billsportsmaps.com

July 11, 2018

2018-19 National League [Non-League/5th division England], map with 17/18-crowds-&-finishes chart./+ Illustrations for the 4 promoted clubs (Salford City, Harrogate Town, Havant & Waterlooville, Braintree Town).

2018-19_national-league_aka-conference_map_w-2018-attendances_post_c_.gif
2018-19 National League (aka the Conference) [5th division England], map with 17/18-crowds-&-finishes chart



By Bill Turianski on 11 July 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-2018-19 National League (en.wikipedia.org).
-Official site…thenationalleague.org.uk.
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…SUMMARY – National League [2018-19] (us.soccerway.com).
-5th division/National League page at BBC.com…bbc.com/sport/football/national-league.

Brief re-cap of the 2017-18 5th division…

Promoted to the Football League [4th division]…Macclesfield Town won the 2016-17 National League, winning automatic promotion back to the Football League, after 5 seasons back in Non-League football. Tranmere Rovers won the Play-off final, beating Boreham Wood 2-1, after being stuck in non-League football for 3 seasons.

Now relegated down to non-League/5th division/National League are… Chesterfield and Barnet.

    Promoted up from the 6th division and into the National League/5th division are the four clubs profiled below…
    (Promoted from National League North: Salford City and Harrogate Town. /
    Promoted from National League South: Havant & Waterlooville and Braintree Town.)
    Salford City FC.

Est. 1940. Colours: Red shirts, White pants, Black trim…‘ The club’s colours are red, white and black [in tribute to Machester United's colours]. Prior to the change in ownership in 2014, the club played in tangerine and black (earlier colours include tangerine and white, and all navy blue).’…{-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salford_City_F.C.}. Nickname: the Ammies [ie, the Amateurs]. Location: Kersal, Borough of Salford, Greater Manchester. Population of Kersal: around 12,900 {2014 figure}. Population of Salford: city-population of around 248,000 {2016 estimate}. Kersal, Salford is situated 2.75 miles (4.5 km) NW of Manchester city centre. Kersal, Salford is situated (by road) 203 miles (327 km) NW of London.
Manager of Salford City, Graham Alexander (age 46, born in Coventry, West Midlands). Alexander, the former Fleetwood Town and Scunthorpe United manager, was hired by Salford City on 14 May 2018.

Salford City: from the 8th tier, to the 5th division, in 4 seasons…
That Salford City have now achieved 3 promotions in 4 seasons  should come as no surprise. That is because there is big money propelling the club forward. ‘Class of 92′-/-former-Manchester-United stars Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Nicky Butt bought the club in March 2014. Indeed, the consortium has ambitious aims for the non-League club, with a target of reaching the 2nd division (the League Championship) by 2029 (a 15-year-plan, as it were). In January 2015, manager Phil Power was sacked and the dual-manager team of Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson were brought in. (Morley and Johnson had had success at another Greater Manchester-based lower-non-League club, Ramsbottom United: the two had gotten Ramsbottom promoted to the 7th tier in 2014.) Three months later in April 2015, Salford City won promotion from the 8th tier by winning the Northern Premier League D1-North, beating out Darlington by 4 points. That season (14/15), Salford City drew 384 per game (4th-highest in the league that year).

In September 2015, the Class-of-92-five sold half their stake in Salford City to Valencia CF owner Peter Lim (who is a Hong Kong-based billionaire), so that meant the Salford City project had even more wealth behind it. Then Salford City got a fair deal of exposure in October 2015, when the club was featured in the BBC television series ‘Class of 92: Out of their League’. And in November 2015, Salford City (est. 1940) qualified for the FA Cup 1st round for the first time ever, beating Notts County 2-0 (in a televised match), before losing to Hartlepool in a 2nd round replay.

In that 2015-16 season, the first full season under Morley-and-Johnson, Salford City were in the play-off places for most of the season. They finished in 3rd, and then beat Ashton United in the semi-final, and then beat Workington in the final, 2-0, in front of 2,000 at the old Moor Lane. That crowd there for that play-off final was about 1,300 larger than Salford usually drew back then (Salford drew 642 per game in 2015-16).

By 2016-17, Salford City, playing their first-ever season in the 6th tier (the National League North), had more than doubled their crowds. The club drew 1,395 per game in 2016-17. But Salford, who finished 3rd, flamed out in the play-offs, losing in the semi-finals to the eventual play-offs winner, Halifax Town.

In late 2016, the club had began a complete re-development of their Moor Lane ground. {See this article from StadiumDB.com, See what Salford City are building in less than a year.} On the 19th of October 2017, just eleven months later, the completely new venue was opened, with a new name: the Peninsula Stadium. {See this, Sir Alex Ferguson opens new Salford City stadium as Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville watch on (dailymail.co.uk/football).} This, of course, drew even more fans to Salford City matches. In 2017-18, Salford ended up drawing 1,611 per game, which is about 1,200 more than they were drawing 3 seasons ago.

Meanwhile, in the 2017-18 season, Salford City cruised to the National League South title with relative ease. They had picked up, on a free transfer from Rochdale, a local-born striker, Jack Redshaw, who had a good deal of Football League experience (with Morecambe, particularly, scoring 15 goals for the Shrimps in 2012-13). Redshaw, evidently comfortable playing a couple levels lower and back in his home town, led Salford City with 17 league goals. For a time, it looked like the prolific-scoring Harrogate Town would contest the title, but the North Yorkshire side faltered down the stretch, while Salford won 5 straight from late-March-to-mid-April. And so, on the 21st of April, before a crowd of 2,466, Salford City clinched the title (and automatic promotion), with a game to spare, despite losing on the day (to Boston United 1-2) (see photo of Salford City fans’ pitch-invasion/celebration, below).

Then on 8 May, two-and-a-half weeks after clinching automatic promotion to the 5th division, joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley stepped down, because they could not come to an agreement with Salford City regarding new contracts. {See this article from official Salford City site, Mutual Consent (from 8 May 2018 at salfordcityfc.co.uk). Also see this short thread at Reddit/soccer [link at end of paragraph], and specifically this comment there…’The press release mentioned differences about personal terms and contract length. I think the last run of the documentary on the club had touched about that as well. Basically Salford were willing to pay top dollar for the best players/managers in the division. The whole team was basically poached from other teams in the division or even one or two division up. For the co-managers i believe that they were the highest paid manager in that division and the one above. The problem was that when it was divided by two, it wasn’t really more than what they were making in jobs outside’…(comment by szu at reddit.com/soccer/[thread: Salford part ways with joint-managers].}

Salford City might not make it to the 2nd division before 2030, but it is starting to look like this club, from a few miles north of Old Trafford, will be playing in the Football League pretty soon.

Salford City: promoted to the 5th division for the first time…
salford-city_promoted-2018_moor-lane_aka-peninsula-stadium_anthony-johnson_bernard-morley_jack-redshaw_carl-piergianni_michael-nottingham_tom-walker_manu-class-of-92_m_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Salford City 17/18 jersey, photo from umbro.co.uk/salford-city-fc. Salford Quays, photo by khaosproductions at flickr.com. Aerial shot of Peninsula Stadium, photo unattributed at thenationalleague.org.uk. Interior shot of Peninsula Stadium, photo by Shaun Best at twitter.com/@shaun_best. Carl Piergianni, photo by @SalfordCityFC at twitter.com/SalfordCityFC. Michael Nottingham, photo by Gareth Lyons at picssr.com. Tom Walker, photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Jack Redshaw, photo by Salford City at twitter.com/@SalfordCityFC. Co-managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, photo unattributed at mirror.co.uk/football. ‘Class of 92′ Man U players who are co-owners Salford City (G Neville, N Butt, G Neville, R Giggs, P Scholes), photo by BBC via standard.co.uk. Fans and players celebrate promotion, photo from manchestereveningnews.co.uk/football.

    • Harrogate Town AFC.

Est. 1914. Colours: Black-and Yellow [vertically-striped jerseys]. Location: Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Population of Harrogate: around 75,000 {2011 census}. Harrogate is situated (by road) 16 miles (26 km) N of Leeds. Harrogate is situated (by road) 21 miles (34 km) W of York. Harrogate is (by road) 210 miles (338 km) N of central London.

‘Harrogate (HARR-ə-gət) is a spa town in North Yorkshire, England. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town is a tourist destination and its visitor attractions include its spa waters and RHS Harlow Carr gardens. 13 miles (21 km) away from the town centre is the Yorkshire Dales national park…’ {-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrogate}.

Manager of Harrogate Town, Simon Weaver (age 40, born in Doncaster). Simon Weaver has been manager of Harrogate Town for 9 years now. Weaver played 16 seasons as a MF, mainly in the 5th division, including 3 Football League seasons (at Lincoln City and at Kidderminster). In May 2009, he was hired as the player/manager of Conference South side Harrogate.

In 2010-11 Harrogate Town were a mid-table 6th-tier side, drawing 293 per game. In June 2011, Simon’s father, Irving (a multi-millionaire property developer), took over Harrogate Town. In 2017-18, the club went full-time professional, a rare step for a 6th-tier club. In the 6-year-span from 2012 to 2018, Harrogate Town saw an increase in crowd-size of over 800 per game: the club averaged 1,134 per game in 2017-18. A good family atmosphere at their Wetherby Road ground, and a good relationship with the Harrogate supporters trust, has helped increase their crowds. The team’s brand of football has probably helped swell crowds, too, as Harrogate were the highest-scoring team in the 6th tier by far. In 2017-18, the Harrogate squad were a well-organized unit that scored 100 goals, 19 more than anyone else in both the National Leagues North and South. But Harrogate were unable to keep pace with Salford City, and finished in 2nd place, giving them a bye in the first round of the play-offs. In the semi-finals, Harrogate Town beat Chorley 2-1, with both goal scored by Dominic Knowles, with the winning goal scored in the 94th minute. In the play-off final, Dominic Knowles scored a brace again, as Harrogate beat Brackley Town 3-0, in front of 3,000 at Wetherby Road (see screenshots and photos below).

And so 6 seasons after his father took over as owner of Harrogate Town, Simon Weaver’s Harrogate team have won promotion to the 5th division. And so now in 2018-19, following the back-to-back relegations of nearby York City, Harrogate Town are the highest-placed club from the county of North Yorkshire.

Harrogate Town: promoted to the 5th division for the first time…
harrogate-town_promoted-2018_wetherby-road_simon-weaver_joe-leesley_josh-falkingham_james-belshaw_dominic-knowles_c_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Harrogate Town 17/18 jersey, from harrogatetownafc.com/online-store. View of Harrogate town centre, photo by Alamy via dailymail.co.uk. Wetherby Road front gate/office, photo by Joseph Gibbons at gibbos92.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/harrogate-town-fc-wetherby-road. Main Stand at Wetherby Road, photo by benrobinsongroundphotos.weebly.com/harrogate-town_wetherby-road. Family Stand, photo by Joseph Gibbons at gibbos92.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/harrogate-town-fc-wetherby-road. The two-way slope in the pitch at Wetherby Road, photo by thedribblingcode.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/sat-29-oct-2011-harrogate-town-v-hyde-conf-north. James Belshaw, photo from twitter.com/@HarrogateTown. Joe Leesley, photo by Ian Hodgson at dailymail.co.uk/football. Josh Falkingham, photo from harrogatetownafc.com. Dominic Knowles, photo from yorkshirepost.co.uk. Simon Weaver, photo from strayfm.com/news. Screenshot of 2nd goal (by Dominic Knowles) in 2018 National League South play-off final, image from HIGHLIGHTS | Harrogate Town 3-0 Brackley Town (Play-off Final) (uploaded by Through The Lens Visuals at youtube.com). Dominic Knowles, photo from yorkshirepost.co.uk. Promotion celebration, image from HIGHLIGHTS | Harrogate Town 3-0 Brackley Town (Play-off Final) (uploaded by Through The Lens Visuals at youtube.com).

    •Havant & Waterlooville FC.

Est. 1998, via merger of: Havant Town FC, and Waterlooville FC. Colours: White with blue and yellow trim. Location: Havant, Hampshire. Population of Havant: around 45,000 {2011 census}. Population of Waterlooville: around 64,000 {2011 census}. Havant is situated (by road) 7 miles (12 km) NE of Portsmouth. Havant is situated (by road) 71 miles (114 km) SW of central London.

Manager of Havant & Waterlooville, Lee Bradbury (age 43, born in Cowes, Isle of Wight). Bradbury has been manager of Havant & Waterlooville for 5-and-a-half years now (since Nov. 2012). He was previously the youth team coach at Portsmouth. And before that, Bradbury was manager of the then-3rd-division Bournemouth (from Jan. 2011 to March 2012).
-Bradbury’s Hawks Sign Off Historic Season With Treble (thenationalleague.org.uk).

Havant & Waterlooville were formed in 1998, the result of a merger between two 8th-level/Southern League D1 South clubs: Havant Town FC, and Waterlooville FC. They are nicknamed the Hawks, and play at the small and bare-bones West Leigh Park in Havant, Hampshire. Havant is about 7 miles (by road) NE of Portmouth. Waterlooville is about 5 miles NW of Havant, and Waterlooville is about 8 miles N of Portsmouth. Havant & Waterlooville FC are most famous for their exploits in the 2007-08 FA Cup, when the Hawks beat Bognor Regis, Fleet Town, Leighton Town, York City (in the 1st round), Notts County (in the 2nd round), and then-3rd-tier-side Swansea City 4–2 (in a 3rd round replay). This amazing Cup run was capped off by dream 4th round tie at Liverpool, where Havant & Waterlooville took 6,000 fans. There at Anfield, Havant & Waterlooville actually took the lead twice on Liverpool, but they ended up losing 5-2. {Heroic Havant [Liverpool 5-2 Havant & Waterlooville, FA Cup 4th round match from 28 Jan 2008], by Kieran Fox at news.bbc.co.uk.}

Havant & Waterlooville had been charter-members of the Conference South in 2004-05, and had played in that 6th-tier league for 12 straight seasons before relegation to the 7th level, which happened on the final day of the 2015-16 season. Then Havant & Waterlooville bounced straight back to the 6th tier by winning the 2016-17 Isthmian League by 2 points over Bognor Regis.

Then in 2017-18, back in the National League South, Havant & Waterlooville ran neck-and-neck with Kent/Thames Estuary side Dartford, for the title. Havant played very well down the stretch (ultimately going 7-wins-2-draws-1-loss in their last 10 matches). But Dartford were even better, and had gained on Havant – Dartford won their last 9 matches. In their penultimate matches, Dartford won 2-0 over Bath City; but Havant & Waterlooville, in front of 1,153 at West Leigh Park, thrashed East Thurrock 6-1, scoring 4 goals in the last 28 minutes. (That flurry of late goals proved the crucial difference in the title-race.)

So with one more game to play in the 17/18 National League South, that made it Dartford and Havant & Waterlloville even on points, but with Havant having a goal-difference that was four better than Dartford. On final match-day, going into the final minutes, it was Dartford leading 1-2 to Bath City away, while Havant & Waterlooville, who had blown their 2-goal lead, were knotted 2-2 to Concord Rangers at West Leigh Park. Then in the 89th minute, Havant’s top scorer Jason Prior slotted home from the near left side (see photo and screenshots below). And Havant & Waterlooville had won the National League South over Dartford, thanks only to a goal difference of 3.

So now Havant & Waterlooville have made it two straight promotions, and will play in the 5th division for the first time. Havant & Waterlooville drew 879 per game in 2017-18. They will be one of the 4 or 5 smallest clubs in the 5th tier (if you go by crowd-size). Only Boreham Wood and Gateshead drew less in the National League last season, and Solihull drew the same as Havant did (879). And besides Braintree Town, the other newly-promoted sides drew higher (Salford and Harrogate).

Havant & Waterlooville: promoted to the 5th division for the first time.
havant-and-waterlooville_promoted-2018_west-leigh-park_lee-bradbury_ryan-young_wes-fogden_rory-williams_jason-prior_m_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – 17/18 Havant & Waterlooville jersey, illustration from havantandwaterloovillefc.co.uk/shop. Aerial shot of West Leigh Park, image from bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view. West Leigh Park [from an evening match in 2010], photo by Stuart Noel at footballstadiums.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/west-leigh-park-havant. Jason Prior, photo from havantandwaterloovillefc.co.uk. Lee Bradury, photo from havantandwaterloovillefc.co.uk. Ryan Young, photo from havantandwaterloovillefc.co.uk. Wes Fogden, photo unattributed at portsmouth.co.uk/football. Rory Williams, photo from portsmouth.co.uk/football. Jason Prior and Havant fans celebrate the promotion-winning goal in extra-time, screenshot from video uploaded by Marsh Media at youtube.com/[Havant & Waterlooville PROMOTION WINNING goal! (Jason Prior)]. Jason prior after scoring the goal that got them promoted, photo from havantandwaterloovillefc.co.uk. Pitch invasion following promotion-win, 2 screenshots from video uploaded by Groundhopping FC at youtube.com.

    •Braintree Town .

Est. 1898, as Manor Works FC. Colours: Orange jerseys [previously yellow jerseys]. Population of Braintree, Essex: around 53,000 {2011 census}. Braintree is situated 10 miles (16 km) NE of Chelmsford and 15 miles (24 km) W of Colchester. Braintree is situated (by road) 51 miles (87 km) NE of central London.

Braintree Town began in 1898 as Manor Works FC, the works team of the Crittall Window Company. The company manufactured iron windows (and still is located in Essex, in the adjacent town of Witham). Back in 1898, this works team literally worked with iron, and that was the basis for their nickname of the Iron. That being said, the fact was that in 1898, the new club took over most of the squad of the recently defunct Braintee FC of the North Essex League. (The Crittall Window company was founded in 1889 in Braintree, Essex. By the mid-1890s the Crittall company employed 30 men. By 1907, the company had expanded and branched out with the Detroit Steel Product Co, the first steel window factory in the United States. By 1918, the Crittall Window Company employed 500 men.)

By 1911, Manor Works FC joined the Essex & Suffolk Border League (where they remained until 1928). In 1921, Manor Works FC changed its name to Crittall Athletic FC, to be more closely identified with their parent company. Crittall Athletic were founder members of the Eastern Counties League in 1935, and largely remained part of that competition for around 50 years. While part of the Metropolitan League in 1968, Crittall Athletic changed its name to Braintree & Crittall Athletic. They re-joined the Eastern Counties League in 1970. In 1981, all links with the Crittall Window Company were severed, and the club changed its name to Braintree FC. The following year of 1982 saw the club change to its present-day name of Braintree Town FC.

A decade later, in 1991, Braintree Town won promotion to the Southern League. But by 1996, travel costs were hurting the small club, so they asked league officials to be switched over to the Isthmian League, in order to reduce traveling fees. And so they were placed into the Division Three of the Isthmian League, although it was an effective drop of two divisions. But that did not hold back Braintree Town at all, because they promptly got themselves promoted twice in 2 seasons, ascending to the Isthmian League Division One in 1998. And after three seasons in the Isthmian League D-1, they were promoted to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2001. Five seasons later, in 2005-06, Braintree Town won the Isthmian League Premier Division, winning promotion to the Conference South. That 2005-06 season also saw Braintree Town reach the 1st round of the FA Cup for the first time (losing 4–1 at Shrewsbury Town).

Braintree Town played 6 straight seasons in the 5th division, from 2011- to ’17. From 2006-07 to 2010-11, Braintree Town were a 6th division side that were drawing in the 400-500 range. They qualified for the Conference South play-off play-offs 3 times in this 5-season-span, and won promotion to the 5th division in 2010-11 by winning the Conference South by 7 points over Farnborough. In that promotion-winning season of 2010-11, Braintree drew 661 per game, and their support increased even more in their first season in the 5th tier, when they drew 901 per game and finished a rather decent 12th-place. The next season, 2012-13, Braintree finished in 9th place. The next season, 2013-14, Braintree drew an all-time high of 994 per game, and the team finished in 6th, just 4 points off the play-offs. The next season of 2014-15 saw Braintree Town slip down to 14th place. But the following season of 2015-16 saw Braintree qualify for the 5th division play-offs by finishing in 3rd place (losing in the semifinals to eventual promotion-winners Grimsby Town). This play-off-qualifying run in 2015-16 was when the Cowley brothers were running the Braintree squad. (Manager Danny Cowley and his brother Nick [1st team coach] were at the helm at Braintree for one season, then moved on in the summer of 2016 to Lincoln, and then the Cowley brothers got Lincoln City promoted to the Football League in 2017.) However, 2016-17 was disastrous for Braintree Town, and the team obviously felt a void after the departure of the Cowleys; under manager Hakan Hayrettin, Braintree were relegated on the last day of the 2016-17 National League season, dropping back down to the 6th tier. Heyrettin left by mutual consent and Brad Quinton was hired as the new Braintree manager in May 2017. Brad Quinton, who is Braintree Town’s all-time appearances record holder, had been manager at 7th-division-side Enfield Town for 3 years before taking the reins at Braintree. Quinton was an integral part of the 2010-11 Braintree squad that won automatic promotion to the 5th division. Quinton had played as a DMF for Braintree Town for 12 seasons, making 546 appearances (and scoring 69 goals).

Back down in the 6th tier in 2017-18, Braintree Town qualified for the National League South play-offs thanks to a solid final 10 matches (6-wins/3-draws-1-loss). But Braintree finished in 6th, meaning they would have to play the new extra elimination round in the play-offs, and they would have to play away the whole way. Braintree beat Hemel Hempstead away 0-0/3-2 on penalties in the eliminator. Then Braintree beat Dartford away 0-1 in the semifinal, with the winning goal by Braintree MF Billy Crook (who made the Team of the Year/see photo and caption below). And then in the final, Braintree beat Hampton Richmond Borough away 1-1/3-2 on penalties. The equalizing goal that forced extra time and penalties was scored by MF Reece Grant (see photos and captions below). And so Brad Qunton’s Braintree Town were back in the 5th division. Braintree Town drew 524 per game in 2017-18. They return to the National League/5th division as one of the smallest clubs…they drew lower last season than every other club that are in the 2018/19 National League, and of the whole 5th division in 2018-19, only Boreham Wood (who drew an all-time high of 626 per game in 2017-18), are arguably a smaller club than Braintree Town.

Braintree Town bounces straight back to the 5th division.
braintree-town_promoted-2018_cressing-road_bradley-quinton_billy-crook_reece-grant_marc-anthony-okoye_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – 17/18 Braintree Town jersey, photo from andreascartersports.co.uk. Main Stand at Cressing Road, photo by phildanmatt.weebly.com/braintree. Shot looking towrds pitch at Cressing Road, photo by Russell Cox at footygrounds.blogspot.com/[July 2011/Cressing Road]. Panorama shot of Cressing Road by phildanmatt.weebly.com/braintree. Billy Crook, photo by John Weaver at eadt.co.uk/sport. Brad Quinton, photo by Chris Jarvis at braintreeandwithamtimes.co.uk/sport. Traveling Braintree fans at Hampton & Richmond Borough for the National League South play-off final, photo by thegrassrootstourist.com/[vanarama-national-league-south-promotion-final]. Reece Wright scoring and celebrating (3 photos) by thegrassrootstourist.com/[vanarama-national-league-south-promotion-final]. Reece Wright celebrating [inset photo], by Jon Weaver at braintreeandwithamtimes.co.uk/sport. Braintree players and supporters celebrating promotion; Manager Quinton and captain Marc-Anthony Okoye celebrating Braintree Town’s promotion: 2 photos by thegrassrootstourist.com/[vanarama-national-league-south-promotion-final].

___

-Thanks to the contributors at National League (English football) (en.wikipedia.org).
-Havant & Waterlooville 16/17 attendance from nonleaguematters.co.uk.
-Thanks to Nilfanion…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org). Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.

-Thanks to Soccerway for upper-division-Non-League attendance figures, us.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-national.

June 25, 2018

The 6th division in England: 2018-19 [Non-League] National League North & National League South (2 separate 22-team leagues, at the same level) – maps, with 17/18-attendances-&-finishes chart./ + The top 16 drawing clubs in the 6th tier (chart showing all clubs in the 6th division that drew above 1,000 per game in 2017-18).

Main map – 2018-19 National Leagues North and South (44 teams/2 leagues) – click on image below

2018-19_national-league-north-and-south_the-6th-level_2-leagues-44-teams_w-2018-attendances-and-finishes_map_post_c_.gif
Main map – 2018-19 National Leagues North and South (44 teams/2 leagues)




By Bill Turianski on 25 June 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-National League (English football) (en.wikipedia.org).
-Official site…thenationalleague.org.uk
-Nuneaton Town changes name back to Nuneaton Borough…ANNOUNCEMENT: Back to the Borough (pitchero.com/clubs/nuneatontownfc).
-Bradford Park Avenue changes name back to Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC…Club To Revert Back To Historic Name And Badge (bpafc.com).

-FA chiefs restructure non-league game [below the 6th level] (bbc.com/sport/football).
-Non-League allocations for 2018-19 Steps 1-4 (ie, levels 5-9) [pdf] (thefa.com).

    6th division England:
    2018-19 National League North & National League South
    (2 separate 22-team leagues, at the same level)

The 6th level in English football is where the regionalised leagues begin. Above is the 5th division, the National League, which is the highest level of non-League football and the only non-League level that is nationalised. The 6th level has two leagues: the National League North and the National League South. Below that is the 7th level, which used to be comprised of 3 leagues, but starting now [2018-19] there will be 4 leagues in the 7th level (the new league in the 7th level will be the result of splitting the Southern League into two leagues: the Southern League – Central and the Southern League – South) {see link to article at BBC/sports above; also see pdf above, which shows the whole set-up in chart form}.

A brief history of the 5th and 6th tiers in England…
1979-80: 5th level of English football instituted with the Alliance Premier League: the 5th level and the highest level of non-League football in England (and Wales).
1986-87: Promotion/Relegation established between the 5th level and the 4th Division of the Football League.
2004-05: The 6th level of football instituted, with the creation of 2 regional leagues below the 5th level: the Conference North & the Conference South (22 teams in each league).
2015-16: names of the three leagues changed to…5th level: National League / 6th level: National League North & National League South.

The map(s)…
Above is the two leagues combined on one map (click on image at the top of the post for all 44 teams in the 2018-19 National Leagues North & South)…
Below is a map each for: the 2018-19 National League North, and the 2018-19 National League South. All the maps are location-maps which also show each club’s 2017-18 home average attendance as well as their 2017-18 league finish (with play-off bids and promotion/relegation noted).

There is also a small chart further below, which shows the 16 clubs in the 2018-19 6th level that drew above 1,000-per-game last season [in 2017-18] (11 clubs in the 18/19 NL North / 5 clubs in the 18/19 NL South). Then I wrote a few words about each of the sixteen 6th-tier clubs that drew above 1,000 per game last season.

My next post will be a map of the 2018-19 National League [the 5th division], with illustrated profiles of the 4 promoted clubs (Salford City, Harrogate Town, Havant & Waterlooville, Braintree Town). That will be posted on the 11th of July 2018.

Map of National League North (2018-19 season, with attendances and finishes from 2017-18) – click on image below
2018-19_national-league-north_aka-conference-north_map_w-2018-attendances_post_b_.gif
National League North 18/19 map w/ 17/18 attendances and finishes

Map of National League South (2018-19 season, with attendances and finishes from 2017-18) – click on image below
2018-19_national-league-south_aka-conference-south_map_w-2018-attendances_post_d_.gif
National League South 18/19 map w/ 17/18 attendances and finishes

6th Level clubs which draw above 1,000-per-game (16 clubs: 11 in the National League North / 5 in the National League South)…
2018-19-national-leagues-north-and-south_all-clubs-that-drew-over-1-k-in-2017-18_16-clubs_m_.gif
Attendance figures from: nonleaguematters.co.uk.

Top draws in the 6th tier…

Stockport County: 99 seasons in the Football League (last in 2010-11). Financial problems have plagued the club since the early 2000s, and that led it to being a supporter-owned club for a while circa 2005-10. Stockport were in the 2nd division as recently as 2001-02. They were drawing between 6-to-8-K back then. But though they have fallen a ways since then (4 relegations), Stockport County can still draw above 3 K despite being stuck in the 6th tier (and in 17/18 they drew 3.4 K for the second-straight season). Stockport will be playing their 6th season of 6th-division football in 2018-19. Stockport, population 136,000 {2011 census}, was historically part of Cheshire, but now is in Greater Manchester. As the crow flies, Stockport is about 7 miles south of central Manchester. Stockport County wear Blue-and-White, but last season they wore pale-royal-blue-with-navy-blue-and-white-trim. Stockport County play at Edgeley Park, which has a 10.8-K-capacity (all seated).

York City: 72 seasons in the Football League (last in 2015-16). Back-to-back relegations have devastated the North-Yorkshire-based club. But most of their supporters have not abandoned them…York were drawing 3.2 K in their last Football League season (2015-16), and have only dropped off about .5 K (down 14%) since then. York drew 2.7 K last season, as they were relegated to the 6th tier for the first time. York City wear unique Red jerseys with Dark-Blue sleeves, and play at Boothan Crescent (cap. 8, 256).

Hereford: Phoenix-club of Hereford United (1924-2014). They still play at Edgar Street (though one stand behind the goal failed the safety inspection). The 4-year-old re-formed club has been marching up the pyramid, with 3 straight league-winning promotions. And their support has been outstanding. In their inaugural season, Hereford drew an astounding 2.8 K in the 9th-level Midlands League (in 2015-16). Then in 16/17, the Bulls drew 2.8 K again (in the 8th tier, winning the South League South & West by 18 points). Their support tailed off a little last season (maybe because they clinched the league title again with such ease). Hereford drew 2.5 K and won the Southern League by 13 points. And Hereford drew about 1.7-K-per-game more than anyone else in the Southern League last season. Hereford make their 6th-level debut, now situated in the National League North. Hereford will probably will be one of the favorites for promotion (again). Like the original club, Hereford wear White-with-Black.

FC United of Manchester: Supporter-owned club. Protest-club formed in 2005, after the cynical debt-laden leveraged-buyout of Manchester United by the Glazers. FC United started off with three consecutive promotions (2005-08). The club won promotion to the 6th tier in April 2015, and a month later, in May 2015, FC United moved into their nice and functional purpose-built Broadhurst Park (cap. 4,400). But factional unrest within the club has hurt them in the past couple of years. Attendance has fallen 1.2 K in two seasons (down from 3.3 K in 15/16, to 2.1 K in 17/18). And their promotion campaign has stalled (this will be FCUM’s 4th season in the 6th tier). Like Man Utd, FC United wear Red-and-White-with-Black.

Woking: The Surrey-based club is nicknamed the Cards (as in the Cardinal red in their Red-and-White halved jerseys). Woking have never been higher than the 5th division, and were a mainstay there fifteen years ago (Woking played 17 straight seasons in the 5th tier from 1992-93 to 2008-09). But this is now their second spell in the 6th tier after 3 seasons up in the 5th. Woking draw solid (2.2 K last season), and will probably still draw above 1 K back in the 6th tier (they drew between 1.1 and 1.8 K in their 3 season-spell in the 6th tier from 2010-12).

Chester: Phoenix-club of Chester City (1985-2010). Located in western Cheshire right on the border of Wales. Like the club they replaced, Chester play at the Deva Stadium (cap. 5,400 with 4 K seated). (The Deva Stadium is actually partially located in Wales.) Like FC United of Manchester, and also like Hereford, Chester began life (in 2010-11) with three straight promotion-winning seasons. That got them to the 5th tier, but then Chester stalled out after 4 seasons in the 5th division, and now find themselves back in the 6th tier. Crowds have diminished, somewhat alarmingly (down almost .9 K in 6 years, from 2.7 K in the promotion-winning season of 2011-12, to 1.8 K last season). Chester wear Blue-and-White.

Torquay United: 78 seasons in the Football League (last in 2013-14). Torquay are located on the south-west coast, in Devon. Torquay have now suffered two relegations in 5 seasons. The first time they were stuck in non-League, they escaped back to the Football League after just 2 seasons. That was in 2008-09. Then followed 5 seasons in the 4th division, and Torquay were good enough to make the play-offs twice in that 5-year stint, even making it to the League Two play-off final in 2011 (losing to Stevenage). But now the Gulls are moving out of the 5th division in the wrong direction. In 6 seasons, Torquay have lost 40% of their fanbase, going from 2.8 K in League Two in their 2011-12 play-off run, to 1.7 K last season when they were relegated. Torquay wear Yellow-and-Navy-Blue.

Kidderminster Harriers: 5 seasons in the Football League (last in 2004-05). Kidderminster is a town of 55,000 located just south of the West Midlands, in north Worcestershire, 17 miles (27 km) south-west of Birmingham city centre. Robert Plant (of Led Zeppelin fame) grew up here. In 2000-01, Kidderminster drew an all-time high of 3.4 K. That was the season of their Football League debut. The dream lasted 5 seasons. Back in non-League 5 years later, Kidderminster were drawing above-or-near 2 K most seasons. Kidderminster drew 1.6 K last season and are now entering their 3rd season in the 6th tier. Kiddy wear Red-with-Black-and-White.

Darlington: 81 seasons in the Football League (last in 2009-10). Saddled by the White Elephant that was the 25-K-capacity Darlington Stadium, Darlington were a financial mess by the time they were relegated out of the 4th division in April 2010. Darlington were drawing 1.9 K and playing in a 25.5-K-arena. Of course it was going to end badly. Two years later, in 2012, Darlington were expelled from the Conference National [the 5th division]. The Phoenix-club Darlington 1883 rose in its place…‘A new club was immediately formed but The Football Association ruled that, as a new club, it must have a different playing name from the expelled club. The name chosen was Darlington 1883, and that club was placed in the Northern League Division One, the ninth tier of English football, for the 2012–13 season. They won three promotions in four seasons before the FA approved their request to change to the traditional Darlington FC name.’ {-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darlington_F.C..} Darlington are from County Durham. The town of Darlington has a population af around 92,000 and is located 37 miles by road S of Newcastle, and about 4 miles north of the border with North Yorkshire. Darlington wear sharp-looking Black-and-White hoops, and are nicknamed the Quakers. They drew 1.2 K when they won the Northern League (7th tier) in 2015-16. Darlington were a mid-table side that drew 1.4 K last season, but that was a let-down from their strong run 2 years ago (2016-17), when they drew 1.7 K and finished in 5th (but Darlington 1883 were barred from the play-offs due to failing ground size regulations). Still, it looks like Darlington are going in the right direction. Especially because they have been playing back in town since 2016-17, at the 3,000-capacity Blackwell Meadow, which they rent from rugby league side Darlington RFC.

Dulwich Hamlet: Despite being rendered homeless by soulless corporate landlords, Dulwich Hamlet won promotion into the 6th tier, by winning the Isthmian play-off final (beating Hendon 1-1/4-3 on penalties). The Pink-and-Navy-Blue-clad Dulwich Hamlet are from South London, in the London Borough of Southwark. (Dulwich Hamlet attract a fanbase that has been derided as hipster. Oh, so a lot of them have beards and like artisanal products, whatever, more power to them; they’re from the largest city in the UK and yet they are still supporting lower non-League football, and that is good enough for me.) For three years the club has been drawing impressively for a 7th-tier side. They drew 1.0 K in 2015-16, and then in ’16-17 and ’17-18, Dulwich Hamlet drew 1.3 K (in a division where the median average attendance is only about 250). But last season, as the squad chased promotion, their eviction from their Champion Field ground diminished their crowd-size considerably. In March and April 2018, once they were forced to play at Tooting & Micham’s Imperial Field (located 5 miles away, further south-west, in SW London), Dulwich Hamlet started seeing smaller crowds: like 800 or so, instead of the 1,300 or so they were drawing earlier that season. And so it is going to be interesting to see, in 2018-19, how Dulwich Hamlet do, as a new 6th-division-side that also happens to be homeless.

AFC Telford United: Phoenix-club of Telford United (1872-2004). Telford United were a founding member of the 5th division (Alliance Premier League) in 1979. AFC Telford Utd play at the 6,300-capacity New Bucks Head (opened 2003), which was originally built for Telford United to play at before they went bankrupt. Telford United was a mainstay of the 5th tier back in the 1990s, but never played above the 5th division. The re-formed club has had a harder time surviving in the 5th tier. Although AFC Telford United have been drawing above 1 K, most seasons, for many years now, they have become more of a 5th-division/6th-division yo-yo club, with their most recent relegation in 2014-15. Nicknamed the Lilywhites or the Bucks, Telford wear White with navy and red trim, and now they wear Navy Blue pants (previously black). Telford, located in Shropshire, is somewhat of a commuter-town of Birminghmam. Telford is on the large side for a non-League town: its population is around 142,000 {2011 census figure}.

Billericay Town: Controversial owner Glenn Tamplin is widely disliked, with appalling behavior towards one of his players and towards rival fans on social media. Tamplin also fired the manager, took the manager’s job for himself, then fired himself, then when he couldn’t find another manager, he re-instated himself. But despite all this, the club has just been promoted to the 6th tier for the first time. Billericay Town got there with a huge wage bill that included former-Premier-League talent. Attendance has shot up almost 500, from 565 per game two years ago, to 1,057 last season, when Billericay won the Isthmian League by 4 points over Dulwich Hamlet. Billericay, Essex, with a population of around 28,000, is a commuter town that is located, by road, 34 miles (55 km) E of central London. Billericay Town wear all-Blue (dark Cornflower blue).

Boston United: 5 seasons in the Football League (last in 2006-07). Boston got into the Football League on tainted circumstances in 2002 (violation of registration rules), and after 5 seasons in the 4th division, they were relegated back to non-League. And at that point, the club was in such poor financial shape that they were demoted further down an extra level, down to the 6th tier. And Boston United has basically never recovered from that. Boston is in Lincolnshire; the town of Boston has a population of around 35,000. Boston United are nicknamed the Pilgrims, and wear Amber-and Black.

Dartford: Dartford are from Dartford, Kent. The town of Dartford is home to the Dartford Crossing, the easternmost transit over the River Thames. Dartford FC play at the marvelous Princes Park, a singular ground that is environmentally-friendly and is built primarily of wood and has a living green-roof over the clubhouse. Princes Park opened in November 2006, and has a capacity of 4,100 (642 seated). The new and unique ground greatly improved the club’s crowd-size (crowds went from the mid-200s to over 800), and helped propel them to promotion to the 7th division in 2008, and then into the 6th division in 2010, and then into the 5th division in 2012. In their promotion-winning season of 2011-12, Dartford drew 1.2 K. And in their first season in the 5th tier they drew an all-time high of 1.3 K. Dartford had a three-season-spell in the 5th tier (2012-15). Back in the 6th tier, Dartford are still drawing above 1 K, but only slightly (in 2017-18, Dartford drew 1,023). In 2017-18, Dartford just missed out on promotion, winning their last 9 games chasing Havant & Waterlooville, only to be denied automatic promotion by goal-difference. Then in the 2018 National League South play-offs, Dartford lost to the eventually-promoted Braintree Town. Dartford will probably be one of the favorites to win promotion in 2018-19. Dartford wear White-with-Black.

Southport: 50 seasons in the Football League (last in 1977-78). Southport was the last club to leave the Football League through the re-election process [automatic relegation from the Fourth Division was instituted in 1986–87]. Since then, Southport have played 19 seasons in the 5th tier, within three different spells; their last season in the 5th tier was in 2016-17. Southport have been drawing above 1 K most seasons since 1992-93. The town of Southport is part of Merseyside, and is a coastal bedroom community just north of Liverpool. Southport play at York Street, which opened in 1923 and has a capacity of 6,643 (1,826 seated). Southport are nicknamed the Sandgrounders, for the town’s sandy beach promenade, and they wear Yellow-with-Black.
___

Thanks to all at the links below…
-Thanks to the contributors at National League (English football) (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to Nilfanion at Wikipedia…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. Blank relief map of Greater Manchester, by Nilfanion (using Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater Manchester UK relief location map.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org).

Photos/Images of kit badges…
[Ashton Utd 17/18 jersey badge], ashtonunitedfc.gr8sports.co.uk
[Curzon Ashton 17/18 jersey badge], twitter.com/[@curzonashton].
[Chester 17/18 jersey badge], chesterfc.com/all-ticket.
[Nuneaton 18/19 kit (image of lighter-blue-fade-striping behind the badge)], twitter.com/[@Official_NTFC]
[Spennymoor 14/15 jersey badge], oldfootballshirts.com.
[Billericay], billericaytownfc.co.uk/product/2017-18-home-shirt-2.
[Chippenham], pitchero.com/clubs/chippenhamtown.
[Dulwich Hamlet], pitchero.com/clubs/dulwichhamlet/.
[Eastbourne (script on badge)], ebfc.co.uk/news.

-Thanks to the Non-League Matters site for non-League attendance figures, nonleaguematters.co.uk.

May 28, 2018

NFL 1959 season, map with helmets & final standings & top offensive players + 1959 NFL attendance data. / 1959 NFL Champions: Baltimore Colts.

nfl_1959_map_helmets_final-standings_baltimore-colts-champions_post_b_.gif
NFL 1959 season, map with helmets & final standings & attendance data




By Bill Turianski on 28 May 2018. twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-1959 NFL season.
-1959 Baltimore Colts season (en.wikipedia.org).
-1959 NFL season (pro-football-reference.com).
-1959 NFL Teams [illustrations of uniforms of the 12 NFL teams of 1959] (gridiron-uniforms.com).

The map… The map, done in the style of late-1950s newspaper graphics, shows the primary helmets and jerseys worn by the 12 NFL teams of 1959. (Note: this map includes the newly-incorporated states of Alaska and Hawaii, both of which were granted statehood in 1959.) Final standings for the 1959 NFL season, along with team-colors worn that season, can be seen at the lower-right of the map. Home helmets and jerseys are shown alongside the standings. There also is a small section devoted to 1959 NFL attendance data. At the top-right of the map is a section devoted to the 1959 NFL champions, the Baltimore Colts (also see the next 8 paragraphs, and the illustration, below). At the far-right-hand-center of the map page, are 1959 Offensive leaders in the following categories: QB Rating: Charley Conerly, Giants. Passing Yards and TD Passes: Johnny Unitas, Colts. Rushing Yards and Rushing TDs & Total Yards from Scrimmage and Total TDs [tied]: Jim Brown, Browns. Receiving Yards & Receiving TDs and Total TDs [tied]: Raymond Berry, Colts.

    In a re-match of the 1958 NFL title game, the 1959 Baltimore Colts beat the New York Giants (again).

The Colts were the reigning champions, but they had a hard time of it to win the Western Conference in ’59. They had to gain 2 games over San Francisco, and did so, late in the season, with two wins over the 49ers, and the Colts ended up at 9-3, one game above the Bears. The Giants, however, won the Eastern Conference easily, clinching in week 10, and the Giants had the best record in the league in 1959, at 10-2. The New York Giants also had the best defense in ’59, allowing only 14.1 points per game (170 PA), and the Giants also had the second-best offense (with 284 PF). Meanwhile, the Colts were the most potent offensive threat by far (374 PF), averaging 34.1 points. As to the Colts’ defense…well, on paper, the Colts’ D was only ranked 6th-best in terms of points allowed that season (251 PA); nevertheless, the Colts had the most interceptions by far (40, which was 18 more than any other team). And in the end, it was the Colts’ swarming defense, and particularly their ability to pick the ball off, that would decide the 1959 NFL title game.

Because of the NFL’s rotating-home-venue-for-title-game rule back then, the Western Conference was slated to host the 1959 title game, so that meant Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium would host the event, which was on Sunday December 27, 1959. A full-capacity-crowd (57,545) was on hand: the game had been sold out the day after the Colts won the Western Conference championship. Odds-makers were “ambivalent”: Colts by 3 1/2 in Baltimore, Giants by 3 1/2 in New York City. Game-time conditions were mild: 51°F with a slight breeze.

The Colts scored early in the 1st quarter, with a 60 yard pass play from Johnny Unitas to HB Lenny Moore. But then the formidable Giants defense shut the Colts down for the remainder of the first half, and deep into the 2nd half as well. Yet meanwhile, the Colts defense was containing the Giants, and the much-vaunted New York offense could only muster 9 points (off of 3 Pat Summerall FGs). So, midway through the 3rd quarter, the Giants held a slight lead, at 9-7.

Then, late in the 3rd quarter, the game turned on a 4th-and-1 play. The Giants had the ball on the Colts’ 27, which would have been a relatively easy 34-yard FG attempt. However, with their narrow 2-point lead, the Giants decided to go for it, and ran a running play. FB Alex Webster was stopped cold for a 1-yard loss by Colts DT Ray Krouse. The Memorial Stadium crowd erupted, and the momentum was shifting.

Then the Colts answered with 24 points, starting with a swift march down the field that culminated in a 4-yard Johnny Unitas option-rush-TD. The Colts led 14-9 at this point, with 12 minutes to go. Both offenses were then held to 3-plays-and-a-punt. Then, in 3 consecutive possessions, the Giants turned the ball over, via interceptions. The first of the 3 turnovers occurred with the Giants back on their 7-yard line: New York QB Charley Conerly’s pass was picked off at midfield by Colts All-Pro DB Andy Nelson, and Nelson returned it to the Giants’ 15. Two plays later, Unitas used a misdirection-play to connect with TE Jerry Richardson at the 8, and Richardson reached the end zone, and it was now 21-9 Colts.

Then the Giants made another turnover: Conerly’s 3rd-and-eight pass was intercepted by Colts DB Johnny Sample, who streaked 45 yards to a TD, and it was now 28-9 for the Colts. And then three minutes later, with New York at the 50 yard line but even more desperate, Johnny Sample made another interception, this time off of a Frank Gifford halfback-option. Sample returned the pick-off 24 yards, to the Giants’ 26. A few plays later, Colts K Steve Myhra made it 31-9, with a 25-yard FG. It was much too late in the game for New York to mount a serious comeback, although the Giants did drive for a late TD. That made it 31-16, and that was the final score.

And so the small-market Baltimore Colts had defeated the big-city Giants for the second straight year. Johnny Unitas had an MVP-worthy 18-for-29/264 yds/2 TD/0 Interceptions performance, and HB Lenny Moore had 124 yds from scrimmage and a TD. The Colts faithful stormed the field after the final whistle, and had a celebratory goal-post-razing. And then the joyful mob swiped every memento they could get their hands on, including DT Gino Marchetti’s helmet, the sideline benches, and even the iron goal posts themselves (which were smuggled out of the stadium, and later cut into mantle-piece-worthy trophies). Colts DE Art Donovan, who would go on to have a second career as a raconteur and an in-demand late-night talk-show guest, quipped, “Isn’t it great? The Giants shot their mouths off all week. But we played the football.”

But due to the epic battle that was the 1958 NFL title game [aka the Greatest Game Ever Played], the re-match in ’59 (and the repeat Colts’ victory), was fated to be a barely remembered thing (see a 2009 article from the Baltimore Sun for more on that, below).
-The greatest game nobody remembers (Mike Klingaman at baltimoresun.com).
baltimore-colts_1959-nfl_championship-game_colts-31_giants16_memorial-stadium_c_
Photo and Image credits above- 1959 NFL title game program, photo unattributed at goldenrankings.com/nflchampionshipgame1959. Aerial shot of Colts v Washington at Memorial Stadium [photo circa 1960], photo by Robert F. Kniesche attributed (for once) at pinterest.com/[Colts v Washington]. Unitas in pocket under pressure, photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images via gettyimages.fr. Conerly pursued by Marchetti and Donovan, color-tinted photo unattributed at gatorrick15.wixsite.com. Johnny Sample, 2nd interception, photo unattributed at pinterest.com. Colts fans’ celebratory goal-post-razing, photo by AP via si.com. Colts’ ’58/’59 champions logo, image from ebay.com.

1959 Baltimore Colts: 7 All-Pro players; plus 6 from the ’59 Colts that were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Note: All-Pro, below, means: 1959 AP, 1st team. -Johnny Unitas: 1959 All-Pro (QB), and 1959 MVL (AP & UPI & Bert Bell Trophy); Unitas was inducted to the HoF in 1979. -Gino Marchetti: 1959 All-Pro (DE); Marchetti was inducted to the HoF in 1972. -Jim Parker: 1959 All-Pro (OT); Parker was inducted to the HoF in 1973. -Raymond Berry: 1959 All-Pro (WR); Berry was inducted to the HoF in 1973. -Lenny Moore: 1959 All-Pro (HB); Moore was inducted to the HoF in 1975. -Gene Lipscomb: 1959 All-Pro (DT). -Andy Nelson: 1959 All-Pro (S). -Art Donovan: (DT) inducted to the HoF in 1968. -Weeb Ewbank: (Head coach of Colts from 1954-62); Ewbank was inducted to the HoF in 1978.

Helmet and uniforms changes for 1959 NFL… There were very few uniform changes in the 1959 NFL (see Packers and 49ers sections below). However, it would be a different matter in the next few seasons, as more teams finally introduced helmet logos. But as of 1959, just 4 teams wore helmet logos (Rams, Eagles, Colts, Washington). 1959 was the third year that the NFL had mandated that all home teams were to wear their dark jersey, and all road teams were to wear their white (or light-colored) jersey. This was to ensure that television viewers watching NFL games on black-and-white TVs would not have trouble differentiating between the two teams (because in the past, both teams often ended up wearing a dark-colored jersey). This rule would last 7 seasons (1957-63). Then in 1964, teams were given the option of wearing their white jerseys at home; that rule exists to this day.

-In 1959, the Green Bay Packers, now under the leadership of new head coach Vince Lombardi, introduced new uniforms, the template of which has remained the Packers’ signature look to this day. Gone were the white helmets that had been part of the Packers’ uniforms for the previous three seasons, and gone was any navy blue, and also gone was the dark-bluish-forest-green color the Packers had toyed with in the 1956-58 time period {see my 1958 NFL post for more on that/scroll down to ’58 uniforms section there}. While the Packers had worn kelley-green in the late-1940s-to-mid-1950s time period, starting in 1959 the green was now plain-dark-green. The gold was still yellow/orange, and that would be the Packers’ helmet color once again. The helmet featured a dark-green/white/dark-green center-striping. But the new Packers helmet was otherwise blank…the Packers’ now-iconic football-shaped-G logo would not be introduced until 2 years later, in 1961. {1959 Packers uniforms (gridiron-uniforms.com).} The Packers experimented with dark-green facemasks during this time, but abandoned it, probably because the green paint was prone to easily flake off, as you can see in the following post from the excellent packersuniforms.blogspot.com. (Note: The Baltimore Colts also experimented with a colored facemask in this era [a dark-blue facemask]. But the first team-wide introduction of colored facemasks did not occur until 15 years later, when the Chargers got Riddell to embed the color (yellow) into the rubberized coating of the facemask. {See this article by Paul Lukas at espn.com, Uni Watch’s Friday Flashback: How the Chargers started the colored face mask revolution.})

Green Bay Packers helmet history –
green-bay-packers_helmet-history_1921-2016_16a_segment_c_.gif Green Bay Packers Helmet History Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/packers.

-In 1959, the San Francisco 49ers switched, yet again, from gold to silver helmets (plain silver helmets). The 49ers switched from gold to silver pants as well in ’59. And the Niners also slightly changed the detailing on their white jerseys, introducing a second arced shoulder stripe (similar to the striping on the Colts’ jerseys {1959 49ers uniforms}. All this chopping and changing was blurring the 49ers visual identity during this era. The 49ers of the 1952 to 1964 time period could not make up their mind what their look should be, switching their helmet color 5 times in a 13-year-span…from silver to red to white to gold to silver to gold. {You can see that in Gridiron Uniforms Database’s SF 49ers page.}

___
Photo and Image credits on map page…
Colts… Colts’ Raymond Berry-style helmet w/ butterfly-facemask [reproduction of helmet from 1960-63 era], from ebay.com. Johnny Unitas [photo from 1958 title game], photo by Neil Leifer at neilleifer.com. Jim Parker, [photo circa 1960], photo unattributed at profootballhof.com. Raymond Berry [photo from 1960 v Eagles]], photo by Focus on Sports/Getty Images via gettyimages.com. Retro Colts logo from ebay.com. Gino Marchetti [photo circa 1960], photo unattributed at forum.russellstreetreport.com/[Baltimore football greats...]. Andy Nelson [photo from 1959 title game], photo unattributed at sportsecyclopedia.com/[Baltimore Colts]. Jim Mutschellar [photo circa 1960], photo by Baltimore Sun at baltimoresun.com. Art Donovan [photo circa 1958], photo unattributed at pinterest.com. Lenny Moore [photo from 1958], photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images at gettyimages.com/robert-riger-archive. Gene Lipscomb [photo from 1959], photo by John G. Zimmerman/Getty Images at gettyimages.com.

1959 Offensive stats leaders…
Charley Conerly [photo from 1959], photo unattributed at bigblueinteractive.com. Johnny Unitas [photo from 1959], photo from Complete Pro Sports Illustrated magazine via nflfootballjournal.blogspot.com/[Johnny Unitas feature]. Jim Brown [1959 Topps card], from sportsviews.com. Raymond Berry [photo from 1963], photo by Walter Iooss, Jr/Getty Images via gettyimages.com.

Map was drawn with assistance from images at this link… worksheeto.com/post_50-states-and-capitals-printable-worksheet.
-Thanks to the contributors at pro-football-reference.com
-Thanks to the contributors at NFL 1959 season (en.wikipedia.org).
Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving billsportsmaps.com the permission to use football uniforms illustrations from Gridiron Uniform Database {GUD}.

January 30, 2018

NFL 1958 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Baltimore Colts./+ 1958 NFL attendance data & info on 1958 NFL teams’ uniforms.

nfl_1958_map_helmets_final-standings_baltimore-colts-champions_post_d_.gif
NFL 1958 season, map with helmets and final standings; champions: Baltimore Colts./+ 1958 NFL attendance data



By Bill Turianski on 30 January, 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-1958 NFL season
-1958 NFL Championship Game (en.wikipedia.org).
-1958 NFL season (pro-football-reference.com).
-1958 NFL Teams [illustrations of uniforms of the 12 NFL teams of 1958] (gridiron-uniforms.com).

The map… The map, done in the style of 1950s newspaper graphics, shows the primary helmets and jerseys worn by the 12 NFL teams of 1958. Final standings for the 1958 NFL season, along with team-colors worn that season, can be seen at the lower-right of the map page. Home helmets and jerseys are shown alongside the standings. At the lower-right-corner of the map page there is a small section devoted to 1958 NFL attendance data (also see attendance section further below). At the top-right of the map page is a section devoted to the 1958 NFL champions, the Baltimore Colts (also see next 12 paragraphs and the illustration below). And at the far-right-hand-center of the map page, are 1958 Offensive leaders in the following categories: QB Rating and TD Passes: Johnny Unitas, Colts. Passing Yards: Billy Wade, Rams. Rushing Yards and Rushing TDs and Total Yards from Scrimmage and Total TDs: Jim Brown, Browns. Receiving Yards: Del Shofner, Rams.

    Johnny Unitas led the 6-year-old Colts to the 1958 NFL title, over the NY Giants 23-17 (first-ever OT game)

Johnny Unitas, the son of Lithuanian immigrants, was a Pittsburgh-born graduate of Louisville University. At college, he played the dual role of QB and Safety for the Redbirds. Unitas had been a 9th round selection by his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in 1955. But Unitas was cut by the Steelers in the ’55 preseason, with Steelers coach Walt Kiesling under the impression that Unitas was not smart enough to run an NFL offense, even though Kiesling (duh) never even let Unitas take one snap during the entire preseason. So Unitas worked in construction jobs in Pittsburgh in the latter half of 1955, to support his family, and he played semi-pro football for 6 bucks a game.

In the following year of 1956, Unitas got a second chance, when, after a successful tryout, Weeb Ewbank and the then-4-year old Baltimore Colts signed him. A few games into the ’56 season, backup-QB Unitas got his shot, when starting QB George Shaw was injured in the 4th game; and in 1956 the Colts finished 5-7. The next year, 1957, with Unitas now the starting QB, the Colts went 7-5…this was the team’s first winning season. And 1957 was also the first time the Colts drew above 40 K per game (attendance in ’57 for the Colts increased by 6.9 K, to 46 thousand per game). In the following season of 1958, the Colts shot out of the gate, winning their first 4, and the fans continued to flock to Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. The Colts saw an eye-popping 16.9-K-increase in crowd-size, to 53.6 K (which was an impressive 93 percent-capacity), at the 57.5-K-venue [which they shared with MLB's Baltimore Orioles]. The Baltimore Colts (a small-market team) had the third-best attendance in the NFL in 1958 (see attendance section on the map-page, as well as the league-attendance section further below).

So in 1958, the Colts won the Western Conference, going 9-3. The Colts had the league’s most potent offense, averaging 31.75 points per game. Unitas led the league in passing yardage and passing TDs (2,007 yards and 19 TDs). Unitas’ three main targets in ’58 were Hall Of Famers Lenny Moore (HB) and Raymond Berry (End/WR), as well as Jim Mutschellar (TE). Lenny Moore, who was a running back and not a wide receiver, gained a league-second-best 938 yards receiving, while Raymond Berry gained 724 yards receiving (which was the 4th-best that season), and TE Jim Mutschellar gained 504 yards receiving. The Colts ground game was spearheaded by FB Alan Ameche and HB Lenny Moore: Ameche gained a league-2nd-best 791 yards (second only to MVP Jim Brown of the Browns), while Moore ran for 598 yards. And Lenny Moore also had a league-best 1,536 yards from scrimmage. So, the Colts offense was dominant in ’58, and the Colts defense was second-best in that year (behind only the Giants). The Colts’ front four featured two future Hall of Famers: DE Gino Marchetti, and DT Art Donovan. And the Colts had the most prolific secondary that season, with 35 interceptions (including 8 pick-offs by both Ray Brown and Andy Nelson, and 7 by Carl Taseff). The dominance that the Colts had in the NFL Western Conference in 1958 can be seen in the fact that the Colts had the league’s best point-differential by far: +178 pd (which was almost triple the Giants’ pd, of +63).

The Colts had clinched the NFL Western Conference title in the 10th week, and thus, crucially, were able to keep key players rested on the bench for their last 2 regular-season games (which they lost). The Colts won the West by a game, over the 8-4 Chicago Bears and the 8-4 LA Rams. That meant the Colts would face the Eastern Conference champs, the 9-3 New York Giants, who featured a tough defense led by DE Andy Robustelli and LB Sam Huff, and a potent offense featuring the wily 37-year-old-veteran QB Charlie Conerly, star Halfback/End Frank Gifford (the 1956 league MVP), and Flanker Kyle Rote.

But, to get to the 1958 title game, the Giants had to play an extra game – an Eastern Conference tiebreaker – versus the Cleveland Browns, and New York had beaten Cleveland 10-0, a week before the Championship game. So the Colts players were much more rested than the Giants players. The Giants had won the title 2 seasons before (in 1956), 47-7 over the Bears, on a frozen surface at Yankee Stadium. Two years later, for this Giants versus Colts title game of 1958, game-time conditions were much better: 44ºF (7ºC) and dry, with virtually no wind. About 20,000 Colts fans from the Baltimore-area had made the trip up to Yankee Stadium for the game, by car, bus, and specially organized trains. There was a full-capacity crowd of 64,185 on hand at Yankee Stadium. The Colts were 3.5 point favorites (probably due to both the Colts’ offensive capabilities, as well as the Colts being the more rested squad).

Because of the sheer excitement that the closely-fought game caused, and because it was the first NFL championship game to be broadcast nationally on television (on NBC, to an estimated audience of 10.8 million homes), and because of its pivotal timing in the late 1950s (just as the medium of television had begun to broadcast pro sports nation-wide), the Colts versus the Giants in the 1958 NFL title game came to be known as The Greatest Game Ever Played. From youtube.com, ‘The Greatest Game Ever: 1958 NFL Championship‘ (5:33 video uploaded by vslice02 at youtube.com).

The 1958 NFL title game was the first NFL game, play-off or otherwise, that went to sudden-death overtime. It featured two hard-nosed teams with offenses that had the capability to move the ball down the field with lightning-quick efficiency. The Giants were coached by Arkansas graduate Jim Lee Howell, who coached the Giants from 1954 to 1960. Howell’s two main assistant coaches are both in the Pro Footballl Hall of Fame – the Giants’ defensive coach in 1958 was future Cowboys’ head coach Tom Landry (whom Howell had converted from a Giants LB to defensive coordinator 2 years previous in 1956); the Giants’ offensive coach in 1958 was future Packers’ head coach and football demi-god Vince Lombardi (whom Howell had hired from West Point, where Lombardi was Army’s offensive line coach 4 years previous in 1954). The Colts were coached by Weeb Ewbank, who had got his pro coaching start under Paul Brown at Cleveland, and was hired as the Colts’ head coach in their second season (in 1954). Ewbank gave the Colts an unusual pre-game talk… “Not known for emotional speeches, Weeb gave one to his men before the game, reminding them of how they were unwanted by other teams. ‘Unitas, Pittsburgh didn’t want you. We got you for a 75-cent phone call. Lipscomb, the Rams got rid of you. We got you for a hundred bucks. Berry? One leg shorter than the other, with bad eyesight to boot. … So you should win this game for yourselves’…” {-Excerpt from goldenrankings.com/[1958 NFL Championship Game]).

The Giants/Colts 1958 title game had multiple big plays, swift scoring drives, and changes in momentum – the biggest when, in the 3rd quarter with the Colts leading 14-3, the Giants stopped Baltimore on a fourth-and-goal-to-go on the 1 yard-line, for a 4-yard-loss (see color photo in the illustration below, where Unitas is about to hand off to Alan Ameche for that 4-yard-loss). Then the Giants went 95 yards for a TD in 4 plays. That drive was highlighted by a 86-yard pass play from deep within the Giants’ own territory: QB Charlie Conerly threw to WR Kyle Rote downfield left-to-right across the middle. Rote broke a tackle at mid-field, but then he fumbled when hit from behind at the Colts’ 25…Giants RB Alex Webster, who was trailing the play, recovered the fumble and ran it all the way to the 1-yard line. RB Mel Triplett then scored on a 1-yard TD run, and the Giants were back in it, now behind by only 4 points, at 14-10. The Giants then went ahead 17-14 early in the 4th quarter – Conerly’s 46-yard completion to TE Bob Schnelker set up his 15-yard TD pass to Frank Gifford.

In the dying minutes of the 4th quarter, the Colts took over with 1:58 to go, at their own 14-yard line (after a Giants punt). Unitas then put together one of the most famous drives in football history. After two incomplete passes, Unitas made a clutch 11-yard completion to Lenny Moore on third down. After one more incompletion, Unitas threw three straight passes to Raymond Berry, moving the ball 62 more yards, to the Giants’ 13-yard line (Berry had 12 receptions for 178 yds, the most yards from scrimmage in the game, and an NFL title game record.) A 20-yard FG by K Steve Myhra with 7 seconds left sent the game into sudden-death overtime…the first overtime game in NFL history. In OT, the Giants won the toss but failed in their first possession. Then Unitas and Baltimore drove 80 yards on 13 plays on the tired New York defense, and, aided by a key block at the goal line by TE Jim Multschellar, the Colts scored on a 1 yard TD by Alan Ameche, to win the game 23-17. Here is something that has went a little bit forgotten amidst all the hoopla surrounding this game…Johnny Unitas had called all 13 plays of the winning drive.

The 1958 NFL title game became known as The Greatest Game Ever Played…
baltimore-colts_vs_ny-giants_1958-nfl-championship-game_johnny-unitas_raymond-berry_alan-ameche_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Illustrations of Colts and Giants 1958 helmets from gridiron-uniforms.com/[1958]. Game program, unattributed at goldenrankings.com. Screenshot of video [Yankee Stadium, exterior shot], image from video uploaded by NFL at youtube.com, ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’ 1958 NFL Championship: Colts vs. Giants. Photo of Unitas in pocket, photo unattributed at chatsports.com. Raymond Berry diving catch in ’58 title game, photo by Hy Peskin/Getty Images at gettyimages.com. Screenshot of Giants D about to stop Ameche on 4th-and-goal, unattributed at sportsblogmovement.wordpress.com. Photo of Unitas passing long, late in game, from baltimorepostexaminer.com. Unitas watches after handing off to Alan Ameche (winning TD in OT), photo by Neil Leifer at neilleifer.com. Colts fans carry Ameche off the field as the goal-posts are torn down, photo by Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated via darkroom.baltimoresun.com.

The broadcast of the game by the NBC television network is credited with growing, almost overnight, the fan interest in the NFL. The 1958 NFL Championship Game marked the start of the popularity-surge for the NFL… a popularity-surge that has not abated to this day. As pro football historian Bob Carroll notes in his book When the Grass Was Real …’The next morning…for the first time in history, the National Football League was the number-one topic at watercoolers from sea to shining sea. Among the oohs over Johnny Unitas’s passes and the ahhs over Sam Huff’s tackles came many plaintive wonderings why “our town” didn’t have its own pro football team.’…{end of excerpt from page 12 of When the Grass Was Real, by Bob Carroll, published in 1993 by Simon and Schuster, available at amazon.com here}.

-Video: The Greatest Game Ever Played – 1958 NFL Championship Highlights – Colts vs Giants (12:31 video [fuzzy color video] uploaded by Savage Brick Sports at youtube.com).
-From Golden Rankings, 1958 NFL Championship Game, Baltimore Colts @ New York Giants [illustrated article in chart form] (goldenrankings.com).

1958 Baltimore Colts: 6 All-Pro players; plus 6 from the ’58 Colts that were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Note: All-Pro, below, means: 1958 AP, 1st team.
-Johnny Unitas: 1958 All-Pro (QB), and 1958 MVL (AP & UPI & Bert Bell Trophy); Unitas was inducted to the HoF in 1979.
-Gino Marchetti: 1958 All-Pro (DE); Marchetti was inducted to the HoF in 1972.
-Jim Parker: 1958 All-Pro (OT); Parker was inducted to the HoF in 1973.
-Raymond Berry: 1958 All-Pro (WR); Berry was inducted to the HoF in 1973.
-Lenny Moore: 1958 All-Pro (HB); Moore was inducted to the HoF in 1975.
-Gene Lipscomb: 1958 All-Pro (DT).
-Art Donovan: (DT) inducted to the HoF in 1968.
-Weeb Ewbank: (Head coach of Colts from 1954-62); Ewbank was inducted to the HoF in 1978.

1958 NFL attendance figures, and notes on stadia.
In 1958, the NFL was in the midst of its steadily-increasing popularity, and broke 3 million total attendance for the second straight year. There were 3,132,346 tickets sold for the 72 regular season games of the 1958 NFL season, making an average attendance of 43,504. The public were being captivated by the NFL, and the turnstiles told the tale: in a 5 year span, the NFL increased its average attendance by a staggering 11.1 thousand per game…in 1954, the NFL averaged 32.4 K; five years later, in 1958, the NFL was averaging 43.5 K.
nfl_1958_attendance-data_average_percent-capacity_e_.gif
Credits above – sources for figures: pro-football-reference.com/years/1958/attendance.htm; packershistory.net/1958PACKERS/GAME9. Helmet icons: gridiron-uniforms.com/[1959]. Chart: billsportsmaps.com.

In 1958, the highest drawing NFL team was, once again, the Los Angeles Rams, who drew an astounding 83.6 thousand per game. Second-best-drawing team was the 9-3 Cleveland Browns (at 67.1 K). The Baltimore Colts drew third-best (at 53.6 K [which was a league-2nd-best 93.1-percent-capacity; only the Packers at their Green Bay venue filled their stadium better]). Two more teams drew above 50-K: the reigning-champs the Detroit Lions (at 53.4 K), and the San Francisco 49ers (at 52.4 K). And two more teams drew in the mid-40-K-range: the New York Giants (45.7 K) and the Chicago Bears (43.9 K). So there you go: in 1958, these were the 7 NFL teams that were drawing big-time crowds…Rams, Browns, Colts, Lions, 49ers, Giants, Bears. Then there was a rather large divide between those 7-high-drawing teams, and the other 5 NFL teams of 1958.

1958 NFL attendance: A chasm of 12-thousand-per-game separated the top 7 draws (see above) and the 5 lower-drawing teams (see below).
Just as the NFL was becoming more popular circa 1958, there were still 5 franchises that were under-performing at the turnstile. Each of these low-drawing NFL teams back then had their own reasons for drawing poorly. The Chicago Cardinals drew so poorly because the team was doomed to being the after-thought-team in the Windy City, thanks to the Bears’ predominance there (and so the Chicago Cardinals moved to St. Louis two years later, in 1960). The Pittsburgh Steelers were just so consistently bad back then (or at best, mediocre), and were bad for so long, that their crowd-sizes were perpetually stuck in the mid-20-K-range. But also, the aging Forbes Field, which the Steelers rented from MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates, was pretty decrepit at this point and had a somewhat small capacity of around 41,000. Washington, like the Steelers, also had to rent from an MLB team and play in an outdated venue; plus, Washington in the late-’50s was in the midst of a 13-year-slump without a winning season, and crowds at Griffith Stadium had plateaued to the point that they were drawing only 1.2 K better than they were eight seasons earlier in 1950 (Washington drew only 25.4 K in ’50; and 8 years later in ’58 they were only drawing slightly better at 26.6 K). So, in an 9-season-span (1950 to ’58), while the NFL as a whole increased its average attendance by over 14 thousand per game, Washington increased their crowds by only twelve-hundred or so per game.

The Packers’ low attendance in 1958 is a complicated issue. First off, one would expect a drop-off in attendance for the Packers in ’58, because 1958 was the absolute worst season the Green Bay Packers ever had (1-10-1). The Packers were the only NFL team that had two venues, and from 1933 to 1994, the Packers played 2 or 3 games each season in Milwaukee (they played 4 games in Green Bay and 2 home games in Milwaukee during the 1958-60 time period). In 1958, the Packers were not able to draw higher than the 29.7 K they averaged that season for two reasons: small capacity in their new venue in Green Bay (City Stadium (II), which opened in 1957), and low attendance in Milwaukee. The Packers’ City Stadium (II) [now called Lambeau Field] only had a capacity of 32,500 back then. In 1958, the Packers had the league’s best percent-capacity figure, that is, for their four Green Bay home games. The Packers played to an average of 30.8 K in their 4 home games in Green Bay (which was a solid 94.8 percent-capacity). But in their two home games in ’58 at Milwaukee County Stadium (which had a much larger capacity of 43.7 K), the Packers drew poorly: 24.5 K v Rams in October and then only 19.7 K v 49ers in late November. The Packers fortunes would improve vastly with the arrival of Vince Lombardi in the following season of 1959, and the team would, um, pack even more fans in their soon-to-be-expanded stadium, and by 1961, the Packers were back to their title-winning ways. And despite being located in the smallest NFL market by far, the Green Bay Packers have been playing to basically-full-capacity ever since then. And after the 1994 season, the Packers’ organization came to the conclusion that, because demand for tickets was so great, they no longer needed to play a few of their games each season in Milwaukee. But as early as 1958, looking at the poor support Milwaukee residents gave the (admittedly bad) ’58 Packers, one could say that the small-town Green Bay Packers could already could stand on their own, without the crutch of a big-city venue.

There was one more team that was drawing significantly below the NFL average of 43-K in 1958, and that was the Philadelphia Eagles (see next two paragraphs).

1958: Philadelphia Eagles move into Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania…
Franklin Field dates back to 1895, with its current structure installed in the 1920s. When the Eagles played there (for 13 seasons, from 1958-70), it had a capacity of 60 thousand. It was, and still is, the home of the Ivy League college football team the Penn Quakers. It was also the home of the annual Army-Navy Game from 1899-1935. As the Stadiums of Pro Football.com site says, “Franklin Field is the answer to a trivia question that even the most dedicated NFL fans might not know. It is the oldest football stadium in the country.” {-Quote from Frankiln Field at stadiumsofprofootball.com.} The Eagles move to Franklin Field was beneficial purely because it was a move from a baseball park to a venue designed for rectilinear sports like gridiron football. The Eagles moved into Franklin Field not as renters (the U. of Penn is a not-for-profit organization), but the Eagles donated about $75-to-100-K per year to stadium upkeep. However, the Eagles were not allowed to profit from sales of food and drink, or from parking fees. So, it was not an ideal set-up, and the Eagles later jumped at the opportunity to move into the city’s new multi-purpose venue, Veterans Stadium, in 1971 (which, of course, was also the home of the Philadelphia Phillies MLB team [from 1971-2003]).

Prior to 1958, the Eagles, like the Steelers and like Washington, had played in an MLB ballpark that was antiquated. Since 1942, the Eagles had played at Connie Mack Stadium [aka Shibe Park], which only had a capacity of around 39,000, unless temporary bleachers were installed (as the Eagles were doing during their dual-championship-era of 1948 and ’49). And, like Pittsburgh and like Washington, the Eagles circa the mid-to-late-1950s were also bad, so this contributed to their small crowds. The Eagles drew worst in the league the year before, in 1957, when, in their last season at Connie Mack Stadium, and as a 4-8 team, they drew only 21.6 K. The next year (1958), with the move over to Franklin Field, the Eagles increased their crowd-size by 7.4-K-per-game (to 29.0 K per game). Their attendance had increased thanks to the venue-change, and despite the fact that Eagles were in a re-building mode and were really bad in ’58 (finishing last in the East, at 2-9-1). The next season of 1959, the Eagles, under aging-but-still-very-effective QB Norm Van Brocklin, vastly improved (to 7-5), and that helped to draw 10-thousand-more per game to Franklin Field (the Eagles drew 39.2 K in ’59). And then in 1960, the Philadelphia Eagles would be NFL champions. These days, the Eagles draw very well and have no attendance issues (well, other than a disproportionate amount of unruly fans).

Helmet and uniforms changes for 1958 NFL…
1958 was the second year that the NFL had mandated that all home teams were to wear their dark jersey, and all road teams were to wear their white (or light-colored) jersey. This was to ensure that television viewers watching NFL games on black-and-white TVs would not have trouble differentiating between the two teams.

Below: Washington’s ‘feather-helmet’ (worn from late 1958 through to 1964; replaced by the feathered-spear helmet)
washington-redskins_1958_feather-helmet_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – gridiron-uniforms.com/[Washington 1958]; helmet photos from helmethut.com.

-In 1958, Washington introduced the ‘feather-helmet’, which was worn for the last two games of the season. Washington was the fourth NFL team to introduce a helmet-logo {here are the first three helmet-logos in the NFL}. The feather-helmet was an unusual back-of-the-helmet-oriented logo, of a large feather, in pale-red-and-white, on a brownish-burgandy helmet {1958 Washington}. {Here is a photo from 1960, Washington v Eagles, that shows the feather-helmet from several angles.} The weird feather-logo helmet lasted 7 years, and that was replaced in 1965 by a diagonally-positioned gold-spear-with-feather logo {1965 Redskins uniforms}. Washington’s feather-helmet had the same problem that the original Colts’ horseshoe helmet (of ’54) had…the logo was oriented to the back of the helmet, making it hard to see from the front.

-In 1958, the Chicago Cardinals ditched their alternate red-helmets, wearing only a (plain) white helmet {Cardinals 1958}. The Cards kept the plain white helmet again in ’59, and then upon moving to St. Louis in 1960, introduced their now-iconic frowning-cardinal-head helmet, which in my opinion is one of the best looking helmets ever made {1960 Ken Gray game-worn Cardinals helmet {helmet-hut.com)}.

-In 1958, the Los Angeles Rams ditched their yellow/orange [aka gold] jerseys, which the Rams had worn for some games in every one of their 14 previous seasons (going all the way back to their last year in Cleveland {1945 Cleveland Rams}). {Here is what the Rams looked like in 1957, when they were the only NFL team to sport 3 different jerseys; here were the rather plain 1958 Rams uniforms.} {Here is a photo of Rams HB Frank Arnett from 1958, on the bench during a Rams game at the LA Memorial Coliseum. By the way note, in the background of this photo, the huge crowd at the Coliseum that day; again, this was when the Rams were drawing 83 thousand per game, which was 40 thousand per game more than the league-average.} The Rams have worn yellow/orange jerseys a few times in the modern era {throwback-uniforms in 1994, and an alternate uniform (color rush) in 2014}.

-In 1958, the Green Bay Packers did not wear any gold in their uniforms (no yellow/orange gold or metallic-gold). Green Bay, in ’58, for some strange reason, only wore dark-forest-green-and-white at home, and wore white-and-dark-blue on the road…and their helmet was a plain white helmet with a dark-green center-stripe. This Packers’ alternate helmet-and-color-scheme of white-and-dark-forest-green was worn for parts of 3 seasons (1956, ’57, ’58). Green Bay’s 1958 gear was the only season in the Packers’ history, besides {1922}, when any shade of gold was not in their colors. It was also, coincidentally or not, the Packers’ worst season ever [1-10-1]. {Here are the dreary and eminently forgettable uniforms of the 1958 Green Bay Packers.} {Here is the only color image I could find of this shade of Packers green: photos of Forrest Gregg and Bart Starr from pre-season 1956.} It really is a forgotten period in the history of the Packers. By the way, if you look closely at the ’58 Packers home jersey you can see that the green had a bit of blue in it: a dark-bluish-grey-shade-of-green (ie, forest-green), not the simply-dark-green they have worn since 1959. So, after their strange 3-year-experiment with white helmets and a weird shade of dark-bluish-green, in 1959, with the arrival of coach Vince Lombardi, the Packers began wearing their current color-scheme of gold (yellow-orange) and plain-dark-green. A couple years after that, the Packers’ introduced their football-shaped-G-logo. The Packers’ helmet logo was introduced in 1961…which just so happens to be the year that the Packers started winning NFL titles again.
___
Photo and Image credits on map page…
Baltimore Colts…
Colts’ Raymond Berry-style helmet w/ butterfly-facemask [reproduction of helmet from 1960-63 era], from ebay.com. Johnny Unitas, photo [from commemorative issue of Baltimore Sun, following Unitas' death in 2002], photo unattributed at nflfootballjournal.blogspot.com/[Johnny Unitas feature]. Unitas and Colts offensive line after a snap, Life magazine photo [from 1960], photo unattributed at grayflannelsuit.net/blog. Jim Parker [segment of 1959 Topps card], from ebay.com. Gino Marchetti [photo from 1958 title game], photo unattributed at sportsecyclopedia.com/nfl/[Baltimore Colts]. Raymond Berry [photo from 1958 title game], photo unattributed at pinterest.com. Gene Lipscomb [photo circa 1959], photo unattributed at helmethut.com. Lenny Moore [photo circa 1959], photo unattributed at nflpastplayers.com/lenny-moore. Art Donovan, photo [from 1958 preseason] by Baltimore Sun at baltimoresun.com. Alan Ameche [photo from 1958 title game], photo unattributed at pinterest.
1958 Offensive stats leaders…
Johhny Unitas (Colts) [photo from 1958 title game], photo unattributed at chatsports.com. Billy Wade (Rams) [1960 Topps card], from footballcardgallery.com. Jim Brown (Browns), [action-photo from 1958 game v Steelers], photo by Diamond Images/Getty Images via gettyimages.co.uk. Del Shofner [photo from 1958 game v Colts], photo by Al Paloczy/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images at gettyimages.com.

Map was drawn with assistance from images at these links…
48-state-USA/southern Canada, worksheeto.com/post_50-states-and-capitals-printable-worksheet.
Section of Mexico, as well as coastlines-&-oceans, lib.utexas.edu/maps/hist-us.
-Thanks to the contributors at pro-football-reference.com
-Thanks to the contributors at NFL 1958 season (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to pro-football-reference.com and to packershistory.net for attendance data from 1958; thanks to Mike at sports-reference.com/feedback for swift reply and correction of Packers’ attendance discrepancy, of 1958 week 9 game, at pro-football-reference.com.
Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving billsportsmaps.com the permission to use football uniforms illustrations from Gridiron Uniform Database {GUD}.

December 17, 2017

NFL 1957 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Detroit Lions./+ 1957 NFL attendance data & info on 1957 NFL teams’ uniforms.

nfl_1957_map-w-final-standings_detroit-lions-champions_post_k_.gif
NFL 1957 season, map with helmets & final standings; champions: Detroit Lions



By Bill Turianski on 17 December 2017 twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-1957 NFL season
-1957 Detroit Lions season (en.wikipedia.org).
-1957 NFL season (pro-football-reference.com).
-1957 NFL Teams [illustrations of uniforms of the 12 NFL teams of 1957] (gridiron-uniforms.com).

The map… The map, done in the style of 1950s newspaper graphics, shows the primary helmets and jerseys worn by the 12 NFL teams of 1957. Final standings for the 1957 NFL season, along with team-colors worn that season, can be seen at the lower-right of the map. Home helmets and jerseys are shown alongside the standings. There also is a small section devoted to 1957 NFL attendance data. At the top-right of the map-page is a section devoted to the 1957 NFL champions, the Detroit Lions (also see the next 6 paragraphs and the illustration below). At the far-right-hand-center of the map page, are 1957 Offensive leaders in the following categories: QB Rating & Passing Yards & Passing TDs: Johnny Unitas, Colts. Rushing Yards & Rushing TDs: Jim Brown, Browns. Total Yards from Scrimmage & total TDs: Lenny Moore, Colts. Receiving Yards: Raymond Berry, Colts.

The 1957 Detroit Lions are champions, demolishing the Cleveland Browns 59-14, and winning their third NFL title in 6 years.
During the 1950s, in just a 6-year span, the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns faced each other 4 times in the NFL title game. They had previously met in 1952, 1953, and 1954, with Detroit winning in close games in ’52 and ’53, and with Cleveland winning big in ’54. But in 1957, the underdog Detroit Lions won big over the Cleveland Browns, 59-14, thanks to 5 turnovers and the steady leadership of back-up QB Tobin Rote.

The betting line was Browns by 3 points, and the Las Vegas odds-makers probably gave that 3 point edge to Cleveland because it was a case of a veteran coach (Paul Brown) versus a rookie coach (the Lions’ George Wilson). And also, the Lions’ team leader and longtime-QB, Bobby Layne, was out injured. And looking at the regular season stats, Detroit had, on paper, a mediocre +20 points difference, which was only 6th-best in the league that year. But the Browns had never won in Detroit. Plus, the Lions were the hottest team in the league at that point, having won their last 4 games, and 6 of 7 (including beating Cleveland 20-7 in week 11). And the Lions were coming off a Tobin-Rote-led 24-point comeback-win over the 49ers, in the Western Conference tiebreaker playoff game, a week earlier. So, the oddsmkers might have thought Cleveland were favorites, but there were plenty of signs pointing to a Detroit win.

1957 NFL Championship Game: Detroit Lions 59, Cleveland Browns 14…
detroit-lions_1957-nfl-champions_briggs-stadium_tobin-rote_h_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Aerial photo of Briggs Stadium, circa mid-1950s, photo from Virtual Motor City via photos.metrotimes.com. Detroit Lions 1950s-era logo [2014 retro-redesign], image from irononlogo.com. Interior shot of Briggs Stadium, circa mid-1950s, photo by Wayne State University via Virtual Motor City via photos.metrotimes.com. Photo of Tobin Rote [in 1957 NFL title game], by Marvin E. Newman at gettyimages.com. Illustrations of Lions and Browns 1957 helmets, by gridiron-uniforms.com/[1957]. Bobby Layne, on crutches, hugs Tobin Rote post-game, photo by AP via freep.com. Detroit Free Press front page [Dec. 30 1957], photo from freep.com.

Aided by two 1st-quarter turnovers (1 FR, 1 INT), all 3 possessions by the Lions in the first quarter led to scores (1 FG, and then two 1-yard-TD-runs: the first by QB Tobin Rote, and then another 1-yard-TD by HB Gene Gedman). Then, early in the 2nd quarter, Detroit pulled a trick play…Tobin Rote, who was also the place-holder for Field Goal attempts, called for a fake-FG in the huddle. It resulted in a 26-yard TD pass to End Steve Junker. That made it 24-7, and the rout was on. A 19-yard interception for a TD, by Lions DB Terry Barr, gave the Lions a 24-point lead at halftime (31-7). In the 2nd half, the Browns scored an early 3rd quarter TD, but the Lions answered with 4 TD passes, 3 by Rote, and the final TD pass by 3rd-string QB Jerry Reichow. In the 3rd quarter, Rote threw a stupendous 78-yard-pass to End Jim Doran, and then a 23-yard-TD-pass to Steve Junker. In the 4th quarter, Rote threw a 32-yd-TD-pass to End Dave Middleton. And so, with the game safely in hand, Rote was substituted for Reichow, who then threw a 16-yard TD pass to HB Howard ‘Hopalong’ Cassady. Final score: Lions 59, Browns 14.

The 45-point margin of victory by the Lions made it the most lopsided NFL title game since the Bears’ 73-0 win over Washington in 1940. The Lions had won their fourth (and last) NFL title.

1957 Detroit Lions: 3 All-Pro players; plus 7 from the ’57 Lions that were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Note: All-Pro, below, means: 1957 AP, 1st team.
-Jack Christiansen (DB/KR): 1957 All-Pro; Christiansen was inducted into the HoF in 1970.
-Joe Schmidt (MLB): 1957 All-Pro; Schmidt was inducted into the HoF in 1973.
-Lou Creekmur (OT): 1957 All-Pro; Creekmur was inducted into the HoF in 1996.
-Bobby Layne (QB); Layne was inducted into the HoF in 1969.
-Yale Lary (DB/P); Lary was inducted into the HoF in 1979.
-Frank Gatski (C); Gatski was inducted into the HoF in 1985.
-John Henry Johnson (FB); Johnson was inducted into the HoF in 1987.

Two games into the next season (1958), the Lions front-office decided to stick with Tobin Rote, and part with the older and more expensive Bobby Layne. Layne was traded to the basement-dwelling Pittsburgh Steelers, and it is said that an incensed Layne predicted that the Lions would not win another championship for 50 years. He was right. The Detroit Lions have gone 1-10 in the playoffs since 1957, and are the oldest NFL franchise that has never won a Super Bowl title. They haven’t even made it to a Super Bowl: the closest that the Detroit Lions have ever got to a Super Bowl appearance was a loss to Washington in the 1991 NFC championship game. As of late December 2017 [with the Lions failing to qualify for the playoffs], it has been 60 years and counting since the Lions have been the NFL champions. There is just one thing I don’t understand…why is the player who led the Lions to their last NFL title, Tobin Rote, not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? (See following link.)

-From the Detroit Athletic blog, Tobin Rote belongs in Canton (by Howard Bak at detroitathletic.com/blog).
-From the Detroit Free Press, 1957 Detroit Lions: Full 60th anniversary coverage (freep.com/story/sports).
-From Golden Football Magazine site, NFL Championship Games: 1957, Cleveland Browns @ Detroit Lions [illustrated chart-style article] (goldenrankings.com/nflchampionshipgame1957.html).
-Video of 1957 NFL Championship Game (at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, MI), Detroit Lions 56, Cleveland Browns 17 [1957 NFL Championship - Lions vs. Browns - Vol. 1]; [1957 NFL Championship - Lions vs. Browns - Vol. 2]; [1957 NFL Championship - Lions vs. Browns - Vol. 3] (videos uploaded by Vol Brian at youtube.com).


1957 NFL attendance.
Note: also see the 1957 NFL Average Attendance chart at far-lower-right of the map page {source: pro-football-reference.com}.
In 1957, the NFL was in the midst of its steadily-increasing popularity, and broke 3 million total attendance for the first time. There were 3,062,449 tickets sold for the 72 regular season games of the 1957 NFL season. That averaged out to 42,534 per game (up an impressive +3,914 per game or up 10.1%, from 1956). The highest drawing NFL team was once again the Los Angeles Rams (at 68 K). Second-best draw was the 8-4 San Francisco 49ers (at 65 K), who drew 19-thousand-more-per-game than in 1956 (a league-best 43.9% increase). The 49ers drew so well in ’57 because they had an almost-championship-caliber team, one that came very close to winning the Western Conference (Detroit beat them in a rare conference [divisional] playoff tiebreaker game). So Bay Area fans responded by flocking in droves to Kezar Stadium, to see the Niners. Third-best attendance in 1957 was Detroit (at 55 K). The Detroit Lions of the 1950s, who won 3 NFL titles in that decade (1952, 1953, 1957), really packed them in at Briggs Stadium [aka Tiger Stadium], back then. Fourth-best crowd-size in 1957 was the much-improved Cleveland Browns (at 54 K), who featured rookie sensation Jim Brown (rushing yardage-leader & Rookie of the Year). The Browns had the second-best attendance improvement (17-thousand-more-per-game or +36.2%, from 1956). The other NFL teams of 1957 which drew above 40-thousand were: the reigning champions the New York Giants (at 48 K), the Baltimore Colts (at 46 K), and the Chicago Bears (at 44 K). The Colts are noteworthy here, as it was the still-young franchises’ first plus-40-K-attendance season (6.9-K more per game than in 1956). Their increase in attendance came thanks to the galvanizing presence of Johnny Unitas, who, in his first full-season as their starting QB, led the Colts to their first winning season (7-5). Unitas led the NFL in passing yardage and QB rating in 1957. In the following two seasons (1958 and ’59), the Colts would be champions.

New stadium for Green Bay in 1957. One more thing with respect to attendances deserves a mention…1957 was the first season of Green Bay’s new City Stadium (II) [renamed Lambeau Field in 1965]. The stadium the Packers had played in from 1932 to ’56, the bare-bones City Stadium (I), had just a 25,000-capacity {see this aerial photo circa mid-1950s}. A few years previously, the then-basement-dwelling Green Bay Packers had been told by the league office to either build a bigger stadium or move full-time to Milwaukee (Green Bay played 3 of their 6 home games, each season, in Milwaukee, during this era; in 1958 they started playing 4 in Green Bay and 2 in Milwaukee). When the Packers opened their new stadium in 1957, City Stadium (II) had a 32,500 capacity. {Here is an aerial photo of the first game played at what is now called Lambeau Field, from Sept. 29 1957.} The Packers were drawing 22.4 K in the last 3 games at the old stadium in 1956 (which was 89.7 percent-capacity). In 1957, the Packers drew to almost full-capacity for their first 3 games in the brand-new City Stadium (32.1 K at 98.7 percent-capacity). And remember, this was when the Packers were really bad (3-9 in ’57; 1-10-1 in ’58). The next year of 1958, the Packers drew 27.9 K overall, averaging 30,824 in their 4 home games in Green Bay (which was a solid 94.8 percent-capacity), but in their two home games in ’58 at Milwaukee County Stadium [capacity: 43.7 K], the Packers drew worse: 24.5 K v Rams mid-season and then only 19.7 K v 49ers in late November. So their brand-new and 7.5-K-larger stadium was being filled pretty well, despite how bad the Packers were in this era. The problem was the Packers’ Milwaukee games in the 1956-58 time period: they were getting lousy attendance (like less than 50 percent-capacity in the 43.7-K Milwaukee County Stadium). One might be tempted to say that that was an example of how the small-town Packers were no longer able to hold their own in the modernizing NFL of the late 1950s. But the problem wasn’t in their small-town venue (in Green Bay). The Packers’ attendance problem was in their big-city venue, in Milwaukee. (How ironic, and a foreshadowing of the fact that the Packers, way down the road, in 1995, stopped playing games in Milwaukee, because they could sell out Lambeau Field easily and they did not need the crutch of the big-city venue in Milwaukee anymore.) Today, the only thing that still remains from Lambeau Field’s original structure of 1957 is some concrete that comprises the nearest stands to the field, and the structural steel below that. {For more on that, see this article with a great photo of old City Stadium (II)/Lambeau Field circa early 1960s, Lambeau Field started with a chain-link fence around it (by Cliff Christl, Packers team historian, at packers.com)}. Lambeau Field is the oldest continually-operating NFL stadium, and after the Boston Red Sox’ Fenway Park and the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field, Lambeau Field is the third-oldest continually-operating major league venue in the USA and Canada. (Lambeau Field now has a 81.4-k-capacity.) The next NFL team to change their venue would be the Philadelphia Eagles in the following year (1958), when the Eagles moved from the decaying Connie Mack Stadium [aka Shibe Park], into the much-larger Franklin Field.


Helmet and uniform changes in the NFL in 1957.
{1957 NFL uniforms at Gridiron Uniform Database site.}
-In 1957, it became mandatory in the NFL for home teams to wear their dark jersey, and for the visiting team to wear their white (or light-colored) jersey. Previously, NFL teams could wear whatever colored jersey they wanted, even if the two teams both ended up wearing dark-colored jerseys. And some teams only wore one jersey the whole season (as the Bears, the Lions, and the 49ers did, the season before, in 1956). This rule change showed the growing influence that television had on the NFL…the rule change was necessary because, on their black-and-white televisions, viewers at home could not distinguish between the two teams when both were wearing dark-colored jerseys. So home-team-dark-jerseys, and visiting-team-whites, was mandated.

-In 1957, the Baltimore Colts would introduce their large-horseshoe-in-center-of-helmet logo, which the Colts franchise still uses to this day; likewise the Colts new jersey design which featured arced shoulder stripes {1957 Colts}. The Colts had previously worn a small-horseshoe-on-the-back-o-f-the-helmet {see this illustration I made for my 1956 NFL post}. Sixty years later, the Colts wear still this exact same helmet-design, with only the dark blue color having changed (and only very slightly, see this illustration I made in 2013, Baltimore/Indianaplois Colts: the 4 shades of blue the Colts have worn}.

-In 1957, the San Francisco 49ers switched their helmet-color from white to gold (a blank metallic-gold helmet), and they also switched to gold pants {SF 49ers 1947-48 gold helmets/3-stripe-red-jerseys [YA Tittle]}. Both the gold helmets and gold pants had been first worn by the 49ers back in 1949, when the team was in the AAFC. Also in 1957, the white jersey of the 49ers had a unique red-gold-red striping {1957 49ers}; {here is a very nice color shot of the 1957 49ers [running out onto the field v Rams at LA Coliseum}...a very nice look, but in the following season of 1958, the Niners went back to their plain-one-color-striping on the sleeves of their white jerseys, which was in the same style as the red jersey's striping, and which dated back to 1950, and which is still worn to this day. The 49ers would keep the gold-helmets-and-pants for one more season ['58], before switching back again to silver helmet and pants (and then introduced the S-F-in-football-logo on that silver helmet in 1962), then the Niners switched back to gold helmet and pants once again, for good, in 1964.

-In 1957, the Chicago Bears, because of the new dark-jerseys-at-home/light-jerseys-away rule, wore white jerseys for the first time in 17 years (worn last in 1940) {1957 Rick Casares game-worn jersey.} (The Bears still wear essentially the same white jersey to this day.)

-In 1957, the Cleveland Browns added jersey-numbers to their orange helmets. {Reproduction of 1957 Jim Brown helmet (pasttimesports.biz).} {1957 Browns.} {black-and-white photo of 1957 Browns helmet w/ jersey-numbers [Jim Brown].} This was the first instance of the color brown on the Browns’ helmet (brown stripes flanking the center-white-stripe appeared in {1960}). The Browns would only wear this jersey-numbers-on-helmet style for 4 years (1957-60).

-In 1957, the Green Bay Packers’ alternate helmet-&-color-scheme of white-and-dark-forest-green was worn (this color-scheme existed for 3 seasons for the Packers [1956, '57, '58]). The Packers wore this white-and-dark-forest-green gear only once in ’56 (on opening day). But here, in 1957, when the NFL introduced the aforementioned rule that said home teams must wear dark jerseys at home and light-colored jerseys on the road, the Packers wore the white-and-dark-forest-green colors for all 6 of their road games {1957 Packers}; {1957 Packers at Rams, with Packers in white helmets-and-jerseys-with-dark-green-trim}. Then, in the next season (1958), the Packers wore white-helmets-with-dark-forest-green-jerseys for all 6 home games (and wore a very similar-looking white-with-dark-blue-trim for all 6 road games), making it the only season in the Packers’ history, besides {1922}, when gold (yellow-orange or metallic-gold) was not in their colors. 1958 was also the Packers’ worst season ever [1-10-1]. {Here are the dreary and eminently forgettable uniforms of the 1958 Green Bay Packers.} In 1959, with the arrival of coach Vince Lombardi, the Packers began wearing their current color-scheme of gold (yellow-orange) and dark-green. And were much better.

-In 1957, the Los Angeles Rams wore white jerseys for the first time ever (they only had worn yellow/orange or blue or red/black ['37] or red ['49] jerseys previously). Like the Bears, the Rams had been wearing only one uniform for several seasons (the Rams wore just a yellow/orange jersey from 1951 to ’56). The Rams were the only NFL team in 1957 that had three jerseys (blue, yellow/orange, white) {1957 Rams}.

-In 1957, the New York Giants introduced a subtle alteration of their helmets, placing jersey-numbers on the front of their blank-dark-blue-helmet-with-red-center-stripe. This helmet-design does not get noted at Gridiron Uniforms Database, but at MG’s Helmets, and at the Helmet Project site, the numbers-on-front-of-helmet design for the Giants of this era is noted, but just not by a specific year [when the design originated]. Well, I’ve looked at plenty of 1950s-era Giants helmets recently, and I can tell you for sure that the numbers were added to the front of Giants’ helmets in 1957 (and the jersey-numbers stayed on the front of Giants helmets all the way up to 1974). All you have to do is look at this photo from the Giants’ 1956 title-march {1956 NY Giants on the bench: Gifford, Beck, Conerly, Webster}, and then look at this photo from 1957 {Giants defense takes down Jim Brown, 1957}. The Giants put those jersey-numbers on the front of their helmets in ’57. Even without the Giants’ small-case-NY logo {which wasn’t introduced until 1961}, that ’57 Giants helmet-design with the jersey-numbers on the front was a pretty solid look. I wish more teams would utilize that look (like the Steelers do; see below).

-In 1957, the Pittsburgh Steelers, like the Browns, introduced jersey-numbers on their yellow/orange-gold-with-black-stripe helmets {1957 Steelers}. The Steelers wore this style for 5 years, from 1957-61 {The next link show this style of helmet, 1960 Steelers [Bobby Layne in Steelers huddle].} In 1962, the Steelers got rid of the large-jersey-numbers-on-the-side-of-helmet, and kept the plain yellow/orange-gold-helmet-with-black-stripe, and then later in the ’62 season they finally introduced a logo…the Steelers’ US-Steel-with-starbursts logo (Nov. 1962). {Here is a shot of safety Willie Daniel in the 1962 Steelers’ gold-helmet with US-Steel-and-starbursts logo, which was worn for the last 5 regular season games in 1962.} The US-Steel-logo-with-starbursts on a black helmet was introduced in Jan. 1963. The US-Steel-with-starbursts logo has always been worn on only the right-side of the Steelers’ helmet. In 1963, along with the introduction of the modern-day black-helmet-with-US-Steel-logo, the Steelers re-introduced jersey-numbers on the helmet, but smaller numbers worn on the front of the helmet…a look that the NY Giants pioneered in 1957 (see Giants’ section above). The Steelers have worn the small-jersey-numbers on their helmets ever since 1963…{Steelers helmet circa 1963 (John Baker)}; { Steelers’ helmet ca. 1980 (Jack Lambert)}; {Steelers’ helmets ca. 2016}.
___
Photo and Image credits on map page…
Detroit Lions…
Detroit Lions mid-1950s-era leather helmet and plastic-shell helmet, photos unattributed at The Football Book published by ESPN via uni-watch.com/2007/10/30/uni-watch-book-club-the-football-book/. Bobby Layne, 1st photo (color) by George Gellatly at nfl.com. 2nd photo of Bobby Layne, photo unattributed at nflpastplayers.com/bobby-layne. Lou Creekmur, photo by Frank Rippon/NFL at nfl.com. Color photo of four 1957 Lions players [Charlie Ane, Howard Cassady, Tobin Rote, Yale Lary], photo unattributed at helmethut.com. Tobin Rote, 1st photo: 1959 Bazooka trading card from footballcardgallery.com. 2nd photo of Tobin Rote: photo of Rote from 1957 NFL Championship Game, by Marvin E. Newman at gettyimages.com. John Henry Johnson, photo unattributed at pinterest.com. Joe Schmidt, photo unattributed at sportsattic2.com/nflphotos/Schmidt,Joe. Jack Christiansen, photo unattributed at profootballhof.com/players/jack-christiansen.
1957 NFL Offensive leaders…
Johnny Unitas [photo from preseason 1957], photo by Ozzie Sweet/Sport magazine [Dec. 1958] via nflfootballjournal.blogspot.com/[Johnny Unitas feature]. Jim Brown [photo from 1957 v Cardinals], photo by Cleveland Browns via waitingfornextyear.com. Lenny Moore [photo from preseason 1957], photo unattributed at pinterest.com. Raymond Berry [photo of 1957 Topps card], from myalltimefavorites.com/indianapolis-colts.

Map was drawn with assistance from images at these links…
48-state-USA/southern Canada, worksheeto.com/post_50-states-and-capitals-printable-worksheet.
Section of Mexico, as well as coastlines-&-oceans, lib.utexas.edu/maps/hist-us.
-Thanks to the contributors at pro-football-reference.com
-Thanks to the contributors at NFL 1957 season (en.wikipedia.org).
Special thanks to Tim Brulia, Bill Schaefer and Rob Holecko of The Gridiron Uniform Database, for giving billsportsmaps.com the permission to use football uniforms illustrations from Gridiron Uniform Database {GUD}.

October 17, 2017

2017-18 Bundesliga (Germany/1st division) location-map, with: 16/17 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./+ the 2 promoted clubs (VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Germany — admin @ 5:28 pm

germany_2017-18_bundesliga_map_w-16-17-attendance_seasons-in-1st-div_titles-listed_post_f_.gif
2017-18 Bundesliga (Germany/1st division) location-map, with: 16/17 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed



By Bill Turianski on 17 October 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-Teams, etc…2017-18 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 2017/18 – Summary (us.soccerway.com/national/germany/bundesliga).

-From Associated Press via Daily Herlad.com, BUNDESLIGA 2017-18: Guide to the 2 promoted teams (by Ciaran Fahey on 14 Aug.2017).

A brief re-cap of the 2016-17 Bundesliga…
16/17 Bundesliga champions
Bayern Munich [German: Bayern München]. The Bavarian giants have now won 5 straight Bundesliga titles. Bayern Munich have won the most German titles (27, their first German won in 1932), and the most Bundesliga titles (26, their first Bundesliga title won back in the 6th season of the competition, in 1969).
Teams that qualified for Europe
17/18 Champions League Group Stage: Bayern Munich, Lawn Ball Sport Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund.
17/18 CL GS play-off round: Hoffenheim.
17/18 Europa League Group Stage: FC Köln, Hertha Berlin.
EL GS 3rd qualifying round: SC Freiburg.

Teams that were relegated out of Bundesliga, into the 2nd division (2. Bundesliga), in May 2017…
Ingolstadt (17th place) and Darmstadt (last place) were both relegated to the 2nd division, while 16th place finishers Werder Bremen survived by winning the Relegation play-offs by a 2-0 aggregate score over Eintracht Braunschweig (who were the 3rd-place-finishers in 2. Bundesliga).

Teams that were promoted in May 2017
VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96. Both clubs, who were relegated in 2015-16, bounce straight back to the Bundesliga. I am pretty sure this is the first time this has happened in Germany (ie, all teams relegated one season then going on to win promotion straight back up, the following season). I checked every Bundesliga season for this, and it looks like this is the first time it’s happened, but I honestly could only find one reference to this online, which only mentions this (and doesn’t necessarily confirm it as an unprecented thing), at the following link: {Guardian/football/The Knowledge from 13 Sept.2017, question #3: Bouncebackabilty [scroll down one-third-of-the-way, in the article there] (by John Ashdown at theguardian.com/football).

VfB Stuttgart.
Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg [in south-western Germany].
Stuttgart is located, by road, 128 miles (206 km) S of Frankfurt; and Stuttgart is located, by road, 145 miles (233 km) NE of Munich. The closest large city to Stuttgart is in France: as the crow flies, Stuttgart is only about 50 miles (80 km) from the French border and Stuttgart is 92 miles (148 km), by road, from Strasbourg, France.
Rivals: Stuttgart are sort of bereft of a rival, currently…Stuttgart’s biggest local rival, Stuttgart Kickers, have not been in the 1st division since 1992, so that rivalry has faded, while their rivalry with Karlsruher SC (about 47 miles away) has increased in importance in the last couple decades (Stuttgat v Karlsruher is called the Baden-Württemberg-Derby). But the just-relegated-to-3rd-division Karlsruher are now 2 divisions lower than Stuttgart. The nearest current Bundesliga team to Stuttgart is Hoffenheim (the two clubs are located about 57 miles apart), but, owing to Hoffenheim’s meteoric rise out of the lower leagues into the 1st division a decade ago, Stuttgart and Hoffenheim have never developed a real rivalry.

Stuttgart returns straight back to the Bundesliga after winning the 2016-17 2. Bundesliga title, two points above the 2nd place finishers [Hannover], and 3 points above 3rd place. Stuttgart’s 2016-17 average attendance was 50,573 (at 83.6 percent-capacity); Stuttgart had the best attendance in the 2nd division, and the 5th-best attendance in all of Germany in 2016-17 {source: european-football-statistics.co.uk/[attendance]}. Currently, now back in the 1st division, Stuttgart’s crowds are the 4th-largest in the Bundesliga, averaging 51.8 K (at 90-%-capacity) [as of 17 Oct. 2017] {source: us.soccerway.com/[Bundesliga}.

Colours: White jerseys with Red trim and sometimes also Black trim, and White pants (usually); their badge features black deer antlers on a yellow field, and the deer antlers have been part of the Stuttgart crest since 1912, when Verein für Bewegungsspiele Stuttgart was formed via a merger of two predecessor clubs: Stuttgarter FV and Kronen-Club Cannstatt {1912 VfB Stuttgart crest}. Deer antlers are part of the coat of arms of Württemberg {see this article from espnfc.com/9th paragraph there}. (By the way, deer antlers are also featured on the Porsche logo.)

Seasons in 1st division: counting 2017-18, VfB Stuttgart have played 52 seasons in the Bundesliga [2017-18 is the 55th season of Bundesliga (est. 1963-64)].
Stuttgart’s major titles:
5 German titles (last in 2007).
3 DFB-Pokal titles (last in 1997).
Manager: Hannes Wolf (age 36), born in Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia.
vfb-stuttgart_promoted-2017_mercedes-benz-arena_e_.gif
Photo and Images credits above – 17/18 Stuttgart jersey, photo unattributed at footballshirtculture.com. Mercedes-Benz Arena, photo from File:Mercedes-Benz-Arena Stuttgart.JPG by MSeses at commons.wikimedia.com. Tifo, photo from File:Cannstatter Kurve 2013.JPG by RudolfSimon at commons.wikimedia.org.

Hannover 96.
Hanover, Lower Saxony [in north-central Germany].
Hanover is located, by road, 99 miles (159 km) S of Hamburg; and Hanover is located, by road, 131 miles (212 km) NE of Dortmund.
Rivals: Hannover 96′s biggest rival is fellow Lower Saxon side Eintracht Braunschweig, and the cities of Hanover and Braunschweig are only about 41 miles apart. Last season, Hannover beat out Braunschweig by one point for automatic promotion.

Hannover 96 returns straight back to the Bundesliga after finishing in 2nd place in the second tier, two points behind Stuttgart, while finishing one point ahead of their big rivals Eintracht Braunschweig, and 7 points ahead of 4th place [FC Union Berlin]. Hannover’s 2016-17 average attendance was 36,647 (at 74.4 percent-capacity); Hannover had the second-best attendance in the 2nd division, and the 12th-best attendance in all of Germany in 2016-17. Currently, now back in the Bundesliga, Hannover has the 10th-largest crowds, averaging 47.1 K (at 96-%-capacity) [as of 17 Oct. 2017].

Colours: Red jersey, usually with Black pants, and a Green-and-Black badge. Hannover have always had a green-and-black badge {see this, Hannover 96 badges through the years}, but they played in blue jerseys for their first 18 years. Hannover’s red jerseys date back to 1913, when a merger with another local club – Ballverein [BV] 1898 Hannovera – led to the club adopting BV’s red jerseys, while retaining their green-and-black badge.

Seasons in 1st division: counting 2017-18, Hannover 96 have played 29 seasons in the Bundesliga.
Hannover’s major titles:
2 German titles (last in 1954).
1 DFB-Pokal title (last in 1992).
Manager: André Breitenreiter (age 44), born in the Langenhagen district of Hanover, Lower Saxony.
hannover-96_promoted-2017_d_.gif
Photo and Images credits above – 17/18 Hannover 96 jersey, unattributed at footyheadlines.com HDI-Arena, photo unattributed at skyscrapercity.com/showthread[HD-Arena/Hannover 96]. Tifo, photo unattributed at pinterest.com.

Note: I will soon post a map-and-chart of the German second division, 2. Bundesliga, in mid-December 2017.
___
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.
-2016-17 stadium capacities (for league matches) from Fußball-Bundesliga 2017/18 (de.wikipedia.org).
-List of German football champions (en.wikipedia.org).
-Seasons-in-1st-division data from Fußball-Bundesliga/Vereine der Bundesligasaison 2017/18 (de.wikipedia.org).

October 5, 2017

2017-18 Ligue 1 (France/1st division) location-map, with: 16/17 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./+ the 3 promoted clubs (Strasbourg, Amiens, Troyes).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,France — admin @ 12:12 pm

france_2017-18_ligue-1_map_w-16-17-attendance_seasons-in-1st-div_titles-listed_post_c_.gif
2017-18 Ligue 1 (France/1st division) location-map, with: 16/17 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed



By Bill Turianski on 5 October 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-Teams, etc…2017-18 Ligue 1 (en.wikipedia.org).
-Fixtures, results, table, stats…Summary – Ligue 1 (us.soccerway.com).
-Ligue 1 official site (in English)…ligue1.com.

A brief re-cap of the 2016-17 Ligue 1…
16/17 Ligue1 champions…Monaco. AS Monaco, the club from the Principality of Monaco (population: 37,000), were French champions for the 9th time. Monaco beat out Paris Saint-Germain for the title, and that meant for the first time in 5 years, someone other than PSG were the French champions.

Teams that qualified for Europe
17/18 Champions League Group Stage: Monaco, PSG.
17/18 CL GS third qualifying round: Nice.
17/18 Europa League Group Stage: Lyon.
17/18 EL GS 3rd qualifying round: Marseille, Bordeaux.

Teams that were relegated to the 2nd division (Ligue 2)…Bastia, Nancy, Lorient.
Teams that were promoted from the 2nd division to the Premier League…. Strasbourg, Amiens, Troyes.

    Promoted to Ligue 1 for 2017-18: Strasbourg, Amiens, Troyes.

The final match-day of the 2016-17 Ligue 2 saw 6 teams with a shot at winning promotion. Strasbourg, Amiens, and Troyes won promotion that day, while Lens, Brest, and Nîmes just missed out. Strasbourg returns to the French 1st division for the first time since 2007-08 (9 seasons ago). Amiens makes their first-division debut in 2017-18. The third promotion place was decided on the new Relegation Play-off, which saw 18th-place-Ligue-1-finishers Lorient face 3rd-place-Ligue-2-finishers Troyes. Troyes won 2-1 aggregate. So Troyes, a classic yo-yo club, bounce straight back to Ligue 1.
Below are profiles of the 3 promoted clubs: Strasbourg, Amiens, and Troyes…

    • Strasbourg

Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace. (Est. 1906, as Fußball Club Neudorf. “When Alsace was returned to France in 1919, the club changed its name from “1. FC Neudorf” to the current “Racing club de Strasbourg” in imitation of Pierre de Coubertin’s Racing Club de France, a clear gesture of francophilia.”…{excerpt from RC Strasbourg Alsace (en.wikipedia.org)}. (The Alsace part of their name was added in 2012.)
City-population of Strasbourg: around 276,000/ 7-largest city in France {see this} {2012 census}; metro-area population: around 773,000/ 9th-largest urban area in France {see this} {2013 estimate}. Strasbourg is, by road, 3 km (1.5 miles) from the German border, and Strasbourg is, by road, 150 km (93 mi) W of Stuttagrt, Germany. Strasbourg is, by road, 492 km (306 mi) E of Paris.

Colours: Blue-with-White. Nickname: Le Racing.

Major titles:
1 French title (1979).
3 Coupe de France titles (1951, 1966, 2001).
Seasons in the 1st division: counting 2017-18, Strasbourg have spent 57 seasons in the French 1st division. Strasbourg were previously in Ligue 1 for a one season spell in 2007-08. Then, after going into financial liquidation, the club was relegated to the fourth tier of French football following the 2010–11 Championnat National season, and then demoted another step to the regional fifth tier. Strasbourg have won 4 promotions in 6 years since then. The club is something of an under-achiever. This can be seen in the fact that despite being from the 7th-largest city in France, and despite having won one French title (in 1979) and 3 Coupe de France titles (last in 2001), and despite having played in 71 percent of all French top-flight seasons (57 out of 80 Ligue 1 seasons),…“the club has never really managed to establish itself as one of France’s leading clubs, experiencing relegation at least once a decade since the early 1950s.”…{excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RC_Strasbourg_Alsace}.

Manager of RC Strasbourg: Thierry Laurey (age 55), born in Troyes, France. A few years ago, Thierry Laury led Corsican minnows Gazélec Ajaccio to back-to-back promotions – from the amateur 3rd division to Ligue 1. Gazélec became one of the smallest-ever clubs to play in the French top flight. In Ligue 1 in 2015-16, tiny Gazélec Ajaccio finished in 19th place (4 points from safety) in their first-ever season in the French top flight, then were relegated back to the second division. Laurey parted ways with Gazélec upon the cub’s relegation back to the 2nd tier. Then he joined the just-promoted RC Strasbourg that same summer of 2016, and led that 2nd-tier side to its second-straight promotion, as Strasbourg won the 16/17 Ligue 2. Strasbourg ended up finishing the 2016-17 Ligue 2 season with a ten-match undefeated run, winning their last 3, and edging Amiens by a point. (Both Strasbourg and Amiens have now both won back-to-back promotions.)

Upon taking over at Strasbourg, Thierry Laurey had brought over one of his forwards at Gazélec, the Morocco international Khalid Boutaïb, and Boutaïb was the second-highest scorer in Ligue 2 last season (with 20 goals; only Troyes’ FW Adama Niane scored more in Ligue 2 last season). (Boutaïb has since moved on to Turkish Süper Lig club Yeni Malatyaspor.) Another stand-out player for Strasbourg in their promotion-campaign was MF/winger Dmitri Liénard, who had the second-best assists tally in Ligue 2 in 16/17, with 11 assists (as well as 4 goals). Liénard returns to anchor the Strasbourg offense in 17/18. Dmitri Liénard, who was born 95 miles down the road in Belfort, is a 29-year-old who had never played above the 3rd tier before last season. (See photo of both, below.)

So now RC Strasbourg, after liquidation and a punitive re-formation, have seen stints in the 5th tier (in 2011-12), and in the 4th tier (in 2012-13), and in the 3rd tier (from 2013 to 2016), and in the 2nd tier (2016-17), and re-joins the French first division after a 9-year absence. In the interim the re-formed club added the Alsace appelation to their official name (in 2012).

The city of Strasbourg is the 7th-largest in France (276 K city-population/773 K metro-population). When previously in the 1st division, and since 2003, RC Strasbourg had drawn between 14-and-19-K. Two seasons ago in the amateur 3rd division, RC Strasbourg drew an impressive 12.8 K. Last season [2016-17], Strasbourg drew 17.0 K in Ligue 2 (second-best crowds-size, behind only RC Lens). Currently [October 2017], Strasbourg are drawing a very solid 24.1 K (7th-best in Ligue 1), at their 29-K-capacity Stade de la Meinau. But Strasbourg are stuck in the relegation zone, in 19th place, with one win and 2 draws after 8 matches.

strasbourg_rc-strasbourg-2017-promoted_thierry-laurey_khalid-boutaib_dmitri-leinard_stade-de-la-meinau_i_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – 16/17 RC Strasbourg jersey, photo unattributed at twitter.com/uniform_11. Aeial shot of Strasbourg, photo from en.strasbourg.eu/gallery . Aerial shot of Strasbourg’s Stade de la Meinau, photo by Hervé Colson via skyscrapercity.com/[thread: Strasbourg]. Interior shot of stadium [full house], photo from rcstrasbourgalsace.fr. Shot of stands supporter-groups of RC Strasbourg, photo from rcstrasbourgalsace.fr. Thierry Laurey, photo by A.Réau/L’Equipe at equipe.fr. Leinard and Boutaib, photo by Jean-Marc Loos/MaxPPP at france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/grand-est. Shot of Strasbourg players celebrating after winning promotion [19 May 2017], photo by Partick Herzog/AFP via rtl.fr/sport/football/rc-strasbourg-le-retour-express-d-un-illustre-club-vers-la-ligue-1.

    • Amiens SC

Amiens Sporting Club. (Est. 1901.)
City-population of Amiens: around 132,000/ which makes Amiens around the ~28th-largest city in France {see this} {2012 census}; metro-area population: [no metro-populations measured/too small a city]. Amiens is the capital of the Somme department in Hauts-de-France. Amiens is by road, 159 km (97 miles) N of Paris. Amiens is, by road, 141 km (88 mi) SW of Lille.
Colours: White-with-Black trim. Nickname: Les Licornes (The Unicorns).
Major titles: (none).
Seasons in the 1st division: 2017-18 will be Amiens’ first season in the French 1st division. Amiens were in the amateur French 3rd division two years ago, and now Amiens have won back-to-back promotions. Amiens, whose nickname is Les Licornes (The Unicorns), play in an unusual stadium, the small, 12-K-capacity Stade de la Licorne, which features an outside wall/roof comprised of 4 walls of half-arced metal/glass/plexiglass. To gain promotion to the 1st division, Amiens won their last 6 matches last season. Amiens secured promotion to Ligue 1 on the final day of the 2016-17 Ligue 2 season, when 6 clubs had a shot at promotion. Playing away to Reims, Amiens clinched promotion with the last kick of the season. The goal was scored from a corner kick, with 2 Amiens players volleying – a kick-pass-volley across the mouth of the goal and then a carefully-placed header by DF Oualid El Hajjam to set up Emmanuel Bourgard, who collected the ball outside the right corner of the box (see photo below), and fired in the winner. With that goal, Amiens leap-frogged 4 teams to finish in 2nd place & automatic promotion. That’s how tight the French second division was last season. Here is an article on that, with video of the thrilling promotion-winning goal for Amiens {Watch: Amiens clinches promotion to Ligue 1 on last kick of the season (si.com/planet-futbol)}.

Manager of Amiens: Christophe Pélissier (age 54), born in Revel, SW France. Christophe Pélissier had gotten tiny Luzenac promoted from the 3rd division to Ligue 2 in 2013-14, but Luzenac was denied entry into the second tier because of an inadequate stadium. (Luzenac, a tiny club from the Pyrenees located very close to the Spanish and Andorran borders, are from a town [Luzenac] that has less than one thousand inhabitants.) Luzenac would have been the smallest-ever club to play in the French second division. So Christophe Pélissier moved on, and in the summer of 2015 he signed as manager of northern-France-based Amiens SC.

Going back 20 seasons, since 1997-98, Amiens have went down to the 3rd tier and back up to the 2nd tier 3 times, with 13 seasons since then in the 2nd division, and 7 seasons in the 3rd division. When Christophe Pélissier took over the reins at Amiens in the summer of 2015, the club had been about to start its fourth straight season in the 3rd division (Championnat National).

Christophe Pélissier has now led Amiens to consecutive promotions. Amiens were drawing in the 4-5-K-range in the Championnat National [3rd division] in the mid-2010s, but had actually drawn almost twice that when they were in the second division in 2011-12, when they drew 9.5 K but finished dead last and went straight back down to the amateur third division. When Christophe Pélissier took over at Amiens in 2015-16, Amiens drew 5.2 K and finished third, behind Strasbourg and Orléans. The following season [2016-17] Amiens finished in 2nd place behind Strasbourg, and they increased their crowds to 7.9 K.

This season in Ligue 1, after 3 home matches, Amiens are playing to 80-percent-capacity and drawing 9.8 K, which is only slightly more than what they were drawing 6 years ago, in 2011-12, when they were in the 2nd division. So their fairy-tale rise up the ladder has not really produced much more of a fanbase since then (only +0.3 K more attendance). And 8 games into the season, the Unicorns are having a tough time of it in the top flight, just a point above the relegation zone, with 2 wins and 5 losses in their first 7 matches. Plus there was the barrier collapse that injured over 20 visiting Lille fans on Sept. 30 (see following links) {Stand collapses as Lille fans celebrate their goal against Amiens. Match abandoned [30 Sept.2017]. (twitter.com/90thMin).} {Stadium barrier collapses injuring 20 fans in Ligue 1 clash between Amiens and Lille (telegraph.co.uk/football).}

amiens_promoted-2017_stade-de-la-licorne_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Amiens 17/18 jersey, photo unattributed at sportetstyle.fr. Amiens, shot from canal with cathedral in background, photo from somme-tourisme.com. 1st aerial shot of Stade de la Licorne, photo unattributed at stadiumdb.com. 2nd aerial shot of Stade de la Licorne, photo unattributed at 1001salles.com.
Photo and screenshot of Amiens’ promotion winning-goal & celebration, from beinsports.com/ph/ligue-1/video/strasbourg-and-amiens-win-promotion. Christophe Pélissier (Amiens manager) celebrates promotion at Reims, photo by Presse Sports via lequipe.fr/football.

    • Troyes AC

Espérance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne [aka Troyes, aka ESTAC]. (Est. 1986.)
City-population of Troyes: around 60,000/ which means that, at the last census [2012], Troyes just missed out on being on the list of 75-largest cities in France {see this}.
Troyes is the capital of the department of Aube in north-central France, and is located on the Seine river, in the Champagne region. Troyes is, by road, 178 km (110 mi) SE of Paris.
Colours: Blue-with-White trim. Nickname: (none).
Major titles: (none).
Seasons in the 1st division: Counting 2017-18, Troyes has played 9 seasons of French 1st division, and were previously in Ligue 1 for a one-season spell in 2015-16. A previous club from Troyes (AS Troyes Savinienne) played 8 seasons of French top-flight football, mainly in the 1950s.
Manager of Troyes: Jean-Louis Garcia (age 55), born in Ollioules (near Toulon, in SE France).

Troyes is a small city of around 60,000 {2012 figure}, and is located in the Champagne region of northern France. Troyes is situated on the Seine, about 150 km (or 93 mi) ENE and upriver from Paris (as the crow flies). The town of Troyes has existed since the Roman era, and the old town boasts many extant half-timbered houses from the 16th Century (see photo of a nice cobble-stoned street in the old town in Troyes, below). The Troyes pro football club wears royal-blue, and bears the official and profoundly unwieldy name of Espérance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne (ESTAC). But no English-speaking fans or media outlets that I have ever come across calls the club “Ess-tock”. And I really wonder whether any French football fans call them anything other than “Twah”. But the club sure expects people to call them ESTAC (“Ess-tock”), because their crest has that acronym spelled-out in large letters, and the club’s official website’s address is estac.fr.

The football club of Troyes had went under twice in the 20th Century. The first incarnation – named AS Troyes Savinienne – existed from 1900 to 1967, and played 8 seasons in the first division, mostly in the 1950s, and once made it to the final of the Coupe de France (in 1956, losing to Sedan-Ardennes). Then the second incarnation of Troyes were formed in 1970 (3 years after the first version were wound up), but Troyes Mark-2 – named Troyes Aube Football (TAF) – didn’t last the decade and went bankrupt in 1979. Then Troyes had no club to speak of for 7 years, until this present-day/third incarnation was established, in 1986. It then took Troyes/ESTAC 13 years to make it from the amateur divisions into the top flight – their first season in French football was in 1986-87, and then they won promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time in May 1999. Since 2003, Troyes have went down to the second tier and back up to Ligue Un 4 times – a true yo-yo club. (Troyes AC have been in the French 1st division for a 4-season spell from 1999-2003; then a 2 season spell from 2005-07; then a one-season spell in 2011-12, then a one-season spell in 20115-16, and now they are back in Ligue 1 for 2017-18.)

Troyes play in the 21.6-K-capacity Stade de l’Aube, which has been around for over 90 years, but, as you can see below, is pretty up-to-date. Troyes can draw around 11-to-14 K in the top flight, and around 7-to-10 K in the second tier. Last season, Troyes drew 7.2 K last season in Ligue 2. Troyes were powered by Ligue 2 leading scorer Adama Niane (see photo below). Niane is a 24-year-old Bamako, Mali-born Mali international. Adama Niane scored a league-best 23 goals in the 2016-17 Ligue 2, as Troyes finished in the 3rd, and then went on to win the last promotion spot via the new Relegation Play-off (see photo below). Adama Niane returns for Troyes in 2017-18. Another stand-out player in Troyes’ successful promotion campaign of 16/17 was 33-year-old MF Stéphane Darbion, who had 10 assists (as well as 5 goals), plus Darbion scored the promotion-clinching goal [in the 91st minute of the 1st leg of the Relegation Play-off v Lorient]. Darbion also returns for 2017-18. Currently (5 October 2015), after 4 home matches in the 2017-18 Ligue 1 season, Troyes are drawing a mediocre 10.9 K, but they are playing quite well – they just beat Saint-Étienne 2-1. After 8 matches, Troyes sit 11th, on 3 wins, 2 draws, and 3 losses.

troyes_promoted-2017_stade-del-l-aube_jean-louis-garcia_adama-niane_stephane-darbion_c_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – 17/18 Troyes jersey, photo unattributed at 4.bp.blogspot.com. Old village street in Troyes, photo by openroads.com, at flickr.com. Aerial shot of stadium and surrounding countryside outside of Troyes, photo unattributed at info-stades.fr [thread: Troyes, Stade de l'Aube]. Exterior of stadium at night, photo by Troyes aka ESTAC at estac.fr/Stade-de-l-Aube-theatre-d-une-passion. Interor of stadium, photo from [the now-defunct site] france-stades.com via thefootballstadiums.com. Jean-Louis Garcia, screenshot from sports.orange.fr/videos. Adama Niane, photo unattributed at mercato365.com. Stephane Darbion, photo unattributed at footmercato.net
___
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.
-2016-17 stadium capacities (for league matches), from Ligue 1/Stadia and locations (en.wikipedia.org).
-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.
-reddit.com/r/soccer/comments/72jfyk/current_situation_of_all_teams_relegated_from_the-top-5-European-leagues.
-Seasons in French 1st division…
sources:
1. I mainly referred to Official Ligue 1 site’s fantastic list {ligue1.com/ligue1/[Total Seasons]}. The only discrepency I could find on this list is that they combined both Troyes clubs’ 1st division spells (9 seasons in French 1st division for present-day Troyes club + 8 seasons in 1st division for original Troyes top-flight club, Union Sportive Troyenne [who played 8 seasons in the 1950s and early 1960s, but were dissolved in 1967].) The two entities are considered different clubs.
2. As of 4 Oct. 2017, the list on wikipedia’s Ligue 1 page is completely wrong {en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligue_1#Members_for_2017-18}…it was updated incorrectly and you can see that easily enough when you see there that they put Dijon’s seasons-in-1st-division (as of start of 17/18 season) as “1″, when it is quite obvious that should say “2″. And most other team’s seasons-in-1st-division numbers are also off by minus-1.
3. This other one at wikipedia is also riddled with inconsistencies {en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ligue_1_clubs}; they probably used that bogus list above as source.
4. RSSSF list, but updated only to 2012-13 {France – Final Placings/Chronological Development [1932/33-2012/13]}. Lyon’s seasons-in-1st-division number is off by one, but that’s the only (and very rare) error I could find. You just have to add by 5, or less-per-club, depending on the club, to arrive at 2017-18 seasons-in-1st-division numbers. In other words, too much trouble.

September 3, 2017

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Forest Green Rovers FC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 18, 2017

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Portsmouth FC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 2, 2017

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Sheffield United FC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Bolton Wanderers FC.

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

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

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

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

The match was played on 28 April 1923, and was the first FA Cup final to be played at the original Wembley Stadium in London (which operated from 1923 to 2000). It was, in fact, the first-ever match played at Wembley, and construction had only been completed four days earlier. The match ended up having a fantastically huge overflow crowd estimated as more than 200,000. {See photos and captions in the illustration below.} Because of the novelty of the brand-new and gigantic 127,000-capacity venue, vast droves from all over the country turned up…without tickets. And soon there were no more tickets to be had. So vast throngs started to simply push their way into the stadium. {Here is an aerial photo from that day (twitter.com/GreatestCapital [aerial photo of Wembley during 1923 FA Cup]).}

The crush forced people already in the stands to seek the safety of the pitch. So the match could not begin until the pitch was cleared of thousands and thousands of fans. And so policemen, along with mounted police, painstakingly cleared the overflow crowd off of the pitch. The ‘White Horse’ was a grey steed named Billie. It became famous for its work helping to clear the huge crowd off the touch-lines {see caption and images further below; see this article at the FA site, Wembley’s First Ever Match}. Excerpt from that link…“One police horse called ‘Billie’ had more success than most, probably because of its colouring, and the match subsequently became known as ‘The White Horse Final’. Its rider, PC George Scorey, recalled the scene in a BBC Radio interview…
“The horse was very good, easing them back with his nose and his tail until we got the crowd back along one of the goal-lines. We continued up the touch-lines until some of them got a bit stubborn. ‘Don’t you want to see the game?’ I said. They said ‘Yes’ and I said ‘So do I. Now those in front join hands.’ Then I gave the word to heave and they went back, step by step, until they reached the line.”
It was virtually impossible to observe the laws of the game. When a player took a corner kick, for example, the crowd was so close to the touch-line that he could not take his run until a policeman had forced people away from that corner of the field”…{-excerpt from wembleystadium.com/The-First-Ever-Match-At-Wembley.}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Millwall FC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress