February 29, 2008

France. Ligue 1, 2007-08 Season: Zoom Map.

Filed under: France,Zoom Maps — admin @ 5:58 am


Note: to see my most recent map on football in France, click on the following, category: France.

The French Ligue 1 was formed in 1932.  Currently, 1st place and 2nd place qualify for the Champions League;  3rd place gets a spot in the 3rd round qualifiers of the Champions League.  There are 3 more spots allotted to France, for the UEFA Cup: 4th place,  the winners of the Coupe de France, and the winners of the Coupe de la League (or 5th place and 6th place, if the 2 cup winners are in the top 4).    France is currently ranked #4 in Europe, for UEFA competitions. 

This map shows the 20 clubs in the 2007-08 Ligue 1 season.   Listed are each club’s League Titles, and Coupe de France victories, as well as total (and consecutive)  seasons in the first division.   Also listed are each club’s full name, their stadium, and their current attendance figures.

Lyon has won the last 6 titles, but they face a strong challenge from Bordeaux this season.  Bordeaux trails by 3 points, after 26 games.  Nancy are the surprise team: they are in 3rd place, but shouldn’t be threat to Lyon…they will do well just to remain in contention for the UEFA Cup.   This is also the case with Le Mans, in 4th:  a shock, but no threat to win it.   If Marseille hadn’t started the season so horribly, they might have been able to mount a challenge for the crown.  They currently are in 5th, after spending the first third of the season at or near the relegation zone.  They have been on fire since, but being 13 points below Lyon is just too much to make up in 12 games.  Another Champions League spot should be in their grasp, though.   Nice are in 6th; the small club from the south of France are yet another surprise in League Un this season.

As far as the relegation battle goes, the just-promoted Metz is definitely going right back down.  There are some big names at or near the drop zone:  Paris Saint-Germain, and Lens, as well as Toulouse, who finished 3rd last season.  Lille and Rennes are also in touching distance of the drop: Lille, who have been in the Champions League 3 times (the last in 2006-07, when they made it past the group stage) will play Lyon at the 80,000-seat rugby stadium, Stade de France, on Saturday (see this). 

The other two promoted clubs, Caen and Strasbourg, have fallen some, after strong starts, and both will probably be fighting the drop.  Two months ago, the one club besides Metz that seemed destined for the drop was Auxerre, the club from a small town of 40,000, in Burgundy.  But a 6-game unbeaten run, and 3 straight wins, have moved Auxerre up the table to 12th.  But no club outside the top 5 is really safe.  Amazingly, only 7 points separate 6th place from 17th place, so the permutations are endless.

**{Click here, for the Ligue 1 table.} 

**{Click here for the Official Ligue 1 website, translated}. 

 **{Click here for Wikipedia’s entry on Ligue 1}.

Here is a site with a few maps of football clubs in France.  It  is a betting site, but it has a nice interactive map, and season-by-season categories  {Click here}.

Thanks to,  for the kits.

February 27, 2008

Plymouth Argyle FC.

Filed under: Engl. Promotion Candidates — admin @ 4:41 am

Argyle Football Club was formed in Plymouth, Devon, in 1886, but went out of existence in 1894.  The club was reformed 3 years later, in 1897, and merged with the nearby Argyle Athletic Club (a general sporting club) in 1898.   Plymouth Argyle chose to wear dark green, with black trim, the colors of the Borough of Plymouth.

In 1900, the club won it’s first trophy, winning the Devon Senior League; and the club purchased it’s lease on Home Park, their ground to this day.  The club became fully professional in 1903, joining the Southern League, and changing it’s name to Plymouth Argyle FC.  Their first pro match was on September 1, 1903, versus West Ham United.

Plymouth Argyle was invited to join the English Football League in 1920, when the League expanded to three levels.  PAFC became a founding member of the Football League Third Division.   Argyle just missed promotion for six straight seasons (1922 through 1927).  The club finally reached the Second Division in 1930, by winning the Third Division (South) in 1929-30.  Their stay in the second tier lasted 20 seasons, from 1930 to 1950.  Plymouth won promotion back to the 2nd Level two years later (1952), but this spell there lasted just 4 seasons (until 1956). 

Overall, Plymouth Argyle have had 8 promotions, and 7 relegations, spending 37 seasons in the 2nd Level, 38 seasons in the 3rd Level, and 5 seasons in the 4th Level.  Their highest finish was at 4th place, in the Second Division, which they acheived twice, in 1932, and in 1953.  Plymouth’s best FA Cup run was in 1984, when they made it all the way to the Semi-Finals, losing to Watford. 

The club’s lowest placement occurred rather recently, in 1999, when they finished 13th place, in the old Division Three (which is the 4th Level).   Attendance was poor too, with the club only drawing 5,5oo for two seasons (1997-’99).

Home Park was was almost entirely refurbished between 2001 and 2002, and the three new stands have (along with good recent form) helped swell gates to the 13,000-level (admittedly low, for the 2nd Level, and a city of Plymouth’s size of around 250,000).  The new Devonport Stand now dominates the ground, and the stand structure runs along 3 sides.  The Mayflower Stand remains from the past configuration, and the terraced part of the stand is kept empty for safety, while the club is unable to refurbish this remaining area (for lack of funds).


To see more photos of Home Park’s renovation, click here: (

Paul Sturrock {see here} was appointed manager in November, 2000, when Argyle were fourth from bottom, in the 4th Level, two spots away from relegation out of the League.  The Scotsman led the club to a 12th place finish that season, and to promotion the following season (2001-’02), by winning Division Three.  Two years later, in March, 2004,  Sturrock had Plymouth en route to their second promotion in 3 years, when he was enticed to take the managerial reins of the Premier League club Southampton.  A few weeks later, under new manager Bobby Williamson, Plymouth Argyle won promotion to League One (the 2nd Level,  now called the League Championship). 

Williamson’s tenure lasted 18 months.  He was sacked after the club began the 2005-’06 season with 6 straight defeats.  His successor, (current league-leading) Stoke City manager Tony Pulis, also did not mesh with squad, fans and the board.  Pulis left at the end of the ’06 season.  West-country born Ian Holloway took over, and Argyle had a good season , and a good FA Cup run, in 2006-’07.  PAFC made it to the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup, and finished in 11th place in the 2nd Level, their best finish in two decades.  Actually, in spite of the high manger-turnover (4 different managers in 3 years), Plymouth Argyle have improved their League standing every year for the last 6 seasons.

However, manager instability continues to plague Argyle, as Ian Holloway left Plymouth for Leicester City, in November, 2007.  In stepped the prodigal son, Paul Sturrock, to return to the club he raised out of the fourth and third tiers.  From Holloway, Sturrock has inherited a scrappy side that features no real standout.  In fact, Plymouth just sold their leading scorer, Sylvain Ebanks-Blake, to Wolves, in January, for 1.5 million pounds.  Their current leading scorer is Hungarian international Peter Halmosi  {see this}, with 7 league goals (8 overall).  The squad is captained by Frenchman Lillian Nalis. 

Last Saturday, Argyle beat Burnley 3-1, to vault into the playoff places, at 5th place.**{See this short feature about Peter Halmosi making the Team of the Week.)

Plymouth Argyle has never been in the first division.  It is the furthest west and south club in the Football League.  PAFC,  Exeter City, and Torquay United are the only sizable clubs in Devon, further west is Cornwall, which has no clubs in the League (the highest 4 leagues), or the Conference (the 5th level).  The club, like Carlisle (up in the far northwest of England), suffers for it’s geographical remoteness.  Travel to fixtures is significantly further than other clubs, plus it is hard to attract players to this remote footballing outpost. 

** Click here, for a pretty nice article I stumbled upon, about the peculiar aspects of PAFC

**Click here, for an article about the January, 1932 4th Round FA Cup match in London, versus Arsenal.  

Thanks to (historical kits[dot]co[dot]uk):  the 5 older kits on the bottom, right-hand side of the chart are copyright Historical Football Kits, and are reproduced by permission.   Thanks to (colours-of-football[do]com) for the newer kits.   Thanks to (footballgroundguide[dot]co[dot]uk);   (stadiumguide[dot]co[dot]uk).  Thanks to Greens On Screen website, for the great photos of the Home Park renovation.

February 25, 2008

UEFA Cup 2007-’08, Round of 16.

Filed under: UEFA Cup / Europa League — admin @ 6:53 am


Last Thursday, the 2007-’08 UEFA Cup competition was pared down to 16 clubs.   {Click here, for results.} 

The only club that looks out of place in the final 16 are the Spanish upstarts Getafe {see this article}.  This is a club that had never been in the top flight before 2004.  They are based in a grim industrial area south of Madrid, that is ringed by highways.  Their fan base is comprised of a significant percentage of disenchanted ex-Atletico Madrid supporters.  I think these fans made the right decision to dissociate themselves from those chronic underachievers… Atletico were eliminated from this competition by stolid Bolton ‘s smothering defense, while Atletico Madrid management showed incredibly poor form, by posting Bolton’s travel and hotel accomadations on their official website {see this article}. 

Here are the matchups for the Round of 16.  The first legs will be played on March 6, the second legs on March 12, and 13.  uefa_cup_march08.gif

Thanks to Wikipedia for the chart.

February 23, 2008

Spain: La Liga, 2007-08 Season: Zoom Map.

Filed under: Spain,Zoom Maps — admin @ 3:43 am

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


Continuing my new series of  ”Zoom Maps,”  here is La Liga, 2007-08 season. 

The rankings next to each club’s name are based on total points won (all time).  You can see the full list here, from the RSSSF site:

This system of ranking has its flaws (like skewing more heavily towards the recent years, when 3 points replaced 2 points for a win) but I have noticed that it is often referred to when Spanish clubs are discussed (well, in FourFourTwo magazine, at least).

The official name of the Spanish first division is the Liga de Futbol Professional (LFP).  It is commonly known as “La Liga.”  It was founded in 1929, and only 9 clubs have been crowned Campeones de Liga.  They are:  Real Madrid (30 times, and reigning champions);  FC Barcelona (18 times, last in 2006);  Atletico Madrid (9 times, last in 1996);  Athletic Bilbao (8 times, last in 1984);  Valencia (6 times, last in 2004);  Real Sociedad (2 times, last in 1982.  They are currently in the second division, having been relegated last spring.);  Deportivo La Coruna (2000);  Sevilla (1946);  and Real Betis (1945).

Click here, for Wikipedia’s entry on La Liga: 

On the map, League Titles, cups won (the Copa del Rey), and seasons in the top flight are included.  Also included are each club’s stadium, and it’s capacity; and each club’s full name.

**Click here, for the current standings in La Liga.

**Click here, for 2007-’08 Spanish attendance statistics.

Thanks to the Colours Of Football site, for the kits:

February 21, 2008

Hull City AFC.

Filed under: Engl. Promotion Candidates — admin @ 5:55 am

Early attempts to establish a football club in Hull were hampered by the city’s stronger rugby scene, which has featured two nationally prominent teams: Hull FC, and Hull Kingston Rovers.   Finally, in 1904, Hull City Association Football Club was founded.  In 1905, they joined the Football League, in Division Two.  Their first 21 seasons (1905 to 1929) were spent here. They just missed promotion in 1910, finishing in third, but with a goal average of just 0.29 lower than promoted Oldham. 

Right before the onset of WW I,  Hull made it to the quarterfinals of the 1914-’15 FA Cup.  Their best FA Cup campaign was in 1929-’30, when they made it all the way to the semi finals, losing in the the replay to Arsenal 0-1, at Villa Park.  But that same spring (1930), they were relegated to Division Three (North). 

In total, Hull City have had 7 relegations, and 8 promotions.  They have been in the 2nd Level 53 seasons, the 3rd Level 29 seasons, and the 4th Level 10 seasons.  The club has bounced back from their low point, which was the 8 years they recently spent in the old Division Three (the 4th Level), from 1996 to 2004. 

Crowds had dwindled to below 4,ooo for two years (’96-’97).  In December, 2002,  Hull began playing in the 24,500-seat Kingston Communications Stadium (the KC Stadium), sharing it with the rugby team Hull FC.  The new stadium, and burgeoning crowds, helped to energize the club.  In their first full season in their impressive new home, Hull finished 2nd, and were promoted to Division Two.  The next season (2004-’05), they were promoted again, with another second place finish.  Perhaps most important, though, is the recent enlargement of Hull City AFC’s fan base, as average attendances have rose around 12,000 per game- from 6,518, in 1990 (when they were in the 2nd Level), to 18,758, last season (when they were also in the 2nd Level). 

But Hull have struggled to stay in the League Championship the past two years.  After former England Under-21 manager Peter Taylor {see this} had guided the club to their back-to-back promotions, he left to manage Crystal Palace, in June, 2006.  His successor, Phil Parkinson was unable to keep Hull out of the relegation zone the next season, and was sacked in December, 2006.  Phil Brown {see this} was hired as caretaker, and did a good job getting the club out of trouble, as Hull finished in 21st,  just above the drop.  Brown had gotten veteran striker Dean Windass {see this} (on loan from Bradford City) to return to his hometown club, and his 8 goals helped the Tigers to safety.

This season, the much-travelled 38-year old ex-construction laborer Windass, now signed to a two-year deal, continues to score for the club he began with as a teenager.  His 12 goals (10 league) lead the club.  Frazier Campbell, on loan from Manchester United, has 8 league goals.  The squad is bolstered by standout American-born English goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.

Hull City are in 9th place in the League Championship, 4 points from the playoff places, with a game in hand.  This is the closest to promotion Hull have been in over 20 years.  Hull is the largest city in all of Europe to have never hosted first division football.

Click here, for a recent article about Hull’s surprise promotion push.

Below is a programme from 1966.  It shows the club’s old home, Boothferry Park, as well as the club’s old 3 crowns crest (a motif which both of Hull’s rugby clubs still use in their crests).


Thanks to (historicalkits[dot]co[dot]uk)- the 5 older kits at the bottom of the chart are copyright Historical Football Kits, and are reproduced by permission.   Thanks to (colours-of-football[dot]com).   Thanks to (fusion group[dot]uk[dot]com);  (blackpooltoday[dot]co[dot]uk);  footballstadiumart[dot]co[dot]uk).

February 19, 2008

2007-’08 Champions League- Round Of 16 (Knockout Round), February/ March 2008.

Filed under: Italy,UEFA Champions League — admin @ 11:45 am


The Champions League resumes this week, with the first leg of the Round of 16.  Here are the matchups.ch_lge1.gif

ESPN2 is showing Liverpool v. Inter Milan on Tuesday, and Arsenal v. AC Milan on Wednesday;  ESPN Classic is showing AS Roma v. Real Madrid on delay, on Tuesday.  So I thought I’d put together a couple little charts on these 3 Italian clubs (plus Lazio, who share a stadium with Roma).   Click on the 2 titles below, for the 2 thumbnail charts…



Thanks to for the kits.

February 18, 2008

2007-’08 FA Cup, 6th Round Draw. Map.

Filed under: 2007-08 FA Cup — admin @ 10:26 am


This map shows the 9 clubs that were in the FA Cup 6th Round Draw, of Monday, February 18.   7 of these clubs will be playing in the 6th Round.  Middlesbrough and Sheffield United will have their replay, at Boro’s Riverside Stadium, on February 27, to determine the eighth club still alive.  The map features some pertinent statistics, such as the last time a club was in the 6th Round of the FA Cup. 

For Cardiff City, it has been 81 years since they last advanced to the 6th Round.  [Their last time, 1927, they went on to win the FA Cup, 1-0, over Arsenal; becoming the only Welsh club to win the FA Cup.]

Bristol Rovers have not been in the 6th Round in 50 years.  The Rovers last time, in 1958, they lost to Fulham.   Bristol Rovers are in 15th place in the 3rd Level (League One).

The matchups are listed on the map.

Click here for the FA wesite:

Thanks to the footy-mad family of sites (such as,  for their comprehensive Cup statistics.

February 15, 2008

The Premier League 2007-08 Season- “Zoom Map.”

Filed under: Eng>Premier League (Eng-1st Level),Zoom Maps — admin @ 5:48 am


Note: to see my latest map-&-post on Premier League football, click on the following, category: Eng>Premier League (Eng 1st Division).

This map shows the 20 clubs in this season’s Premier League (2007-08 season), with their current kit, and crest.  Listed are each clubs’ National Titles (with the last one in parentheses), FA Cup wins, and total seasons spent in the 1st Level.   And by the “first level,”  it is meant: 1). The English Football League, from 1888 to 1892 (4 seasons);   2). the English First Division, from 1892 to 1992 (89 seasons); and 3). the Premier League, from 1992-2007-08 (16 seasons, counting the current season).

List of Current Consecutive Seasons in the 1st Level of English Football. 

1. Arsenal. 82 seasons (since 1919).   2. Everton. 54 seasons (since 1954).   3. Liverpool. 46 seasons (since 1962).   4. Manchester United 33 seasons (since 1975).   5. Tottenham. 30 seasons (since 1978).   6. Aston Villa. 20 seasons (since 1988).   7. Chelsea. 19 seasons (since 1989).   8. Newcastle. 15 seasons (since 1993).   9. Middlesbrough. 10 seasons (since 1998).   10. Blackburn,  Bolton,  Fulham. 7 seasons (since 2001).   13. Manchester City. 6 seasons (since 2002).   14. Portsmouth. 5 seasons (since 2003).   15. West Ham, Wigan. 3seasons (since 2005).   17. Reading. 2 seasons (since 2006).   18. Birmingham,  Derby County,  Sunderland. 1 season (since 2007). 

Thanks to ( for the kits.  Thanks to the footy-mad sites [such as (], the only place I have found that has complete League histories of every team in the English Football League (the Conference, too).

February 13, 2008

2007-’08 UEFA Cup, Knockout Stage: February ’08.

Filed under: UEFA Cup / Europa League — admin @ 12:06 pm


Since the UEFA Cup’s Knockout Stage is beginning February 13 and 14, I thought it would be appropriate to show my map of the competition again.  Club crests are sized to reflect each clubs’ 2006-’07 domestic league average attendance figures.  At the bottom left of the map is a chart of the clubs who came over from the Champions League (clubs which finished third in their groups).

Setanta Broadband is featuring SK Brann v. Everton, so I thought I’d show some photos of the Brann Stadion.  brann.gif

And while we’re on the subject, click here, for everything you ever needed to know about the Norwegian Premier League.

**{Click here, for UEFA Cup fixtures, etc. (the UEFA site).}

**{Click here, for Wikipedia’s entry on the 2007-’08 UEFA Cup.}

Here is a table that shows the 2007-’08 UEFA Cup Knockout Stage matchups.


Thanks to Wikipedia; thanks to;  thanks to

February 11, 2008

Primera Division Argentina. Clausura 2008-Map, with Clubs’ Titles and Copa wins.

Filed under: Argentina — admin @ 10:54 pm


Note: to see my most recent map-&-post on Argentina, click on the following, category: Argentina.

The Primera Division Argentina, Clausura 2008 began last weekend.  This map shows the clubs in the league this season, with a list of each club’s league titles, and Copa Libertadores titles. 

The Primera Division Argentina has 20 teams.  The Apertura season runs from August to December.  The Clausura season runs from February to May.  Relegation is decided by the clubs with the worst three-year average.  This is called the Promedio.  The bottom two clubs on the Promedio table are relegated after each Clausura (in May); while two teams are promoted from the second division.  17th and 18th place in the Promedio table must play in a relegation/ promotion playoff with the 3rd and 4th place finishers in the second division.   This system is very tough on the just-promoted clubs, as their Promedio score will be taken from just the one season.  That means they must finish well above the bottom four to be safe from relegation worries.  **{Click here, to be directed to the Hasta El Gol Siempre site, to see the current Promedio table…it will be the fourth table down.}

The Promedio system benefits the bigger clubs, at the expense of the smaller clubs.  There have been recent situations where big clubs like River Plate have finished in the botton 2, yet avoided relegation, thanks to this rather cynical system. 

There is no national cup in Argentina, so the Copa Libertadores has even more prominence.  The Copa Libertadores is the all-South America cup competition (plus Mexico).  {Click here, for an overview of the Copa Libertadores.}

The Argentine football world is dominated by clubs from, and nearby the capital, Buenos Aires.  14 of the 20 clubs in the Clausura 2008 are from within 60 miles of Buenos Aires.

The two biggest clubs in Argentina are Boca Juniors, and River Plate, both from Buenos Aires.  River has won an astounding 32 league titles, and 2 Copa Libertadores titles.  Boca has won 22 league titles, and 6 Copa titles.  These two get the lions’ share of the media attention (domestically, and worldwide), but there are several other successful clubs.

Independiente, from Avellenada (which is part of greater Buenos Aires, just southeast of the city center) actually has the most Copa titles in Argentina, 7, although they haven’t won one in over 2 decades; they have 16 league titles (the last in the 2002-Apertura).  San Lorenzo, from Buenos Aires, have won the league 13 times (their last was last years’ Clausura).  Racing Club, from Avellenada, rounds out “the big 5.”  They are from Avellenada, and have 16 league titles and 1 Copa title (although 9 of their titles were won in the nineteen-teens and nineteen-twenties, back in the amatuer era [pre-1930]).  Estudiantes, from La Plata, 50 miles southeast of Buenos Aires, have won 5 league titles and 3 Copa titles.

 There are two successful clubs from the central Santa Fe Province city of Rosario:  Newell’s Old Boys (7 titles), and Rosario Central (4 titles).

The small Buenos Aires club Lanus won the Apertura 2007.  It was their first title.  Newly promoted Tigre, from the northern part of greater Buenos Aires, finished second, and the small club Banfield, from just south of the capital, finished third.  Boca finished 4th (after winning the 2007 Copa Libertadores, in June).  River had a horrible season, finishing 14th.   It was definately a season for the underdog. 

One note about the map: there are two title wins listed for 1913 (GELP, and Racing Club), because there were two seperate FAs operating side by side in Argentina then. 

For reference, here is a map of Argentina, with Provinces and neighboring countries.  Click here. 

Thanks to the Pitch Invasion site (   Thanks to the Hasta El Gol Siempre site (

Thursday, this map, with an article by Sam, from Hasta El Gol Siempre, will be featured on the Pitch Invasion site.

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