billsportsmaps.com

November 22, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 4, 2010

England: The Football League Championship, 2010-11 season – attendance map, with average attendances and percent capacities (from 2009-10).


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From The Two Unfortunates site,
Previews of League Championship clubs
{Part 1 – Barnsley through Leicester City}
{Part 2 – Middlesbrough through Watford}

You can find each club’s 2009-10 percentage capacity on the far right of the chart on the map page. The figures are hard to pin down, because a stadium’s total seat-capacity is always going to be slightly larger than the stadium’s capacity for a Football League Championship match, because rows or columns of seats are left empty, in order to separate home and away fans The same procedure, of course, also applies in the Premier League [as well as in Football Leagues One and Two, but there are rarely sell-outs in the two lower leagues of the Football League]. I used the Football Grounds Guide.com for stadium capacity figures {www.footballgroundsguide.com}.
I like percentage capacity because it sort of provides a bit of a picture…it’s one thing to say that a club draws 17,308 per game, but to also say that that club is playing to just a 53.3% capacity, well that sounds like the club has real problems. I’m talking about you, Coventry City…who own the worst 2009-10 percentage capacity figure for clubs in the League Championship this season. How does a relatively big club like Coventry City manage such a dismal capacity rate? 1. Prolonged stay in the 2nd Level without a reasonable hope of promotion. 2. Lackluster play and a manager on his way out. 3. A charmless stadium built outside the city center and in the middle of nowhere. 4. The generally poor economy.

The fact that the Championship is the 2nd Level of English football means that the clubs’ percentage capacity numbers will be, almost by definition, sort of low…more in the high 50% to low 70% range, for a majority of the clubs. That’s because usually most of the supporters of the lion’s share of clubs in the Championship believe their club to be worthy of the Premier League, and when they are not in the top flight, or do not seem to be progressing towards that goal, attendances go down. And the Championship clubs that had the ultimately most successful seasons the previous year are now in the top flight (certainly in 2 of the 3 cases of the promoted clubs each season). So high capacity-percentage clubs in the Championship are very often just-relegated clubs from the Premier League, and just-promoted clubs from the Football League One, In other words, a club that had never been in the Premier League and that only stays a season or two there before relegation back to the Championship (like both Burnley and Hull City); and conversely, a club with a devoted fan base that was immediately promoted back from the 3rd Level (like Norwich City). Another instance of a healthy percentage-capacity number would be a small club with a small stadium, punching above their weight in a division few thought they could survive in… like both Doncaster Rovers and Scunthorpe United, but actually, both these clubs were not in the top half of the percentage-capacity ranking…a better example would be Colchester United, who in one of their two seasons of second division football, in 2007-08, played to 87.2% capacity in their tiny, former ground, Layer Road. Another example of a high percentage-capacity club in the second tier is one that basically has excellent and virtually unwavering fan support, even if the club did not fare so well the previous season. Sheffield United and Ipswich Town have been in this category in recent seasons, but the best example of this from last season is Derby County, who had the second-best average attendance at 29,230 per game last season, even though they were pretty bad. [The best-drawing club in the Championship last season was, of course, Newcastle United, who drew 43,388 per game in their promotion-winning campaign.] That Derby County average attendance figure translates to a solid 87% capacity last season, even though the Rams won less than a third of their matches and finished in 14th place.

3 of the clubs mentioned above, Norwich, Hull, and Burnley, had percentage-capacity figures of over 90% last season. But you just know that lots and lots of those people who attended matches at Burnley’s Turf Moor last season did it believing that it could very well be the only season in their lifetimes that they could see Burnley play in the Premier League. After all, Burnley were drawing in the 11,000 to 13,000 per game range for over a decade before their shock promotion season of 2008-09. The crowds at Burnley will probably dwindle unless they remain competitive and mount another promotion campaign.

Hull is very different, because as they climbed the league pyramid from 2004 to 2008, their average crowds rose in tandem. It’s astounding to realize that in 2003-04, Hull City drew 16,847 in the fourth division (which was called the Nationwide Division Three). So I am sure that Hull will keep more of their paying customers this season than does Burnley. The other relegated club, Portsmouth, I am not sure what to expect. Pompey (and their supporters, including old Bill, here) had the season-from-hell in 2009-10 [FA Cup run notwithstanding], but Portsmouth still played to a respectable 88.4% capacity. Maybe some of those Pompey fans were attending games last winter and spring thinking they better go now because there might not be a next time, what with the real threat of Portsmouth being wound up early in 2010. Well, Portsmouth dodged that HMRC bullet, and they’re still around. I can see Portsmouth getting simillar-sized, 18,000 per game crowds this season. But really, who knows. They may end up unable to field a competitive squad. Administrator Andonikou says the club can’t pay above 10,000 pounds per week for players {see this (specifically the last sentance in the article), by Neil Allen, from the News (portsmouth.co.uk), from 4 August, 2010, ‘Recruitment drive begins despite uncertain future‘.). Pompey may end up being unable to field a competitive squad. If this happens, I fear plummeting crowds, and another relegation for Portsmouth.
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Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, 2010-11 Football League Championship.
Thanks to Mike Avery’s site at http://www.mikeavery.co.uk.
Thanks to The Football Ground Guide (for capacities of grounds), http://www.footballgroundguide.co.uk

May 2, 2010

League Championship, 2009-10 season. The 2 promoted clubs and the 4 play-off clubs.


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Play-Off dates… Play-Off dates announced (The Football League site).
League Championship Play-Off fixtures, Championship Play-Offs Confirmed.
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On the right of the map are the 2 clubs automatically promoted to the Premier League for the 2010-11 season…Newcastle United, and West Bromwich Albion, both of whom bounce straight back to the top flight. Shown in each club’s profile box are major domestic titles and League history; 2009-10 average attendance; 2009-10 kits; and 4 photos of the club’s ground. Ditto for the 4 Play-Off clubs (on the left of the map). The four play-off clubs will vie for the third promotion spot…with two legged match-ups of Nottingham Forest versus Blackpool; and Cardiff City versus Leicester City. The first legs are Saturday 8th May (Blackpool hosting Forest) and Sunday, 9th May 9 (Leicester hosting Cardiff). Second legs are Tuesday the 11th (at City Ground) and Wednesday the 12th (at the brand new Cardiff City Stadium). The winners will advance to the Play-off final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, 22nd May.
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Attendance figures of the 6 clubs are shown at the upper right on the map page. Here are attendance figures for the whole League Championship this season, Attendance table, League Championship (ITV.com).
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Thanks to Toon Toon Blog, Toon Toon Blog. Thanks to j lord at Flickr.com, j loord’s photosream @ flickr.com. Thanks to Down at thr Mac- the Huddersfield Town fansite, DATM. Thanks to poity_uk at Flickr.com, poiy_uk’s photostream @flickr.com.

Thanks to Bing.com/maps, The Hawthorns (Bird’s Eye view. Thanks to Jameboy at en.wikipedia.org, The West Stand and Smethwick End (exterior) by Jameboy. Thanks to Mattd1991 at en.wikipedia.org, The Hawthorns, by Mattd1991. Thanks to LFC Malta.com, Liverpool Supporters Club Malta.

Thanks to NffcChris at en.wikipedia.org, City Ground by NffcChris. Thanks to Ciderspace.co.uk, Ciderspace-the independant Yeovil Town FC website. Thanks to BBC/Nottingham, Aerial photographs of Nottingham.

Thanks to Colorcoat-online, Cardiff City Stadium, project summary/gallery. Thanks to Cardiff Blues.com, Cardiff Blues and Cardiff City FC sign stadium contract. Thanks to Cardiff City FC.co.uk, Cardiff City Stadium. Thanks to Phil Tucker at Flickr.com, Phil Tucker’s photostream @ flickr.com.

Thanks to The Stadium Guide.com, Walkers Stadium. Thanks to Remarkable People.co.uk, [Football] Grounds [visited]. Thanks to SkySports.com, The Walkers Stadium.

Thanks to leftarmoccasional via Zim Flyer at SkyScraperCity.com, Bloomfield Road Redevelopment/14.000+/Phase Two thread [featuring photos by leftarmoccasional]. Thanks to Blackpool Today, Blackpool Today, South Stand progress/Gallery.

Thanks to Historical Football Kits, for the kit illustrations, Historical football Kits.

September 25, 2009

England: Attendance map of all football clubs that drew over 4,000 per game in 08/09 (77 clubs).

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Please note: I recently made a map & post similar in theme to this one (click on the following),
England & Wales: the highest-drawing football clubs within the English football leagues system (all clubs [74 clubs] that drew above 4 K per game in the 2013-14 season) / Plus a short illustrated article comparing English and German attendances last season, by division.

    England: Attendance map of all football clubs that drew over 4,000 per game in 08/09 (77 clubs)…

The gate figures are from the 2008-09 season. The cut-off for this map was 4,000 per game. Each club’s crest is sized to reflect the club’s average home attendance from their 2008-09 domestic league matches. 

At the top of the map, the banner lists the breakdown of clubs which made this map, by league level.   Here it is… All 20 Premier League clubs.   All 24 League Championship clubs.   21 of the 24 League One clubs (the 3 clubs not making the map being Cheltenham Town,  Hartlepool Utd,  and Hereford Utd,  who all all drew in the 3,000s).   11 of the 24 League Two clubs  {to see the 13 League Two clubs that drew lower than 4,000 last season,  click on the following title- 2008-09_league_two_attendance.gif }.  The sole Non-League club that drew over 4,000 last season was Oxford Utd. 

After all the promotions and relegations that occurred in May, 2009, here is the current [2009-10] breakdown of the clubs on the map…All 20 Premier League clubs.    All 24 League Championship clubs.    23 of the 24 League One clubs (the exception being plucky little Hartlepool United, who drew only 3,835, and managed to avoid relegation by 1 point).    8 League Two clubs:  Bradford City,  Shrewsbury Town,  Port Vale,  Northampton Town,  AFC Bournemouth,  Crewe Alexandra,  Grimsby Town, and Notts County.   2 Non-League clubs:  the Blue Square Premier League’s Oxford Utd, and the beleaguered Luton Town.     

Thanks to the E-F-S site for the attendance figures {click here}.   Thanks to http://www.thelinnets.co.uk (the official site of King’s Lynn FC), for Non-League gate figures {click here}.

July 22, 2009

England: 2009-10 League Championship, with attendance figures from 08/09 season.

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The map shows the 24 clubs in the 2009-10 season of the English Football League Championship,  which is the 2nd Level of professional football in England and Wales.

Here are the oddsmaker’s picks for the best promotion candidates in the Championship this season  {click here  (Statto.com)}.  The three clubs that were relegated from the Premier League in May are the three favorites for promotion back to the top flight…Newcastle UnitedWest Bromwich Albion,  and Middlesabrough.  Also highly rated for promotion are Ipswich Town (on the strength of new manager Roy Keane);  Sheffield United (who, with their large attendances, have been perennial favorites for the jump three seasons running now);  and Reading (despite a horrible second half of last season).   It is interesting that even with all the cash at their owners’ disposal,  Queens Park Rangers are now less highly rated for promotion.  QPR has the 7th best odds for promotion now, versus second-best odds for promotion one year ago.  All those managerial changes and the accompanying front office discord have taken the shine off noveuu-riche QPR’s potential,  it seems.  Also,  note how decently-rated the three East Midlands clubs are,  at 9th, 10th, and 11th best odds for promotion…  Nottingham ForestDerby County,  and Leicester City.  Forest had a tough time of it last season in their return to the 2nd Level;  Derby County had an abysmal season following their horrendous last-place stint in the Premier League (in 07/08);  while Leicester has just bounced straight back to the Championship following their first-ever season in the 3rd Level.  All three clubs have solid fan bases and will draw well,  and that certainly can’t hurt their chances.

Here is a 2009-2010 League Championship preview,  from SportingLife.com,  written by Pete Thompson {click here}.  

**Here are the kits for the clubs in the 2009-2010 League Championship,  from the Historical Football Kits site {click here}.

Thanks to the E-F-S site,  for attendance figures {click here}.   Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here  (set at League Championship 09/10 season)}.   Thanks to the FootyMad.net sites,  for each club’s League history {click here (set at League Championship main page)}.

May 10, 2009

England: League Championship, 2008-’09 season. The 2 Promoted Clubs, and the 4 Playoff Clubs.

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Wolves clinched a spot for the 2008-’09 Premier League on 18th April.  The club from the West Midlands returns to the top flight for the first time since their one-season stint in 2003-’04.

On Sunday, 3rd May, yo-yo club Birmingham City snapped out of their poor late-season form and won the second automatic promotion spot on the last day of the season,  with a 2-1 win over Reading,  with their eventual winning goal coming from veteran striker Kevin Phillips.

Meanwhile,  Preston North End,  the club that had put BCFC in that must-win situation with a late winning goal the week before,  continued their late-season surge and wrested the final playoff spot,  via a 2-1 win over QPR,  and courtesy of the late-season collapse of Cardiff City,  who finished with 3 straight defeats.  Defender Sean St. Ledger headed in the winner for Preston,  with 15 minutes to go.

With that goal,  Preston North End edged Cardiff City on total goals,  the second tie-breaker after their equal goal difference (of plus-12).  Preston had 54 goals,  Cardiff had 53 goals. 

This set up playoff match-ups of… 

Preston v. Sheffield United, Friday 8 May;  Shefield United v. Preston, Monday 11 May.  First leg: Preston 1-1 Sheffield United.

Burnley v. Reading, Saturday, 9 May;  Reading v. Burnley, Tuesday, 12 May.   First leg: Burnley 1-0 Reading.

Thanks to  Colours of football site {click here}.

Thanks to Tony’s English Football site,  for the gate figures {click here}.

Thanks to Wolverhampton City Council Home Page {click here}.   Thanks to MolineuxMix.co.uk {click here}.  

Thanks to pparry @ Photobucket.com {click here};  and chocotiger66 @ Photobucket.com {click here}.   Thanks to http://www.sufc.com .  Thanks to isriya @ Flickr.com {click here}.

Thanks to The Sun.co.uk {click here}.   Thanks to PremierFootballBooks.co.uk {click here (set at St. Andrews- Birmingham City Football Club)}.

Thanks to Chris J. Wood / http://www.geograph.org .   Thanks to football-league.co.uk {click here (set at page/Championship)}.   Thanks to btinternet.com/ 1871-the Ultimate Reading FC website; Madejski Stadium Gallery {click here}.   Thanks to webbaviation.co.uk {click here (set at Reading)}.

Thanks to the Daily Mail site {click here}.   Thanks to www.LateMeetings.co.uk.   Thanks to TheStadiumGuide.co.uk {click here (set at Turf Moor)}.   Thanks to StewieD @ Flickr.com {click here}.   Thanks to clarette_and_blue @ Flickr.com {click here}.

Thanks to Skyscrapercity.com, Preston/ deepdale redevelopment thread {click here}.     

Thanks to SiMar1 @Flickr.com {click here}.   Thanks to extremegroundhopping.blogspot.com {click here (set at Preston national football museum; Morecambe; Deepdale [Feb. '05]).  {click here /extremegroundhopping.blogspot.com / home}}.

August 8, 2008

2008-’09 English Football: League Championship- Attendance Map (with attendances from the 2007-’08 season).

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The League Championship is the second level of English football.  Last season, the league averaged 17,022 per game.  Attendance was down 3.4%,  which can be explained by the promotion to the Premier League, last year, of the two highest drawing clubs from the season before:  Sunderland and Derby County.

This season, there will be an unusually large number of local derbies.  That’s because there will be four clubs from South Yorkshire (with the promotion of Doncaster Rovers,  plus Sheffield United,  Sheffield Wednesday,  and Barnsley);   two clubs from Wales (with the promotion of Swansea City,  plus Cardiff City);   two clubs from the East Midlands (with the promotion of Nottingham Forest,  and the return of Derby County);  and three clubs from the West Midlands (with the return of Birmingham City,  plus Wolverhampton and  Coventry City).   And once again, there will be three London clubs (Charlton Athletic,  Crystal Palace,  and Queens Park Rangers),  along with Watford (which most people consider to be part of London,  although it is just over the border, in Hertfordshire).  

When one factors in the new clubs for this season,  the relegation of two smaller clubs (Colchester United and Scunthorpe United),  and the general trend over the last decade towards higher gates in the Football League, the League Championship will probably have it’s highest drawing season ever.  [It's highest was 2006-07, with an average gate of 18,221.]

Here is a preview of the League Championship (Telegraph UK) {Click here}.

For promotion, the oddsmakers like Birmingham CityQueens Park Rangers,  and Reading   {Click here (statto.com site)}.    But if last season is anything to go by, some clubs in the middle of the oddsmaker’s pack will gain promotion, rather than all the favorites.  It was wide open last season, and going into the final half-dozen matches, fully half the league (actually 13 clubs) had a viable shot at promotion.   In the end,  two of the three clubs who won promotion this May,  Hull City and Stoke City,  were not at all highly rated for advancement.  Hull were 66 to 1 to win the league outright, and Stoke City were 25 to 1.  Eventual League Championship winners West Bromwich Albion were highly rated to win it, though,  at 6 to 1.

What has vaulted QPR into the top three projected clubs is their new ownership and investor {see this}.   Ticket prices have shot up, and some are worried that the new ownership will price the average loyal fan out  {see this, from The Guardian UK, by Benjie Goodheart}.

Here is a nice League Championship preview, from a QPR supporters’ site called Loft For Words  {Click here}.

Staying on the QPR theme, here is a preview of the 08/09 team,  from the great Unprofessional Foul site  {Click here}.   This site is in the process of previewing the whole league,  in their insightul and irreverent way.   [Note: that is QPR's old badge pictured there in the article...the new one can be seen on my map.]

Thanks to the European Football Statistics site  {Click here},  for the attendance figures.  Thanks to the Historical Football Kits site  {Click here}.  Not for images, this time, but for pointing out the plethora-of-derbies angle.

April 9, 2008

The 2007-08 League Championship (England, 2nd Level of Football): Zoom Map.

Filed under: Eng-2nd Level/Champ'ship,Zoom Maps — admin @ 9:59 am

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Note: to see my latest map-&-post of the English 2nd division, click on the following, category: Eng-2nd Level/Champ’ship.

[Note: on this zoom map, I have added a new category, of total seasons in the 1st and 2nd Levels, with the last season each club was in the top flight noted.  I also added club nicknames, and original names of the clubs.] 

The (English) Football League was formed in 1888.  The founding members comprised 12 clubs, all of which came from north of Birmingham {see this}.   With the assimilation of the rival Football Alliance {see this}, in 1892, a second tier was created.   The two levels were the First Division, and the Second Division, each with 14 clubs.   At the end of each season, the bottom two clubs in the lower division were forced to apply for re-election to the League.  

In 1898, the League expanded to 36 clubs (18 in each division).   Automatic Promotion and Relegation was introduced, whereby the 1st and 2nd place clubs in the Second Division each season moved up to the top flight, and the bottom two clubs in the First Division were sent down to the Second Division  {see this}. 

{Click here for a brief history of the English Football League, from the Football Club History Database.}

Fast forward to today.  The 3 clubs in the 2nd Level of English football,  the League Championship {see this}, which are annually promoted to the top flight of English Football, the Premier League (est. 1992 {see this}),  each receive around 60 million pounds in new revenue (that’s about $110 million).  This is according to the accounting firm Deloitte.  Which makes the struggle for promotion such a huge matter. 

Tuesday, at Blackpool,  West Bromwich Albion provided another example of their high octane offense, with 3 late goals (including a brace by Kevin Phillips).   {See this article, from the Sky Sports site.}   The win vaulted the Baggies back to the top of the League Championship, knocking this season’s surprise team, Bristol City, to 2nd place.

West Brom’s loss to Portsmouth in the FA Cup Semi-Finals last weekend may prove to be a blessing in disguise, as the squad can now focus on their promotion bid.  They lead the league in scoring, with 84 goals (3rd place Stoke City has the second most goals, with 64), and their goal difference of +29 dwarfs the competition (Hull City, in 4th place,  has the next highest, at +18) .  But in this highly competetive second tier, WBA has struggled since the Holidays.  Now they are back in first, with a game in hand on half their main competitors for automatic promotion.

Realistically, it’s down to 5 clubs competing for the 2 automatic promotion spots:  1. West Bromwich Albion,  2. Bristol City,  3. Stoke City,  4. Hull City,  and 5. Watford.  Just 2 points separate the five clubs.  

In 6th place, 8 points off the automatic promotion places, is Crystal Palace, who beat Stoke 1-2 away, on Monday.  And right behind Palace are no less than 7 clubs within 6 points of the playoff places.  The clubs realistically out of the running for automatic promotion, and competing for the playoff places (of which there are four) are:   6. Crystal Palace   7. Wolves   8. Ipswich Town   9. Charlton Athletic   10. Plymouth Argyle   11. Burnley   12. Sheffield United   13. Cardiff City.

Thanks to http://www.colours-of-football.com, for the kits.

{Click here, for the League Championship table (SoccerStats[dot]com).}

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