billsportsmaps.com

October 11, 2016

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

2015-16 Segunda División champions…

    • Deportivo Alavés.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015-16 Segunda División runner-up…

    • Leganés.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015-16 Segunda División play-offs winner…

    • Osasuna.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 7, 2015

Spain: 2015-16 La Liga location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./ Plus, the 3 clubs promoted to La Liga for 2015-16 (Betis, Sporting Gijón, and Las Palmas)./ Plus an update on Eibar (relegated as 18th-place-finisher in 2014-15, but re-instated into La Liga for 2015-16 following Elche’s expulsion for tax delinquency).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Spain — admin @ 8:45 pm

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.
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spain_la-liga_2015-16_map_clubs-2014-15-attendance_clubs-1st-div-seasons_titles_post_h_.gif
Spain: 2015-16 La Liga location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed




Links…
-Teams, etc…2015–16 La Liga (en.wikipedia.org).
-Fixtures, results, table, stats…Primera División (soccerway.com/national/spain/primera-division).
-Here is a great blog which I have had on my blogroll here since 2007…Spanish Football & Sports blog (spanishfootballsports.blogspot.com).
-Football Espana site…football-espana.net.

By Bill Turianski on 7 September 2015; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.com.

On the map page…
The map page features the same template as my recent Germany and England top flight map-&-posts. Cities listed on the map comprise the 5 largest cities (metro-areas) in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao…all Spanish cities with a metro-area population over .9 million) {source: List of metropolitan areas in Spain (en.wikipedia.org).

    The 3 clubs Promoted from the 2014-15 La Segunda to La Liga for 2015-16:
    Betis, Sporting Gijón, and Las Palmas/
    (+ 18th-place Eibar, who were re-instated following Elche’s expulsion from La Liga for tax delinquency)

2014-15 Segunda División champions…
Betis. Real Betis Balompié S.A.D., est. 1907.
Seville, Andalusia, Spain.
Ground: Estadio Benito Villamarín. Capacity 52,500 seated (capacity lowered from actual-seated-capacity of 56,500). Opened 1929; last renovated 1997-2000.
Seasons that Betis have spent in La Liga [the Spanish 1st division]: 50 seasons [counting 2015-16]. Previous spell in Spanish 1st division: a 3-season spell, from 2010-11 to 2013-14.
Major titles: 1 Spanish title (1934-35). (Zero Copa del Rey titles.)
Estadio Benito Villamarín…
betis_estadio-benito-villamarin_d_.gif
Photo credits above -
Exterior shot: by Gregory Zeier at File:Stade Manuel Ruiz de Lopera Séville.JPG (commons.wikimedia.org).
Aerial shot, unattributed at skyscrapercity.com/thread-[SEVILLA - Estadio Benito Villamarín (56,500) ].

Squad info, etc…-2015-16 season preview: Betis.
The bright-green-&-white clad Betis have had three spells in the second division in the last 15 years {en.wikipedia.org/Real_Betis/team statistics}. Betis are probably one of the 5 or 6 biggest yo-yo clubs in all of Europe (“up there” with Hertha Berlin, FC Köln, FC Nürnberg, Sunderland, FC Kaiserslautern, RC Lens, Norwich City, Wolverhampton, Sporting Gijón, and Bologna). Betis is a club which can draw between 34-and-37 K in decent seasons (such as in 2011-12 and 2012-13), and can actually draw as high as 30 K when they are stuck in the 2nd division (like they did in 2014-15, en route to the Segunda División title).

When Betis are in the top flight, it seems that they are constantly battling for their first division life. It just seems that way, though, because Betis can actually pull off a great season now and then, such as in 2012-13 when they finished 7th and then qualified for the 13/14 UEFA Europa League; and especially such as in 2004-05, when they finished 4th and then qualified for the 05/06 UEFA Champions League Group Stage (that made Betis the first Andalusian team to play in the rarefied air of the Champions League Group Stage).

The biggest impediment to Betis’ success in the last two decades has been their felonious and monstrously corrupt former owner Manuel Ruiz de Lopera – who entered the scene in 1992, helped get Betis’ much-too-large stadium re-built in 2000, grandiosely got the stadium named after him…then in 2006 was sentenced to a two-and-a-half year prison term for embezzlement of over €30 million. At the Betis fansite BlogBetis.com, at their article The History of Betis, it is recounted how…{excerpt}…”In 2006 he [Manuel Ruiz de Lopera] was found guilty of ‘financial irregularities’ by Spain’s Inland Revenue between 1996 and 1997. From his tenure at Betis, he is alleged to have taken €36 million from the club – roughly half the amount of debt he left the club in. He basically contracted out Betis’ employees and services to his own personal companies and properties, for a vastly inflated fee.”

Although Betis can and do outdraw local rivals Sevilla in some seasons (such as in 2011-12 & 2012-13), they still suffer from a deficit of attention due to the presence of FC Sevilla there in the capital of Andalusia. So you might say that the second biggest problem Betis has had in the modern era is that the club suffers from the ‘Sheffield syndrome’, which is my term for a city which would probably be better off if just one medium-large club, as opposed to two medium-large clubs, existed there. Maybe I am wrong and Seville is a city big enough and football-focused enough to swing two quasi-contender-top-tier clubs, but I think that Spanish football would be a more competitive affair in the present-day Real/Barca duopoly if only one title-contender had ever emerged from Seville (which is Spain’s fourth-biggest city, with a metro-population of around 1.2 million/ see this, List of metropolitan areas in Spain). Like it is with respect to Spain’s 3rd-largest city, Valencia, a city which does have 2 top-flight clubs, but of the two, only Valencia CF is big enough to compete for trophies, while Levante is simply happy to avoid the drop on the few occasions in which they have been in La Liga.


2014-15 Segunda División runner-up…
Sporting Gijón. Real Sporting de Gijón, S.A.D., est. 1907.
Gijón, Asturias, Spain.
Ground: El Molinón. Capacity: 30,000. Opened 1908; last renovated 1997 and 2008.
Seasons that Gijón have spent in La Liga [the Spanish 1st division]: 41 seasons [counting 2015-16]. Previous spell in Spanish 1st division: a 4-season spell, from 2007-08 to 2011-12.
Major titles: none.
El Molinón…
sporting-gijon_el-molinon_d_.gif
Photo credits above –
Aerial shot: unattributed at ea1fft.es.tl/SPORTING-DE-GIJON.
Interior shot: by Sporting Gijón at realsporting.com.

Squad info, etc…-2015-16 season preview: Sporting Gijon.
Gijón wear Atletico-Madrid-style colors (red-and-white striped jerseys and bright-royal-blue pants). As alluded to in the section above, Sporting Gijón are probably one of the 9 or 10 biggest yo-yo clubs in Europe…while not as high-drawing as Betis, Gijón can draw 21 K in the top tier and around 17-19 K in the second division. They, like Betis, have won 3 promotions in the era of the 2000s. Gijón’s best finish was in 1978-79, when they were runner-up, finishing 4 points behind Real Madrid. Situated in the north of Spain on the Bay of Biscay, about equidistant from Bilbao on the east and La Coruna on the west, Gijón is in the Autonomous Community of Asturias. The metropolitan area of Oviedo–Gijón–Avilés is the 7th-largest metro-area in Spain, with about 840,000 population {2007 estimate}. (Oviedo, the capital of Asturias, is about 8 miles south of Gijón).

Sporting Gijón boasts a fine stadium, the venerable 30-K-capacity El Molinón. This is a proper Spanish-style stadium with seats right up against the pitch, and with the corners filled in, yet with four distinct and staggered-sized stands, some of which are at a viewer-friendly high-pitched-angle. (It sort of looks like a smaller St James’ Park [Newcastle], without all the erector-set-cantilver bracing.) As it says in the stadium’s Wikipedia page, “El Molinón is the oldest professional football field in Spain. It has been in use since at least 1908, and is located on the site of an old watermill, hence the stadium’s name, the Asturian word for “big mill”…”


2014-15 Segunda División play-offs finals winner…
Las Palmas. Unión Deportiva Las Palmas S.A.D., est. 1949.
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria Island, Canary Islands, Spain.
Ground: Estadio Gran Canaria. Capacity: 32,150. Opened: 2003.
Seasons that Las Palmas have spent in La Liga [the Spanish 1st division]: 32 seasons [counting 2015-16]. Previous spell in Spanish 1st division: a 2-season spell, from 2000-2002.
Major titles: none.
Estadio Gran Canaria…
las-palmas_estadio-gran-canaria_e_.gif
Photo credit above – by: Quique Curbello at laprovincia.es/deportes/2014/11/07/luz-verde-iniciar-obras-graderio.

Squad info, etc…-2015-16 season preview: Las Palmas.
There are two clubs from the Canary Islands which have had top flight experience: the dark-blue clad Tenerife (from the Island of Tenerife) and the royal blue-and-yellow clad Las Palmas (from the Island of Gran Canaria). It is hard to say which of the two are a bigger club, because their crowd sizes vary so much from season-to-season, depending on how well the clubs are doing (the clubs draw within a wide ~9-K-to-19-K-range in 2nd division; although Tenerife were stuck in the 3rd division for a season recently, and last season Tenerife only drew 9.6 K). Tenerife have spent 13 seasons in La Liga (last in 2009-10, when they drew 18.0 K); Las Palmas now will have spent 32 seasons in La Liga (previously in 2001-02, when they drew 16.4 K). I would have to give the nod to Las Palmas as being the biggest club from the Canary Islands. I think Las Palmas will be drawing around 20 K in 2015-16 – as long as they can remain outside the relegation-zone, or at least be showing a solid chance of avoiding the drop (which might be too big an ask).

The biggest obstacle that Canary Islands-based clubs face is the sheer isolation of the Canaries from mainland Spain. Las Palmas, Gran Canaria is 1,750 km (1,090 mi) from Madrid ! You can imagine how hard it would be for Canary Islands-based clubs to lure good Spanish mainlanders to play for them…for all intents and purposes, the Canary Islands in this respect could be seen as Spain’s tropical Siberia. An example of what this means vis-a-vis rosters for Canary-Islands-based-teams is that in their successful 14/15 promotion-campaign, no less than 90% of the Las Palmas squad were Canary-Islands-born. Anyway, after a wrenching Segunda División 13/14 play-offs finals loss (to Córdoba), Las Palmas shrugged off that set-back and made the play-offs again in 2014-15, as 4th place finishers. Then in the Segunda División 14/15 play-offs, Las Palmas defeated Valladolid in the semis, and then defeated Zaragoza in the finals, thanks to a dramatic and acrobatic 86th-minute goal by then-Boca Juniors loanee Sergio Araujo. That match was played at Estadio Gran Canaria, with 28 K in attendance. Araujo (age 23) has now signed with Las Palmas.

Las Palmas were last in La Liga 13 seasons ago, during a 2-season top flight spell that ended in 2002. Back then, Las Palmas were drawing between 16.4-and-17.2 K as a top flight club. They have a new stadium now. Talk about bad timing, though…Las Palmas were relegated down to the 2nd division the year before the 32,000-capacity Estadio Gran Canaria was opened (in 2003). Talk about bad planning, too, because the folks who run these things out there in the Canary Islands did not get the memo that says that ALL football fans detest stadiums with stupid, useless, and atmosphere-destroying running tracks. So, another decent stadium in the Latin lands ruined by an idiotic running track (sigh). In the photo above, just look at that soul-destroying and yawning +60-foot gap between the stands behind the goal there [in the foreground], and the pitch. Sheesh, you’d need binoculars from the first row.


And finally…
Re-instated (as 18th-place finishers), into La Liga for 2015-16, following Elche’s expulsion for violating 1st division financial criteria…
SD Eibar. Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, S.A.D., est. 1940.
Eibar, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain.
Ground: Ipurua. Capacity: 6,237 for La Liga matches (as of Sept. 2015). Opened: 1947; last renovation – currently ongoing (2014-2015-onward to ~2018).
Seasons that Eibar have spent in La Liga [the Spanish 1st division]: 2 seasons [counting 2015-16].

[Note, Eibar is pronounced "A-bar".]

Squad info, etc…-2015-16 season preview: Eibar (football-espana.net).
Basque Country side SD Eibar were shock-promotion-winners in 2014 (when they drew 3.0 K in the 2nd division in their tiny, then-5.2-K-capacity stadium). Eibar became the smallest-ever club to play in La Liga. They started the 2014-15 La Liga season very strong (and were in 7th place in early December 2014), but they then went through a horrible run that saw them winless in 7 and then into the relegation places by March 2015. They rallied, but it wasn’t enough. But if Eibar played in England, Germany, Italy, or France (or most any other place in Europe), they would have automatically stayed up last season – because all those leagues sensibly use Goal Difference as the first tie-breaker for league table placement, and Eibar had a better goal difference than the other two clubs they were even on points with. But Spain uses the ant-democratic Head-to-Head as first tiebreaker. How elitist. Spain is saying that when teams are dead-locked on points total at the end of the season, the league as a whole is secondary – the issue of settling who finishes above whom is only an issue between the two clubs who are tied. Or the three clubs who are tied. Etc. (Try following that at home.)

Which is what happened on the final day of the 2014-15 La Liga season, when Deportivo La Coruña, Granada, and Eibar were all deadlocked at 35 points…and one of those three had to end up in 18th place, and thus be relegated. And the Head-to-Head records were: Deportivo with 7 pts, Granada with 6 pts, Eibar with 2 pts. So Eibar were relegated back to La Segunda on 15 May 2015.

Then three weeks later, on 5 June 2015, Eibar got a reprieve. Another La Liga club – Elche, of Valencia province – ended up running afoul of financial rules (tax delinquency), so the 13th-place-finishing Elche were relegated instead. In the Spanish top flight, tax debt is not necessarily a punishable offense, but the failure of a club to provide a re-payment-plan with a time-table, well, that is a punishable offense, and tax-delinquent Elche was punished with automatic relegation to the 2nd division. {See this article, by Tim Stoddard at FourFourTwo.com for more on that, Did Elche get their just deserts with demotion?.}

This made room for the highest-placed relegated club, and that was SD Eibar, the plucky little club from the small town of Eibar in the looming foothills of the Pyrenees (population 28,000). So Eibar remains in the top flight, and just in time for SD Eibar to start off their 75th Anniversary season in grand style…Celtic, the Scottish giants, accepted an invitation to play a friendly at Ipurua in July of 2015 {see third article linked to in the next paragraph, and see Eibar’s Scottsh connection in the last photo and caption in the illustration further below}. Then in late August, Eibar went out and started the 2015-16 La Liga season by beating Granada away (by a 1-3 score), and then they beat Basque giants Athletic [Bilbao] 2-0, at Ipurua, in front of 5,500.

Here are a couple nice, illustrated articles on Eibar’s little gem of a stadium, Ipurua (current capacity 6,237 seated), plus a recent article on Eibar’s Scottish connection…
-From Footballallnews.com, 2014-2015 La Liga Stadium Tour: Eibar – Ipurua
-From The Basque Pass.com, from 29 June 2015, by Euan McTear, THE LONG READ: Breaking Down Eibar’s Stadium Expansion.
-From The Herald (Scotland), from 17 July 2015, also by Eaun McTear, Bagpipes in the Basque: Why Celtic are playing Eibar this weekend (heraldscotland.com/sport).

Eibar’s expansion plan for Ipurua…
Construction scheduled from 2014-to-2018/ adding about 4,800 more seats to make Ipurua a 9-K-capacity ground…
By January 2018, SD Eibar plan to meet new Segunda Division minimum stadium seated-capacity requirements of 9,000-seated. If Eibar are still in the 1st division at that point (2018-19), the club hopes that the Spanish football authorities will allow them a waiver for the 1st division minimum stadium seated-capacity of 15,000-seated. As it is, there is scant room for further expansion of the ground because of how narrow the mountain-valley is, in which the town of Eibar is situated in. Large public housing occupies the land immediately behind the North Stand, and a highway is right up against the South Stand. Behind the West Stand (a goal stand) is the team’s training pitch, and behind the East Stand (another goal stand), there is more large public housing. {See aerial/bird’s-eye satellite view of Ipurua from Bing.com satellite-view, here (zoom using + sign at top-right, for bird’s-eye-effect); or see it in the illustration below.} There really is nowhere to forther expand Ipurua, unless public housing is torn down, or unless Eibar tears up their practice pitch. That is why I think Eibar will get the minimum-capacity waiver if it ever comes to that juncture. Besides, a 15-K-stadium for a town of only 28,000 is just plain crazy.

Ipurua…
eibar_ipurua_2014-15-north-stand-expansion_p.gif"
Photo credits above –
Ipurua exterior shot (NE corner of the stadium, near old North Stand entrance) & interior shot (SW view towards the hills, SW of town): unattributed at footballallnews.com [stadium tour of Ipurua].
Aerial shot: bing.com/maps
Half-way built new North Stand: shot by Chris Murphy / CNN at ‘Miracle’ club Eibar a blueprint for soccer’s future? (cnn.com).
2015 Ipurua stadium expansion, photo: unattributed at estadiosdeespana.com/posts/eibar-ipurua.
Photo from Ipurua East Stand of the Eskozia la Brava fan group, shot by Ramón Beitia at blogseitb.com/eibar; eitb.eus/es/blogs.
Photo of Eskozia La Brava mural outside wall of East Stand, by Gorka Aranzabal at panoramio.com.
___
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Spain, by NordNordWest, at File:Spain location map.svg (en.wikipedia.org).
-Blank map of Spain incl. Canary Islands [segment], by HansenBCN, at File:EspañaLoc.svg.
-Blank map of Spain incl. Canary Islands, by Miguillen, at File:España-Canarias-loc.svg.
-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-2014-15 stadium capacities (for league matches) from 2014-15 La Liga (en.wikipedia.org).
-Titles and seasons-in-1st-division data from La Liga (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to the contributors at 2015–16 La Liga (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to Football-Espana.net, for the nice team previews; Football-Espana.net can be found at the blogroll here.
-Thanks to Euan McTear at The Basque Pass.com for the 2 excellent articles; The Basque Pass.com can be found at the blogroll here.

August 22, 2014

Spain, 2013-14 attendance map & chart: all clubs in the top two divisions who drew over 4 K [36 clubs] / Plus, an illustrated article on SD Eibar – the smallest-ever club to play in La Liga [3.0 K per game in 2013-14].

spain_attendance-map_top-2-divisions_2013-14_all-drawing-above_4k_post_.gif
Spain: all clubs [36 clubs] that drew above 4 K per game in the 2013-14 La Liga and Segunda División seasons



Note: to see my latest post on Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.

[Please note: this map is different than the previous three 2013-14 attendance maps (of Germany, England, and France), all of which showed every club in those countries which drew over 4,000 per game. The problem here is that because reported 3rd division Spanish attendance figures do not exist, and because it is almost certain that clubs drawing above 4 K in the Spanish third division (Segunda B) do exist (such as for Racing Santander in 2013-14), I had to change the parameters of the map and chart for Spain. So the map shows all clubs that drew above 4 K per game in 2013-14 in Spain from the top two divisions (La Liga and Segunda División), plus...10 other clubs or teams in grey tone sans crests (but with locations shown). Those 10 extra included in grey-tone are... all the clubs that were in the Segunda División last season that didn't draw above 4 K per game (4 clubs as well as 2 teams - Barcelona's B team and Real Madrid's B team) plus the 4 four clubs that were promoted from the third division (Segunda B) to the second division (Albacete, Leganes, Llagostera and Racing Santander). One final point - one of these clubs just mentioned (and that drew below 4 K) is Eibar, who drew 3.0 K last year and won the Segunda División - thereby getting promoted to the Spanish first division for the first time {see below}.]

    SD Eibar – the smallest-ever club to play in La Liga

eibar_ipurua_xabi-alonso_i_.gif
Photo credits above – Town of Eibar seen from aerial view, by egoibarra.com. Interior photo of Ipurua with public housing in background, by Getty Images via the worldgame.sbs.com.au. Interior photo of 2 main stands at Ipurua with hills in background, by SD Eibar via stadionwelt.de. SD Eibar supporters with banners and flags, photo unattributed at el-punto-de-vista.com. Xabi Alonso photo as Eibar player in 2001, unattributed at wijzijnvoetbal.nl/forum/buitenland/48620-sd-eibar-1-baskische-bazen-op-weg-naar-de-primera-division.html.

[Note: Eibar is pronounced "A-bar".] SD Eibar, formed in 1940, are a small club from the Basque Country, in Eibar, Gipuzkoa province, in the steep and looming foothills of the Pyrenees in northern Spain. Eibar is located about equidistant from the two largest Basque cities in Spain – 49 km (30 mi) southeast of Bilbao and 56 km (35 mi) southwest of San Sebastian. The town of Eibar has a population of only around 27,000 {2010 figure). Sociedad Deportiva Eibar wear Barcelona’s colors and play in a 5,200-capacity stadium called Ipurua, and their fan base is about 2,500 or so (they drew 3.0 K in 2013-14). The club often relies strongly on loan players in general – often from the two biggest Basque clubs, Athletic Club [Bilbao] and Real Sociedad (of San Sebastian). Examples from the recent past include Spain national team members Xabi Alonso (of Real Madrid) and David Silva (of Manchester City), both of whom were sent by Real Sociedad to Eibar (14 years ago and 10 years ago, respectively) to toughen them up, early in their careers.

Eibar’s manager is the 39-year-old Bilbao-born Gaizka Garitano, who played in the midfield for Eibar for about 5 seasons total in two different spells (last in 2005), along with spells at all three of the biggest Basque football clubs (with Athletic Club for 111 league appearances from 1993-99; with Real Sociedad from 2005-08; and finishing his playing career with Alavés in 2008-09). Garitano took the reins at Eibar two years ago and has now led Eibar to back-to-back promotions.

Eibar has played 26 seasons in the second division, but had never won promotion to La Liga. Last season [2013-14], Eibar had just won promotion back to the second division, yet still had a higher wage bill than several clubs in Segunda División, including clubs that draw more than three-times-higher than Eibar, like Alavés and Hércules. Thus, Eibar gambled (successfully) on using a slew of somewhat expensive loan signings towards building a team that had a real chance of getting promotion – instead of having the approximately 1.7 million Euros in the bank that would have kept them safe from the stringent rules in place in the Spanish second division concerning fiscal solvency {see next paragraph and also see this article from May 2014 from the blog called El Punto de Vista, Let’s talk about SD Eibar}. As Neil Morris writes in the article at that link, “Much of [Eibar's] wage bill has been taken up by the loan fees of players from the top flight such as Berchiche, Eizmendi, Jota, Morales, Rivas and Garcia, and these deals have certainly helped them in their quest for promotion. The decision to keep a high wage bill seems to be a calculated gamble that has paid off with the ultimate prize.”…{end of excerpt from el-punto-de-vista.com/2014/05/28/lets-talk-about-sd-eibar by Neil Morris}.

The transition from the semi-pro third division to the pro second division is huge and often difficult in Spain because the clubs have to basically change their whole legal structure and become an S. A. D. {definition of S. A. D. in the following paragraph}, and then they have to have millions in the bank to fulfill the extremely stringent criteria. In the Spanish second division, as per a 1999 law intended to curb spending excess, each club must have cash on-hand (capital) equal to 25% of the average expenses of all sides in the second division (not counting the two clubs with the biggest outlays and the two with the smallest) – and in 2013-14, that amounted to about €1.7 million (or about $2.3 million). Last season, Jaén and Mirandés (both promoted to the Segunda División for 2013-14 along with [Basque sides] Alavés and Eibar) had similar problems in transitioning and navigating the red tape and the financial hurdles – Jaen got relegated back to the third (finishing second-to-last in 21st place) while Mirandés (finishing in 19th place) also would have been relegated right back to Segunda B had not the authorities banished Murcia instead on financial irregularities {see this from Marca on 8 August 2014, [article is in the Spanish but with a translation button to the English at the top left at the link], La LFP desciende al Murcia a 2ªB y asciende al Mirandés}. Last season, Eibar could very well have also went right back down to the third division if they remained within the spending rules throughout the whole season.

[Definition of S. A. D., from the Wikipedia page Sociedad Anónima Deportiva, {excerpt}... ..."Sociedad anónima deportiva ("Public limited sports company") is a special type of public limited company in Spain. The new legal status was introduced in 1990 to improve financial management and transparency in sports clubs. Many Spanish football and basketball clubs add the suffix S.A.D. to the end of their official name, e.g. Club Atlético de Madrid, S.A.D.. Every club which plays in Segunda División or [La Liga] and remains in the league is obliged to convert in S.A.D. Due to historical reasons Athletic Club, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Osasuna were allowed to retain their status as non-commercial sports associations.”…{end of excerpt}.]

Right when Eibar won the 2013-14 Segunda División in late May, there was talk that the authorities would block their promotion because of S. A. D. guidelines, and the following link is an article from that time period in the late spring of 2014 when it looked questionable for Eibar’s chances of being in the top flight (or the second tier for that matter). From 27 May 2014, from Guardian.com/football, from here is an article by Phil Ball, the author of the excellent book on Spanish football, Morbo
Could Eibar’s astonishing rise to La Liga end before a ball is kicked? The smallest club to enter the top flight of Spanish football, described as a ‘model club’, could be demoted before the season starts due to ‘unfair’ regulations

A small club going up into the second tier, whether it is their first time in the second division or like Eibar in bouncing back up – will invariably find themselves forced to cut corners on player purchases just to remain within the Segunda División’s strict rules about fiscal solvency and the rules about becoming an S. A. D. (and their rule of literally having millions in the bank). One could make the case for the fact that had Eibar not gambled on success, a conservative and penny-pinching fiscal outlay resulting in a weaker squad would have just ended getting them relegated in 2013-14 the old fashioned way – via results on the pitch. If that is all true, I just love Eibar even more. For going for it. Well, via a limited share offering the club put together, football fans from all over (from 48 nations) plunked down cash to help Eibar’s cause, and the small club from hills of the Basque Country did raise the cash (the equivalent of $2.47 million was raised). From 16 June 2014, Eibar raises cash needed to play with the big boys (theworldgame.sbs.com.au via Omnisport).

From the New York Times, from 23 July 2014, by Raphael Minder, A Tiny Club’s Uneasy Rise – Eibar Is Facing Stiff Challenges in Spain’s La Liga.

From CNN, from 22 August 2014, by Chris Murphy and James Masters, Tiny Eibar take on Spanish soccer’s big guns Real Madrid and Barcelona (edition.cnn.com/sport/football).

I’ll leave the last word on this to Xabi Alonso, who with David Silva was instrumental in getting the world out that Eibar needed help from football fans the world over…to be allowed to play in La Liga this season. “It is contradictory that a club who has an enviable financial health and with zero debts is obliged to do this, when there are others who have much deeper problems.”…{quote by Xabi Alonso and can be found at the link third from above}.

    Attendance problems, with lots of empty seats in Spain (plus billions of debt)

From Inside Spanish Football.com, from 5 March 2014, by Jen Evelyn, La Liga’s alarming attendance deficit demands actions (insidespanishfootball.com).

Attendance is down in Spain. As the article above touches on, the late start times (10pm) for some games and the lack of a definite schedule resulting in the switching of some game-dates and game-times – these things have not helped attendances in La Liga. Of course the economy is absolutely dreadful in Spain, but that has not actually eroded attendances since mid-2008 as much as one might have expected (see next paragraph).

Last season [2013-14] La Liga had a minus-1,282 per game average attendance drop or a 4.5 percent drop (26,995 per game in 2013-14, down from 28,237 in 2012-13). And in the season before, it was a 2 percent drop. If you are wondering about the lingering effects of the 2008 global economic downturn, well, in 2007-08, right before the market-crash, La Liga was averaging 29.1 K; and from 2008-09 to 2011-12 (4 seasons), league attendance stayed in the 28 K range, with it diminishing from 28.7 K average in 2011-12 to 28.2 K average in 2012-13. In other words, the slight-drop-off in crowds from the initial economic devastation in 2008 had already happened, and now in the last two seasons there is starting to be a bit of a steeper drop. From the Row Z Football blog, here is a graph from 2 years ago that shows what I was talking about in the last sentence, rowzfootball.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/european-football-attendance-chart.jpg; and here is a current chart showing attendance change in the Big 5 European leagues last season, European League Attendances 2013-14.

La Liga – playing to 125 thousand empty seats each week
And it is worse than it first appears because, as Ms. Evelyn points out in the article linked to 3 paragraphs above, the average La Liga stadium holds about 37,000, yet the league averaged about 27,000 per game in 2013-14…so La Liga clubs are playing to less than 75 percent capacity. Actually, it is even worse. I did the math {via these stadium capacity figures}, and the 20 La Liga stadiums in the 2013-14 season averaged a 39,531 capacity. So La Liga played to 68.2 percent capacity. That is really bad. That percent capacity figure of 68.2 is like what former-Premier-League clubs in England’s second and third division draw (such as Leeds (63.3) and Wolverhampton (65.8) /see this chart (Eng. 2014 attendances)).

Percent capacity that low is usually not the sign of a successful major league. 18 of 20 clubs in the Premier League in 2013-14 played to above 90 percent capacity (Sunderland [84.9 pct-cap) and Aston Villa [84.1 pct-cap] were lowest there); in the Bundesliga in 2013-14, 16 of the 18 clubs played to above 90 percent capacity (Nürnberg [80.8 pct-cap] and Hertha Berlin [69.8 pct-cap] were lowest there). In the Premier League, if even one or two clubs are playing to less than 75 percent capacity or so, it is news. Like when Wigan were in the top flight – that’s all you ever heard about in reference to Wigan. Here, in Spain, that sort of lack of drawing power among top tier clubs is becoming the norm. Three-quarters (16 clubs) of the Spanish first division played to crowds below 75 percent capacity. Just two clubs filled their stadium in the 80 percent range: Atlético Madrid played to 84.3 percent-capacity, and Real Madrid played to 83.7 percent-capacity. And exactly one club played to above 90 percent capacity – Athletic Club Bilbao…in their new stadium. So that is how bad it is with regards to attendances in Spain – Premier League: 18 of 20 clubs played to above 90 percent-capacity / Bundesliga: 16 of 18 clubs played to above 90 percent capacity / Spain: 1 of 20 clubs played to above 90 percent capacity…thanks to their brand new stadium.

A big reason why Real Madrid or Barcelona win the title 90 percent of the time
What is contributing to the malaise of Spanish football is the structural problem of allowing a certain couple of clubs (Real Madrid and Barcelona) to negotiate their own television deals, thereby insuring that the lions’ share of television revenue produced by Spanish first division football goes to just two clubs. Via their television deals, Real Madrid and Barcelona get over one hundred million Euros more per year than most of the other clubs in La Liga. The following link shows 2 pie-charts which reveal one of the primary causes of the pronounced duopoly in Spanish football. There are several reasons why Real Madrid and FC Barcelona dominate La Liga to such an extent, but in the modern game, uneven distribution of television revenue is at or near the top of the list of causes for this disparity. A disparity which, when combined with the huge crowds and thus the huge ticket revenue that the Big Two pull in (above 70 K per game for both clubs) is leaving the rest of Spanish football behind. Many of the other La Liga mainstays have gone into serious debt in the last decade trying to keep pace with Big Two, thanks to the disparity in television revenue between the Big Two and the rest. A disparity, which, when combined with the absolutely horrible economy in Spain, threatens the viability of first division Spanish football. From Imgur, ‘How TV money is shared in Spain and in England [2012 figures/illustration unattributed]‘ (imgur.com/vTZ9B5f).

Talk about an uneven playing field. And yes, I know that Atlético Madrid won the Spanish title last season. That doesn’t change the fact that Real Madrid and Barcelona have a grossly unfair advantage over all the rest, it just shows what a monumental achievement it was for Atlético Madrid, when the deck is stacked against every Spanish club besides the Big Two. And anyway, go look at that pie chart again and tell me who are the only other clubs besides Real Madrid and Barcelona to have bigger slices of the television revenue pie than the forgotten and hopeless rest-of-the-pack. That’s right…Valencia and current champions Atlético Madrid.

From El Centro Campista blog, from 6 August 2013, by Callum Nolan, La Liga’s haves and have nots (centrocampista.com).

Why are there no attendance figures reported for the 3rd division in Spain?
Spain might have a couple of the biggest football clubs in the world, but last season there were only 12 clubs in the whole country which drew above 20 K (meanwhile there were 27 clubs in England [& Wales] who drew above 20 K and there were 23 clubs in Germany who drew above 20 K). And in Spain, lower-league support is very thin. The Spanish football league system goes fully amateur below the third level, but it is not unknown for there to be amateur clubs in the semi-pro 3rd division. But they don’t even bother recording attendance figures in the regional third level in Spain, the 4 league/80 team Segunda División B. Elsewhere in Western Europe and in several places in Central Europe and in Eastern Europe, you can get attendance figures easily for the third divisions. Of course England has the most comprehensive reporting of lower league attendance figures…it is no problem getting attendance figures from the regional 6th level in England {like here}, and the 7th and most of the 8th level leagues in England produce readily available attendance figures {like here}. Germany produces attendance figures for all their lower leagues to at least the 5th level (which includes the semi-professional 4th level and the amateur 5th level there). Italy reports attendance for the top 4 divisions. France has attendance figures for its 3 top levels including their amateur 3rd division. Netherlands reports attendance for the top 2 levels (the pro levels there) there, as well as their amateur 3rd level (the Saturday and the Sunday leagues). And countries in Europe with pro leagues ranked far lower than Spain record attendance figures for their third divisions…Ukraine reports attendance for the top 3 tiers there, as does the Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland and even Denmark (including the 3rd tier in Denmark where over half the clubs are drawing below 350 per game). {Note: German and Italian and French and Dutch and Polish and Ukrainian and Czech and Swedish and Danish lower leagues attendance can be found at E-F-S site, here, among other places}. Here is the Spanish 3rd division official website, try finding attendance figures there (you won’t). I did not find attendance figures anywhere for the Spanish third tier, and a gentleman who helps run a Racing Santander web-forum confirmed to me what I had already figured out – they don’t exist (see thank you credits at the bottom of this post).

And what would be so shameful if attendances in Segunda B were revealed to be, outside of a few down-on-their luck mid-sized clubs, primarily within the 2 K to 3 K range, with several within the 500 to 1,000 range? If the figures were out there, at least you could talk about it. In this day and age, the status quo of absolutely no reporting of third division attendance in Spain looks more like a cover-up. A club of any size should not be ashamed of how low they are drawing at any one point in time (due to say, a relegation or two), to actively avoid announcing of their crowd sizes. A club that is a mainstay of any given league in any given level in any given country should not be ashamed of its attendance figures to actively avoid (and even repress) any reporting of it.

“It’s astounding how tolerant we all are to this corruption,” says Rubén Uría, a Spanish sports journalist with the Cope radio network and Eurosport.
{the quote above is from the article at the link below}
La Liga and by extension the Spanish football authorities act like a corrupt banana republic, with its special rules for its special friends. Special rules for the Big Two as seen in Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s lucrative and separate-from-the-rest-of-the-league television deals. And special rules for the big boys – like the much more stringent and onerous financial rules for anyone entering into the second division compared to the spendthrift first division, where debts have reached the billions. And politicians, not actual bankers, running the banks that lend this crazy-cash to the profligate-spending clubs. As the article below points out, since 2006, half of the clubs in the top two divisions have entered bankruptcy proceedings, and by 2011-12, debts had reached €3.75 billion. From Newsweek, from 15 May 2014, by Mike Elkin, Spanish Soccer: World Champions (of Fraud) (newsweek.com). And smack dab in the middle of the most successful region of pro football in the world – Western Europe – the Spanish football authorities think it is perfectly acceptable to not even bother to report third division attendance figures. Meanwhile, judging by the alarming state of many first division clubs’ finances in Spain, it looks like more clubs and more clubs bigger than Alavés, Tenerife, Racing Santander, Hércules or Murcia will be finding themselves in (hopefully temporary) exile in the Twilight Zone of third division Spanish football. There in Segunda B, where few attend, and where the Spanish football authorities and the Spanish media never report attendances.

___

Thanks to NordNordWest, for the blank map of Spain, at ‘File:Spain location map.svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org). Thanks to Miguillen, for the blank map of the Canary Islands, at ‘File:Canarias-loc.svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org). Thanks to the contributors to the pages at La Liga and Segunda División (en.wikipedia.org and es.wikipedia.org and de.wikipedia.org).

Thanks to European-Football-Statistics site for attendance figures, http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.

Special thanks to Peña at RacinguistasOnline.com , who responded to my question of what he would estimate Racing Santander’s 2013-14 average attendance was, there in the Segunda B. He responded…” …At the beginning of the season, more or less 2.000-3.000 persons per game, more or less from february, with the expulsión of thieves, attendance grew up, more or less to 8.000 persons per game, although is very difficult to calculate, because there was games with almost full attendance (18.000) and other with 5.000… “…{end of excerpt from e-mail}. That sounded like about somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5 K per game to me.

May 29, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Spain (UEFA), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Spain, with 8 other player-options listed).

Filed under: Spain — admin @ 5:26 pm




Spain national team. UEFA (Europe). Nickname: La Roja (the Red [One]). Home jersey: red, with gold and dark blue trim.
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 14th qualification out of 19 tries (1930, did not enter). Spain has qualified for the World Cup in: 1934, 1950, 1962, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Previous WC finish:
2010, Champions (6-0-1).
Highest WC finish: 2010.

Population of Spain: 46.7 million {2013 estimate}.
Capital and largest city: Madrid, metro area pop. 6.3 million {2013 est.}.

-Spain coach, Vicente del Bosque. Vicente del Bosque.
-Spain squad captain, Iker Casillas (Real Madrid). Iker Casillas.

From The Guardian, from 31 May 2014, ‘World Cup 2014: Fernando Torres and Juan Mata in Spain’s finals squad • Diego Costa retains place despite injury worries • Álvaro Negredo and Jesús Navas among those left out‘ (theguardian.com/football).

Below: Theoretical Best XI for Spain (with 8 other player-options further below) -
spain_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_v-del-bosque_v_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Spain 2014 home jersey badge, photo from aliexpress.com.
Spain 2014 home jersey, photo from citysports.com/adidas-2014-Spain-Home-Jersey.
Spain/EU map, by HansenBCN Miguillen at ‘File:Spain 2 location map.svg‘ (commons.wikipedia.org).
Map of Autonomous communities of Spain, at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_communities_of_Spain.
Coach,
Vicente del Bosque, photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Goalkeeper,
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Defenders,
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Raúl Albiol (Napoli), photo by AP/La Presse via it.eurosport.yahoo.com.
Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Jordi Alba (Barcelona), photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com.
Midfielders,
Xavi (Barcelona), photo from fcbarcelona.com/xavi-hernandez-makes-450th-league-appearance.
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), photo from fcbarcelona.com/sergio-busquets-makes-150th-liga-appearance-with-barca.
Andrés Iniesta MF/AM (Barcelona), photo by Getty Images via bbc.com/sport/football.
Forward/Wingers,
Pedro RW/LW (Barcelona), photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
David Villa CF (New York City FC), photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
David Silva AM/LW/RW (Manchester City), photo by Kieran McManus/ISIPhotos.com via soccerbyives.net.
Other player-options,
Juan Mata AM/W (Manchester United), photo unattributed at independent.co.uk/sport/football.
Diego Costa CF (Atlético Madrid), photo by Carlos Delgado at ‘File:Diego Costa – 01.jpg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Cesc Fàbregas (Barcelona), photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Koke AM/W (Atlético Madrid), photo by Carlos Delgado at ‘File:Koke Resurrección – 01.jpg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Juanfran RB/RM (Atlético Madrid), photo by Carlos Delgado at ‘File:Juanfran Torres – 03.jpg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Javi Martínez DM/CB (Bayern Munich), photo unattributed at goal.com.
Santi Cazorla LW/AM/RW (Arsenal), photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
César Azpilicueta LB/RB/RM (Chelsea), photo unattributed at upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/C%C3%A9sar_Azpilicueta_Chelsea_vs_AS-Roma_10AUG2013.jpg.
Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), photo by Angel Martinez via mirror.co.uk/sport/football.
Fernando Torres FW (Chelsea), photo by Py21 at ‘en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Torres#mediaviewer/File:TorresFinale12_cropped.jpg‘.

___
Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘Spain national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at int.soccerway.com/international/europe/wc-qualifying-europe/2014-brazil/1st-round/r15653/.

October 24, 2013

Spain: 2013-14 La Liga location-map, with 2012-13 attendance data. / Plus, the new stadium of Athletic Club [Bilbao], San Mamés Barria. / Plus, photos of top 3 scorers & the top 3 on the assists table (after 9 games).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Spain — admin @ 4:26 pm

2013-14_spain_la-liga_map_attendances_post_b.gif
Spain: 2013-14 La Liga Location-map, with 2012-13 attendance data



Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.

The following link shows 2 pie-charts which reveal one of the primary causes of the pronounced duopoly in Spanish football. In other words, there are several reasons why Real Madrid and FC Barcelona dominate La Liga to such an extent, but uneven distribution of television revenue is at the top of the list of causes for this disparity. A disparity, which, when combined with the absolutely dreadful economy in Spain, threatens the viability of first division Spanish football. From Imgur, ‘How TV money is shared in Spain and in England [2012 figures/illustration unattributred]‘ (imgur.com/vTZ9B5f).

The record for most wins to start a Spanish first division season was set by Real Madrid, with 9 straight wins to open the 1968-69 La Liga season (Real Madrid won the title that season of 1968-69 by 19 points over second-place finishers UD las Palmas). This season [2013-14], both FC Barcelona and Atlético Madrid started the season 8 and 0. Then both teams stumbled in the 9th week, with Barcelona being held scoreless for the first time in the league in two years (64 league games), by drawing 0-0 away to Osasuna; and with Atlético Madrid falling 1-0 away to Espanyol. Meanwhile, Real Madrid were 2-0 winners at home versus Málaga. So that leaves Real Madrid within just 3 points of Barcelona in first. Now on Saturday, 26 October 2013, FC Barcelona will host Real Madrid in the 167th league meeting between the two clubs. The derby match, the Spanish derby, is of course called El Clásico. In the league games between the two biggest and most successful clubs in Spain, Real Madrid (with 32 Spanish titles) have won 70, and Barcelona (with 22 Spanish titles) have won 64, and there have been 22 draws. Last season, in October 2012, there was a 2–2 draw in the first El Clásico at Nou Camp in Barcelona; then in Madrid in March 2013 at the Bernebeau, Real beat Barça 2-1, although Barcelona was in firm control of first place by that time (and Barcelona eventually went on to win the 2012-13 La Liga title by 15 points).
El Clásico‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

From Guardian.com/football, ‘El Clásico: Sid Lowe on the Barcelona v Real Madrid rivalry – video‘ [4:57 video hosted by Amy Lawrence] (theguardian.com/football/video/).

    New stadium in Bilbao, San Mamés Barria, opened September 2013 (still only partially constructed, and at 3-quarters capacity). Current capacity: 36,500. Eventual capacity [with full-stadium completion projected for September 2014]: 53,332 all-seated. Owner: city of Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain.

athletic-club-bilbao_new_estadio_san-mames-barria_opened-2013_e.gif
Photo credits above -
Photo of construction at San Mamés from June 2013 uploaded by master_klon at skyscrapercity.com/thread, BILBAO – San Mamés Barria.
Photo of stadium from Sept.2013 (showing un-constructed section and interior of the constructed sections, from gamesbids.com/forums.
Exterior photo of San Mamés Barria, at water-side by David Grijalba at flickr.com.
Exterior street-view photo of San Mamés Barria, from ‘GALERÍA DE FOTOS: EL ATHLETIC NO FALLA EN LA INAUGURACIÓN‘ (eitb.com).

From WSC.co.uk, from 5 Nov. 2013, by Antonio Mateo, ‘Diego Costa a “traitor” for choosing Spain over Brazil – Striker won’t represent hosts at World Cup‘ (wsc.co.uk).

Top scorers in La Liga as of 23 Oct. 2013…
Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid), 10 goals.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona), 8 goals.
Christiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), 8 goals.
spain_la-liga_2013-14_top-scorers_as-of-24-october-2013_d-costa_l-messi_c-ronaldo_h.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
LFP logo, from a banner at http://www.lfp.es/.
D. Costa, bet365.com.
L. Messi, David Ramos/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
C. Ronaldo, Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Pedro, kicksocca.com.

Assists table leaders in La Liga as of 23 Oct. 2013…
Cesc Fàbregas (Barcelona), 6 assists.
Koke (Atlético Madrid), 6 assists.
Neymar (Barcelona), 5 assists.
http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/spain_la-liga_2013-14_assists-table-leaders_as-of-24-october-2013_c-fabregas_koke_neymar_d.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
LFP logo, from a banner at http://www.lfp.es/.
C. Fàbregas, barcacentral.com.
Koke, sofoot.com.
Neymar, David Ramos/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
___

Thanks to footiemap.com/madrid.
Thanks to official La Liga site for LFP logo, from a banner at http://www.lfp.es/.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2013–14 La Liga‘;
and at es.wikipedia.org, ‘Primera División de España 2013/14‘.
Thanks to NordNordWest at en.wikipedia.org, for the blank map of Spain, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spain_location_map.svg.

August 15, 2012

Spain: La Liga 2012-13 – Top of the Table chart, featuring 2011-12 La Liga champions Real Madrid / Plus 2012-13 La Liga Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Spain — admin @ 12:06 pm
    Real Madrid – champions of Spain for the 32nd time

real-madrid_2011-12champions_la-liga_.segment_.gif
Segment of photo of Real Madrid 2011-12 home jersey (above) from beautifulgear.com/2011/06/adidas-201112-adidas-home-kit.




Note: to see my latest post on Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.

From guardian.co.uk/Football, from 25 May 2012, by Sid Lowe. ‘It’s the Sids 2012! The complete review of the La Liga season – From an epic two-horse race to the joy of Levante, it’s time for the annual end-of-season Spanish football awards‘.

    Spanish clubs playing in Europe for 2012-13 -
    Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Valencia CF, Málaga CF, Atlético Madrid, Levante UD, Athletic Club [Bilbao]


Champions League icon from iconarchive.com.

    Location-map of 2012-13 La Liga, with attendance data from 2011-12

2012-13_la-liga_location-map_2011-12attendance_segment_.gif
[Note: Attendance figures and stadium capacities are from soccerway.com {soccerway.com/La Liga, 2011-12}.]
Thanks to NordNordWest at en.wikipedia.org, for the blank map of Spain, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spain_location_map.svg.
___
Photo and Image credits on the chart page –
Team celebration – Fireworks above Bernebéuu, and Sergio Ramos & team captain Iker Casilas with trophy: both photos unattributed at 7msport.com.
Manager -
Jose Mourinho, photo by Denis Doyle at Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Players-
Christiano Ronaldo, photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Gonzalo Higuaín, photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Karim Benzema, photo by Addesolen at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Karim_Benzema.
Mesut Özil, unattribured photo from dailymail.co.uk/sport/football.
Angel di Maria, photo by Hrvoje Polan/AFP/Getty Images via bloomberg.com.
Xabi Alonso, photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.

Estadio Santiago Bernebéu – Aerial photo of Estadio Santiago Bernebéu in the Chamartin district of the city of Madrid by Cisco Pics at flickr.com. Screenshot of image of interior of the Bernebéu from realmadrid.com/Stadium_Tour [video]. Aerial photo of Estadio Santiago Bernebéu [unattributed] from insidersmadrid.com/real-madrid-tours.

Other clubs on the chart -
Barcelona/ Nou Camp – Photo of ‘Mes Que Un Club’ ['More Than A Club'] tifo at Nou Camp [unattributed] from iplot.typepad.com/iplot/joga_bonito/. Interior photo of Nou Camp by MichaelMalin at de.wikipedia.org. Aerial Satellite image of Nou Camp from bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view.

Valencia/ Mestalla – Photo of Valencia fans [unattributed] from, PatCrerand.co.uk. Photo of Mestalla at sunset [unattributed] from, EUtravelpictures.com. Aerial photo of Mestalla from Rudsoccer.com.

Málaga/ La Rosaleda (The Rose Garden) – Photo of Málaga fans [unattributed] from oleole.com. Interior photo of La Rosaleda by Morancio at commons.wikimedia.org. Aerial photo of La Rosaleda [unattributed] from estadiosdeespana.blogspot.com.

Atlético Madrid/ Estadio Vicente Calderón – Photo of Atlético Madrid fans [unattributed] from marca.com via fanoffutebol.blogspot.com. Interior photo of Estadio Vicente Calderon by FDV at es.wikipedia.org. Aerial image of Estadio Vicente Calderón from Peñatleticaniano.es, here.

Levante/ Estadi Ciutat de València – Photo of Levante fans with balloons [unattributed] from infodeportes.com/futbol/equipo/levanteud. Interior photo of Estadi Ciutat de Valencia by Iñaki Lasa Rodriguez at panoramio.com. Aerial photo of Estadi Ciutat de València [unattributed] from losgranota.com.

Athletic Bilbao/ San Mamés – Photo of Athletic Club Bilbao-supporter-group Albertzale Sur with banners and Basque flags from forums.pesfans.com [two-thirds of the way down the page there]. Photo of interior of San Mamés by bcfcdavepics at photobucket.com. Photo of exterior of San Mamés from adjacent rooftop by kammourewa at photobucket.com.

August 21, 2011

Spain: the 3 promoted clubs from Segunda División to La Liga for the 2011-12 season.

Filed under: Spain — admin @ 2:58 pm

promoted_spain_june2011_post_b.gif
The 3 promoted clubs in La Liga


La Liga players, and Segunda División players, have gone on strike – from Guardian.co.uk, from 19 Aug., by Sid Lowe, ‘Strike brings pain to Spain over players’ demand for emergency fund – La Liga faces prolonged shutdown while players’ union fights for a guarantee that protects all unpaid wages‘.

Some 200 players in La Liga and Segunda División are owed around 43 million Euros in back salary (!) {see this article, from the Rob Train blog at ESPN Soccernet, from 21 Aug., ‘Player strike delays La Liga season‘}.
[editor's note: the strike lasted just one week.]

Real Betis returns to La Liga after a 2-season spell back in the Segunda División. Betis had previously been in the second tier in 2000-01. Real Betis Balompié S.A.D were formed in 1907. The Seville club, with a fan base large enough to average around 38,000 per game in good seasons, has spent 46 seasons in the first division; the 2011-12 La Liga season, whenever it begins, will be Betis’ 47th season in the top flight. Seville, the 4th largest city in Spain, has a city population of around 704,000 and a metro-area population of around 1.5 million {2010 figures}. Real Betis won the 1934-35 La Liga season, for the club’s sole national title. That team was managed by the Irish international Patrick O’Connell. O’Connell had guided Betis out of the second division in 1932. Their 1935 championship came on the final day of the season, when they beat Santander and pipped Real Madrid by 1 point for the crown in the then-twelve-team-league. O’Connell left the next season to manage Barcelona. Betis have won 2 Copa del Rey – in 1977 and 2005. Betis’ 1977 cup win was over Athletic Bilbao, and needed 21 penalties and an 8-7 tally to decide the 2-2 match. Betis’ 2005 cup win saw them beat Osasuna 2-1 in aet. Betis play in the 52,000-capacity Estadio Benito Villamarín. [It is significant that while Betis play in stadium with a larger capacity than local rivals Sevilla FC (who play at the 48,500-capacity Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán), Sevilla have outdrawn Betis every season since 2002-03. Sevilla's highest crowds in the last decade were in 2006-07, when they drew 43,632 per game; while Betis' highest crowds in the last decade were also in 06/07, when they drew 38,737.] Betis averaged 31,095 per game last season, which is a huge figure for the Spanish second division, where often, no team draws over 20,000 per game, and where very few clubs can draw even 15,000 per game. Betis play in green-and-white vertically-striped jerseys – green and white are the colors of the flag of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. Betis’ green is usually a lighter shade of green than the Andalusian flag, although this season [2011-12], Betis have an alternate kit that includes a jersey in a darker shade of green – see this from FootballFashion.org).

Rayo Vallecano are the self-styled left-wing football club of Madrid. Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, S.A.D. were formed in 1924. The team plays in white jerseys with a red sash. They play in the three-sided Estadio de Vallecas, which has a capacity of 15,500. The ground is in the working-class neighborhood of Vallecas, in the south-east of Madrid, 9 metro stops and 15 minutes south of the Sol station in the center of Madrid [Madrid has a city population of around 3.2 million and a metro-area population of around 6.4 million {2010 figures}]. Rayo Vallecano have spent 11 seasons in La Liga; 2011-12 will be the club’s 12th season in the top flight. Their last spell in the top tier was a 4-season stint from 1999-2000 to 2002-03 that included the club’s best-ever finish (of 9th place in 1999-2000), and a UEFA Cup run that saw them reach the 2000-01 UEFA Cup quarterfinals (going out to the Basque side Deportivo Alavés). Rayo Vallecano’s relegation in 2003 was just the start of their troubles, and another relegation in 2004-05 saw Rayo Vallecano stuck in the third division, in Segunda División B. Rayo returned to the second division in 2008. The club had financial problems for years, but the situation got worse when, during Rayo Vallecano’s promotion-run last season, the squad was only sporadically being paid – like, circa March 2011, only twice in the past 9 months. [Note - this is an example of the main reason why players in Spain in the top two divisions have gone on strike.] The owner, Jose Maria Ruiz Mateos, had previous as a tax cheat and spent time in prison for that a few years earlier. He’s the sort of businessman that did quite well when Franco was in power, and supported the status quo back then. His politics are lovely, too, with him giving lavishly to the creepy far right-wing Opus Dei organization. [What a great businessman this guy is...he's a right winger who buys the most left-wing football club in the country. That's a like an Israeli consortium buying a hog farm.] By early in 2011, his holding company was in financial crisis, and for pretty much all season long, the players were not being paid. In March, Ruiz Matos’ wife, Maria Teresa Rivero, who was the figurehead at the top of the club, accused the players of not trying, after a 4-1 loss to a basement club. That’s some pretty twisted moral values right there – criticizing the commitment of your players whom you have been failing to pay. Next thing you know there’s fan demonstrations outside the owners’ domicile, and even player protests prior to match kick-offs. {See this article, from When Saturday Comes site, from 4 March 2011, by Huw Richards, ‘Rayo Vallecano held back by their owners‘.} Well, the good news is that that owner and his charming wife, after 20 years, are now gone. The new owner is a local businessman, Raúl Martín, age 36, who made his money in the printing industry. The bad news is that Rayo Vallecano are now in administration. Being in administration in Spain is not necessarily as onerous as it is in England, because there are never any points deductions that accompany going-into-administration, like in England. However, with administrators now trying to force a 70%-pay-cut on the players, it looks like even more players are set to walk. From the FiveInMidfield.com site, from 19 June 2011, ‘Rayo Vallecano reach La Liga after tumultuous period of absence‘.

Granada CF wouldn’t be back in La Liga after a 35-year spell in the lower leagues without the support of Serie A club Udinese. 12 players on loan from Udinese contributed to Granada’s second-straight promotion in 2010-11, and several of those Udinese loanees were starters for Granada. In fact, a Udinese loan player, the Nigerian FW Odion Ighalo, was responsible for the goal that got Granada promoted, in the play-off finals versus Elche. And the fourth-highest scorer in Segunda División last season, the Swiss-born/ethnic Spaniard Alexandre Geijo (who netted 24 times last season), was and still is also on loan from Udinese to Granada. All this was the result of Granada president Quique Pina, who was a player agent in Italy and whose previous job was with Udinese Calcio. Udinese have a rather small fan base that produces crowds of only around 17,000 per game, and this club from the north-east of Italy survives in the Italian top flight by eventually selling off a good portion of the talent they develop. So it’s a win-win situation that circumvents the no-promotions-allowed-for-B-teams rule, by Udinese essentially having their B team in another country. Udinese have also given financial support to Granada. Granada CF are from Granada, in the south of Spain in Andalusia, about 50 km. (30 miles) from the coast, and 212 km. (132 miles) east of Seville. The city of Granada has a population of around 237,000 {2007 figure}. Granada is at the confluence of 3 rivers at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain. The city of Granada is 738 meters (2,421 feet) above sea level. The Moorish palace and fortress and present-day museum and tourist-mecca the Alhambra, built in the 14th Century, is in Granada. Granada CF plays at the smart and compact, small-yet-still-three-tiered Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes, which has a capacity of 22,890 (but the stadium had been restricted to a 16,212 capacity while Granada was in the lower divisions). Granada drew 14,143 per game last season. Granada CF has a distinctive, narrow, shield-shaped crest in red and white, with angular and stylized G-C-F initials; and the team plays in red-and-white hooped jerseys and blue pants. Granada have spent 17 seasons in La Liga, and when the 2011-12 La Liga season gets underway, it will be Granada’s 18th season in the top flight. Granada Club de Fútbol were formed somewhat later than the bulk of top-division clubs in Spain, in 1931. It only took the club a decade to make it to the top flight – Granada made it’s first division debut in 1941-42. Granada’s most successful era was in the 1970s, with 8 seasons in La Liga then, including two 6th-place-finishes – in 1971-72 and 1973-74, which are Granada’s highest finishes.

Photo credits -
Rayo Vallecano…Aerial image of stadium [formely called Estadio Teresa Rivero] now called Estadio de Vallecas from bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. 4 interior photos of Estadio de Vallecas from DiarosDeFutbol.com, ‘Vuestros estadios: Estadio Teresa River (Vallecas, Madrid)‘.

Real Betis…Aerial photo of stadium [formerly called Estadio Manuel Ruiz de Lopera] now called Estadio Benito Villamarín] by PrishtinaLund at Flickr.com, here. Exterior photo of stadium with houses in the foreground by nosbigdivad at Flickr.com, here. Exterior photo of stadium by Gregory Zeier at en.wikipedia.org, here. Interior photo ofstadium by hombre at WprldFootball.net, here.

Granada…Aerial image of Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. Panoramic image of Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes from ImageShack.us, here. Photo during a match at Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes by Lanadahlauts at Flickr.com, here.

Thanks to E-F-S site, for attendances.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2011-12 La Liga‘.
Thanks to Demis.nl for the base map of Spain, Demis Web Map Server.

July 26, 2011

Spain: final table of 2010-11, with clubs playing in Europe in UEFA competitions for 2011-12 / Plus, map with location of clubs in 2011-12 La Liga, with attendance data.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Spain — admin @ 8:45 pm

2011-12_la-liga_clubs-in-europe_fc-barcelona-segment_m.gif
Spanish clubs playing in Europe




Note: to see my latest post on Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.

The first chart (click on image above) shows the 7 Spanish clubs who qualified for Europe for 2011-12, including the 3 clubs which have qualified for the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League Group Stage – FC Barcelona, Real Madrid CF, and Valencia CF.
The 6 Barcelona/Real Madrid match-ups this past season produced reams of headlines, and lots of histrionics…and in the end, Real Madrid – on paper – ended up 4 points shy of the Spanish title. But the actual gulf between Barcelona and Real Madrid is probably better depicted by the 5-0 trashing that Barça gave Real Madrid in November at Camp Nou. And sure, in the Spanish Cup competition, Real did eliminate Barça and then go on to win the Copa del Rey, but that’s the same trophy (with about the value of the English League Cup) that Real Madrid could have cared less about winning 5 or 10 or 15 years ago (it was Real Madrid’s first Copa del Rey title in 18 years).

At the top, left of the chart you can see photos and stats of the 7 Barcelona players most responsible for Barça’s offensive mastery and domination in both Spain and Europe – midfield general Xavi, greatest-player-on-Earth Lionel Messi, young phenom Pedro, attacking defender Dani Alves, scoring machine David Villa, midfield wizard Andrés Iniesta, and young talent Bojan Krkić [note: Roma purchased Bojan Krkić on 22 July for 12 milion Euros].. Manager Pep Guardiola is shown being tossed up into the air in celebration [I know, the photo is from 3 seasons ago, but I think the image really symbolizes FCB's über-champion-status these last few seasons].

That the cash-strapped Valencia were still able to win an automatic Champions League Group Stage berth is pretty impressive. So too is Villarreal’s return to the Champions League format. Villarreal proved that a club can have a long Europa League campaign and not see their domestic form suffer. El Submarino Amarillo (The Yellow Submarines), from a town of 51,000, made it all the way to the Europa League Semi-finals last season, yet were still able to keep hold of 4th place in La Liga, and that fourth CL spot. And thanks to past Champions League accomplishments (including being 2005-06 CL Semi-finalists and 2008-09 CL Quarter-finalists), Villarreal, and not Udinese, are a seeded team in the Play-off round draw, which will be on 5 August {see this}.

The 3 Spanish clubs that will be in the Europa League format are three clubs that all finished with 58 points – Sevilla FC, Athletic Club [Bilbao], and Club Atlético de Madrid [La Liga does not use goal difference as the first tie-breaker in the final standings, but rather head-to-head results]. Here is the list, which includes Sevilla and Bilbao, of teams that have qualified so far for the Europa League play-off round {see this}. Before that, Atlético Madrid must play in the Europa League Third qualifying round (1st Legs are on 28 July), and here are the match-ups – ‘2011-12 UEFA Europa League/Third qualifying round‘. Atlético Madrid will face the Norwegian club Strømsgodset IF.

[Note: to see a larger image of Sevilla FC's Art Deco mosaic at Estadio Ramón Sanchez Pizjúan, scroll down to the Sevilla section in the Photo credits below...]

Below is the second chart, which features a location-map of the 20 clubs that will be playing in the 2011-12 La Liga, as well as attendance data of these clubs from last season – including average attendance (home league matches), percent-capacity, and percentage-change in attendance from 2009-10.

2011-12_la-liga_attendance-data_location-map_segment_k.gif

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Photo credits -
Barcelona
Photo of Xavi by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images Europe via Zimbio.com, here. Photo of Lionel Messi by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images Europe via Zimbio.com, here.
Interior photo of Camp Nou from ontd-football.livejournal.com/, here. Photo of Pedro by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe via Zimbio.com, here.
Photo of Dani Alves from Goalstage.com, here. Photo of David Villa by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images Europe via Zimbio.com, here. Photo of Andrés Iniesta by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe via Zimbio.com, here. Bojan Krkic photo from FCBarcelona.com/Photo Gallery, here.
New Barça jersey [2011-12 home jersey] from store.Nike.com.
Photo of Pep Guardioa being tossed airborne by Barça players by Tony Gentile/Reuters, here.
Aerial image of Camp Nou from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Real Madrid
Photo of Ultras Sur (far right-wing Real Madrid supporter-group) with flags and banners was unattributed at Taringa.net, here. Exterior photo of Estadio Santiago Bernebeu was unattributed from TheOffside.com, here. Aerial photo of Estadio Santiago Bernebeu from RealMadridVideos.wordpress.com, here.

Valencia
Photo of Valencia fans from PatCrerand.co.uk, here. Photo of Mestalla at sunset from EUtravelpictures.com, here. Aerial photo of Mestalla from Rudsoccer.om, here.

Villarreal...
Interior photo of El Madrigal from VillarrealCF.es, here. Close-up-aerial photo of El Madrigal from VillarrealCF.es, here. Aerial photo of El Madrigal from FussballTempel.net, here.

Sevilla
Photo of interior of Estadio Rámon Sánchez Pizjuán by inkboo at Flickr.com, here. Photo of mosaic on exterior wall of Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán by Paco Alfaro at Flickr.com, here. Aerial image of Estadio Ramón Sanchez Pizjuan [with view to the east] from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.
[Note: you can see a larger size image of the Sevilla FC mosaic by clicking here (photo by Paco Alfaro @ Flickr.com, here).

Athletic Bilbao...
Photo of Athletic Club Bilbao-supporter-group Albertzale Sur with banners and Basque flags from forums.PESfans.com, here [2/3 of way down page]. Photo of exterior of San Mamés from adjacent rooftop by kammourewa at Photobucket.com, here. Aerial image of San Mamés from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Atlético Madrid
Photo of Atlético Madrid fans from LiverpoolSite.com, here. Interior photo of Estadio Vicente Calderon by FDV at es.wikipedia.org, here. Aerial image of Estadio Vicente Calderón from Peñatleticaniano.es, here.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘La Liga‘.
Thanks to E-F-S site, for attendances.
Thanks to Demis.nl for the base map of Spain, from Demis Web Map Server.
Thanks to FCBarcelona.com/Squad, for stats.

August 27, 2010

Spain: La Liga, 2010-11 season – Stadia map.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Spain — admin @ 6:17 pm


spain2010-11_post.gif




Note: to see my latest post on Spanish football, click on the following, category: Spain.

The 2010-11 season of La Liga begins on 28th August. Reigning champions are FC Barcelona. Copa del Rey [aka King's Cup] holders are Sevilla FC.

The map page features a photo of each club’s stadium; each club’s 2010-11 kits; each club’s major domestic titles; and the list of 2009-10 average attendances [domestic leagues] of the 20 clubs.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org and es.wikipedia.org. 2010-11 La Liga.
Primera División de España 2010/11.

Thanks to Bing.com/maps [Bird's Eye view] (link goes to Barcelona/Camp Nou photo), Thanks to futbolmania.wordpress.com (Deportivo La Coruña / Riazor photo).

Thanks to gijondesdeelaire.com(Sporting Gijón / El Molinón photo). Thanks to webdelracing.com [translated] (Racing Santander / El Sardinero photo).

Thanks to MiAthletic.com [translated] (Athletic [Bilbao] / San Mames photo)]. Thanks to estadioanoeta.com (Real Sociedad / Anoeta photo).

Thanks to www.ticket4football.com (Osasuna / Reyna de Navarra photo). Thanks to frikfootball at Flickr.com Zaragoza / La Romareda photo).

Thanks to the comprehensive Spanish football database, BD Futbol.com, www.bdfutbol.com (Espanyol / Estadi Cornelia-El Prat, Mallorca / ONO Estadi and Villarreal / El Madrigal photos).

Thanks to EA UK Community, forums.electronicarts.co.uk (Valencia / Mestalla photo). Thanks to the XV Mediterannean Games [2005] site (Almería / Estadio del Mediterráneo photo). Thanks to losbuquerones.com (Málaga / La Rosaleda [aka the Rose Garden] photo).

Thanks to MagicKiko at www.cochonero.com (Atlético Madrid / Estadio Vicente Calderón photo). Thanks to webrealmadrid.com (Real Madrid / Estadio Santiago Bernebéu photo) [this page is cool because it shows the 5 earlier crests of Real Madrid].

July 27, 2010

Spain: the 3 promoted clubs from Segunda División to La Liga, for the 2010-11 season.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Spain — admin @ 6:28 pm

http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/2010-promoted_spain_post.gif


La Liga official site…www.lfp.es [translated].

The map page shows the 3 clubs that were promoted in Spain, in June 2010, from the Segunda División to La Liga, for the 2010-11 season. 3 or 4 photos of each club’s stadium are shown on the map page, along with club info.
{2010-11 La Liga at en.wikipedoa.org}.
{Segunda División 2010-11 map from en.wikipedia.org}.

Real Sociedad won the 2009-10 Segunda División title and return to La Liga after 3 seasons in the second division. Real Sociedad de Fútbol are from the Basque Country city of San Sebastián, which is on the southern coast of the Bay Of Biscay.

San Sebastián has a metropolitan area population of around 393,000 {European Spatial Planning Network figure from 2007; see this list}. San Sebastián is the 17th largest metro area in Spain, and the fourth largest city in the Greater Basque Region [Bilbao is the largest Basque city {see this}]. The Greater Region of the Basque Country [as defined by Basque nationalists] {see this} includes two political divisions of Spain…the Basque Country, and the Autonomous Community of Navarre; as well as three small historical provinces in France (which is sometimes called the Northern Basque country)…Lower Navarre, Labourd, and Soule.

Real Sociedad were one of the founding members, in 1929, of the first season of La Liga (which had 10 clubs playing 18 matches, and was won by Barcelona) {1929 – first season of Primera División [aka La Liga]}.

Real Sociedad has played 63 seasons in La Liga, and have two national titles to their name…back-to-back La Liga championships in 1980-81 and 1981-82. Real Sociedad have won 2 Copa del Rey titles. The two were won almost 8 decades apart…their first in 1909 [which preceded the club's official formation, but this title is ascribed by most to Real Sociedad] , and their second in 1987.

In 2002-03, a third La Liga title was within Real Sociedad’s grasp, but the Txuri-Urdin, or white-blue, agonizingly lost first place to Real Madrid on the 37th match day. That Real Sociedad squad featured local talent and Spanish national team World Cup winner Xabi Alonso, and the Turkish striker Nihat Kahveci. The club never recovered from that… they finished 15th the following season, and then had finishes of 14th place, then 16th place, and then 19th place and relegation in 2007.

Real Sociedad have a pretty sizable fan base. In their failed title run of 2002-03, they averaged 27,743 per game, and when they got relegted 4 seasons later, they drew 23,076. Last season in their promotion campaign, they drew 19,927 per game, second highest in the Segunda División (behind only the faltering, underacheiving giants Real Betis, who drew 28,730 for their second season in their latest spell in the second tier).

Real Sociedad play at Anoeta, which opened in 1993. Anoeta is one of those faceless structures which is basically a concrete doughnut. The 32,000-capacity municipal facility is also marred by it’s running track. The club had attempted to have a redevelopment of Anoeta, including an expansion and a removal of the running track, but the city government rejected that proposal 6 years ago. Anoeta is also sometimes used by two Basque rugby clubs, Biarritz (who are based just across the border in France), and Bayonne (also based in France). Here is another photo of Anoeta, from the Soccerway.com site {Real Sociedad/Venue at www.soccerway.com}.

The other two clubs promoted to the 2010-11 La Liga are both from the Valencian Autonomous Community… Levante UD, who are from the city of Valencia, and Hércules CF, who are from the city of Alicante.
{Valencian Community [en.wikipedia.org]} ; {Valencian Community @ All About Spain site}.

Second place in the 2009-10 Segunda División were Valencian club Levante. [Valencia is the fourth largest city in Spain, and the third-largest metropolitan area. Valencia has a city population of around 814,000 {2009 figure}, and, as Valencia-Sagunto, it has a metro area population of around 1.5 million {ESOPN figure, 2007}.

Levante UD have only played 5 seasons in La Liga, and their fan base is dwarfed by local rivals Valencia CF...Levante drew only 7,814 per game last season, and during their last 2-season-spell in the top flight, they drew 16,799 per game in 2006-07 and 12,330 per game in 2007-08. If that 07/08 figure looks pretty low compared to the 06/07 figure, that's because most everyone knew that Levante were doomed to be relegated in 2008, seeing as how they were in a huge financial mess, and evidently had only been paying their players around 20% of their wages (wages were eventually payed via a quasi-testimonial match). Levante play at the municipal stadium, Ciutat de Valencia, which has a capacity of 23,500 and looks like it would be nice place to see a match, with deecnt, backed seats in stands pretty close to the pitch; and for a dry part of Spain it still does feature a certain percentage of covered seats (the second link right below shows a photo with a roofed part of the stand). Here is a good panoramic photo of 'Nou Estadi Ciutat de Valencia (Levante UD) ', by Sascha Drenth at Panoramio.com . {Levante/Venue at Soccerway.com}.

Levante do have one major title to their name, but seeing as they won the Copa de La España Libre title back in 1937, which was during the Spanish Civil War, and which ended up being a one-time only competition that comprised just 4 teams, you might want to put an asterisk next to that trophy. There were no La Liga seasons for three years (1936-37, 1937-38, and 1938-39), and there was no Cop del Rey competrition in 1937 and 1938. In 1937 Franco's army controlled several areas of the country (in the north and the south) which meant clubs from Seville (Real Betis and Sevilla), the Basque Country (Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad), and Galicia (Celta Vigo and Deportivo La Coruña) were cut off from clubs in the Republican-controlled areas. There were just 12 clubs in La Liga back then, so that meant half the league was cut off from the other half. The Republican strongholds included 3 of the 4 major cities...Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, and a good portion of the surrounding countryside. So La Liga was suspended for 3 seasons, and the Copa del Rey for 2 seasons. In the place of the League was the Mediterranean League (1937, won by Barcelona) and then the Catalan League (never completed). In place of the national Cup in 1937 was the Copa de la España Libre. Barcelona (wisely , I would say) opted to not enter this competition, and FC Barcelona toured Mexico that summer. In their place went Levante, and Levante went on the beat Valencia 1-0 in the final at Monjuic in Barcelona on 18 July, 1937. The 4 clubs that competed in the Copa de la España Libre {see this} were Valencia, Espanyol, Levante, and a small club from the Catalonian city of Girona, Girona FC. [Girona have never been in the top flight and are currently in Segunda División. Girona is 85 km. northeast of Barcelona].

Hércules, who have played 19 seasons of La Liga football, won the third promotion spot, and will return to La Liga after a 13-year absence (which included 5 seasons in the third division from 2000 to 2005). Hércules CF are from the Valencian Community city of Alicante, which is part of the Alicante-Elche metropolitan area, and is the 8th largest metro area in Spain, with a metro population of around 793,000 {ESOPN figure, 2007}. The city of Alicante itself has a population of around 335,000 {2009 figure}. Alicante is 125 km. (78 miles) south-west of Valencia. Hérclues play at the 30,000-capacity Estadio José Rico Pérez, which might seem rather large for a club that has yet to play two decades worth of seasons in the top top flight (a third division club, Alicante CF, also uses the stadium). But the Estadio José Rico Pérez (built in 1974) is that large because it was one of the venues for the 1982 World Cup. Anyway, seeing as how Hércules drew 14,186 per game last season, and factoring in the inevitable post-promotion-attendance-increase, I don’t think the stadium will be that empty this season. Here is another photo of the stadium {Hércules/Venue at Soccerway.com}. It looks like a stadium in Argentina, with the one tall and steep stand, and all the stands so close to the pitch.
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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedi.org and es.wikipedia.org,
2010-11 La Liga.
Primera División de España [es.wikipedia.org].
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for the 09/10 final table.
Thanks to Demis.nl, for the blank map of Spain. demis.nl/home.
Thanks to E-F-S site, for attendance figures, E-F-S, attendances/Espana.

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