billsportsmaps.com

October 5, 2007

The Netherlands. Football Clubs 2006-07.

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps,Netherlands — admin @ 6:04 am

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I made this map in the fall of 2004.  I updated it by adding promoted clubs, and some 2nd division clubs, so that the map shows the 23 highest drawing clubs from last season.  It isn’t an Attendance map, however, as the team crests aren’t proportionally sized.  PSV won the title last season, on the last game, on goal difference.  AZ Alkmaar blew it, basically, and their attempts to break into the top echelon of Dutch clubs (the big 3) was put on hold for another season.  The big 3 is Ajax (29 titles),  PSV Eindhoven (20 titles), and Feyenoord (14 titles).  Since 1965, no other team has won the Eredivisie title, except for AZ in 1981.  AZ just moved into a new 17,000 seat stadium, with plans to expand it later.

October 3, 2007

Ukrainian football clubs (hand-drawn map circa 2003).

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps,Ukraine — admin @ 9:27 pm

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    In January 2004, I was all “mapped out” in terms of US sports.  My brother was into the Premier League (an Arsenal fan), and I decided to try doing a map of English football.  Suffice to say I was hooked.  I swiftly turned into a Portsmouth FC fan (I have a weakness for colorful yet struggling teams), and began following international football. While I was doing research on the internet, I stumbled across a site about Ukrainian football  (“ukrsoccerhistory.com”).  As a Ukrainian- American, I felt duty-bound to do a map on Ukraine as well.  In retrospect, there’s a few things I’d do different today (like make Shakhtar’s crest bigger), but I’m pretty happy with the result.   Especially since I decided to put Zorya Luhansk on the map, even though they were in the second division at the time.  Zorya made it back into the top flight last season.  They were one of only 3 Ukrainian clubs to ever have won the USSR first division title, in 1972.  Plus I love the Bolshevik poster-art quality of their charging-train-engine logo (sadly no longer in use).  Other retro logos I used were with Metalist Kharkiv. Chornomorets Odesa, and Tavriya Simferopol. 

   The biggest USSR title winner was from Ukraine: Dynamo Kyiv.  This club from the capital won it 13 times, the first in 1960, and the last in 1990.  Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, from central Ukraine, won the USSR league twice, both late in the Soviet era, in 1987 and 1989. 

   Ukrainian players invariably accounted for around 25% to 40% of the squad on any USSR side, but very few people in the west knew this.  With independence, the world can see that Ukraine produces some pretty decent footballers.  Their good showing in the 2006 World Cup proved this, as they finished in the top 8 teams.  Just getting there was a major accomplishment.  They had to beat out 2004 Euro-champions Greece, and 2002 World Cup 3rd place finishers Turkey, plus Denmark, in their tough qualifying group.

   The manager of the Ukrainian national team is Oleg Blokhin, the most capped player of the Soviet Union.  The most prominent Ukrainian is 2004 European Footballer of the Year Andriy Shevchenko, who got his start with Dynamo Kyiv, before making his name at AC Milan.  He now plays for Chelsea, but has had problems adapting to the English style.  Andriy Voronin became a top striker with Bayer Leverkusen, and is now at Liverpool.  Anotoliy Tymoschuck was the midfield anchor at Shakhtar. He was sold for a record amount to Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg, who currently lead the league [Tymoschuk went on to Bayern Munich later].   

   Ukraine won its independence in 1991.  Since 1992, Ukraine has had its own league, the Vyscha Liha (Ukrainian Premier League).  Simferopol, a small club from Crimea, won the first, hastily assembled short season.  After that, Dynamo Kyiv won it 9 straight seasons.  Shakhtar Donetsk came under new ownership (Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in Ukraine) and began improving.  They finally won a league title in 2002, and have been battling Dynamo Kyiv for the title each year since.  They have become the big 2, to the detriment of the rest the league.  Dynamo have 12 titles, Shakhtar have 3.  Dynamo won it last season, but have played poorly in the Champions League for 3 seasons running.  Meanwhile Shakhtar, with their swank new training facilities, have been able to attract a higher caliber of player.  Brazilians feature large in their squad, though they just lost Elano to Manchester City. Brandao is one of 6 from Brazil on the team, and they recently signed the iconoclastic Italian striker Christiano Lucarelli.  They have been steadily improving on the European stage, and could finally advance to the group of 16 this season.  They just beat Celtic at home, and Benfica in Portugal.  Meanwhile last season’s 3rd-place team, Metalist Kharkiv, went to England and held Everton to a 1-1 draw, in the UEFA Cup.  Dnipro is up and coming, and have been the only other club besides the big 2 to supply starters to the national squad these days.  They could very well finish in the top two this season, and start to weaken the hegemony of the big 2. 

For the 2007-2008 season, UEFA ranks Dynamo Kyiv 63rd in Europe.  Shakhtar is ranked 69th, and Dnipro is 83rd.   Ukraine’s pro league is ranked 11th by UEFA (country ranking for league participation), up from 13th place.

Check out the September 2007 issue of World Soccer.  This magazine has a nice feature on Ukraine’s Premier League, complete with map and thumbnail profiles of the 16 clubs in this season.   

September 17, 2007

Champions League, 2006-2007 Map.

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps,UEFA Champions League — admin @ 11:42 pm

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September 16, 2007

German Football-Bundesliga Map, 2003-2007.

Filed under: Germany,Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 12:13 pm

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Please note:
My latest Bundesliga map-&-post can be found here, category: Germany.]

I hand-drew this map in early 2004. I have updated it to spring 2007 by adding all the teams who have been promoted, from Bundesliga 2, since then. Thumbnail lists of the last four Bundesliga seasons (2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07) are included.

September 14, 2007

National League, est.1876. Origins map.

Filed under: Baseball,Hand Drawn Maps,Retro maps — admin @ 9:29 pm

mlb_nlsegmen1t.gifThe National League was formed in 1876.  

This map shows all the NL ball clubs that were prominent during the late nineteenth century.

(1876 to 1900).

 The NL contracted from 12 to 8 clubs after the 1899 season.  The remaining 8 clubs all still exist today, although several are in different cities.  In fact, no National League club has folded since 1899.  

August 26, 2007

French Ligue 1, 2004-05 through 2007-08 seasons.

Filed under: France,Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 1:57 pm

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This map was drawn in the summer of 2004. 

It’s been updated by including the six clubs who have also been in the league since then.

Three clubs were relegated, then promoted again, in this 3-year period:  FC Metz,  RC Strasbourg, and SM Caen. 

In England, these types of teams are called yo-yo clubs.  West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland AFC are classic   examples of this; a few years ago, Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City FC also had this unwanted distinction.

I did a search, and it looks like the French also use the term…albeit as “yoyo.”

August 22, 2007

English Football League 2006-2007

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 12:39 pm

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This map shows the location of all 92 teams in the English Football League, in the 2006-2007 season.  Logos of the teams in the top two divisions, plus a few larger teams in the 3rd division, are shown. The size of each team’s logo is in proportion to it’s average attendance.  A two-page chart showing teams’ attendances, and league history, is also included.  [To view this, click on the 2 gifs at the top]

The English Football League is split into 4 divisions.  The top division is called The Premier League.  It is considered, along with Spain’s La Liga, and the Italian Serie A, the best soccer league in the world.

Each season, the top 3 teams are promoted from the 2nd division to the Premier League.  Also, the bottom 3 teams are relegated from the Premier League to the 2nd division.

This promotion/relegation system is in place in all 4 divisions, and is crucial to the highly competitive nature of  English Football.  Big clubs cannot sit on their laurels, or they’ll find themselves sent down.  Recent examples of this are Leeds United FC and Nottingham Forest FC.  Both are very big clubs… ex-champions, in fact.  (Leeds in 1992, Nottingham in 1978.)  But through profligate spending, ill-advised moves, and ultimately,  poor play,  both are currently stuck in the 3rd division. 

On the other hand, plucky “minnows” (small clubs) like Colchester United FC and Scunthorpe United FC have punched above their weight, and now find themselves in the 2nd division.  This in spite of the fact that both teams play in small towns, and in stadiums with capacities of less than 9,500.  This in a division where half the clubs have average attendances above 20,000.

The whole relegation/promotion system dates back to the late 1800′s, during the earliest days of the League.  It has been adopted by most every soccer league in the world, with the notable exception of  leagues in the USA.  It is ironic that America, land of free-market capitalism,  has pro sports leagues that behave like communist states.

In America, once a team joins a pro sports league, it can  stay there no matter how continuously poor it’s performance is.  If the team is making a decent profit, but not performing well, what reason does management have for trying to improve ?  That’s expensive, and with no guarantee of success. They can sit back and be mediocre, making their safe profit.  This smacks of socialism in it’s most negative sense, where a person need not actually strive for competence, because he has no threat of being sacked. 

Meanwhile, Europe, land of the Social Democratic State, has sports leagues that are so competitive that they resemble a highly Darwinian form of cut-throat capitalism.

August 19, 2007

NHL, established 1917

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The National Hockey Association was the precursor to the NHL.  The NHA was formed in 1910.  In early 1917, one of the teams in the league had to withdraw: The Toronto 228th Battalion.  As strange as it must seem, a Canadian Army Regiment had a team in a pro hockey league.   When the 228th Battalion was called up to serve in Europe (in  World War I), the league reformed as the NHL, without the 228th Batallion, and without the Toronto Blueshirts, whose owner was a disruptive force.

The NHL operated with just 3 teams its first two seasons: the Montreal Canadiens, the Ottawa Senators, and the Toronto Arenas. 

The Montreal Wanderers were forced to fold after their arena burnt down in early 1918.  The Quebec Bulldogs were forced to suspend operations for two seasons.  Quebec re-entered the league in 1919, but moved to Hamilton, Ontario in 1920. 

The Toronto club changed its name to the St. Patricks in 1919, and to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Feb. 1927. 

In 1924, two new clubs joined: the Montreal Maroons and the Boston Bruins.  The Maroons replaced the Wanderers as the English-speaking fans’ team in Montreal.  (The Canadiens being the French-speaking fans’ team.)  The Boston club was the first American team in the NHL.

During the playoffs in the 1924-1925 season, Hamilton players went on strike for non-payment of post-season wages.  The league disbanded the team, and the next season sent the franchise to New York, as the Americans.  Also that season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were formed.

In 1926, the New York Rangers were formed.  Also, two teams from the defunct Western Hockey League were re-born as NHL teams…the Victoria (British Columbia) Cougars became the Detroit Cougars (now known as the Red Wings), and the Portland Rosebuds became the Chicago Black Hawks.  However, the NHL does not recognize these two moves as franchise shifts, even though most players from each WHL team ended up on the two new NHL teams.  The NHL now had 10 teams.

However, the league’s progress was impeded by the Great Depression.  The first casualty was the Pittsburgh franchise, which moved to Philadelphia in 1930, but folded in 1931.  Ottawa suspended operations for the 1931-1932 season, and moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1934, only to fold in 1935.  In 1938, the Maroons folded.  In 1942, the NY Americans folded.

To see a graphic representation of the franchise shifts from 1917-1942, scroll up to the box on the top, left, and CLICK.

The period from 1942 to 1967 saw no franchise shifts, with 6 stable teams in the NHL: the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins, the New York Rangers, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Chicago Blackhawks.  These teams are known, somewhat misleadingly, as “The Original Six.”  Misleading because 4 of the 6 were not original.

In the fall of 1967, the NHL entered it’s Modern Era, as it expanded from 6 to 12 teams.  To see the 12 teams, scroll to the box on the top, center, and CLICK.

In it’s early days (1917-1926), the winner of the NHL did not automatically win the Stanley Cup.  

Originally (1893-1915),  the Stanley Cup was operated on a challenge basis, whereby a team, approved by the Stanley Cup Board of Trustees, would challenge the Cup-holder to a competition.  It was similar to how pro boxing title matches are organized.

In 1915, an agreement between the NHA and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association was made: their respective champions would meet to play for the Stanley Cup. This format (best in East vs. best in West)  carried on when the NHL was formed in 1917, and when another  league was formed in western Canada.   By 1926, both these western leagues had folded, and the Stanley Cup became the sole property of the NHL.

There were three non-NHL teams during this era to win the Stanley Cup – the Vancouver Millionaires (1915), the Seattle Metropolitans (1917), and the Victoria Cougars (1925).

NFL 1920 to 1960

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps,NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 11:50 am

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This map shows the prominent teams of the period from 1920 to 1960. Every team that existed for at least 4 NFL seasons in the 1920-60 time period is shown (as well as franchise shifts).

The American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920, in Canton, Ohio.  The APFA changed its name to the National Football League in 1922.  The early days of the NFL were marked by franchise instability and public indifference. College football was far more popular, and club finances were further eroded by the onset of the Depression.  Many teams came and went.  In fact, there wasn’t a balanced schedule until 1936.  The roster of defunct teams would startle the average NFL fan of today.  Very few fans who cozy up to their TV each autumn Sunday to watch pro football know that in the early 1930′s, New York City boasted three NFL teams: the New York Football Giants, the Brooklyn Football Dodgers, and the Staten Island Stapletons.  Or that the roster of teams that won the Title include the Frankford Yellow Jackets, in 1926, and the Providence Steamroller, in 1928.  Or that the Rams, now in St. Louis after several decades in Los Angeles, actually began as the Cleveland Rams. 

The league soldiered on, though, and by the end of World War II, it was poised for its future success. The post-war era also saw the end of leather helmets, and a more emphasized passing game. By the late 1950′s, television coverage began turning the NFL into the sports entertainment juggernaut it is today.

The evolution of the football helmet is depicted at the top of the map.

To see a list of defunct NFL teams that played for at least 4 seasons, click on the gif at the top of this posting.

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