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July 31, 2008

France: Ligue 1, Clubs in the 2008-09 Season (with 07/08 attendance map, and final standings chart).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,France — admin @ 3:07 pm

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Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Ligue Un, click on the following: category: France.

The Ligue Un season starts the weekend of 9th and 10th August.  {Click here, for the official Ligue 1 site.}

Lyon has won an unprecedented 7 straight Titles. They will face competition from Bordeaux and Marseille.  A big surprise last season was Nancy, who were only expected to avoid the drop, as they had no player acquisitions to speak of.  Instead, they finished fourth, and will play in the UEFA Cup.  Saint-Etienne finished fifth, and will also play in the UEFA Cup.  But these latter two clubs are not expected to vie for the crown.  Indeed, it is telling that the oddsmakers have a seperate betting category for “League, without Lyon”  {click here, for odds to win Ligue 1 (Easy Odds site)}. 

I am trying out a new type of map and chart for leagues, here.  Basically, I have combined an attendance map with a zoom map,  but without the “zoom lines”.  Instead, each club’s thumbnail profile is positioned in order of their place in the final standings from last season; also, the clubs that qualified for European competitions are listed.   For the Champions League, it is Lyon and Bordeaux, with Marseille into the CL 3rd Round Qualifiers.  For the UEFA Cup, it’s Nancy, Saint-Etienne, and Coupe de la Ligue winner Paris St-Germain (click here, for info on the relatively new Coupe de la Ligue).  The Intertoto Cup will feature Rennes.  At the bottom of the chart, the three promoted clubs are shown (Le Havre, Nantes, and Grenoble).  

This short article from June goes into the problem Ligue 1 has with comparatively low television revenue: {Click here (Reuters Soccer Blog)}.

I was having trouble finding previews of the Ligue 1 08/09 season, but I finally found this: {Click here (Center Holds It, via Big Soccer site)}.   [It's the first installment, starting with the champions, Lyon.]

Here is the Sky Sports/ Ligue 1 page: {Click here}.

The Offside has pretty good French league coverage, with correspondents for 10 of the clubs…{Click here, for The Offside /France}.

Thanks to Colours of Football, for the kits {click here}.

July 27, 2008

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

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Note: to see my most recent post on the English 4th division, click on the following: category: Eng-4th Level/League 2.

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].

July 23, 2008

2008 Beijing Summer Olympics: Men’s Football Venues- Map with photos.

Filed under: Olympics: Football — admin @ 4:32 pm

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The Group matches start on 7th August.  All 16 teams in the 4-team Groups will play 3 matches, all on the 7th, 10th, and 13th of August.  Here are each venue’s first set of games (the venues below are listed from top to bottom, in correlation with the sets of photos on the map).  

[Note: all population figures are for city-area, not the much larger municipality, or urban, area.] 

Shenyang (China’s 10th largest city) is a sub-provincial city, and the capital of Laoning province, in northeast China, with a population of around 4.4 million (2007 estimate).  On 7th August,  Shenyang Olympic Stadium will host the Group C teams:  Brazil v. Belgium (early match) and China v. New Zealand (late match).

Quinhuangdao (around China’s 78th largest city) is a prefecture-level city in Hebei province, 190 miles east of Beijing, with a population of three-quarters of a million.  Thursday the 7th of August,  Quinhuangdao Olympic Stadium will host the Group D teams:  Honduras v. Italy (early match) and South Korea v. Cameroon (late match).

Beijing is China’s capital, and the second largest city in the country, with a population of around 10.3 million.  Both of the Beijing Stadiums will not host matches in the first 2 sets of games, and the National Stadium will only host the Mens Football Final, on Saturday, 23rd August. 

Tianjin is the 7th largest city in China, with a population of 5.2 million.  This northern coastal city is 120 miles southeast of Beijing, on the Bohai Gulf.  On 7th August, Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium will host the Group B teams:  Japan v. USA (early match) and Netherlands v. Nigeria (late match).

Shanghai is China’s largest city (and one of the top 10 largest cities in the world), with a population of around 16.2 million (20.6 million in the urban area).  On 7th August, Shanghai Stadium will host the Group A teams:  Australia v. Serbia (early match) and Cote d’Ivoire v. Argentina (late match).

Group Stage chapter, from Wikipedia’s page on this competition.: {Click here}.

List of largest urban areas in China, from Wikipedia: {Click here}.

Here is something interesting, from the official 2008 Summer Olympics site, which shows the Beijing National Sports Stadium (aka, “the Bird’s Nest“) being built, in time lapse-photography: {Click here, and scroll one-third down the page, to the box below where it says Focus}.

While searching for images, I came across this blog, called Off the Chang…here is an article about the Bird’s Nest stadium, and the larger issues surrounding the Beijing Olympic games:  {click here}. 

Thanks to the Football Temples of the World site {click here}.

July 20, 2008

2008 Beijing Summer Olympics: Men’s Football- National Teams Map.

Filed under: Olympics: Football — admin @ 11:14 am

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[Note:  This map was done in collaboration with the Soccer Lens site: {click here for Soccer Lens' preview of the competition.]

Thanks to Wikipedia for the map and information; {click here, for their page on the competition}.  Thanks to the CIA World Fact Book site, for the population statistics {click here}.   Thanks to Ahmed, at Soccer Lens, for the idea, and input {click here}.

My next post will be a map, with photos of the 6 venues for the football competition, at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

July 16, 2008

Canadian Football League.

Filed under: Canada,Canadian Football League — admin @ 3:59 am

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[Note: the map shows each CFL team's present day helmet.  At the bottom of each team box is: 1. the team's earliest logo I could find;  2. a helmet design from the 1960s-1980s;  3. a recent variation of their logo/ or their current logo.]

The Canadian Football League was formed in 1958, though some of the teams had already been playing for many decades.  The Canadian championship of gridiron football, the Grey Cup {see this}, was last won by a non-CFL team in 1944, when a battalion from Montreal called Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Donnacona {see this} were the champions.  (Just because I love historical trivia like this, the last two non-CFL winners before this were the Toronto RCAF Hurricanes, in 1942,  and The Sarnia (Ontario) Imperials {see this} in 1934 and 1936.)

The CFL is widely (and almost completely) ignored by the American media, and is overshadowed, even in Canada, by the National Football League.  But it has been getting solid attendance figures for years, and averaged 29,438 per game in 2007.  In fact the CFL is the 7th highest drawing league in the world {see this}.

The CFL season runs from July 1st to early November, with the Grey Cup played (in alternating cities) in late November.  The CFL has some crucial rule differences from the NFL.  First of all, there are only 3, not 4, downs (or plays), for the offensive team to gain the 10 yards necessary to start a new set of downs.  Secondly, the offensive backfield (ie, the players who get the ball the most often) can be in forward motion prior to the ball being put in play.  This gives the offense a much better chance of gaining yards than in the NFL.  Thirdly, the game is a far more wide-open affair, as the CFL field is wider, longer, and has deeper end-zones.  Again, more chance for the offense to score.  Finally, there is the opportunity for a 1-point score (called a “rouge”), via the kicking game. 

Here is Wikipedia’s page on the CFL {click here}.

Last season, the Saskatchewan Roughriders won only their 3rd Grey Cup, beating Winnipeg in the “Prairie Cup.” 

{Click here, for the 2008 CFL standings.}

{Click here, for the CFL site.}

Thanks to http://www.sportscolours.org, which includes Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos PageHelmets, Helmets, Helmets;  and Logo Shak.

July 11, 2008

Baseball of the Southeast, circa 1992.

Filed under: Baseball,Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 10:43 pm

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Major League Baseball clubs in this map are the Atlanta Braves, the Baltimore Orioles, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Phillies logo isn’t included, but you can see Philadelphia in the far upper right of the main map.

All the other teams on the map are minor league ball clubs.  Their parent MLB clubs are indicated by icons depicting the MLB clubs’ colors and logos.  For example,  the blue, orange, and gray circles are New York Mets minor league clubs (or farm clubs);  the blue and sky-blue circles with the maple leaf are Toronto Blue Jays farm clubs; the teams with the red tomahawks are Atlanta Braves farm clubs, and so on.

July 3, 2008

Major League Baseball: the American League Central- Map and Chart.

Filed under: Baseball2008MLB Divisions — admin @ 6:02 pm

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Major League Baseball’s AL Central Division is made up of 4 charter members of the American League, three of which have remained in the same city since 1901; plus an expansion team from the late 1960′s. 

The Chicago White Stockings, the Cleveland Blues, the Detroit Tigers and the Washington Senators were all founding members of the American League.   Chicago changed their name to the White Sox in 1904;  Cleveland became the Indians in 1915.  The first Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins, when the Senators moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1961 (although the city of Washington D.C. was concurrently granted an expansion team, the second Washington Senators, that began play also in 1961 [and later moved to Arlington, Texas, in 1972, as the Rangers].   The Kansas City Royals were an expansion team from 1969 (one of four that year;  the other three were the Seattle Pilots, the San Diego Padres, and the Montreal Expos).

{Click here, for team histories and photos (Sports E-cyclopedia site).}

AL Central Auxillary Chart, with each ball club’s uniforms evolution: Click on the image below, to see the full chart…

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 Thanks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Dressed to the Nines” site, which features uniform templates drawn by Marc Okkonen.

Thanks to http://www.sportscolours.org , which features Chris Creamer’s Logo Page.

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