November 10, 2015

Wales national team – starting line-up (Best XI) from match which clinched their qualification for the 2016 Euros in France. (Wales starting squad from 10 October 2015, Bosnia 2-0 Wales [match-day which saw Wales automatically qualify for the 2016 UEFA Euros tournament].) 17 players + coach are profiled.

Filed under: Wales — admin @ 2:12 pm

-Squad chart.
-Article on Wales clinching… Joy in Bosnia defeat as Wales make history to qualify for Euro 2016 (by Stuart James at on 10 Oct. 2015).
-Team (current squad info)…Wales national football team/Current squad (
-Team, with schedule, etc…WALES (
-Country…Wales (
-The UEFA Euros tournament in France in June 2016…UEFA Euro 2016 (

    Wales national team: starting line-up (Best XI), from match which clinched their qualification
    (Chart of Wales starting squad from 10 October 2015, Bosnia 2-0 Wales: 17 players + coach are profiled.)
    [The Group B match-day which saw Wales automatically qualify for the 2016 UEFA Euros tournament in France].

By Bill Turianski on 10 November 2015;

Demographics of Wales
Size of Wales:
20,779 km-squared (or 8,022 square miles). Wales is about 86% of the size-by-area as the island of Cyprus (which would include the de-facto-state of Northern Cyprus), or about 92% of the size of the state of New Jersey in the USA. This is [about the equivalent of] the ~165th-largest country by area, placing them between Cyprus and Brunei (that is, if Wales were an independent nation, as opposed to what they are [a constituent state of the United Kingdom]).
{Sources: Wales;
List of countries and dependencies by area;
List of U.S. states and territories by area (}

Population of Wales:
Wales has a population of around 3.0 million {2011 census}. Wales is [about the equivalent of] the ~141st-most-populous country, placing them between Armenia and Lithuania (that is, if Wales were an independent nation, as opposed to what they are [a constituent state of the United Kingdom]).
{Sources: Wales;
List of countries and dependencies by population (}

Capital & largest city:
Cardiff, city population: about 346,000. Greater Cardiff metro-area population.: about 1.0 million {2011 census figures}.

Wales were in a qualifying group (Group B) with Belgium, Bosnia, Israel, Cyprus, and Andorra…
On 12 June 2015, in matchday 6 (of 10), before a full-capacity crowd of 33,000 at Cardiff City Stadium, Wales stunned the heavy favorites Belgium with a 1-0 win {see first photo in the illustration below}. That upset win came from an unusual goal scored by their talisman, Christian Bale, in the 25th minute, from a Wales corner-kick. The bizarre play saw no less than 4 consecutive headers (3 by Belgian players/ the last header an error by Belgian MF Radja Nainggolan as he tried to head the goal back to the Belgian goalkeeper). The finish was a skillful swiveled volley after a chest-trap, from short range, by Bale. The ball never touched the ground after the corner-kick and those 4 headers…until Bale intercepted that errant fourth header, and deftly slotted the ball, on the volley, straight through Belgian ‘keeper Thibault Courtois’ legs. Here is that ultimately crucial goal for Wales, via a 36-second youtube video, Wales v Belgium bale winning goal 12/6/15 (uploaded by gavin drobach at

The upset win that day in Cardiff was then sealed by the solid Wales defense (led by captain Ashley Williams), which held the potent Belgian offense scoreless – this despite the fact that Belgium had 61% of the possession that game. {See this article for a report on that match, Wales go clear as Bale strike defeats Belgium (} That result in June put the no-longer-hapless Wales in the driver’s seat for the second automatic clinching spot, which they sealed 4 months later (see next paragraph).

Fast-forward to 10th October 2015, before Group-matchday 9 (of 10), when Wales were scheduled to play Bosnia away (in Zenica, Bosnia & Herzegovina). At that point, Wales were 5 points ahead of Israel and 6 points ahead of Bosnia for the coveted second-spot. But 2 hours later, after a tough 2-0 defeat at the hands of a capable Bosnian side, the Welsh squad stood dejected on the pitch, with their heads down. Then suddenly, a huge cheer erupted from a corner of the Bilino Polje Stadium there in Zenica…because the 600-strong traveling Wales fans, to their joy, had just learned (via their hand-held devices) that another result had gone their way (Israel 1-2 Cyprus), and Wales had just mathematically clinched second place. So Wales were in, and the squad reacted accordingly {see second photo below}. For the first time in 58 years, Wales had qualified for a major tournament. So Wales will be joining England, and another home country – Northern Ireland – in France next June. And, as Gareth Bale says in the following article, this is just the beginning for Wales on the international stage.

From the Guardian, from 14 October 2015, by Stuart James, Gareth Bale: Wales qualification is ‘surreal, special – an incredible feeling’

Below: two photos from Wales’ successful 2016 Euros qualifying campaign…
Photo credits above – photo of Bale celebrating v Belgium by Reuters via Photo of Wales squad in Bosnia after learning they had clinched the 2016 Euros, tossing coach Chris Coleman in the air in celebration, photo by Reuters via

Wales’ coach & captain…
Coach of Wales…
Chris Coleman. Chris Coleman (footballer). Age 45. Born 10 June 1970, in Swansea, Wales.
CV: – As a player (DF) (1986-2002): Manchester City, Swansea City, Crystal Palace, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham. Retired as player in 2002.
-As manager/coach: Fulham (2003-07), Real Sociedad (2007-08), Coventry City (2008-10), Larissa [Greece] (2011-12).
-Hired as coach of Wales in January 2012. -2015: Secured qualification to a major tournament for Wales for the first time in 58 years. (Wales secured Q to the 2016 Euros on 10 Oct. 2015.)

Squad captain…
Ashley Williams. Ashley Williams (footballer).
Ashley Williams is a 31-year-old Central Defender who plays his club football for Welsh side Swansea City of the Premier League. (Williams also captains the Swansea squad.) While born in the West Midlands in Wolverhampton, Williams qualified to play for Wales via his maternal grandmother. As of 10 November 2015, he has 55 caps for Wales (and 1 goal).

(Please note: you can click on the illustration below to place it in an easier-to-read and enlargeable separate page.)

Below – Wales national team – starting line-up (Best XI) from match which clinched their qualification for the 2016 Euros in France
(Wales starting squad from 10 October 2015, Bosnia 2-0 Wales [match-day which saw Wales automatically qualify for the 2016 UEFA Euros tournament].)
(Plus 6 other player-options for the squad/ 17 Wales players profiled below…)
Photo and Image credits above -
Blank map of United Kingdom, by Daniel Dalet at Blank map of Wales by at Demis Web Map Server. Map caption (Cambrian Mountains) from Small illustration of Wales 2015 kits from Wales 2015 home jersey, photo unattributed at
Chris Coleman talking tactics with Gareth Bale and David Edwards, photo by Stu Forster at Wales 2015 jersey, photo unattributed at
Goalkeeper, Wayne Robert Hennessey, GK (Crystal Palace), photo unattributed at
Defenders, Chris Gunter, RB/LB/RMF (Reading), photo by Catherine Ivill at Ashley Williams, CB (Swansea City), photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images Europe via Ben Davies, LB (Tottenham Hotspur), photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe via
Midfielders/Wingers, Ashley ‘Jazz’ Richards, RB/LB/RMF (Fulham), photo by Stu Forster at Joe Allen, CMF/AMF/DMF (Liverpool), photo unattributed at Joe Ledley, CMF/AMF/DMF (Crystal Palace), photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe via Neil Taylor, LB/LMF (Swansea City), photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe via
Forwards/Attacking Wingers, Aaron Ramsey, CMF/AMF/RW (Arsenal), photo unattributed at Hal Robson-Kanu, LW/RW/FW (Reading), photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images Europe via Gareth Bale, RW/LW/FW/ (Real Madrid), photo unattributed at
Other player-options, David Vaughan, MF/DMF/RMF (Nottingham Forest), photo by Laurence Griffiths at David Edwards, AMF/RM/CM (Wolves), photo by Catherine Ivill/AMA at Sam Vokes, FW (Burnley), photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe via Simon Church, FW/W (Milton Keynes), photo by Catherine Ivill/AMA at James Chester, CB/RB (West Bromwich Albion), photo by Matthew Ashton at Jonathan Williams, AMF/R&LMF (Crystal Palace/ on loan to Nottingham Forest), photo from
Thanks to all at the following links -
Wales national team (
Thanks to Demis of the Netherlands for the blank map of Wales, at Demis Web Map Server (
Thanks to Stuart James at Guardian/football for the two fine articles.
Special thanks to the very excellent site called – for their unerring ability to describe most any footballers’ position(s).

May 30, 2011

Wales, 2 maps – Welsh football clubs in the English football league system (6 clubs) / Plus, 2011-12 Welsh Premier League.

Filed under: Wales — admin @ 7:24 pm

Please note: there is a more-recent post on Wales that I have done (Wales national football team/2016 Euros Qualifiers/November 2015)…
click on the following…
Wales national team – starting line-up (Best XI) from match which clinched their qualification for the 2016 Euros in France. (Wales starting squad from 10 October 2015, Bosnia 2-0 Wales [match-day which saw Wales automatically qualify for the 2016 UEFA Euros tournament].) 17 players + coach are profiled.



Photo credits – Photo of dawn mists at Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, Swansea from . Panoramic view of Swansea by Slawomir Purzycki at . Clifton Hill in Swansea photo by by Slawomir Purzycki at, here . Swansea Castle and BT Tower photo by Slawomir Purzycki at . Brandy Cove photo from .

Welsh football clubs that play in English leagues

Note – On the map page (which you can see by clicking on the image above). are the locations of the 6 Welsh football clubs in the English football league system. Their club crests there are sized to reflect 2010-11 average attendance (of home league matches). At the right on the map page are profile boxes of the 6 clubs, which include club info, 2010-11 kits, and photos of their football grounds. [Note: for each club, the lists of seasons spent in each Level have been updated to include the 2011-12 season which will begin in August.]

    Welsh Football Clubs in English Leagues

There are 6 Welsh football clubs in English football leagues. 1 Welsh club has just won promotion to the Premier League for the 2011-12 season – Swansea City AFC.
From, from 30 May 2011, by Kevin McCarra, ‘Swansea reach Premier League thanks to Scott Sinclair hat-trick‘.
From, by The Gaffer, from 31 May 2011, ‘Swansea City Breathe Much-Needed New Life Into the Premier League‘.
From Pitch, from 31 May 2011, by Tom Dunmore, ‘Wales In The English Premier League: A Potted History Of A Cross-Border Anomaly‘.

This is the first time a Welsh club has made it into the Premier League [ie, since 1992-93], and the first time since 1982 that a Welsh club has been in the English top flight (that was when Swansea City ended their sole two-season spell in the old English First Division).

1 Welsh club is in the Football League, in the League Championship [the 2nd Level] -Cardiff City FC.

The other 4 Welsh clubs playing in English leagues are in Non-League football…2 are in the Conference National [the 5th Level] – Newport County AFC and Wrexham FC.
One is now in the Conference North [a 6th Level league] – the just-promoted Colwyn Bay FC.
And one is now in the Western Football League Division One [a 9th Level league] – the just-promoted Methyr Town FC.

The reason for Welsh football clubs being in the English football leagues, and not in a Welsh league, goes back to the late Nineteenth Century, when it was far easier for, say, clubs from southern Wales to travel to play clubs in southern England and the Midlands than it was to travel to the northern half of Wales, because of the lack of prominent road and rail infrastructure between North and South Wales. So a Welsh league concept never caught on back then. The main reason why there is a Welsh football league system today has to do with FIFA. From Premier League page…
…{excerpt} ‘The league was formed in October 1991 by Alun Evans, Secretary General of the Football Association of Wales (FAW), as he believed that the Welsh international football team was under threat from FIFA. Wales, along with the other three home nations (England, Northern Ireland and Scotland), had a permanent seat on the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and it was thought that many FIFA members were resentful of this and pressing for the four nations to unite into one combined side for the whole of the United Kingdom.
The new league was formed for the 1992-93 season. At the time, Wales was almost unique in world football in that despite the FAW being a FIFA member it did not organise a national league. Traditionally, the strongest teams in Wales had always played in the English leagues. Aberdare Athletic, Cardiff City, Merthyr Town, Newport County, Swansea City and Wrexham have all been members of the Football League.” {end of excerpt}

This led to a dispute between the Football Association of Wales and the Non-League football clubs from Wales that wished to remain in English league system.

The Football Association of Wales did not attempt to coerce the 3 professional clubs then in Wales who played in the English Football League – Cardiff City, Swamsea City, and Wrexham – into joining the new League of Wales. But they did insist that the the amateur Welsh clubs playing in English Non-League football join the new Welsh league system. 8 of those Welsh clubs in English Non-League football did not wish to join the new League of Wales…Bangor City, Barry Town, Caernarfon Town, Colwyn Bay, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport County, Newtown and Rhyl. They were dubbed the ‘Irate Eight’. 3 eventually changed their stance and joined the League of Wales. Those clubs were Bangor City, Newtown, and Rhyl. The other 5 were forced to play their home matches for the 1992-93 season across the border in English venues, and became known as the Exiles [which is in fact the nickname now of Newport County, and that word appears on their crest]. For 3 seasons, North Wales club Colwyn Bay played their home matches 83 km. (51 miles) away, at Northwich Victoria’s ground in Cheshire (located south-west of of Greater Manchester). Newport County played way over in northeast Gloucestershire, in Moreton-in-Marsh, which is 214 km. (116 miles) away from Newport, South Wales.

Barry Town joined the League of Wales a year later, for the 1993-94 season, while the other 4 exiled clubs – Caernarfon, Colwyn Bay, Merthyr Tydfil, and Newport County – again played their home matches in English football grounds. After a third season of this (1994-95), a court ruling in 1995 allowed the four still-exiled clubs to return to their Welsh football grounds. But Caernarfon instead chose to join the League of Wales. That left Colwyn Bay, Merthyr Tydfil (now called Merthyr Town after being re-formed in 2010) and Newport County as Welsh members of English Non-League football leagues. Those 3 clubs, along with Cardiff City, Swansea City, and Wrexham, make up the half-dozen Welsh football clubs which to this day play in English football leagues.

From, from 23 July 2010, by Rob, ‘Diagnosis: Merthyr‘.

    The 2011-12 Welsh Premier League

Click on the image below, for a map of the 2011-12 Welsh Premier League, with 2010-11 average attendances, and list of title winners…
Welsh Premier League 2011-12

The Welsh Premier League
The League of Wales began play in 1992-93. In 2002-03, the name of the league was changed to the Welsh Premier League. For sponsorship reasons, the league is officially known as the Principality Building Society Welsh Premier Football League. Originally there were 18 teams in the league. There are now 12 teams, following a re-vamping after the 2009-10 season. Most of the league’s clubs field part-time professional squads (the two full-time professional teams in the Welsh Premier League [as of 2011-12] are Neath FC and The New Saints). One club is promoted from and relegated to the two feeder leagues…one covering South Wales (and which is called the Welsh Football League), and one covering North Wales (which is called the Cymru Alliance).

Current champion is North Wales-based Bangor City FC. This is Bangor City’s 3rd Welsh title. Bangor City also had the highest average attendance in league matches, drawing 754 per game to their Farrar Road Stadium, in Bangor. Bangor, in the ceremonial county of Gwynedd, has a population of around 21,700 {2008 estimate}. Despite being the club with the largest fan base in the Welsh football league system, Bangor City’s squad are part-time professionals.

The most-titled club in the Welsh league system is currently in the second tier – the South Wales club Barry Town, who last won the Welsh championship in 2003, but were relegated the following season while under financial duress. Barry Town have won 7 Welsh titles. Barry Town even had a spell in the third division, but have been in the second tier since 2008-09, and were in a relegation battle in 2010-11, finishing in 13th, one spot above the drop in the Welsh Football League Division One.

The second-most titled club in the Welsh league system are The New Saints, who were previously known as TNS (full name – Total Network Solutions Llansantffraid FC). The New Saints/TNS have won 5 Welsh titles, most recently in 2010. The club had merged with Oswestry Town FC in 2003, and in 2006 they shed the sponsorship part of their name. Now known as The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club, the club represents two towns that straddle the border between Montgomeryshire, Wales and Shropshire, England. The club actually plays in England, in Oswestry, Shropshire at Park Hall. The New Saints are one of the few full-time professional clubs in the Welsh league system [note: the only other club I could find that currently lists itself as full-time professional is Neath FC].

3 clubs – Aberystwyth Town, Bangor City and Newtown – have played in all 19 seasons of the League of Wales/Welsh Premier League. 3 other founding members – Afan Lido, Llanelli and Porthmadog – are in the Welsh Premier League currently [2011-12], after being relegated and then promoted back. Afan Lido was the promoted club for 2010-11. Afan Lido FC is one of two clubs currently in the Welsh Premier League that come from the South Wales town of Port Talbot, the other being Port Talbot Town FC [Port Talbot is the home-town of 3 brilliant actors - Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, and Michael Sheen, and has a population of around 35,000.]. Afan Lido won promotion as the highest-placed club in 2nd Level Wales that had successfully applied for promotion, after finishing in 2nd place in the South Wales-based Welsh Football League. The first place club in the 10/11 WFL, Bryntirion Athletic, did not apply for promotion at the start of the season, so they could not gain promotion; meanwhile, none of the top finishers in the North Wales-based Cymru Alliance had applied for promotion. In Wales, it is usually stadium infrastructure deficiencies which prevent clubs from applying for promotion; or which causes clubs to be denied for promotion. Basic financial problems within a club can also result in relegation, as was the case in 2010, with the relegation of the club with the second-largest fan base in the Welsh league system, the two-time Welsh champion Rhyl FC. Two seasons ago Rhyl, as reigning champions, had finished in 4th but were denied a license for the 2010-11 season and thus sent down to the Cymru Alliance, because their finances were a mess {see this, from, from May, 2010, ‘Rhyl FC’s Welsh Premier appeal fails FAW test‘}.

The Welsh Premier League is currently ranked by the UEFA Coefficient for leagues {see this} at 46th out of 53 national leagues in Europe [ranking as of May, 2011], which puts Wales league football, strength-wise, between Estonia and Armenia.

From the, fro 26 March 2010, by Dave Jones, ‘Welsh Premier League attendances are a concern‘.

From Two Hundred, from 27 Aug.2011 and 7 Sept.2011, by Neil Mace, ‘Dipping a Toe Into the Welsh Premier League‘.
A Welsh Premier League Odyssey, part two [Port Talbot]‘.
Photo credits on main map page -

Colwyn Bay/Llanelian Road…Photo of Llanelan Road ground with hill in background by Matthew Wilkinson at, here. Photo with cows on hillside by Matthew Wilkinson at, here. Aerial photo from, here.

Wrexham/Racecourse Ground… Interior photo from, here. Photo of Mold Road Stand with The Kop (terrace) in foreground from, here. Aerial image of Racecourse Ground from’s Eye satellite view, here.

Merthyr Town/Penydarren Park …Photo from behind goal by Foo-med at, here. Main Stand photo from Tims92 site, ‘Merthyr Tydfil – Penydarren Park‘. Aerial image from’s Eye satellite view, here.

Swansea City AFC/Liberty Stadium…Exterior photo of Liberty Stadium from 100 Football Grounds Club, Tims92, ‘Swansea City – Liberty Stadium‘. Close-up photo of stands from, here. Aerial image of Liberty Stadium from’s Eye satellite view, here.

Newport County/Newport Stadium… Photo with running track in foreground from [link was broken/I took a screenshot of the Google search page]. Photo taken during an Exiles match by Owain Vaughn at, here. Aerial image from’s Eye satellite view, here.

Cardiff City/Cardiff City Stadium…Interior photo with crowd by Phil Tucker at, Phil Tucker’s photostream @ Interior photo of empty stadium from Cardiff, Cardiff Blues and Cardiff City FC sign stadium contract. Exterior photo from Cardiff City, Cardiff City Stadium. Aerial photo from Colorcoat-online, Cardiff City Stadium, project summary/gallery.

Photo credits on Welsh Premier League map page -
Aerial image of Bangor city’s Farrar Road ground from’s Eye satellite view, here.
Main Stand photo from site, ‘Farrar Road’s days are numbered‘ (12 May 2011). Rooftop photo of Farrar Road ground from, here.

Thanks to, for attendance figures (League and Conference clubs).
Thanks to King’s Lynn Town FC Supporters Trust site, for Colwyn Bay attendance figure, ‘Average Attendance – Evo-Stick Premier Division‘.
Thanks to the Toolstation Western Football League site, for Merthyr Town attendance figure, ‘Toolstation Western Football League – First Division Attendance Statistics‘.
Thanks to the Zamaretto League [Southern Football League] site, for 2009-10 Merthyr Tydil attendance figure, ‘[Zamaretto League] Premier Division Attendances 2009-2010‘.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘Football in Wales‘.
Thanks to unofficial Welsh premier League site, History.
Thanks to, for the base maps, Demis Web Map Server.

September 3, 2009

Super League XIV; Guinness Premiership 2009-10 and the Magners League 2009-10, with maps of each league, and attendance map of all 36 teams in top flight UK/Irish rugby.

Filed under: Ireland,Rugby,Rugby>England,Scotland,Wales — admin @ 6:25 am


The first map shows all 36 teams in the three top rugby leagues of Great Britain and Ireland.  The maps for Super League XIV,  Guinness Premiership 2009-10,  and Magners League 2009-10 are further down in the post.  

Two of the three leagues shown on the map use the older Rugby Union code.  Super League uses the newer Rugby League rules

The Rugby Union code dates back to 1870 {see this}. The Rugby League code has its roots in the Great Schism, and the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895 {see this: ‘The Great Schism’ (from};  {see this: ‘History of rugby league’, from}.}.   

In the late nineteenth century, the working class status of the majority of rugby players in the north of England necessitated an establishment of payment for the players (as well as compensation for injuries). The origins of many of the rugby players in the south of England were middle class and upper class, and many learned the game at the Public Schools (which were then and still are essentially private schools for the privileged). So there was less a need for player payment. The Rugby League / Rugby Union split can traced to this Victorian era class divide…in the north, poor working-class men playing the game, in the south, Public School graduates with little pressing need for salary augmentation, playing the game under the principles of amateurism. 

In 1892, charges of professionalism were made against rugby clubs in Yorkshire, specifically in Leeds and Bradford. By 1893, widespread suspensions of northern clubs and players began. In late August, 1895, in a meeting in Manchester, nine Lancashire clubs declared their support for their Yorkshire colleagues. Two days later, 29th August, 1895, representatives of 22 clubs met in Huddersfield, Yorkshire to form the Northern Rugby Football League. Included in these 22 clubs were 7 clubs that are currently in Super League XIV…Huddersfield, Hull FC, Leeds, St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington, and Wigan.


Rugby Union is more plodding, and utilizes scrums to restart the run of play {see this, ‘Playing rugby union’}.  Rugby League is faster and more wide-open {see this: ‘Rugby League’}. But Rugby League is the dominant game in just two areas of the world…in a swath of north-central England, and in Australia. 

Rugby League Code: Super League…


Click on the following title for Super League XIV map:  rugby_super-league-xiv___.gif

The parts of northern England where Rugby League is the dominant code are in a band which stretches from Merseyside, through Cheshire, Greater Manchester, and east across the Pennine Chain to West Yorkshire, and the East Riding of Yorkshire, centered on Hull. 11 of the 14 current teams in Super League are from this Rugby League-intensive swath of England. In this swath there is 1 team from Merseyside, just east of Liverpool (St Helens); [Editors note ca. 2014: now 2 teams currently from Cheshire incl. the re-instated Widnes Vikings] 1 team from Cheshire (Warrington Wolves); 2 teams from Greater Manchester (Wigan Warriors and Salford City); 5 teams from West Yorkshire (Huddersfield Giants, Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, and Castleford Tigers); and 2 teams from Kingston upon Hull (Hull FC, and Hull Kingston Rovers).

There is one other team in Super League from England: Harlequins RL, who are based in west London. Although it had separate origins, since 2005 Harlequins RL has been a branch of the Rugby Union/ Guinness Premiership team Harlequins FC. Harlequins field a team in both rugby codes (as do Super League team Leeds Rhinos, with their Rugby Union team being Leeds Carnegie). 

The other two teams in Super League XIV are the Celtic Crusaders of Bridgend, south Wales, who joined Super League in 2008; and Catalans Dragons, of Perpignon, France (in the Catalonian area of southern France), who joined in 2006. [Note: Celtic Crusaders are now defunct, having been wound up in Sept. 2011.]. Super League was formed with the intention of being Europe’s top league in the Rugby League code, but having one team outside of Great Britain is as far as the league has got in that direction. The French team was originally Paris Saint-Germain RL , but thar poorly supported club went under in 1997.

In 2005, Super League replaced promotion/relegation with Licensing {see this}. There is a brief description of Super League Licenses on the map, in the sidebar.  Super League features a February to September playing season, unlike the traditional late summer/ fall/ winter/ early spring rugby season. 

The highest drawing teams in Super League are Leeds Rhinos, who averaged 15,113 per game in 2008;  Hull FC (14,390 per game);  Wigan Warriors (14,149 per game); and St Helens (12,796 per game). As a whole, Super League XIII averaged 9,082 per game. Here is the list of attendances that I used {click here ( Message Board thread, posted by frequent contributor Stadiumitis?)}

Super League has a large play-off format, with 8 teams qualifying each season . This system has been in place since 1998 {see this}, and culminates each season in the Grand Final.

Only four teams have won Grand Final Titles…St Helens 4 times; Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls 3 times; and Wigan Warriors once, in the first final in 1998.   Leeds Rhinos were 2008 champions.

For the full list of Rugby League Champions (1895-’96 to 2008), {click here}.

For the 2009 Super League table {click here}.

For new expanded Super League play-off structure {click here (Sky Sports broadcast report from March, 2009}.


Rugby Union Code: Guinness Premiership…

Click on the following title for Guinness Premierhip 2009-10 map: rugby_guinness-premiership2009-10_1.gif

 The Guinness Premiership is strictly an English affair.  Its roots are in the English Rugby Football Union’s decision in the early 1970′s to finally sanction a knock-out cup (which is now known as the Anglo-Welsh Cup {see this}. The pro game in England had been held back by the organizers fear that ‘dirty play’ would ensue if leagues were organized within English Rugby Union. By the mid-1980′s , national merit tables came into being (this being the first time Rugby Union teams’ success was quantifiably measured). In 1987, the Courage Leagues were formed. This was a pyramid system involving 108 leagues and over 1,000 teams. In 1994, Sky Sports started broadcasting games. In 1996, professional status began with the debut of the Rugby Union Premiership. In 2002-03, the champion was now determined by the Playoffs winner, instead of first place in the final league table. That season the title went to London Wasps, while Bath was winner of the now-secondary league table. Those two teams, London Wasps and Bath Rugby, both have won 6 Premiership Titles, they are second only to Leicester Tigers  who boast of 8 Premiership titles. Leicester also draws very well,  averaging around 17,000 per game. The only other teams with titles are Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks, both with 1 championship season. Incidentally, Sale Sharks are the lone Rugby Union team in the Rugby League region of north-central England. Gloucester has won the league table 3 times. Reigning champions are Leicester Tigers.

The Guinness Premiership has relegation and promotion, with last place being sent down to the Guinness Championship (formerly National Division One). It is the only one of these 3 leagues that has promotion/relegation in the strict sense. Leeds Carnegie have been promoted for the 2009-10 Guinness Premiership,  upplanting the relegated Bristol Rugby. 

The Guinness Premiership draws the highest crowds of the 3 leagues, averaging 10,876 per game in the 2008-’09 season. Highest drawing teams in 2008-09 were Leicester Tigers (17,210 per game); Gloucester (14,215 per game); Northampton Saints (13,250 per game); Harlequins RFC (11,774 per game); and London Irish, of Reading (11,384 per game). Five teams drew between 9,100 and 10,600 per game…Bath Rugby; Worcester Warriors;  Saracens,of Watford; London Wasps, of Wycombe;  and Sale Sharks, of Stockport, Greater Manchester. 

Guinness Premiership 2009-2010 season starts 4th September,  fixtures {click here (Official site)}


Rugby Union Code: Magners League…

Click on the following title for Magners League map: rugby_magners-league09-10.gif

The Magners League is the top flight rugby league of Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. Its roots are in the old Welsh Premier Division. In 1999, Scottish teams joined, and in 2001, Irish and Northern Irish teams joined,  inaugurating the Celtic League. After a shake-up in early 2003, involving the demise of some of the Welsh teams, it was decided that the Celtic League would become the sole professional league in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland. [The Welsh Premier Division is now a developmental league, see this.]. In 2006, for sponsorship reasons, the Celtic League became known officially as the Magners League. 

Munster and Leinster have won the title twice; Ospreys, Llanelli, and Ulster have one title each. Munster Rugby are reigning champions. Munster also drew highest of all teams, not just in the Magners League, but versus teams from the other two leagues as well. Munster plays in two locations: in Cork, and in Limerick. They averaged 17,401 per game in 08/09. Leinster also drew well, second highest in the Magners League and fifth best overall, at 14,728. The next highest drawing Magners League team last season was Ulster, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, who drew 9,085 per game. Next in order came the four Welsh teams… Cardiff Blues (8,673 per game); Ospreys, of Swansea (8,405 per game); Scarlets, of Llanelli (7,293); and Newport Gwent Dragons (6,089). The 2 Scottish teams only drew in the 4,000-range; and the lowest drawing club of all was Connacht, of Galway, Ireland,  ho drew only 1,989 per game, lower than 10 teams in lower-division leagues. There is a Magners League sidebar at the lower left of the map.

Magners League 2009-2010 season starts 4th September,  fixtures {click here}.


Lower Leagues

The highest drawing non-top-flight team in 08/9 was Exeter Chiefs, of National Division 1 (that league will be called the Guinness Championship in September 2009). Exeter drew 4,599 per game in 08/09, higher than 2 Super League and 2 Magners League teams. Next highest, at 4,006 per game, was Widnes Vikings, of Cheshire, a team in the second tier of Rugby League, which is called the Co-Operative Championship {see this map of the teams in the Co-operative Championship…again,  ote the concentration of teams in the Rugby League-oriented north of England} [note: Widnes Vikings joined Super League in 2012.].


Thanks to Football Grounds Guide Message Board, and contributor ‘Stadiumitis?’  {click here}.   Football Grounds Guide home {click here}.  

Thanks to James at The Rugby Blog {click here}, for input and information.

Thanks to Steven Bond at {‘Rugby League vs. Rugby Union’, click here}.  

Thanks to Suite101 site, and this thread {click here: ‘Rugby Union versus Rugby League’,  by Stuart Duncan}.  
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikimedia  {click here for Super League XIV page;  click here for Guinness Premiership pageclick here for Magners League page}.

January 28, 2008

Cardiff City FC.

Filed under: Engl. Promotion Candidates,Wales — admin @ 6:30 am

Cardiff City are one of only three Welsh clubs to currently play in the English Football League (Swansea City and Wrexham are the other two; Newport County had played in the 4th Level, from 1920-’87, but were relegated to non-League status in 1988). 

Cardiff are the only non-English club to win one of the 3 major English football trophies.  This occurred when they won the 1927 FA Cup, over Arsenal, 1-0.   The Cardiff City teams of the 1920′s were some of the best in England.  In fact, they narrowly missed out on the 1924 National Title, as they were tied with Huddersfield Town for first place, but lost out on goal average.   The next year (1925), they finished runners up in the FA Cup, losing 0-1 to Sheffield United.  Two years later they finally claimed a trophy, with the 1927 FA Cup.  **{See this article, on the 1927 FA Cup.}      **{See this Youtube highlights reel.}     **{See this Youtube tribute.}


Cardiff City has spent just 15 seasons in the top flight, 8 of those in the 1920′s.  Their last spell in the first division was 2 seasons in the early 1960′s.  They were relegated to the second division in 1962.  Since then they have have been relegated 7 times, and promoted 7 times, between the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Levels.  Their low point was in 1998, when they finished 21st in the 4th Level (then called League 3), only two places from being relegated out of the League. 
Under manager Dave Jones this season, Cardiff are threatening to break into the League Championship playoff places.  They sit in 8th place, after having won 6, drawn 2, and lost 2, in their last 10 games.   The club features two old Premier League stars, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (with 5 league goals) , and Robbie Fowler (4 league goals).  Two Welsh-born midfielders are powering the Bluebirds: Paul Parry (6 league goals) and promising 21-year old Joe Ledley (5 league goals).  

Thanks to Historical Football Kits website (historicalkits[dot]co[dot]uk): the 6 older kits on the right hand side of the chart are courtesy of Historical Football Kits, and reproduced by permission.   Thanks to Colours of Football website (colours-of-football[dot]com);   (trimac[dot]com);   (thefa[dot]com);   (viewimages[dot]com);   (therightresort[dot]com);   (worldstadiums[dot]com).   And special thanks to (  for the great panoramic photo of Ninian Park.

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