February 10, 2008

Bristol City FC.

Filed under: Engl. Promotion Candidates — admin @ 10:54 am


Bristol City FC was formed in 1897, when Bristol South End FC turned professional, and changed it’s name.  In 1901, the club joined the League, in the Second Division.  In 1906, they finished first, and were promoted to the First Division.  The following season (1906-’07), Bristol City finished in 2nd place.  Two seasons later, they had a great Cup run, which culminated in their appearance in the 1909 FA Cup Final, versus Manchester United, at the old Crystal Palace.  They lost 0-1.  Two years later (1911), the club was relegated.

Since then Bristol City have been essentially a medium-sized 2nd/ 3rd Level club.  After 65 seasons, they finally won promtion back to the top flight, in 1976.   But their second spell in the First Division lasted only 4 seasons.  Following this relegation, in 1980, the club went into free-fall.  They became the first English club to suffer three straight relegations.  Right before their third relegation, in the spring of 1982, the club went out of business, declaring bankruptcy.  A new company, BCFC (1982) Ltd. was formed.  But the survival of the club was assured only when eight high-paid senior members of the squad accepted redundancy,  in the form of a half-payment on their contracts. These players were known as the ‘Ashton Gate Eight’.  By 1990, the club was back in the second level, but stayed there only 5 seasons.  17 seasons in the third tier followed (1995 to 2006). 

In September 2005, Gary Johnson was hired as manager of Bristol City.  He had just led nearby Yeovil Town to 2 promotions in 3 seasons (5th Level to 3rd Level).  After a rocky start, City found it’s form, and finished a respectable 9th.  The following season (2006-’07), the club started poorly again, but by November they were in the top 6.  A good Cup run saw them beat Coventry City in the 3rd round, and take Middlesbrough to penalties, in the 4th Round.  Promotion to the 2nd Level was secured on the final game of the season, as Bristol City finished in second place in League One. 

At the start of the 2007-’08 season,  no one expected Bristol City to do much more than avoid the drop,  but Johnson’s squad,  bolstered by several new signings, has surprised everyone.   The club has been in the playoff places pretty much the whole season.   They survived the inevitable dip in form, in November,  and have racked up some impressive wins since,  including an away win at Watford.   The scoring leaders are two Milwall transplants,  Darren Byfield (8 league goals),  and Marvin Elliot (5 league goals).   The squad is led by captain Louis Carey, and right back Bradley Orr.   Orr was chosen in the Setanta Sports all-league 11, at the start of January.

Saturday, Bristol City defeated Sheffield Wednesday 2-1, with goals by Dele Adebola and Bradley Orr.  Bristol City are currently in 3rd place in the League Championship, 1 point behind leaders Watford.

**{See this recent article, from the Telegraph UK website.}

Thanks to (historicalkits[dot]co[dot]uk)- the 5 older kits on the bottom of the chart are copyright Historical Football Kits, and reproduced by permission.  Thanks to the Colours of football website (colours-of-football[dot]com) for the newer kits.  Thanks to the stadium guide website (stadiumguide[dot]co[dot]uk);   (tims92[dot]co[dot]uk);   (freewebs[dot]com).

February 8, 2008

College Basketball Rankings, February 8, 2008. AP Poll.

Filed under: NCAA Men's Basketball — admin @ 8:40 pm


This is the third college basketball rankings map I’ve done this season.  To see the other two,  click on “categoies,”  under “ncaa basketball,”  and scroll down past this post.

The unbeaten Memphis Tigers took over the # 1 spot on January 21, after North Carolina lost to Maryland.

Here is a list of the 13 teams that have been in the top 25 since the last week of November.

1. Memphis.   2. Duke.   3. North Carolina.   4. Kansas.   5. UCLA.   6. Georgetown.   7. Tennessee.   10. Butler.   11. Michigan State.   12. Texas.   14. Indiana.   16. Marquette.   18. Texas A&M.

**Click here for a short write-up on the Memphis Tigers reaching #1.

** Click here for the AP Poll,  from the Sports Illustrated website.

**Click here for the Memphis Tigers website.

February 7, 2008

Mexican Primera Division, Apertura 2007 & Clausura 2008-Map.

Filed under: Mexico: Fútbol,Zoom Maps — admin @ 6:49 am

Please note: to see my most-recent post on Mexican football (from January 2017), click on the following, category: Mexico/fútbol.


The Mexican Clausura 2008 runs from January 18 to May 31.  Current champion is recently transplanted club Atlante.  Last summer, this poorly supported club from Mexico City moved 600 miles east, to the resort town of Cancun, on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.  Then they won the Apertura 2007, in December, beating UNAM Pumas 2-1, in the second leg of the playoffs final. 

Teams are split into three groups.  Clausura 2008 standings (general), click here.  To see the Clausura 2008 groups, click here.   Pacuca won the last Clausura (2007).

Here is a round-up of games played last weekend:  {Click for }.

8 teams make the playoffs.  The top 2 teams from each group make it to the playoffs (6 teams); the last 2 spots are determined by a sub-playoff between 7th through 10th place finishers.  There is one team relegated after each Apertura or Clausura; and one team is promoted from the second division.   Which team is relegated is decided on a three-year points average (like Argentina).  This helps maintain the status quo, as a team just promoted has to finish much higher than second-from-last to avoid the drop.  **{See this article, from the Guardian website, which goes into the complexities of the Mexican Pimera Division’s playoff system and relegation system.}

The Mexican Primera Division has no unified television contract; each team has their own TV deal.  Like the relegation format, this also allows the bigger clubs to maintain their prominent status.   The two big clubs in Mexico are Chivas Guadalajara (11 titles), and America (10 titles).  Chivas last league title was the 2006 Apertura; America’s last title was the 2005 Clausura. 

[Note:  I was unable to find attendance figures for the teams in the Mexican Primera Division, but I did find a list (from October 2007) that has the Mexican league drawing around 22,000 per game.  Click here, for the list. ]

February 5, 2008

Junior Hockey in Canada: The Western Hockey League, 2007-08 season.

Filed under: Canada,Canada>WHL,Hockey — admin @ 5:38 pm

Please note: I have made a more recent map-and-post of the WHL (April 2016), here:
Western Hockey League (WHL): location-map with: 2015-16 attendance data, WHL titles & CHL/Memorial Cup titles listed/+ illustrations for the 4 WHL teams with the best attendance in 2015-16 (Calgary Hitmen, Portland Winterhawks, Edmonton Oil Kings, Spokane Chiefs), and the 3 WHL teams with the best-percent-capacity figures in 2015-16 (Kelowna Rockets, Red Deer Rebels, Prince Albert Raiders).

The Western Hockey League, or WHL, is one of 3 junior hockey leagues based in Canada.   The other 2 leagues are the Ontario Hockey League (OHL);  and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMHJL).  [Note: I made a map similar to this one for the OHL, which I posted on January 13th.  To see the OHL map, go to Categories, under "Hockey,"  and scroll down to bottom of page.]

These 3 leagues are for players aged 15 to 20, after which they are eligible for the National Hockey League Draft.  All three of the leagues feature teams from the USA; the WHL has a U.S. Division within it’s league format.  The other 3 divisions loosely follow the three far western Canadian Provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan).

The WHL is currently averaging a very healthy 4,500 per game.  This is rather impressive, when one considers that it is a junior hockey league.  The biggest minor-league hockey league, the AHL, is only averaging 500 more per game, this season (4,900).

The WHL was formed in 1966, out of the desire to unify the four western Canadian provinces’ junior leagues, in order to better compete with the junior leagues in Ontario and Quebec.  Five Sakatchewan teams, the Regina Pats, the Saskatoon Blades, the Estevan Bruins, the Moose Jaw Canucks, and the Weyburn Red Wings, plus the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Calgary Buffaloes were the founding members.  Within 5 years, the WHL had reached ascendancy in the west, and when the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association reorganized, in 1971, the WHL became one of the 3 leagues in the top tier of Canadian junior hockey.

There have been 3 dynasties in the WHL.  The first was the New Westminster Bruins, who were from the Vancouver area.  They started out in Saskatchewan, as the Estevan Bruins (in the southeast of the province, 15 miles from the US border at North Dakota).  They moved west to metro Vancouver, in 1971.  They won 4 consecutive Titles in the 1970′s, as well as two Memorial Cups (which is the all-Canada junior crown).  They moved to Kamloops, British Columbia, in 1981, and went on to become the second WHL dynasty (see below).


The third WHL dynasty has been the central British Columbian team the Kelowna Rockets.  They have won 2 WHL titles and a Memorial Cup since 2002.  They also draw very well for a small city: around 6,100 for the past 3 seasons.  

The Vancouver Giants are the reigning WHL champions.  They are also currently the best draw, averaging an impressive 8,700 last season.  They lead the turnstile count again this season (at 8,300) , followed by the Calgary Hitmen (at 8,100).   Both these teams must compete with an NHL franchise in their cities.  This trend, of minor league teams successfully establishing a niche in big-league cities, began in the mid 1990′s, with the formation of the Hitmen.  That team reached a peak attendance of 10,000, in 2005.

On the other end of the population spectrum, teams like the Everett Silvertips (30 miles north of Seattle, Washington, USA), and the Red Deer (Alberta) Rebels are thriving.  They both drew over 6,000 last season, and are both playing in cities with populations under 95,000.  And two teams pull in around 10% of their hometown population: the Brandon (Manitoba) Wheat Kings and the Swift Current (Saskatchewan) Broncos.  Brandon is a city of 48,000: the Wheat Kings are drawing 4,100; Swift Current is a town of just 15,000; the Broncos pull in 1,900 per game. 

Below is a little map I put together that shows some old logos from the WHL.

The logo at the upper right is the Flin Flon (Manitoba) Bombers.  This was a legendary team that produced loads of NHL talent, like Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke {see this, here).  That franchise moved, and then became defunct, but another team has inherited the name, and plays in the Sakatchewan Junior Hockey League.  The rams-head logo in Montana is the crest of the Billings Bighorns, also defunct.  The Victoria Cougars are now up in northern B.C., as the Prince George Cougars.  The Kelowna Wings moved to Spokane, and became the Chiefs.   All the rest of the logos on this map are of WHL teams still in their same locations. 

The Regina Pats emblem has remained unchanged.  They have been arouind for 90 years, and are the oldest major junior hockey club in the world.    **{see the Regina Pats website, here.}  The team was named after the Princess Patricia of Connaught, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria; and they were associated with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.  The Regina Pats still wear that regiment’s crest as a shoulder patch {see the crest, here}.

The WHL is traditionally known a league that produces large, hard-hitting defensemen, and fore-checking power forwards.  It is often referred to as “the Dub,” after the first syllable in the WHL.

WHL website: (  

Click here, for the Wikipedia entry on the WHL.

February 4, 2008

Ipswich Town FC.

Filed under: Engl. Promotion Candidates — admin @ 5:57 am


Ipswich Town FC was formed in 1888, with the merger of Ipswich Association FC (established 1978), and Ipswich Rugby Club.  The club remained steadfastly amatuer for it’s first four decades, only turning pro in 1936.  In 1938, the club was elected to the League, joining the Southern League (which is today the equivalent of the 3rd level). 

Ipswich Town were first promoted to the Second Division in 1954, but went right back down the next spring.  In August, 1955, Alf Ramsay took over the club as manager; the team improved to 3rd place, and the following season (1956-’57) the club returned to the second tier.  Four years later, in 1961, Ipswich Town were promoted to the First Division for the first time.  The following season, they stunned English football by winning the 1962 National Title.  They are the second-to-last club to have won the Title the first year after promotion (Nottingham Forest did it last, in 1977-’78).  The fluke-like nature of this championship can be emphasized by the club’s 17th place finish the following season (1962-’63).  That same spring, Alf Ramsay left Ipswich to take over the management of the English National team.  The following year (1964) Ipswich Town were relegated.


Four seasons later (1968), Ipswich Town were promoted back to the First Division under Bill McGarry.  He left to manage Wolverhampton the following  year, and was replaced by Bobby Robson.  Robson would manage Ipswich Town from 1969 to 1982, leading the club to an FA Cup victory, in 1978, and a UEFA Cup, in 1981. 

The club would remain in the top flight for 18 seasons, finishing in 2nd place twice (1980, and ’81), 3rd place three times, and 4th place twice.   Robson’s Ipswich teams played a fluid, attacking style of football, led by prolific striker Paul Mariner (22 goals in ’77-’78), all-time fan favorite John Wark (a tough, attacking midfielder, who had 3 spells at the club; see this), and Dutch midfielder Arnold Muhren {see this}.  This squad was bolstered in the back by captain Mick Mills (most Ipswich Town appearances, with 591), England international Terry Butcher, and Scottish international George Burley.

 **{See these highlights of Ipswich Town’s 1981 UEFA Cup victory.}

**{See this Ipswich Town tribute.}


Ipswich Town regularly drew in the mid 20,000′s in attendance through the mid 1970′s, peaking at a 26,672 average gate, in 1976-’77.   But by 1997, the club was only drawing around 12,000.  Crowds came back, and have recently peaked at 25,651, in 2004-’05 (when the club finished 3rd in the second level).

Following Robson’s departure in 1982, Ipswich Town slid gradually down the table, and were relegated to the second level, in 1986.  Since then, the club has had two short spells in the top flight, the last from 2000 to 2002, when George Burley was manager.  

Under current manager Jim Magilton, Ipswich Town still plays the attractive passing game that Robson developed.  Their top scorers this season are Spaniard Pablo Counago (back for his second spell with the club), and former Irish under-21 forward Jonathan Walters, with 10 league goals each.  Irish international Alan Lee has 9. 

This season, the Tractor boys are still unbeaten at home,  in the league.   The club jumped up 4 places to 6th, on Saturday, beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-2.  It was their first away win of the season, and has put them in the playoff places.  Goals were scored by Alan Quinn (against his former club), and Alan Lee, in the 71st minute.   Click here, for report on the game.

Thanks to Historical Football Kits (historicalkits[dot]co[dot]uk): the 6 older kits on the bottom, left are copyright Historical Kits , and are reproduced by permission.  Thanks to the Colours Of Football website (colours-of-football[dot]com).   Thanks to the Pride of Anglia website (tmwmtt[dot]com).  Thanks to (viewimages[dot]com).   Thanks to BBC.   Thanks to Tim’s 92 site.

February 1, 2008

The NFL, 1969-Map.

Filed under: NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 8:06 pm


This map shows the 16 teams that made up the NFL, in 1969.  The four division format had started in 1967.  Two of these four divisions still exist today, but with different names.  The Capitol Division (Giants, Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys) is now known as the NFC East.  The Central Division (Bears. Packers, Lions, Vikings) is now known as the NFC North.   Expansion teams of this era are as follows.

13th NFL team- Dallas Cowboys, established 1960.   14. Minnesota Vikings, est. 1961.   15. Atlanta Falcons, est. 1966.   16. New Orleans Saints, est. 1967. 

Also shown on the map is the helmet evolution of all these 16 teams, from the late 1950′s through to the present time.  All these franchises are still in existance.   City changes,  and team name changes are noted.  The following year (1970), the NFL merged with the 10-team AFL, to form a 2-Conference, 26-team NFL.

Here is a program from the 1968 playoffs that nicely shows some of the helmets of that era.nfl_1968_program_with_helmets.gif 

Click here to see the synopsis of the 1969 NFL season.

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