidelneri at File:Trib centrale sant elia.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Cagliari supporters at Stadio Sant’Elia, photo by Enrico Nocci at afr-photos.com.

• Crotone
Manager: Davide Nicola (age 43, born in Luserna San Giovanni [45 kn (21 mi) SW of Turin), Piedmont). Nicola replaces Croatian ex-Genoa and ex-Crotone player Ivan Jurić, who had gotten Crotone promoted in May 2016 (Jurić is now manager of Genoa).

Here is a preview of the 2016-17 FC Crotone, Crotone ultimate underdogs (by Colin Millar at football-italia.net).

FC Crotone have never been in the top flight previous to 2016-17. The club is from Calabria, near the toe of the boot in the far south of the Italian Peninsula. They have a rather small stadium (former capacity, 9.5 K), which is being expanded to 16.5 K. It is called Stadio Enzo Scida. FC Crotone wear Bologna-style kits (red-and-dark-blue vertically striped jerseys). {Here is an interesting article on Crotone from 1 June 2016, An Underdog's Triumph: Fabulous FC Crotone's promotion highlights Italy's north-south divide (by Franco Ficetola at just-football.com).)

The small city of Crotone has a population of around 62,000 {2016 figure}. Two thousand seven hundred years ago, in 710 BC, as part of Magna Graecia, Crotone was settled, as Croton, by the Peloponnese Greeks (in pre-Roman times). And so one of the nicknames of FC Crotone is Pitagorici (the Pythagoreans), a reference to the great philosopher-and-mathematician Pythagorus, who founded his school (the Pythagoreans), in Croton circa 530 BC. Another nickname of FC Crotone is Squali (the Sharks), and on FC Crotone's crest you can see two sharks swimming around a giant flaming torch (which is physically impossible but makes for a nice image) {crest of FC Crotone}. Crotone are also known as the Rosso-blu.

The deck is seriously stacked against a small club like Crotone surviving in Serie A, and I hope Crotone don't go straight back down - like two other recently-promoted clubs. That would be Frosinone and Carpi, both of whom made their Serie A debuts in 2015-16, and both of whom went straight back down to the 2nd division ten months later.

It certainly is not helping that Crotone have had to play their first 3 home matches 279 miles away - in Pescara - because their stadium expansion has not been finished in time. Crotone have drawn less than one thousand for these games, and in their latest loss, 1-3 to Atalanta on 23 September, there were just 521 in attendance.

crotone_promoted2016_stadio-enzo-scida_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Photo of 16/17 FC Crotone jersey unattributed at 2016/17 SERIE A HOME SOCCER JERSEYS (soccer365.com). Aerial photo of Crotone, photo by Geotag Aeroview at tripinview.com. Exterior view of Stadio Enzo Scida, photo unattributed at quicosenza.it/sport/crotone-calcio-oliverio-festeggia-la-serie-a-regalando-un-nuovo-stadio. Photo of the re-build, showing the installation of one of the new stands at Crotone, photo unattributed at calcioweb.eu.

...

• Pescara
Manager: Massimo Oddo (age 40, born in Città Sant'Angelo, 14 km (9 mi) NW of Pescara). Oddo was a right-back with a long first-division career at Verona, Lazio, Milan, and Bayern Munich. Oddo retired from the pitch in 2012 with Lecce, then went into coaching as Genoa youth team coach. He was hired as an assistant coach at his home-town Pescara in 2014, and stepped in as caretaker in May 2015, when Pescara had failed to make the 14/15 Serie B play-offs. The following season (2015-16), Oddo got Pescara promoted back to Serie A with a 3-1 aggregate win over Trapani in the 15/16 Serie B play-off Finals. {See this, Pescara promoted to Serie A after beating Trapani in playoff final (espnfc.com).}

Delfino Pescara 1936 wear sky-blue-and-white vertically-striped jerseys, and as their moniker suggests, are nicknamed Delfini (the Dolphins). Counting 2016-17, Pescara have spent 7 seasons in Serie A; their previous spell was for a single season in 2012-13. Their Stadio Adriatico, which has a 20.5 K-capacity, unfortunately has an atmosphere-destroyng running track.

Here is a preview of the 2016-17 Pescara...Sink or swim for Delfini (by Rossella Marrai-Ricco at football-italia.net).

Pescara is on the Adriadtic Sea in the region of Abruzzo. Pescara has a city-population of around 123,000 and a metro-population of around 450,000 {2009 figures}. Pescara has 30 kilometres of beaches, and is a tourist destination. The coastal part of Abruzzo is sort of similar to Los Angeles/southern California - not for the lifestyle, but for the fact that much like in LA, in Abruzzo you could lay on the beach in the morning and in the afternoon you could be skiing the nearby slopes. Except in Abruzzo, the distance from the beautiful beaches to the snowy high mountains is only a distance of about 32 km (20 mi). As it says in Pescara's wikipedia page, "The city is very close to the mountains, and you can reach the ski slopes of Passo Lanciano in just 30 minutes." (See photo below, which shows Pescara's marina with the one-and-a-half-mile-high peaks of the Central Apennines in the distance.)

delfino-pescara_promoted2016_pescara-abruzzo_stadio-adriatico-giovanni-cornacchia_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Photo of Pescara 16/17 jersey, photo unattributed at soccerstyle24.it/pescara-home-16-17.jpg Photo of dwellings in old town in Pescara, photo unattributed at italiancook.ca/Abruzzo. Photo of beach at Pescara, photo by Luca Aless at File:Pescara - Spiaggia vista dal ponte del mare.JPG. Photo of marina at Pescara with snow-covered mountains in the background, photo unattributed at madeinsouthitalytoday.com. Photo of Pescara with stadium in background, photo unattributed at kukly-bratc.ru/[Pescara]. Aerial shot of Stadio Adriatico, photo unattributed at calcioefinanza.it/2015/11/09/stadio-pescara-nuovo-impianto-entro-la-stagione-2018-2019.

Extra feature…
The ongoing upgrades in Italian first division stadiums…

First it was Juventus who lead the way to a re-think in Italian stadium design, with their magnificent Juventus Stadium (which opened in 2011). Not only does Juventus Stadium have all the modern conveniences, but it also features steep-graded stands for better sight-lines and no accursed running track. And unlike every other top flight stadium at the time, Juventus Stadium is owned by the club (and not the municipality). Like in England and Germany and Spain and France (among other places).
juventus-stadium_turin_b.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
juvepoland.com.
Interior photo of Juventus Stadium by Maurice Moerland, at stadiumguide.com/juventusstadium.

Then clubs like Roma and Sampdoria made plans of their own for self-funded new stadiums. {See this, Roma stadium three years away (football-italia.net). See this, Sampdoria Present New Stadium Plans (viva-news.com).} Milan and Fiorentina also have ambitions to build and own their own stadiums {see this, 7 Stadiums Which Could Rejuvenate Serie A (football-tripper.com from July 2015)}. And up in Friuli in north-east Italy, Udinese got the municiplity of Udine to work with them to totally re-design the Stadio Friuli, which you can see further below. Hopefully the trend for new and better stadiums in Serie A will bear more fruit. It also must be pointed out that Sassuolo now own their own stadium – Mapei Stadium-Città del Tricolore, and you can see that stadium below.

Below, Mapei Stadium (opened 1995) – owned by first division club US Sassuolo…
Mapei Stadium. Home of Sassuolo (1st division club) and AC Reggiana (3rd division club).
Capacity 29,380/current reduced capacity of 21,700. Located in Reggio Emilia, which is 21 km (13 miles) NW of Sassuolo. Built by Reggiana FC in 1995, the stadium was well ahead of its time for Italy – being the first stadium in Italy in the modern age to be funded and built by the club (and not built and owned by the local municipality, as with virtually all other pro clubs in Italy). But Reggiana FC went bankrupt in 2005 (the club was re-formed as AC Reggiana that same year). The stadium sat under-utilized for a few years until nearby club Sassuolo began advancing up the divisional ladder in Italian football. Sassuolo began playing at the stadium in 2013 and bought the stadium outright in 2015.
sassuolo_ac-reggiana_mapei-stadium-citta-del-tricolore_owned-by-sassuolo_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Aerial shot of stadium, photo unattributed at en.ecoprogram.net. Exterior shot of stadium, photo unattributed at footballtripper.com/jpg. Exterior shot of stadium (street-level/side-view), photo by Groundhopping (Sweden) site groundhopping.se/Sassuolo. Interior shot of stadium (during pre-match), photo unattributed at en.ecoprogram.net.

Udinese: the massive re-build at Stadio Friuli in Udine, Friuli-Venezia Guilia…
The stadium originally had poor sight-lines due to the vast gap created by the running track, as well as the shallow incline of the seating in the bowl of the stands. So, everything except the Main Stand’s arced roof was torn out. Emulating Juventus’ recently-built stadium, the new stands at Stadio Friuli were built at a much steeper angle, for better sight-lines. A roof over all the re-built parts completes the stunning new look of Stadio Friuli (now officially called the Dacia Arena).
udinese_stadio-friuli_renovation_dacia-arena_2015_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Stadium before renovation, photo unattributed at skyscrapercity.com. Aerial shot of re-built Stadio Friuli, photo by Elio Meroi at sporteconomy.it. Interior photo of Stadio Friuli (aka Daci Arena), photo by Matteo.favi at File:DaciArena.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Opening match at re-built Stadio Friuli, photo unattributed at voazzurro.it.

___
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Italy by TUBS, at File:Italy provincial location map.svg.
-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-2015-16 stadium capacities (for league matches) from osservatoriosport.interno.gov.it/allegati/stadi_italiani_3.pdf.
-General info, crests, kit illustrations, from 2016-17 Serie A (en.wikipedia.org).

September 10, 2016

2016–17 Football League Two (4th division England), map w/ 15/16-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division./Plus the 2 promoted sides (Cheltenham Town, Grimsby Town).

2016-17_football-league-two_map_w-2016-crowds_titles_seasons-in-1st-division_post_f_.gif
2016–17 Football League Two (4th division England), map w/ 15/16-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division



By Bill Turianski on 10 September 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-2016–17 Football League Two (en.wikipedia.org).
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…League Two [Summary] (soccerway.com).
-New font and logos for Football League…2016-17 English Football League [new logos and new font, with branding info] (switchimageproject.blogspot.com).
-Kits…Sky Bet League Two 2016 – 2017 [Kits of teams in 16/17 League Two] (historicalkits.co.uk).
-Predictions, from a favorite blog…TTU Go Predicting: A Club-by-Club League 2 Preview 2016-17 (from 4 August 2016 by Lloyd at thetwounfortunates.com).

    The 2 promoted clubs from Non-League/5th division into the Football League Two for 2016-17
    (Cheltenham Town & Grimsby Town)

Cheltenham Town bounce straight back to League Two; while Grimsby Town are back in the Football League for the first time in 7 seasons.

Cheltenham Town FC
The well-traveled and West-Country-fixture Gary Johnson stepped in as manager of Cheltenham Town in March of 2015, when the Robins were in the League Two/4th division relegation-zone. Cheltenham were relegated to the National League a few weeks later. Johnson stayed on and did a huge house-cleaning, releasing over a dozen players and signing on 18 players, many of whom were added to the Robins’ roster thanks to “…a windfall of £200,000. It was the lion’s share of the estate of a long-standing Cheltenham fan, Bryan Jacob, who passed away in 2013 and generously bequeathed his life savings to the Robins Trust. Last April they voted to invest the money in the club and Johnson embarked on a recruitment drive…” {quote by Barry Glendenning at Gary Johnson has mapped Cheltenham Town’s clear course to promotion (guardian.com/football)}.

Cheltenham Town started slow, but stormed to the top of the 5th-division-table in late-December 2015, and never looked back, coasting to the 15/16 National League title by 12 points over nearby rivals Forest Green Rovers. The Robins began to put distance from the rest during a mid-winter 22-game-unbeaten run. The Gloucestershire side scored the most (87 goals), conceded the least (30), and finished with a whopping +57 goal difference. Cheltenham clinched promotion with two games to spare, in front of 5,245 at Whaddon Road on 16 April 2016 (see the fans’ pitch invasion below). In 2015-16, Gary Johnson did what no Non-League manager had done in 27 years…Cheltenham Town’s automatic promotion back to the Football League was the first time a just-relegated team had won the 5th division title since 1988-89 (when the original Maidstone United (I) had first accomplished the feat). Gary Johnson told the BBC, “[After last season) we had to change our thoughts, we had to change our attitude and we had to change our players and when we did that and when we got the right characters in, this is what happens."

Many of the players Johnson brought in last summer had never played in the Football League, and many of those 18 that Johnson recruited before last season have stayed on for 2016-17. Those staying include the top 7 goals scorers from last season (Wright, Holman, Waters, Munns, Pell, Downes, Morgan-Smith). In the illustration below, you can see photos of the 3 top scorers for Cheltenham Town last season: Danny Wright (age 31), who scored 23 goals; Dan Holman (age 26), who was joint-top-scorer in the 5th division in 15/16; and Billy Waters (age 21), who scored 11 goals. Holman was signed in January 2016, from Colchester United, after a successful loan spell at Woking. Dan Holman ended up scoring a National-League-leading 30 goals last season (14 for Woking, and then 16 for Cheltenham), (Holman was joint-top-scorer, with Pádraig Amond [then of Grimsby Town; now playing for Hartlepool United]). Below, you can see a photo of Holman scoring what ended up being the promotion-clinching goal for the Robins.

I added two more Cheltenham Town players to the graphic below, both defensive standouts and both centre-backs: Danny Parslow and squad captain Aaron Downes. Downes, who is Australian-born (from the New South Wales interior), does have League experience (captain at Chesterfield, Torquay Utd). I pictured Downes below after one of his 5 goals last campaign [away to Kidderminster], when the squad were wearing their fan-voted-upon and weird-in-a-nice-way away kits of purple-and-yellow-with-the-red-robin-badge. (Downes suffered an ACL leg injury in January, was out for the remainder of the 15/16 campaign, and finally made it back into the squad with a game appearance on 10 September as a late sub in Town’s 2-2 draw with Newport County.) The Welsh-born Danny Parslow, who also has had League tenure (with York City), was selected to a 5th-division-Team of the Year (by pitchero.com, here: Pitchero’s non-league teams of the season [2015-16/Non-League]). Also selected to that Team-of-the-Year was the aforementioned Dan Holman.
cheltenham-town_whaddon-road_promoted-2016_national-league-winners_danny-wright_dan-holman_danny-parslow_billy-waters_aaron-downes_2016-pitch-invasion_r_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Small illlustration of 15/16 & 16/17 CTFC kits, from en.wikipedia.org. CTFC 16/17 jersey, photo by CTFC at cheltenhamtownfc.9drw.uk/home-shirt-2016-17. Aerial shot of Cheltenham, photo by Arpingstone at File:Cheltenham.from.leckhampton.arp.jpg. Aerial shot of Whaddon Road, photo unattributed at punchline-gloucester.com. Whaddon Road, photo unattributed at skysports.com. Exterior shot of Whaddon Road, photo by Owen Pavey at footballgroundguide.com. Danny Wright, photo by ctfc.com. Dan Holman, photo by ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock via theguardian.com/football/cheltenham-town-promotion-halifax. Billy Waters, photo by ctfc.com. Danny Parslow, photo by Mike Ripley via lusoweb.co.uk/altrincham15-16 w. Aaron Downes, photo of him and teammates celebrating after scoring, photo by ctfc.com. Cheltenham Town fans’ pitch invasion [16 April 2016] at Whaddon Road, 1st image from screenshot of video uploaded by Elliot Richmond at youtube.com, Cheltenham town FC league champions 2016 (youtube.com). 2nd image of pitch invasion, screenshot from video by bbc.com/football. 15/16 & 16/17 CTFC away jersey, segment of illustration by CTFC at ctfc.com/news/article [fan-vote-on-purple-kit].

Grimsby Town FC

From Cod Almighty site [Grimsby Town fansite],
-A brief history of [Grimsby] Town (from 2005, at codalmighty.com).
-Under the flyover: Town’s Conference years (from 2 August 2016, by Rod Counte, at codalmighty.com).

After being relegated from the Football League in May 2010, Grimsby Town had an awful time of it stuck in Non-League football. Grimsby, who drew between 3.0 K and 4.3 K in the 6 seasons they spent out of the League, were one of the biggest clubs there in the 5th division during this time period (2010-16). But it still took the Mariners three seasons to even qualify for the 5th division play-offs. There then followed three consecutive play-off disappointments, losing to Newport County in the 12/13 play-offs 1st round, then losing to Gateshead in the 13/14 play-offs 1st round, then losing to Bristol Rovers in the 14/15 play-offs Final, in penalties.

Grimsby Town wins promotion after 6 seasons in Non-League…
However, in 2015-16, the fourth time in the play-offs was the charm, as manager Paul Hurst finally led Grimsby out of Non-League, beating Forest Green Rovers 3-1 at Wembley, on 15 May 2016. {See screenshots of highlights below; and see video highlights here, Forest Green 1-3 Grimsby Town (youtube.com).} The crucial point in the game was a two-minute span late in the first half, when Grimsby striker Omar Bogle scored twice. As Trevor Green of the the Grimsby Telegraph wrote, “six years of non-league hurt is finally over.” {See this, Grimsby Town PROMOTED! Mariners 3-1 Forest Green (from 15 May 2016, by Trevor Green at grimsbytelegraph.co.uk).}

grimsby-town_2016-promotion_2016-national-league-play-off-final_wembley_omar-bogle_nathan-arnold_n_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
Photo of Omar Bogle scoring, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/football. Screenshots of video uploaded by dids99 at youtube.com, Forest Green 1-3 Grimsby Town (youtube.com). Photo of Omar Bogle and his Grimsby teammates celebrating 2-0 lead, photo by Grimsby Telegraph at grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/grimsby-town-forest-green-result... Photo of 16/17 jersey, photo by GTFC at grimsby-townfc.co.uk/new-201617-kit-unveiled Photo of cheering Grimsby fans at Wembley, photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images at gettyimages.ch. Aerial photo of Blundell Park, photo by GTFC at grimsby-townfc.co.uk/club/contact_us.

___
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;
Non-League attendances from soccerway.com.
-Thanks to the contributors at RSSSF page, England – First Level All-Time Tables 1888/89-2015/16 (rsssf.com_.
-Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia, at 2016–17 Football League Two.

August 28, 2016

2016–17 Football League One (3rd division England): map w/ 15/16-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division./+ 4 promoted clubs for the 2016-17 3rd division (Northampton Town, Oxford United, Bristol Rovers, AFC Wimbledon).

2016-17_football-league-one_map_w-2016-crowds_titles_seasons-in-1st-division_post_f_.gif
2016–17 Football League One (3rd division England, incl Wales): map w/ 15/16-crowds-&-finish + titles-&-seasons-in-1st-division



By Bill Turianski on 28 August 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-2016–17 Football League One (en.wikipedia.org).
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…LEAGUE ONE [Summary] (soccerway.com).
-New font and logos for Football League…2016-17 English Football League [new logos and new font, with branding info] (switchimageproject.blogspot.com).
-Kits…Sky Bet League One 2016 – 2017 [Kits of teams in 16/17 League One] (historicalkits.co.uk).
-Predictions, from a blog which I admire…TTU GO PREDICTING: A CLUB-BY-CLUB LEAGUE 1 PREVIEW 2016-17 (thetwounfortunates.com).

    Below: illustrations for the 4 promoted clubs for the 2016-17 3rd division…
    (Northampton Town, Oxford United, Bristol Rovers, AFC Wimbledon).

Northampton Town won the 2015-16 League Two by a whopping 13 points and return to the 3rd division for the first time in 7 seasons (the Cobblers’ previous stint in the 3rd division being a 3-season-spell ending in 2008-09).

Oxford United finished in 2nd place in the 15/16 League Two, and return to the 3rd tier for the first time in 15 seasons (a spell which included 4 years in Non-League football [2007-08 to 2009-10]).

• Back-to-back promoted Bristol Rovers finished 3rd in League Two last season, and are now back in the 3rd division for the first time in 6 seasons (a spell which included one year in Non-League [in 2014-15]).

• And AFC Wimbledon won the 2015-16 League Two play-offs Final (2-0, over Plymouth Argyle), and the 14-year-old supporter-owned club from South West London make their 3rd-division-debut in 2016-17.

• Northampton Town FC

Est. 1897. Nickname: the Cobblers. Colours: Claret and White. Location: Northampton, Northamptonshire, situated (by road) 97 km (64 mi) NW of central London; also, Northampton is situated (by road) 87 km (61 mi) SE of Birmingham. Population of Northampton is around 212,000 {2011 census}. Northampton Town are nicknamed the Cobblers because the town was a major centre of shoemaking and other leather industries; the economy in Northampton these days is much-less manufacturing-based, and now more distribution-and-finance-based.

Northampton Town play in a stadium which would seem to have a too-small capacity for a town of its size.
Northampton has a town-population of around 212,000 [2011 census}, yet Northampton Town play at the Sixfields Stadium, which has a capcity of only 7.7 K. That can be explained by the fact that this part of Northamptonshire is rugby-union-county. Rugby union Premiership side Northampton Saints RFC are a 1st division rugby team which vastly outdraws Northampton Town, and whose stadium is more than twice the size of the Cobblers' ground. The Saints rugby union club draws around 10-to-12 K, versus the 4.2-to-6.0-K which the Cobblers have drawn since they moved in to Sixfields in 1994-95. (Northampton Town drew 5.2 K last season [2015-16].)

Northampton Town have been primarily a lower-Leagues club, with 89 seasons spent in the Football League [first in 1920-21], all but four seasons of which have been spent either in the 3rd division [with 48 seasons including 2016-17], or in the 4th division [with 38 seasons]. {NTFC League history, here.} (Note: there is an article on the single season Northampton Town spent in the First Division, 1965-66, further below.)

Manager of Northampton Town:
Rob Page (age 41), born in Llwynypia, Rhondda Valley, South Wales. Rob Page, as a player, was a defender who made 104 league appearances for Sheffield United (2001-04) and 70 league appearances for Coventry City (2005-08), as well as 41 appearances for the Wales national team (1996-2005). Page came over to Northampton Town after a one-and-two-thirds-seasons stint as manager of Port Vale (with 3rd-division finishes of 18th and 12th).

Rob Page replaced Chris Wilder.
Chris Wilder had got Northampton Town promoted as League Two champions in May 2016. That was after Wilder had left the 6th-place-Oxford United in January 2015, and joined bottom-of-the-table Northampton Town. It seemed to be a head-scratcher as to why Wilder would leave a bigger and higher-placed club (Oxford), for a club like Northampton, which looked doomed to be relegated to the Conference. As the BBC said {here}, “…people will question the Wilder move”… Ha! The question actually ended up being this…Why hasn’t any bigger club noticed how solid a manager Chris Wilder is? Of course I say that now with the luxury of hindsight, because Wilder kept the all-but-relegated Northampton Town up in the spring of 2015, moving them half-way up the table to a solid 12th-place finish. Then the following season, Wilder led the cash-strapped Cobblers to automatic promotion to League One. Northampton Town simply cruised to the league title, finishing 13 points higher than the 2nd-place-finishers, Wilder’s former club, Oxford United. Then finally, a bigger club noticed, and in June of 2016, Wilder signed on as the manager of arguably the biggest club currently in the 3rd tier, Sheffield United.

Four standout players on the 2016-16 Northampton squad…
Further below can be seen the two top offensive threats for Northampton Town in 2016-17 – Ricky Holmes & Marc Richards. Ricky Holmes led the team in assists (with 10 assists in league games), and scored 9 league goals as well, and was one of three Cobblers players selected for the 2015-16 League Two Team of the Year {see this}. In June 2016, Holmes was transferred to Charlton for a fee of £675,000. Marc Richards, in his second stint with the Cobblers, is age 34. Richards led the Cobblers with 15 league goals last season. Richards still starts for Northampton Town, as of August of the 2016-17 season. Also still in the Cobblers’ squad as of August 2016-17 are two more players shown below. Both were also selected to the Team of the Year: goalkeeper Adam Smith (age 23), and the Northampton Town Player of the Year, John-Joe O’Toole. O’Toole is a cult hero at Town, and is a scrappy 27-year-old attacking midfielder who scored 12 league goals (plus 2 assists) in 15/16.
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Photo and Image credits above -
NTFC 16/17 jersey, photo by footballshirtculture.com/16/17-Kits/northampton-town. The Drapery (Northampton town centre), photo by Gordon Cragg/Geograph.org via bbc.co.uk. Exterior photo of Sixfields from ridge above stadium, photo unattributed at footballtripper.com. Photo of Ricky Holmes and Marc Richards celebrating their teams’ promotion at Sixfields (with bubbly), photo by Pete Norton /Getty Images via gettyimages.com. Photo of Adam Smith, photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com. Photo of John-Joe O’Toole, photo by Northampton Chronicle and Echo at northamptonchron.co.uk.


Article:

    Northampton Town’s meteoric decade of the 1960s, with 3 promotions & 3 relegations in a 9-season span…

From 1960-61 to 1968-69, the Cobblers had a stunning and meteoric 9-season-/-3-promotions-/-then-3-relegations rise and fall. During this period, Northampton played their solitary season in the First Division. That was in 1965-66, when Northampton Town finished 21st out of 22, and went straight back down. Then they were relegated twice more in three seasons, and by 1969-70, the Cobblers were right back where they started the decade, in the basement of the Football League. The man who was most responsible for getting Northampton Town in to the top flight for that solitary season was Dave Bowen. Dave Bowen was born in Maesteg, Glamorgan, South Wales. He was in training as a collier at 17 when his family moved to Northamptonshire. Bowen joined the Northampton Town set-up in 1947, as a 19-year-old, and by 1950 he had made 12 appearances for the senior squad. In 1950, during National Service duties with the RAF, Bowen met Pat Whittaker, the son of Arsenal manager George. That led to his signing with Arsenal, and Bowen went on to play for the Gunners for 9 seasons as a defensive midfielder (Wing Half), and later, as the Arsenal team captain (1957-59). (Dave Bowen also captained Wales when they qualified for and then played in the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.) After 146 league appearances for Arsenal, Bowen returned to Northampton Town, in 1959-60, as player/manager (he retired from the field in 1961).

In Dave Bowen’s second season managing Northampton Town, in 1960-61, the Cobblers won promotion to the Third Division…
By this time, Bowen was becoming known as a canny manager who could assemble a very competent squad on a shoestring budget. Bowen was also becoming a great locker-room motivator. Two seasons later, in 1962-63, Northampton were positively rampant, scoring 109 goals (in 42 games, making for an astounding 2.59 goals-scored-per-game ). Northampton Town won the Third Division title that season, finishing 4 points above Swindon Town (and with a +48 goal difference). In 1963-64, Northampton Town made their Second Division debut, finishing a credible 11th. The following season, 1964-65, propelled by a mid-season 17-match unbeaten run, Northampton clinched an improbable promotion to the top flight, finishing in 2nd place, 2 points behind Newcastle United. Further below, in the first illustration, you can see a colour-photo from May of 1965 at the County Cricket Ground (where Northampton Town played for 97 years [1897-1994]). In the photo below, the just-promoted Northampton team are saluting their fans with a Thank You banner, as they take a victory lap of sorts. I say “a victory lap of sorts”, because the County Cricket Ground was one of the more odd Football League venues. It was a dual-football-cricket-venue, and for football it had stands on only 3 sides and a wide swath of grass (to complete the cricket-field) on the fourth side {see this photo}.

Here is a great, and recent article about 1960s-era Northampton Town…from The Football Pink.net, from 19 October 2015, by Mark Godfrey, What a load of Cobblers! (footballpink.net).

1965-66: Northampton’s fairy tale season in the First Division started out more like a nightmare, as they went win-less in their first 14 matches…
In 1965-66, the Cobblers were pretty much out of their league in the First Division, and heavy defeats would come at the hands of Everton, Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Stoke City. But they finally got their first win on 23 October 1965, over West Ham United, and as mid-season approached, the team had acclimated, and began to mount a relegation battle. Along the way they set a club-record for home attendance – with a 24,523 crowd at the County Cricket Ground, in a loss versus Fulham in late April 1966. A win against Sunderland the following week didn’t change the fact that the Cobblers now needed other results to go their way, and the Cobblers conceded relegation on the last game of the season. One small solace was that they had won both derby matches against nearby Aston Villa (located about 60 miles west). A notable achievement in Northampton Town’s 1965-66 season was made by Cobblers FW Barry Lines (1960-69), who became the first player ever to score in all four divisions of the Football League for the same club. Though, granted, the Fourth Division had been instituted just 7 seasons earlier (in 1958-59.)

Following relegation from the First Division in May 1966, Northampton would get relegated again the next May (1967), and two seasons later another relegation in May of 1969 would find them back in the Fourth Division. Since then, Northampton Town have never again been in the 2nd division, let alone in the top flight. And no club in the English football pyramid has ever come close to going the 3-promotions-then-3-relegations route in so short a time as in the 9 years it took Northampton Town to do so. As it says in the article by Mark Godfrey linked to 3 paragraphs above {or here}…”In English football, only Swansea City come close to matching this ‘achievement’. The Swans’ rise and fall was encompassed neatly within sixteen years between 1970 and 1986. [And] Carlisle United did it in twenty-two years between 1964 and 1987.”
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Photo and Image credits above –
Image of 1960s-era Lilywhite postcard [of The Drapery section of Northampton town centre circa 1960s], image uploaded by Kevin Lane at flickr.com. Photo of 1964-67 Northampton Town retro jersey, by Toffs at toffs.com. Photo of Dave Bowen [as Arsenal player in the late 1950s], photo by Arsenal FC at arsenal.com/history/profiles/dave-bowen. Illustration of Arsenal 1947-57 kit, illustration by historicalkits.co.uk/Arsenal. 1962-63 Northampton Town Third Division team, photo by Bob Thomas/Popperphoto via Getty Images via gettyimages.co.uk. Illustration of Northampton Town 1965-66 kit, illustration by historicalkits.co.uk/Northampton_Town. Photo of Northampton Town squad in front of airplane which would fly them to their first First Division match in Plymouth, photo unattributed at footballpink.net/what-a-load-of-cobblers-northampton-towns-class-of-66; from the book Northampton Town: A Season in the Sun (1965-66), by Mark Beesely {here}. Color photo of 1964-65 Northampton squad parading a Thank You banner to the fans, at the old County Cricket Ground [circa May 1965], photo by Bob Thomas/Popperphoto via gettyimages.co.uk. Team-photo of 1965-66 Northampton Town squad, photo unattributed at footballpink.net/what-a-load-of-cobblers-northampton-towns-class-of-66; from the book Northampton Town: A Season in the Sun (1965-66), by Mark Beesely {here}.

    • Oxford United FC

Est. 1893, as Headington United. Nickname: the U’s. Colours: Yellow and Oxford Blue [Navy Blue]. Location: Oxford, Oxfordshire, situated (by road) 95 km (59 mi) WNW of central London; also, Oxford is situated (by road) 48 km (30 mi) NE of hated rivals Swindon. Population (city-population of Oxford is around 159,000 {2013 estimate}; the metro-area-population of Oxford is around 244,000 {2011 census}. (Oxford is the 52nd-largest city in the United Kingdom {2013 figure}.)

Oxford United League history {here} (oxfordunited-mad.co.uk).

Manager of Oxford United:
Michael Appleton (age 40), born in Salford [which is now part of Greater Manchester]. By getting Oxford United their long-sought-after promotion back to the 3rd division, Michael Appleton helped to restore his reputation as an up-and-coming manager. A defender in his playing days, Appleton had made 121 league appearances for Preston North End (1997-2001). Appleton then moved on to West Bromwich Albion, but he ended up making only 31 league appearances for the West Midlands side. Appleton was forced to retire early, in 2003, after a knee injury – and then a botched knee-operation – which he had suffered two years before. After retirement, he remained with the Baggies, coaching the WBA youth set-up for 5 years. In 2009, he became part of the West Bromwich senior squad’s coaching staff. Appleton began to get a reputation as a solid judge of talent, and a young coach with potential. In November of 2011, Appleton got his first shot at a manager’s job, when he was hired by then-2nd-division side Portsmouth. But the Portsmouth manager job at that point in time was no plum position. That was because Pompey were in their protracted supporter-takeover process, and the club was hampered by a no-cash-flow-situation, ongoing court-cases, and the looming threat of relegation(s) due to points-deduction. Portsmouth did get relegated from the 2nd division that season [2011-12], but the penalty of a 10-points-deduction (due to falling into administration) was the real culprit there (Portsmouth finished 8 points below the drop).

The next season, in November 2012, Appleton sort of left Portsmouth twisting in the wind, when he jumped ship and signed on as manager of then-2nd-division-side Blackpool. This move would backfire on Appleton, seeing as how Blackpool were (and still are) run by the divisive Oystons. Appleton lasted just 11 league games for the now-stuck-in-the-4th-division-Blackpool, resigning in January 2013. Then Appleton was able to win the Blackburn Rovers manager’s position, but, again, Appleton walked into a set-up where the ownership was severely at loggerheads with the bulk of the home-support. The owners of Blackburn Rovers were and still are the Venky’s chicken-processing conglomerate. An example of how clueless the folks who run Blackburn Rovers are is this…when they bought the then-Premier-League club Blackburn Rovers, the chicken-kings from Pune, India did not even know that clubs in England (like Blackburn) could actually get relegated. They thought they were buying a franchise which would always stay in the top flight (seriously). But I digress. Appleton barely lasted 2 months with the probably-going-nowhere-but-down Blackburn, then he was sacked in March 2013.

Oxford United hires Michael Appleton prior to the 2014-15 season…
But, 15 months later, in June 2014, Appleton got another shot, and was hired as Oxford United manager. In his first season in charge, Appleton’s Oxford United had a mediocre 14th-place finish [in 2014-15]. The following season, however, Appleton got Oxford promoted, as the U’s finished in 2nd place, after spending most of the season in the automatic promotion places. And so Oxford United had returned to the 3rd division after a 16-year absence. As Appleton told BBC {here}, “There’s a lot of people who say you can’t get out of this league playing decent football, but I’d go as far as to say you can get out of this league doing that and this is just the start of it.”

Last season, second-place finishers Oxford United led the 4th division in scoring, with 84 goals, as well as having best goal-difference (of +43). And the U’s lost just one of their final 10 games. Two Oxford players were selected to the 2015-16 League Two Team of the Year…the on-loan defender George Baldock and midfielder Kemar Roofe. But neither are with Oxford for 2016-17, as Baldock has rejoined Milton Keynes, and Kemar Roofe (who was also selected as League Two Player of the Year/see him below) was sold to Leeds United in the summer of 2016 for a fee of £3 million. One standout player for Oxford United who will return for 2016-17 is the 26-year-old midfielder Liam Sercombe (see him below).

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Photo and Image credits above –
16/17 Oxford United jersey, photo unattributed at footballkitnews.com
Oxford skyline shot at golden-twilight, photo by Dillif at File: Oxford Skyline Panorama from St Mary’s Church – Oct. 2006. View of Oxford near the town centre, photo by Lauren Meshkin at bonvoyagelauren.com/photo-essay-a-sunny-day-in-oxford-england. Aerial view of the Kassam Stadium, photo by Dave Price at geograph.org. Photo of Kemar Roofe, photo by AFP/Getty Images via mirror.co.uk/football. Photo of Liam Sercombe, photo by the Oxford Times at oxfordtimes.co.uk/sport. Screenshot of Michael Appleton being congratulated by supporters after Oxford clinched promotion [last game of 2015-126 season], image from video at bbc.com/football.

    • Bristol Rovers FC

Est. 1893, as Black Arabs FC. Nickname: the Black Pirates; BRFC are also nicknamed the Gas (so-named, because Bristol Rovers’ old ground, Eastville Stadium [BRFC played there from 1897 to 1986] was located next to an odiferous natural gas-holding facility [aka a gasometer]). Colours: Pale-Royal-Blue and White Quarters. Location: Horfield, a northern ward in the Bristol Unitary Authority, situated (by road) 190 km (118 mi) W of central London; also, Bristol is situated (by road) 22 km (14 mi) NW of Bath. Population: city/unitary-authority-[county]-population of Bristol is around 449,000 {2015 estimate}; the metro-area-population of Bristol is around 1 million {2009 estimate}. Bristol is the 8th-largest city in the United Kingdom.

Bristol Rovers League history {here} (bristolrovers-mad.co.uk).

Manager of Bristol Rovers:
Darrell Clarke (age 37), born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. Clarke was appointed manager of the floundering Bristol Rovers in March of 2014, after then-manager John Ward stepped down and was appointed Director Football there. Clarke could do nothing to reverse Bristol Rovers’ fortunes that season (they were relegated out of the Football League on the final day of the 14/15 season). But Darrell Clarke stayed on with Bristol Rovers as they made their 5th-division debut, and the Rovers reversed the recent trend of League teams being stuck in the Non-League Wilderness, by winning automatic promotion straight back to the 4th division. As it says in his Wikipedia page,”[Darrell Clarke] oversaw a rapid turnover of players for the 2014–15 season, releasing 16 players and signing 13 players on free transfers, including striker Matty Taylor. After a poor start Rovers rose up the table and ended the campaign in second place, one point behind Barnet. Clarke led Rovers to promotion with a 5–3 penalty shoot-out victory over Grimsby Town at Wembley Stadium in the 2015 Conference Premier play-off Final on 17 May 2015, after a 1–1 draw after extra time. He won three Manager of the Month awards during the season, in September, December and February”. Then Darrell Clarke led the Bristol Rovers to a second-straight promotion the following season of 2015-16 (more on that below).

Bristol Rovers FW Matt Taylor led the 2015-16 League Two in scoring (with 27 league-goals)….
Last season, the 25-year-old former-Chester-and-former-Forest-Green striker Matty Taylor scored 28 goals in all competitions for Bristol Rovers, as the north Bristol side claimed 3rd place, and the last automatic promotion spot, in the 15/16 League Two. Even on points, Bristol Rovers ended up beating out poor-old Accrington Stanley, on goal difference {table}. (Then, of course, Stanley lost in the play-offs.) Bristol Rovers secured their promotion only in the 92nd minute of the final game, which was a 2-1 home win over Dagenham & Redbridge, before a near-full-capacity crowd of 11,130, at the Memorial Stadium in Horfield, Bristol. The winning and promotion-clinching goal was scored by Rovers defender Lee Brown, off of a rebound off the goal-post, from a shot by Matty Taylor (see fuzzy screenshots below). Then there was a massive pitch invasion by the Gas faithful (see it further below). A few months later, Taylor signed a new deal with the Gas. Bristol Rovers, led by young manager Darrell Clarke, have now achieved back-to-back promotions. Three-peat, anyone? Up the Gas !
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Photo and Image credits above -
16/17 Bristol Rovers jersey, photo by brfcdirect.co.uk/Bristol-Rovers-Home-Shirt-2016-17. Aerial view of Clifton Suspension Bridge, photo by Harris Aerial Images at harrisaerialimages.com. Street-view shot of Gloucester Road in Horfield, Bristol, photo by weirdoldhattie at File:A38 Gloucester Road Bristol.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Roof-top view of Memorial Stadium, photo unattributed at worldrugbymuseumblog.wordpress.com. Terrace-view of looming Main Stand at Memorial Stadium, photo by groundhopperunited.com/ [April 2012] memorial-stadium. Matty Taylor, photo by Rex Features via bbc.com/football. Screenshot of promotion clinching goal for BRFC: 1st image and 2nd image from youtube.com video uploaded by jedi gas at BRISTOL ROVERS 2 V DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE 1..7 May 2016. Bristol Rovers fans’ pitch invasion of 7 May 2016, photo by Bristol Post at bristolpost.co.uk/fans-hold-street-party-celebrate-bristol-rovers. BRFC manager Darrell Clarke celebrating back-to-back promotions with the Gas faithful, photo by JMP/REX/Shutterstock via dailymail.co.uk/sport/football. Lee Brown, carried off the field by BRFC fans, photo by Press Association (PA) via dailymail.co.uk/sport/football.

• AFC Wimbledon

Est. 2002. Nickname: the Wombles; the [original] Dons. Colours: Royal Blue with Yellow trim. Location: Kingston upon Thames, South West London.

Manager of AFC Wimbledon:
Neil Ardley (age 43), born in Epsom, Surrey. Ardley played as a right-back/defensive-midfielder for Wimbledon FC for 11 seasons (from 1991-2002, making 245 league appearances and scoring 18 goals). He also made 111 league appearances for Watford, had a season with Cardiff City, and finished his playing career with Millwall in 2006-07. He began his coaching career in 2007, and he ran the Cardiff City youth set-up for 5 years. He was hired by AFC Wimbledon in October 2012, when the club, who were at that time in their second season in the Football League, were in a very precarious position, sitting just above the relegation zone. Ardley then proceeded to guide AFC Wimbledon marginally up the table and away from the drop, but only just – it wasn’t until the final day of the 12/13 League Two season that they avoided relegation, by a point (Barnet and Aldershot went down that year). After that, Ardley led AFC Wimbledon to 4th-tier finishes of 20th, 15th, and then to 7th last season, when they qualified for the final play-off spot. Then they caught fire and won the 2016 League Two play-offs (see below/ you can see Neil Ardley in the centre of the 5th photo below). Lyle Taylor was Wimbledon’s leading scorer in 2015-16, netting 22 league goals. The Greenwich, South East London-born and Montserrat-international Taylor also came through in the play-offs, scoring the-go-ahead goal in aet of the 2nd leg of the semi-finals (versus Accrington). And then Lyle Taylor scored the first goal in the Final at Wembley (versus Plymouth). George Francombe led AFC Wimbledon last season with 11 assists in league games (plus he scored 3 goals). Another play-offs-goal-scoring-hero, Adebayo Akinfenwa (aka Beast Mode), has moved on to 4th-tier side Wycombe.

Below are all the goal-scorers in the 2016 League Two play-offs for Wimbledon…
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Photo of Tom Beere scoring in play-offs 1st R/1st leg, photo by BPI/Rex/Shutterstock via theguardian.com/football. Photo of Adebayo Akinfenwa after scoring in play-offs 1st R/2nd leg, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/football. Photo of Lyle Taylor being carried on shoulders of fans following win, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/football. Photo of Lyle Taylor scoring in Play-offs Final, photo by REX/Shutterstock via mirror.co.uk/football. Photo of Neil Ardley about to congratulated Lyle Taylor for scoring in the Final, photo unattributed at fourfourtwo.com. Photo of Adebayo Akinfenwa scoring a penalty kick, photo by Matthew Aston/AMA/Getty Images via theguardian.com/football. Photo of AFC Wimbledon squad celebrating at the podium, photo unattributed at mirror.co.uk/football.

Current location of AFC Wimbledon, and the location of the new stadium the club plans to build (back in their spiritual home in Wimbledon)…
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Image credit above – Map by billsportsmaps.com/blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.

AFC Wimbledon currently play at Kingsmeadow [aka the Cherry Red Records Stadium], which is located in the Norbiton area of Kingston upon Thames, South West London. (The Norbiton area of Kingston upon Thames is located 18 km (11 mi) SW of central London.) Kingsmeadow has a capacity 4,850 (2,265 seated), and opened in 1989. The original owner of the ground was the 7th division club Kingstonian FC, and they still play there. AFC Wimbledon bought the ground from Kingstonian in 2003, with very favourable lease-terms for Kingstonian {see this}. Kingsmeadow is about 7 miles west of where Wimbledon FC played, at the old Plough Lane (tumblr.com). The spiritual home of AFC Wimbledon is Wimbledon, borough of Merton, South-West London. AFC Wimbledon intend to move back to the Wimbledon area, into a purpose-built stadium, and plans were well underway for that. (Note: you can see the site of the proposed new stadium on the map above). But then the mayor of London (at the time), Boris Johnson, tried to scuttle it in the early spring of 2016 (he is a kill-joy Tory, after all). But a reprieve has come in the shape of London’s new mayor – Sadiq Khan (take that, Brexit voters – a Muslim is going to save AFC Wimbledon’s new stadium). See this, from 22 August 2016, AFC Wimbledon: Sadiq Khan returns Plough Lane stadium decision to Merton Council (bbc.com/football).

-{Also see this, ‘All systems go’: Sadiq Khan hands back Plough Lane AFC Wimbledon stadium decision to Merton Council (yourlocalguardian.co.uk).}
-{Also see this, London mayor backs AFC Wimbledon’s plans for Plough Lane return (PA article via espnfc.com).}

Update: [from 15 September 2016]: Council stands by AFC Wimbledon decision; excerpt: ” The cross-party planning committee noted the Mayor’s decision and the unanimous decision it made in December 2015 to give the go-ahead to AFC Wimbledon and Galliard Homes. Officers will now finalise the planning process of completing legal agreements and look forward to progressing delivery on site. The council has always been adamant that the Plough Lane site should be for sporting intensification. The new development will eventually comprise over 600 much-needed new homes, a 20,000 seater stadium, retail space, a squash and fitness club, car and cycle parking.” (news.merton.gov.uk).

Below is a photo of the Raynes Park neighborhood of Wimbledon in the London borough of Merton; and an old [circa-late-1980s] photo of old Plough Lane; and an exterior-shot and a small panoramic shot of Kingsmeadow; plus a bunch of photos of present-day fans of the club: AFC Wimbledon supporters at the 2016 League Two play-offs semi-finals match at Kingsmeadow [photos from 14 May 2016 match of AFC Wimbledon 1-0 Accrington Stanley. Attendance: an overflow and record-setting crowd of 4,870].
afc-wimbledon_old-plough-lane_kingsmeadow_supporters_2016-league-2-play-offs-semi-finals_d_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Photo of 16/17 AFC Wimbledon jersey, photo unattributed at footballkitnews.com. Photo of river-side view of Kingston Bridge and Railway Bridge in Kingston upon Thames, Greater London, photo by Alan McFadden {here} at britainfromabove.org.uk. Photo of the Raynes Park Tavern in Wimbledon, borough of Merton, photo by Stuart Smith at panoramio.com. Circa-1980s shot of Plough Lane, photo by Getty Images via bbc.com/sport/football. Photo of entrance to Kingsmeadow, photo by phildanmatt.weebly.com/afc-wimbledon. Photo of Kingsmeadow (panorama of interior), photo by Groundhopping The Globe! site at phildanmatt.weebly.com/afc-wimbledon. The 8 photos of AFC Wimbledon fans are by Louis Darling at GetWestLondon.co.uk at: getwestlondon.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/afc-wimbledon-1-0-accrington [Gallery].

Article:

    AFC Wimbledon were established as a wholly-supporter-owned Protest-club of Wimbledon FC, in 2002…

{See these quotes from, Relocation of Wimbledon F.C. to Milton Keynes, which points out this…” the Milton Keynes Development Corporation envisaged a stadium in the town hosting top-flight football and was keen on the idea of an established League team relocating there.”…, and which begins with this sentence…”Wimbledon Football Club relocated to Milton Keynes in September 2003, 16 months after receiving permission to do so from an independent commission appointed by the Football Association.” (en.wikipedia.org).}

So the question is…Why didn’t Wimbledon FC-owner/Milton Keynes FC-owner Pete Winkelman just buy an existing club in the Milton Keynes area and then try to move them up the football leagues ladder, like AFC Wimbledon later did, and, you know, like every other club in the history of English football has done? The answer is that Pete Winkelman felt he was entitled to contravene over one hundred years of tradition and behavior, and take a club away from its supporters, simply because he could (and because it was easier)… and then 2 of the 3 guys that the FA entrusted to make a decision on this, one of whom is a lawyer (solicitor), agreed, because in their infamous words, keeping Wimbledon FC in South London where all their fans were was “not in the wider interests of football”.

In 2002, after Wimbledon FC had been taken over by outside interests (Winkelman and company), the new ownership essentially turned the original Wimbledon FC into a franchise. They did this by moving the club (against the wishes of virtually all its supporters), 56 miles north, to the New-town of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, as Milton Keynes FC (aka McFranchise; aka the McDons) (est 2004). In other words, Milton Keynes stole Wimbledon’s team AND their League-place. So the football authorities let outside interests steal Wimbledon FC from their supporters, and the football authorities gave their approval for the League-placement-theft – by Milton Keynes – of Wimbledon’s League-place. You might say Wimbledon FC was not worth much circa 2002 – as the club was basically homeless and in considerable debt. But Wimbledon FC’s League-place? Well, that was (and still is) priceless. Because anyone can start a football club in England (and they still do). But to start a football club, in England, means that the football authorities (the FA) will place that new club way down in the nether-reaches of the football pyramid. Like in the 7th level or the 8th level or the 9th level (which was where AFC Wimbledon started out, in 2002-03). But the FA, in 2002, basically let Milton Keynes circumvent this, as Wimbledon FC became Milton Keynes FC…and thus, suddenly, Milton Keynes had a club in the Football League. Without playing their way up the ladder. And by “re-locating” someone else’s club.

All the money in the world does not get you a Football League club. You have to earn it, on the field, by winning enough promotions, until you arrive into the 4th division. Now granted, prior to 1986-87, Non-League clubs did not play their way into the League per se, because before 1986-87, there was no automatic promotion between Non-League football and the 92-team/4-division Football League. As it says in the link at the top of this section (again, {here}), “The bottom four clubs [in the 4th division] had to apply for re-election by the other member clubs at the end of each season, alongside any non-League teams who wished to take their place.” The bottom clubs of the lowest Football League division had to go ‘cap-in-hand’ to the General Meeting of the Football League each off-season, and endure a vote by their Football League colleagues, who also considered the applications of ambitious Non-League clubs eager to join the Football League.

So clubs in this era (1888-89 to 1985-86) still did have to earn it, because all the Football League clubs each off-season would only elect Non-League clubs into the League which (in their minds) did have the merit…the merit to cut it in the Football League. And if clubs couldn’t cut it in the League, they would get voted out in due time. And in the latter stages of the election-for-promotion/relegation format, indeed in all the post-War years, very few Non-League clubs were being elected into the League, and most seasons no clubs were being elected – at all – into the League. To see how hard it was, take a look at the chart in the following link, {here, Promotion to/Relegation from the Football League by year (thepyramid.info)}, which shows that in the last 40 seasons of the Football League’s election-for-promotion/relegation format (1946-47 to 1985-86), only 7 clubs were elected into the Football League (Workington elected in, 1951; Peterborough Utd elected in, 1960; Oxford Utd elected in, 1962; Cambridge Utd elected in, 1972; Hereford Utd elected in, 1972; Wimbledon FC elected in, 1977; Wigan Athletic elected in, 1978). That’s it…7 Non-League clubs elected in to the Football League in the last 40 seasons of the election-for-promotion/relegation format. That means that for 4 decades, only 17 percent of the time was there even one solitary Non-League club allowed in to join the League. That is how hard it was, back then, to get into the Football League.

It has always been very tough to get into the Football League. Then the rules changed in 1986-87, and the top division of Non-League football (the 5th division) was given an automatic promotion-place. Since 1986-87, a club truly does have to play their way in to the Football League. And that should have been when the Milton Keynes Development Council (which was still in existence, and existed until 1992), and by extension, the Milton Keynes town leaders, should have stopped trying to “re-locate” (ie, steal) other fans’ League clubs. Because after 1986, Non-League clubs could now play their way into the Football League. (Besides having first tried to “re-locate” / read: steal Wimbledon FC in the late 1970s, the Milton Keynes Development Commission had tried to “re-locate” [steal] Charlton Athletic in the early 1970s, and then they had tried to “re-locate” [steal] Luton Town in the mid-1980s {see, again, the second paragraph here}.) But no, the town fathers running Milton Keynes still felt they could only get a Football League team if they STOLE ONE. Forget about investing in local Milton Keynes/Bucks/Bedfordshire lower-Non-League football clubs like Bletchley Town [now defunct], or Wolverton Town & B.R. [now defunct], or Stony Stratford Town, or New Bradwell St Peter, or Newport Pagnell Wanderers (Newport Pagnell Town from 1972). No, those people running things in that new-town 45 miles north of London decided they would rather not invest in any of the aforementioned local football clubs (not very civic-minded of them). Instead, circa the late 1980s and onward, the movers and shakers of Milton Keynes decided they would still rather try to nick a pre-existing League club. Less bother for them (or so they thought). So it’s not just that Milton Keynes “re-located” (read: stole) a football club from South London. That is a crime in itself. But the real crime is that Milton Keynes stole something priceless…a hard-earned place in the Football League. End of.

And so in early 2002, the heartbroken supporters of Wimbledon FC said, “Sod it, let’s just form our own club.”
And they did. They formed AFC Wimbledon, and they put up flyers on signposts in the area announcing an open tryout for players, on the Common in Wimbledon (true story). Then, essentially skint, the supporters who ran and owned the threadbare-but-proud-AFC Wimbledon put together squads which were good enough to get AFC Wimbledon promoted 6 times in 14 seasons. Up from the 9th division to the 3rd division.

Fourteen years later and with 6 promotions under their belt, AFC Wimbledon are now an established Football League club in the 3rd tier…
In 2016-17, AFC Wimbledon are a club which is now playing in the same division as the team that supplanted them – Milton Keynes FC. Meanwhile, Pete Winkelman, who took over a second-division team in 2002, went on to build a 30-K-capacity White Elephant in Milton Keynes. A stadium for a team that is these days playing to about 21 thousand empty seats per game – or a pathetic 29 percent-capacity. AFC Wimbledon are playing to 82 percent-capacity these days, and a new stadium is weeks from being approved. And Milton Keynes FC – well, they just got relegated straight back down from the League Championship last season. Because even with all that filthy new-town lucre, the McDons still couldn’t hack it in the 2nd division. So now supporter-owned AFC Wimbledon – who started from scratch – have reached the same level as the people (Milton Keynes) who “re-located” their original club. In just 14 years. And in those same 14 years Milton Keynes FC has not made any progress at all, and in fact the club (read: the franchise) has dropped down one division.
___
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.

Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia, at 2016–17 Football League One.

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