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October 1, 2010

Primera División de México, 2010 Apertura/2011 Clausura – Stadia map.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Mexico: Fútbol,Zoom Maps — admin @ 8:04 am

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Primera División de México 2010-11 – Stadia map


Mexican Primera 2010 Apertura, Primer, by John Jagou at BigSoccer.com

Both Apertura (August to December) and Clausura (January to May) champions are decided by the 8-team playoffs called the Liguilla {see this}. One club is relegated each season, and that is determined by the lowest 3-season total points ratio (ie, just like Argentina’s cynical system). This basically makes it easy for established clubs to avoid a one-bad-season relegation, and makes it harder for just-promoted clubs to remain in the first division, because newly-promoted clubs usually have to finish closer to the middle of the table to avoid the drop, since their points ratio will be from just 34 games versus other clubs whose ratio will be determined from 68 or 102 games.

There are some changes to the format {which, if you are unfamiliar with the Mexican top flight, you can read about on the map page of my last map of the Primera División de México, here [Feb. 9, 2009]}…Copa Libertadores spots #s 2 and 3 are no longer being decided by the now-scrapped Inter-Liga competition, but by the second best and third best finishes in the Apertura general table (Apertura Classification stage), and as before, the Apertura Classification stage leader gets the #1 Copa Libertadores spot.

So when following the Primera Divisón de México, especially in the autumn months (ie the Apertura), it is wise to keep an eye on not just the three divisions, but also the combined 18-team general table, because coveted Copa Libertadores spots are being fought for there.

Clausura 2010 champions were Deportivo Toluca, who beat Santos Laguna on penalties in the final of the playoffs in May. This is Toluca’s 10th title, making them tied for second-best all-time with América. Chivas de Guadalajara have the most titles, with 11. {List of Mexican professional era champions, here}. That makes it three of the last ten championships won by Toluca…pretty impressive for a club like Toluca, which gets relatively little media attention, plays in a stadium that only holds 27,000, and are from a city that is sixth-largest in the country {List of metropolitan areas in Mexico by area, here}. The fact that some clubs are owned by giant conglomerates, and in the case of Club América, by Televisa (the largest Spanish-speaking television and media organization in the world) doesn’t help provincial clubs like Toluca. Televisa actually owns two teams (which is a cartel, and should be illegal, like most everywhere else): the very popular and successful América, and the very weakly-supported and trophy-less San Luis. There is big money in televising Primera Divisón de México games {see this article, from the Australia.to News site, from 18 May, 2010, by Emilio Godoy, ‘Football Fortunes for Mexican TV‘}. América are known as Millonetas (Millionaires), for all the money the club has at it’s disposal.

Just like in Argentina, two clubs get the lions’ share of the spotlight in Mexico…Club América and Chivas de Guadalajara (Mexico City clubs Cruz Azul and Pumas de UNAM are the only other clubs that have relatively large fan support). But nevertheless, just like in Argentina, other clubs keep on winning the recent tournaments. In Mexico’s case, recent champions were Toluca (Apertura 2005, Apertura 2008, and Clausura 2010 champions), CF Monterrey (Apertura 2009 champions), Pumas de UNAM (Clausura 2009 champions), Santos Laguna (Clausura 2008 champions), and Pachuca (Clausura 2006 and Clausura 2007 champions). América’s last title was in Clausura 2005; Chivas’ last title was in Apertura 2006. [The wide range of recent champions is most likely less a product of an even playing field and is more likely a result of the byzantine league/playoff system and split season structure, where an upset or two has much larger implications here than it would in a long-haul, 10-month season.]

Below is a chart that shows the results of a 2010 poll, {found here (Consulta.mx site)}. It shows the most popular fútbol clubs in Mexico, and the percentage changes from 2008 to 2010….
mexico_poll_favorite-futbol-club_b.gif

Chivas de Guadalajara, which is owned by the corporation that runs Omnilife (Omnilife is the main rival of Herbalife), is a club that prides itself on only fielding players born in Mexico. [The policy is similar to the one at Spain's Athletic Bilbao, who only field Basque players, but there is a crucial difference... because the Spanish government suppresses Basque identity at an institutional level.] Chivas de Guadalajara’s policy, in this day and age of open markets, more fluid borders, and more cross-cultural interchange, is racist by definition. It is also foolish, because the policy does not give the club a chance to attract the best players. Chivas would probably have had a better chance of winning the 2010 Copa Libertadores final versus Internacional of Brazil, had they not had their Mexicans-only policy. I mean, Chivas doesn’t even want Mexican-Americans on their squad {see this from The Offside.com, by Daryl, from Feb. 2008, ‘But is He Mexican Enough?‘}. That’s when xenophobia trumps logic, because a California-born Mexican is still Mexican ethnically, and was born in an area that was once part of the nation of Mexico. Anyway, it is something that many Mexicans feel proud of and I am sorry but those people should be re-considering what it means to be a citizen of the planet Earth in 2010…people should be tearing down walls between different societies – legal walls, metaphorical walls, and physical walls. People should not be proud of policies of exclusion that prevent the inclusion of others who are different. And yes, I know in America there are many on the right wing who advocate just the sorts of things my last few sentances decried, like building a wall at the Mexican border, or passing creepy document-check/racial profiling laws like they did in the state of Arizona. But I do not support that political platform, I support an inclusive policy which is the polar opposite. Think of it this way…what would the response be if a German football club had a policy of only playing Germans? You think people would stand for that? OK, let’s try it with a country with a more benign 20th century history…what if a Swedish club had a policy of only playing Swedes? You see…no matter how you frame it, it comes off as racist, because IT IS RACIST. So why does Chivas de Guadalajara get a pass on this? For crying out loud, the Primera División de Mexico has exactly zero African players in it {see this, from The Best Eleven site, ‘Foreign Players in the Primera Divisón de México‘ [Feb., 2009]}. I checked, and as of October, 2010, there still are not any players from Africa in the rosters of any club in the Primera División de México. Granted, there have been a few Afro-Mexican players, including current Cruz Azul DF Melvin “Melvin of the Cocoa Crispies” Brown, and there have been a couple of Afro-Mexicans who have played for the Mexico national team, including Tottenham’s Giovanni dos Santos {see this, from The Culture of Soccer site, ‘Soccer and the Afro-Mexican Population‘ [March 12, 2007]. Also, it should be pointed out that there are a few prominent, dark-skinned Latin American players in the league, such as Tigres de UANL captain and FW Itamar Batista da Silva {profile at e.wikipedia.org, here}. But I did not make up that nickname that has been foisted upon Melvin Brown, and it pretty much proves my point about the damaging effects that the institutional encouragement of racial exclusivity has on a culture. Because it is pretty hard to accept the fact that that sort of nickname is still tolerated in Mexico.

And don’t get me started on Chivas de Guadalajara’s new stadium. Sure Estadio Omnilife {skyscrapercity.com thread, here} looks impressive and unique. It has been described as looking like a flying saucer landing on a volcano. But didn’t management consider the colossal irony of the fact that the exterior of the stadium is clad in actual, real, live grass, but the playing surface is artificial turf ? Real grass on the outside for show, but inside, where it matters, on the field, the players must run and tackle and slide and fall, and risk injury, on a playing surface that is concrete covered with plastic bristles. Duh. Estadio Omnilife is the sort of thing you would expect to see being built by Mr. Burns during an episode of The Simpsons.
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I decided to make this map a Stadia map, even though I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to find good quality photos of some of the stadiums, so sorry for that. I decided to “make up” for that by adding another photo for each stadium, an interior shot. I decided I had to do that when I saw photos of Santos Laguna’s new Estadio Corona… it looks like a nice place to watch a match {photo gallery of Estadio Corona (II) with lots of photos of of the swank new facilities, here (at ‘Disfruta la Galería de Inaguación’, which is below the time-lapse video}. Plus I wanted to better show Deportivo Toluca’s ground, one of the oldest stadiums in Mexico (opened in 1954; hosted games in both World Cups in Mexico in 1970 and 1986), which I think is one of the coolest-looking football stadiums around. Here is an 11-photo gallery of Toluca’s Estadio Nemesio Díez, from deportivotolucafc.com, {click here}.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, Primera División de México
Thanks to FootieMap.com/Mexico for location help.
Thanks to Ludwig for his message, which included maps he made of the Mexican first and second divisions, here (in the Comments section at the bottom, comment #4).

Photo credits…
Santos Laguna – exterior shot: at imageshack.us , here
interior: at Territorio Santos Modelo.com.mx .

San Luis – exterior: Google Earth shot via The Mistic.wordpress.com , here.
interior: BigSoccer.com forum (with lots of Mexican stadium photos), here.

Tigres de UANL – exterior: Fermin Tellez Rdz at Flickriver.com , ‘Estadio Universitario, San Nicholás de los Garza, N.L. México‘. Fermin Tellez Rdz’s photostream at Flick.com
interior: unattributed, from nuevaleon.wordpress.com [from Flickr.com files].
Monterrey – exterior: http://www.football-pictures.net
interior [wide photo]: Pato Garza at commons.wikimedia.org.: ‘The Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education’s Tecnológico Stadium in Monterrey, Mexico, during a professional football (soccer) match‘.

Necaxa – exterior: [sitio oficial] necaxafutbol.com/Estadio
interior: {from crisolplural.com/Deportes/Futbol} , Estadio Victoria de Aguascalientes.

Atlas – exterior: lalomg_0326 at flickr.com.
interior: Maximilian Laackmaan at www.asseltours.de, via www.fussballtempel.com.
Estudiantes Tecos – exterior:’Remodelan el estadio Tres de Marzo‘ (www.diacritico.com from 5-22-2009).
interior: Rigoberto H. Esquivel at mediotempo.com, here.
Chivas de Guadalajara – exterior: mexico.cnn.com, 29 de Julioo, 2010, ‘El Estadio Omnilife tendrá una inauguración al estilo europeo‘.
interior: Marco Guzman, Jr. at en.wikipedia.org/Estadio Omnilife, here.

Queretaro – exterior: www.queretaro.travel at flickriver.com.
interior: www.futboldeseleccion.com/Estadios Mexico .

Deportivo Toluca – exterior: Sergiopons at Panoramio.com, ‘Estadio Nemesio Diez desde el aire‘ .
interior: www.deportivotolucafc.com/estadio

Morelia – exterior: pollomar at photobucket.com
interior: ‘Monarchs will play Sundays noon during A10‘ (www.mediotempo.com, 5-26-2010).

Pachuca – exterior: ‘Inicia el cuadrangular Pachuca Cuna del Futbol Mexicano‘.
interior: Hector Jesus Tapia Fernandez at en.wikipedia.org/Estadio Hidalgo

Cruz Azul – exterior: Estadio Azul by vedur77 at flickr.comskyscrapercity.com thread, Estadio Azul (6 photos).
interior:estadio Azul by originalrocker at flickr.com. originalrocker’s photostream at flickr.com.
Pumas – exterior: unattributed/bigsoccer.com/forum.
interior: www.dalepumas.com/Estadio Olimpico Universitario.
América – exterior: unattributed at photobucket, but it says Ricardo Garrido/esmexico.com…no luck finding a link.
interior: Estadio Azteca by Samuel G. Valdes Montemayor at www.mexicofotos.com, here.

Atlante – exterior: www.colchonero.com/Futbol Mexicano thread [note: this link is recommended if you would like to see Mexican top flight jerseys circa 2009].
interior: fricki.net thread, here.

Puebla – exterior: [oficial sitio] www.pueblafutbolclub.com.mx/Estadio.
interior: unattributed at imageshack.us.

Jaguares de Chiapas – exterior: Miguel Abarca at mediotiempo.com
interior: danorebel at photobucket.com

November 2, 2009

Turkey: 2009-10 Super Lig.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Turkey,Zoom Maps — admin @ 7:06 pm

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This is the 52nd season of the competition.  Reigning champions are Besiktas JK.   SuperLig table {click here (SoccerStats.com)}  [note: Ankaraspor was demoted on 15 September,  due to conflicts of interest on the club's board with respect to local rivals Ankaragucu,  {see this article (from WorldSoccer.com)};  {see this article  (from TurkeySuperLigBligspot.com)}.].

On the map,  I have included a photo of each club’s stadium.  If possible,  I selected an exterior shot of the stadium,  to give a view of the surroundings of each location.  Kayserispor’s Kaydar Has Stadyumu is brand new;  the photo I used is from last winter,  and shows the now-completed structure about three-quarters finished.  Here is a photo of the interior of the stadium {click here (TinyPic.com; photo by Serkam Erdogan)}.   The stadium will be one of the main assets in Turkey’s bid for hosting a European Championship in the future. 

Also on the map is a list of the largest cities in Turkey,  with population figures.  The cities with 2009-10 SuperLig representation are shown in bold, with the clubs’ crests displayed alongside.  Here is a forum thread with photos, ‘Stadiums in Turkey’ {click here (SkyscraperCity.com)}.   Here is an article from http://www.insidefutbol.com , ‘Turkish Super Lig Stadium Report’, by Volkan Agir, from October, 2008 {click here}.    This is a English-language blog on the Turkish Super Lig that I just found {click here (TurkeySuperLig.blogspot.com)}.

Below are two galleries.  The first shows the top Turkish internationals who are currently plying their trade in their homeland.

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The second gallery shows the young Turkish-born players most likely to be future stars.

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Thanks to The Stadium Guide {click here}.   Thanks to World Stadiums site {click here}.   Thanks to www.flickr.com {click here (set at blackbir/dk’s photo of the Ataturk Olimpiyat Stadi)}.   Thanks to ImageShak.com {click here (set at photo, unattributed,  of Galatasaray’s Ali Sami Yen Stadyumu )}.   Thanks to www.panoramio.com .   Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org {click here (set at Super Lig 2009-10 page). 

Thanks to PC Lion FC blog {click here / translated, click here},  and Aceto Balsamico site {click here / translated, click here},  for the many links to posts of mine.   Thanks to Ugur at PCLion FC blog for help in selecting the lists of players in the two galleries.

October 17, 2009

The Netherlands: 2009-10 Eredivisie, with 08/09 average attendances, and stadium photos.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Netherlands,Zoom Maps — admin @ 8:11 am

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The reigning Eredivisie champions are AZ .  The club is located  in Alkmaar,  Nord-Holland,  which is 33 km. (20 mi.) north-west of Amsterdam.   KNVB Cup (Dutch Cup) Holders are SC Heerenveen,  from Heerenveen,  Friesland.

At the top of the map are the crests of each club,  sized to reflect their 2008-09 average attendance in either the Eredivisie or the second division,  which is called the Eerste Divisie.   At the top left,  there is a list of the cities with 09/10 Eredivisie representation.   Below is the list I used.

‘List of cities in the Netherlands with over 100,000 people’ {click here (en.wikipedia.org}.

Dutch clubs in UEFA competitions for 2009-10

AZ,  Champions League Group stage-Group H,  with Arsenal,  Olympiacos (Greece),  and Standard Liège (Belgium).   AZ travels to north London to play Arsenal on Tuesday, 20th October. 

Ajax,  Europa League,  Group stage-Group A.   At home versus Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) on Thursday, 22nd October.    Heerenveen,  Europa League,  Group stage-Group D.   Away to FK Venspils (Latvia) on Thursday, 22nd October.    Twente,  Europa League,  Group stage-Group H.   Away to Sheriff [Tiraspol] (Moldova) on Thursday, 22nd October.    PSV,  Europa League,  Group stage-Group K.   Home versus FC Copenhagen (Denmark) on Thursday, 22nd October.

UEFA site,  here. 

Thanks to  SportingSites.com/netherlands {click here}.   Thanks to http://hollandfoci.eufoci.hu/stadionok.php .   Thanks to Panoramio.com {I have set the link  to a ground-level exterior shot of SC Heerenveen’s Abe Lenstra Stadion,  here,  by Jelmer Wielema}.   Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org  {click here (2009-10 Eredivisie page)}.   Thanks to E-F-S site for attendance figures {click here}.

May 4, 2009

Brazil, 2009 Campeonato Serie A: the 20 Clubs.

Filed under: Brazil,Zoom Maps — admin @ 4:50 pm

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Defending champions are Sao Paulo,  who have won the last three Brazilian titles.   On the map,  on the far right,  I have listed the final table for 2008,  including the four relegated clubs,  the four clubs promoted from Série B,  and the 5 clubs which qualified for the 2009 Copa Libertadores.  All 5 of these clubs,  incidently,  have advanced to the Knockout Round (of 16) in the Copa… Sao Paulo FCGremioCruzeiroPalmeiras,  and 2008 Copa do Brazil winner (and 11th place league finisher) Sport Recife.

Of the 4 promoted clubs,  by far the most popular are SC Corinthians.  This massively supported Sao Paulo club will feature former Cruzeiro,  PSV Eindhoven,  FC Barcelona,  Internazionale,  Real Madrid and AC Milan striker Ronaldo.  And on a personal note,  one of my favorite players,  Andres D’Alessandro {Wikipedia profile, here},  returns for another spell at Internacional.  D’Alessandro,  a crafty midfielder,  was very instrumental in helping Portsmouth FC avoid relegation in the spring of 2005,  and I have kept an eye on him since.  And speaking of the oft-overlooked Porto Alegre club SC Internacional,  here is a nice blog on the club that I just discovered,  run by a Welsh futbol fan… http://Internacionaluk.blogspot.com/ .    

The 2009 Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A season begins on Saturday,  May 9th.  Here are the fixtures {click here (Data.7m.cn site);  (ESPN Soccernet, click here)}

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia. {Click here for the page on Campeonato Brasileiro Série A 2009}.

February 5, 2009

Mexico: Primera Division, 2009-Clausura-Map and Club Profiles.

Filed under: Mexico: Fútbol,Zoom Maps — admin @ 7:42 am

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The Clausura 2009 of the Primera Division de Mexico began in mid-January, and will run to the final day of May.  {Wikipedia page, Click here}.   The map features an explanation of the complex league format.  The format was established to help the clubs create fixtures which draw larger crowds (ie, the playoff matches,  as well as the US-based InterLiga matches which decide 2 of the 3 Copa Libertadores qualifiers).  The byzantine format has helped get many of the clubs out of crippling financial situations,  but it is rather complicated. 

Here is a good write-up about the Mexican Primera Divsion from the US Soccer Players site:  {Click here}.

Mexican Primera División table  {Click here (ESPN)}.

Thanks to the Albion Road site  {Click here}.  Plus thanks to Jeremy for helping me get to the bottom of the sordid CD Irapuoto-to-ersatz Veracruz-to-Jaguares de Chiapas franchise movement.

In 2002, the people who ran the Veracruz club had the gall to buy another club and move the team to Veracruz and play as Veracruz in the first division, while the real Veracruz was in the 2nd division.  They bought and moved the 1st division club  CD Irapuato in early 2002, in between the Verano 2001 and Invierno 2002 half-seasons. For 19 games in 2002, there was a Veracruz in both the first and the second divisions (!?).  So of course, the 2nd-division-Veracruz won promotion after the Invierno 2002.  Management sold the formerly-Irapuato-now-Veracruz club to a group in the impoverished and fractious Chiapas state.  [Remember the masked revolutionary-leader Subcommandante Marcos  {see this}, from news reports around 8 or 9 years ago?  That place.].  The original-Veracruz ended up being relegated back to the Primera División A (the 2nd division) after the Clausura 2008.  A new club was created,  in the 2nd division,  for Irapuato for the 2002-’03 season.  The club won promotion that season,  and played in Primera Division in the 2003-’04 season,  but were relegated in 2004.  Irapuato were relegated again to the third division.  3 years later,  Pachuca-B gained promotion to the second division,  and the club was sold and moved to…Irapuato.  Talk about full circle.

Note: In the link I put up from the US Soccer Players site,  this affair is touched upon in the 11th paragraph,  the one that begins… “Much like American sports, owners can throw a wrench in relegation plans by moving teams all over the country and changing names…”  {Click here,  and go to the 11th paragraph}.

Thanks to the contributors to the relevant pages at Wikipedia  {Mexican Primera Division page,  Click here}.

January 15, 2009

Conference National (aka Blue Square Premier League): 2008-09 season, zoom map with club profiles.

Filed under: 2008-09 English Football,Eng. Non-League,Zoom Maps — admin @ 11:56 am

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The 5th Level of English football is still popularly known as the Conference, although for sponsorship reasons, it’s been officially called the Blue Square Premier League since the summer of 2007. The Alliance Premier League, established for the 1979-1980 season, was the first attempt to create, for the 5th Level, a fully national league under the Football League (which is Levels 1 through 4 of the English football pyramid). Clubs were drawn from the Northern Premier League and the Southern League. 7 years later, the Alliance changed it’s name to the Football Conference. That same season, 1986-87, the League (ie, Levels 1-4) recognized the marked improvement in the quality of play in the 5th Level by finally accepting direct promotion and relegation between the Conference and the League. In the late spring of 1987, Scarborough became the first club to be promoted to the League, supplanting Lincon City. [Scarborough FC is now defunct, they were wound up in June, 2007.] In 2002-03, a second promotion spot was added, decided by a four-team playoff competition.

[ At the end of each season, two Conference clubs are promoted, and two 4th Level League clubs are relegated. Concurrently, four Conference clubs are relegated to either the Conference-North or the Conference-South, and four clubs, two from each of these 6th Level Leagues, are promoted to the Conference. ]  

Up until then, for the first century of professional football in England, Non-League clubs had to apply for election to the League. As the League expanded to a 2nd Level (the Second Division, in 1892-93),  to a 3rd Level (the Third Division, in 1920-21), and to a 4th Level (the Fourth Division, in 1958-59), the promotion/ relegation gate was kept shut below these levels.  

The belated implementation of promotion/ relegation, in 1986-87, between Levels 4 and 5, has proven to be a fair development, as this list shows  {Click here (list from Wikipedia: ‘Former Conference clubs now in The Football League‘) }. There are 5 clubs on the list that have risen two levels above the Conference, to League One…Carlisle United, Cheltenham Town, Colchester United, Hereford United, and Yeovil Town. And there is one former Conference club that has risen 3 levels:  Doncaster Rovers.  Had election to the League remained in force, what are the odds that all these clubs would have been elected to the League during the last 22 seasons ?  Nil. And the fact that some rather good-sized clubs are now stuck in the Conference, like Oxford United, further attests to the improvement in the standard of play in the 5th Level.

Blue Square Premier League official site, {Click here}.

Currently, all but one of the 24 clubs in the Conference have played just over half their 46-game season.  Staffordshire’s Burton Albion currently lead the Conference, by 13 points. The Brewers seem destined for their first promotion to the League. However, Burton just lost their manager, Nigel Clough, to struggling 2nd Level club Derby County (a club Nigel’s legendary father Brian managed four decades ago).

Currently in the four playoff places are…2nd place: Histon, a tiny club from just outside of Cambridge, in just their second season in the 5th Level. The Stutes made it to the FA Cup Third Round this season, beating fallen giants Leeds United in the Second Round, before bowing out to Swansea City. Histon and newcomers Lewes have the two smallest grounds in the Conference, both have capacities under 4,000. 3rd place: Kidderminster Harriers (from Worcester, about 15 miles south-west of Birmingham). The Harriers recently had a 5-season spell in the League, which ended in 2005. 4th place: Torquay United, a former Third and Fourth Division club (with a 73-consecutive seasons spell in the League,  ending in 2007).  Torquay are also still alive in the FA Cup Fourth Round (as is Kettering Town). Torquay hail from the Dorset coast, on ‘England’s Riviera’ (a pretentious phrase, I know, but palm trees do grow there, and it is a bit posh and touristy). 5th place: Cambridge United. A sizable club, for his level, with the third highest average gate this season (Oxford United gets the biggest crowds by far, and another former League club,  Wrexham, gets the second largest gates). Cambridge United had a 17-season spell in the League (including 8 seasons in the 2nd Level). The club figured prominently, circa 1980′s-1990′s, in the genre-defining book “Fever Pitch” by Nick Hornby.

[ Note: Crawley Town were deducted 4 points recently for fielding an unregistered player.  The decision might be appealed, so some sites still have CTFC in 4th place, not 6th place. {see this (BBC) }.  But it will almost certainly stand, as the Blue Square has been very stringent about these things lately {See this (twohundredpercent site: 'Little Rays of Sunshine',  from  Jan. 12th, 2009) } . ]

Within touching distance of the playoff places, currently,  are Crawley Town (of Surrey), Wrexham (of North Wales),  and Stevenage Borough (just north of London, in Hertfordshire).

Wikipedia’s page on The Conference National, {Click here}.

My favorite site for lower league and Non-League football news… http://www.twohundredpercent.net/

Note: on the map, I have added two small rectangular boxes, above (if applicable) and below each club’s kits. The upper box lists if and when the club was ever in the League. The lower box lists when and how the club became a current member of the Conference, whether by promotion from the Conference-North or Conference-South (the 6th Level)…depicted with a blue-edged box, or relegated from the League…depicted with a red-edged box. There is no club that has been in the Conference throughout it’s whole 29-season history.  Northwich Victoria, from Cheshire, have been in the Conference for the most seasons: 28 (voluntary relegation in 2005/ promotion back to the Conference in 2006). Altrincham, from Greater Manchester, have been in the Conference for a total of 24 seasons. Kidderminster have been in the Conference for 23 seasons (and are the only one of the 7 founding members of the Alliance/current members of the Conference to have since gained a promotion to the League, for a 5-season span ending in 2005). These three clubs were founding members of the Alliance Premier League (now called the Conference) in 1979. Four more clubs currently in the Conference were also founding members…Barrow, Gravesend and Northfleet (now called Ebbsfleet United), Kettering Town, and Weymouth.

Thanks to Tony’s English Football Site  {Click here}.   Thanks to Conferencegrounds.co.uk  {Click here}.

Thanks to the family of FootyMad.net sites, for their invaluable League History sections on each club  {Click here…set at clubs in the Conference}. And thanks to the Football Conference History Database for having the list of the first 7 seasons in the Alliance/ Conference {Click here}.

Finally, thanks to those anonymous persons who have taken the time to contibute to Wikipedia’s pages on Conference clubs…this was the only place I could find a full set of kits for the 2008-09 Conference season.  

December 22, 2008

League One, 2008-’09 Season: Map, with Team Profiles; and Average Attendances up to 20th December, 2008.

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I have never done a Zoom Map of the 3rd Level of English Football,  which is known as League One.   So here it is,  with up-to-date attendance figures (at top left of the map). 

Here is the round-up of League One games from Saturday,  from the Sky Sports site  {Click here}.

League One Table  {Click here}.

BBC Sports page on League One  {Click here}.

League One top scorers  {Click here}. 

Here is the top half of the League One Table,  with current 08/09 attendance figures,  and leading scorer by club (note:  all clubs have played 21 games)…

1. Leicester City: 47 pts.; 19,268 avg. attendance (down 18.1%).  The Foxes,  under manager Nigel Pearson,   seem a solid bet to bounce straight back to the League Championship,  racking up 5 straight wins.    Matty Fryatt: 18 league goals (League leader,  tied with Rickie Lambert of Bristol Rovers),  23 overall  (born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire,  and went through the Walsall youth program…see his Wikipedia profile,  here).    2. MK Dons: 43 pts./ 10,006 avg. attendance (up 5.8%).  MK Dons are doing well under new manager Roberto Di Matteo,  and seem destined to rise to the League Championship in the near future.  Sam Baldock: 8 league goals,  9 overall  (grew up nerby to Milton Keynes,  in Steeple Claydon, Buckinghamshire,  and went through the MK Dons youth system).     3. Millwall: 43 pts.; 8,711 avg. attendance (up 0.5%).  Millwall looks solid under manager Kenny Jackett (former Wales,  and Watford player, during WFC’s late 1980s glory days).  Tresor Kandol: 8 league goals  (born in Congo; on loan from Leeds United).    4. Scunthorpe United: 38 pts.;  5,452 avg. attendance (down 15.3%).  Scunthorpe manager Nigel Adkins has kept the Iron from experiencing a post-relegation drop in form.  Gary Hooper: 11 league goals,  15 overall  (began with Grays Athletic). 

5. Stockport County: 37 pts.; 6,139 avg. attendance (up 8.8%).  The Greater Manchester-based Stockport County are one of four English Football clubs to be fully owned by their supporters (the other three are AFC Telford United,  AFC Wimbledon,  and FC United of Manchester).  Manager Jim Gannon has shown that County have a real chance of back-to-back promotions.  Craig Davies: 5 league goals, 6 overall  (English-born Welsh international).    6. Oldham Athletic: 37 pts.;  5,846 avg. attendance  (up 9.8%).  English-born former Irish international Jim Sheridan has the Latics back in the playoff places in this his third season at the helm.  Lee Hughes:  11 league goals  (former West Bromwich striker,  before his 2004 conviction and imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving).    7. Peterborough United: 37 pts.;  6,872 avg. attendance (up 14.6%).  Sir Alex’s son Derek Ferguson continues to keep the Posh on an upward course;  they seem headed for the League Championship in the next few seasons.  Craig Mackail-Smith: 14 league goals, 16 overall  (ex-St. Albans and Dagenham & Redbridge).    8. Tranmere Rovers: 33 pts.; 5,666 avg. attendance (down 12.9%).   Manager Ronnie Moore needs to keep the Merseyside club on a more even keel this season.  Last season,  Rovers started out strong then faded.  Ryan Shotton: 4 league goals, 5 overall  (defender on loan from Stoke City).

9. Leeds United: 32 pts.;  18,990 (down 12.5%).  The huge West Yorkshire club is at a very low point in the club’s history.  Sunday,  the club sacked manager Gary McAllister,  after a run of 5 straight losses (including an FA Cup 2nd Round match versus the tiny Non-League club Histon)  {see this}.  Many supporters may feel Leeds are too big for the 3rd division,  but it looks like they are going to have to get used to it for at least another season.  Jermaine Beckford: 12 league goals,  19 overall  (released by Chelsea,  he made his mark at Isthmian League club Wealdstone,  where he netted 35 times in 40 games;  has chosen to stay with Leeds rather than join a club in the upper divisions).    10. Huddersfield Town: 32 pts;  12,819 avg. attendance (up 36.5%).   This is the West Yorkshire club’s Centenary season.  Special 100-pound season ticket offers have swelled the gate figures,  and Town are in decent form,  especially considering the recent managerial change.  Ex-Norwich City assistant coach Lee Clarke is the new manager.  Gary Roberts: 5 league goals,  7 overall  (on loan from Crewe Alexandra).    11. Hartlepool United: 29 pts.;  3,762 avg. attendance (down 16.5%).  Speaking of coaching changes,  Pools has a caretaker manager,  Chris Turner.  Joel Porter:  7 league goals,  12 overall  (Australian international;  with Hartlepool since 2003,  with 40 goals).    12. Northampton Town: 28 pts.;  5,195 avg. attendance  (down 4.0%).  Manager is Stuart Gray.  Last season,  the Cobblers under Gray had their highest finish in a decade,  at 9th in League One.  Adebayo Akinfenwa:  6 league goals,  8 overall  (the London-born striker played for 8 clubs,  including the Lithuainian club FK Atlantas,  before joining Northampton this season). 

Here are the other top scorers in League One…Rickie Lambert (Bristol Rovers):  18 league goals  (Merseyside-born;  acquired from Rochdale).    Simon Cox (Swindon Town):  13 league goals,  16 overall  (Reading-born;  came up through Reading’s youth system).      Danny Graham (Carlisle United):  11 league goals,  12 overall  (born and raised in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear;  started with Middlesbrough).   

Thanks to European Football Statistics  {Click here  (set at 2007-’08 English Football League gate figures) }.   Thanks to Tony’s English Football Site  {Click here}. 

Thanks to Historical Football Kits,  for the kits on the map  {Click here}.

November 11, 2008

2008-’09 Turkiye Kupasi (Turkish Cup), 3rd Round: Zoom Map of all 20 clubs in the 4 Groups.

Filed under: Turkey,Zoom Maps — admin @ 10:03 am

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A slate of matches in the Turkish Cup’s 3rd Round are to be played on the 11th through the 13th of November.  The 3rd Round is unusual for a European national Cup competition in that it is in a league format.  The 20 clubs still in the competition have been split up into 4 groups.  The top four 07/08 Super Lig finishers are seeded, and placed in seperate groups.  Those clubs are:  Galatasary (reigning champions),  2nd place finishers Fenerbahce,  3rd place finishers Besiktas,  and 4th place finishers Sivasspor

Teams play all four other teams in their group,  with the top two advancing to the 4th Round,  which is a standard knockout competition.

In this season’s 3rd Round,  there are 6 clubs from the lower leagues,  including 2 clubs that are in the 3rd Level (which is called the TFF Second League):  Tokatspor and Alanyaspor.  

Four clubs are from the the 2nd Level,  which is known as the TFF First League,  but is officially called the Bank Asya 1. Lig.    Altay SK of Izmir,  has won the Cup twice,  the last time in 1980. 

Here is Wikipedia’s page on the Turkiye Kupasi,  which includes a list of all the clubs that have won the Turkish Cup  {Click here}.

Cup holders are the central Anatolian club Kayserispor.  One interesting sub-plot in the Turkish Cup is the perennial failure of giants Fenerbahce to win the Cup,  for 25 years running.  In 2005,  Fenerbahce was demolished by Galataaray 5-1.  Fenerbahce then lost the next year to Besiktas,  3-2 in AET.   A Galatasaray supporter sent me this image of his fellow fans mocking Fenerbahce’s cup history,  the inference being that they haven’t won the Cup since the Stone Age  {see this}.

Thanks to the pclion fc site  {Click here},  for information and images.

Thanks to the Soccerway site for fixtures and results  {Click here}.

July 27, 2008

2008-09 English Football: League Two- Zoom Map.

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The map shows all 24 clubs in this season’s League Two, which is the fourth Level of the English Football pyramid.

As a whole, League Two averaged 4,337 spectators per game last season, up 4.8 % from 2006-’07 {See this, from the European Football Statistics site}.  But much of that increase can be attributed to Bradford City, who, when faced with relegation to League Two last year, slashed ticket prices across the board (they ended up increasing their average gate by 5,000 per game: from 8,694 to 13,694).

Last season was an extremely competitive one, for the clubs outside the dominant top two of MK Dons and Peterborough United.  In 2007-08, there were an amazing 208 away wins, compared to only 220 home wins.  {See this, from the English Football [Dot] Info site.}

This season sees both promoted clubs from the Conference (ie, the Blue Square Premier League, the 5th Level) from the southern part of England.

Exeter City has had a long history in the Football League, over 75 seasons worth, and have recovered from their recent near financial collapse and dissolution.  They won the Conference playoff last May, over Cambridge City.  Exeter City has maintained a solid fan base for a club that had been banished to non-League status.  The Grecians drew 3,705 per game last season; second highest in the Conference (behind only Oxford United), and drew better than 10 clubs in the Football League.  

Aldershot Town is a relatively new entity, which has risen from the ashes of the defunct Aldershot FC (as depicted by their phoenix-bird logo), and 16 years later, have made it into the Football League.  They won the Conference handily, and boast a small, but rabid fan base  {See this, from last November, on the Pitch Invasion site}.  The club may have some tough times ahead this season, but the stands will be jumping.

{Click here, for the odds-makers’ favorites for promotion in League Two this (Statto.com site).}     As of 27th July, the bookies are picking  Bradford CityDarlington,  Gillingham,  and Shrewsbury Town to be promoted.  Chesterfield, Wycombe, and Rochdale are the next favorites.

Both clubs promoted from the Conference last year were newcomers to the Football League:  North Lancashire’s Morecambe, and East London club Dagenham & Redbridge.  Both survived.  Morecambe did exremely well, with 16 wins, and an 11th place finish.  The Shrimps’ average gate went up from 1,598 in the Conference, in ’06-’07,  to 2,855 last season.  Dagenham looked to be in a relegation battle, before finding safety through two consecutive wins to end the season.  The Daggers finished in 20th place, and saw their average gate go from 1,756 to just 2,021 (second lowest in all the 92-club League, higher only than Accrington Stanley).

All four of the clubs relegated from the 3rd Level, League One, in May 2008,  have spent most of their seasons above the 4th Level.  Luton Town have notched 16 seasons in the top flight, and even won the 1988 League Cup.  They have spent their most seasons (34) in the 2nd Level, and before their financial problems, the Hatters, under Mike Newell, in 2005-’06, were actually in the running for a shot at the Premier League.  Every thing went pear-shaped fast, and the former board is in disgrace, for their financial improprieties.  A new management team has come aboard, but not until after a fatal points deduction which sealed their relegation.  And what’s worse is that more points will be deducted for the up-coming season.  The same goes for Bournemouth, who put up a valiant eleventh-hour attempt at avoiding off the drop, but to no avail.  Port Vale will be in the 4th Level for the first time in 23 seasons.  Finally, there is Gillingham, who have spent 55 seasons in the 3rd Level, and as recently as 2005, were in the 2nd Level.  But the club from Kent have their own set of money problems, and were unable to afford the caliber of player that would have kept them in League One.  The club has a decent size fan base, though (6,077 avg. gate last season).

Here is a very recent article from the Soccer Lens site, by Gary Andrews, about the points-deduction holes that Luton Town, Bournemouth, and Rotherham United find themselves in…{Click Here.}

Thanks to the Historical Football Kits site {click here}, for the kits on the map, which are copyright Historical Football Kits, and reproduced by permission [note: I have indicated on the map which kits are new for this season].

June 29, 2008

Japan: The J-League, 2008- Zoom Map.

Filed under: Japan,Zoom Maps — admin @ 5:34 pm

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The J-League is back from it’s summer break, so it’s a good time to feature a zoom map of the J-1 level of the league.  [J-2, which has 15 teams, is the other level of the J-League structure.]

The J-League was formed in 1992, and began play in 1993.  There are 18 clubs in today’s J-1, with 2 or 3 clubs relegated each season, and 2 or 3 clubs promoted from J-2.  The two league strucure, with a promotion/relegation system, was established in 1999.  It features a playoff between the 16th place J-1 team v. the 3rd place J-2 team.  The season runs from early March to early December, with a 6 week break in the early summer.

The current champion is the Kashima Antlers, a club from the Ibaraki prefecture, which is part of the greater Tokyo area (east of the city).  They were able to wrest the Title away from the Urawa Reds on the last day of the season. Urawa Red Diamonds, who were founded by Mitsubishi Motors (and are still bank-rolled by the corporation), are the biggest club in Japan.  They are also from greater Tokyo, north of the city, in the Saitama prefecture  They drew around 46,000 per game in 2007, the highest average gate in all of Asia.  Their true goal in 2007 was to win the Asian Football Confederation Champions League Title, which had eluded all Japanese teams since Jubilo Iwata won the Asian Cup (the ACF C.L. predecessor) in 1999.  Urawa Reds achieved this goal, beating Sepahan FC, of Iran, in mid-November.  But this probably contibuted to them losing their focus on the J-League Title.  The Reds only earned 2 points off their last 4 league games, and Kashima Antlers leapfogged them on the last day of the ’07 season (3rd December).  {See this article, from FIFA.com.}

To see the current J-League table, {click here}.   Urawa Reds, who definitely aim to take care of unfinshed business, sit at the top, but only on goal difference, as they are tied for points with Nagoya Grampus Eight.  Both these teams lost Saturday, though.  The Reds went down 1-2 to Kashiwa Reysol, and now Reysol are just three points off the pace.  Grampus lost big, 0-4, to reigning champs Kashima Antlers, so now the Antlers are just 1 point off the pace, with the best goal difference in the league. 

On Sunday, Gamba Osaka beat newly promoted strugglers Consadole Sapporo 4-2 , so now Osaka is also one point below the lead.  FC Tokyo, a relatively new team, with no major trophies but a large fan base, drew versus relegation-threatened JEF United, and now are 2 points behind the lead. 

Throw Omiya Ardija into the mix (at 4 points off the pace),  and you have the recipe for an interesting close of the J-League season, with very likely a half dozen teams (or more) with a shot at the crown.   {J-League site, click here.}

There is a really good independent site for the J-League.  It’s called The Rising Sun News {click here}.  It’s full of lots of info, and graphics.

On the map, I have included a segment of my 2006 J-League Attendance Map, so the viewer can get a better picture of the Greater Tokyo teams’ locations, and their fan-base sizes.  **{Click here, for my 2006 J-League Attendance Map.}

On the map, for each team, I have listed J-League Titles, and Titles for the Emperor’s Cup (the oldest Cup competition in Japan).   {Click here, for Wikipedia’s page on the Emperor’s Cup.}   I have tried to list the original names of all the teams, most of which started as company-teams.  The corporate connections have played a big part in Japanese football, and as far as I can tell, only 3 teams currently in J-1 were not formed by any sort of corporation:  Kyoto SangaAlbirex Niigata,  and Shimizu S-Pulse. 

I began rooting for the Shimizu S-Pulse because I thought their stadium looked the most fan-friendly, the team played an up-tempo style, and I have always had a soft spot for orange kits.  But now that I know they were formed at the grassroots level (from a big footballing region: {see this}), and initially with no big corporate money behind them, I like them even more.  

Thanks to Demis, of the Netherlands {click here},  for the blank map of Japan.   Thanks to http://www.colours-of-football.com,  for the kits.   Thanks to the Albion Road site {click here}, for background on the teams. 

Thanks to Mike, from the Go! Go! Omiya Ardija site {Click here}, for responding to my e-mail, and pointing out misspellings.   Check out this site:  Ardija is shaping up to be the surprise team of ’08…which is nice to see, as the club labors under the shadow of fellow Saitama-dwelling J-League giants Urawa Reds, and last year were only 3 points away from the relegation playoff.

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