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August 29, 2008

Spain: La Liga, Clubs in the 2008-09 Season (with 07/08 Final Standings Chart, and 07/08 Attendance Map).

Filed under: Spain — admin @ 10:19 pm

[Please note: to see my newest post on football in Spain, click the 'Spain' category.]
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Spain’s Liga de Futbol Professional, almost universally known as La Liga, begins its 78th season on the weekend of 30th and 31st August.  

The reigning champions are Real Madrid.  The giant club from the capital city has won the title 31 times.  Barcelona (second on the list, with 18 titles) had a disorganized season in 07/08, and hope to regroup.  In fact they finished in 3rd place;  2nd place went to plucky Villarreal, who continue to punch above their weight.  This is a club from a small town of 48,000, 35 miles north of Valencia.  That they could actually be in Spain’s top flight is remarkable enough.  But to make it to the Champions League Semi-Finals (in 2005-’06), and now place second in La Liga, is amazing.  In 1999-2000, the season that they were first promoted to La Liga, Villarreal were drawing only around 8,ooo per game (they draw around 19,000 these days).

In the Group Stage of the 2008-’09 Champions League,  Real Madrid are in Group H,  with Juventus,  Zenit St. Petersburg,  and BATE Borisov (of Belarus).    Villarreal are in Group E,  with Manchester United,  Celtic, and  AaB Aalborg (of Denmark).   Barcelona are in Group C,  with Sporting [Lisbon],  Shakhtar Donetsk (of Ukraine),  and FC Basel (of Switzerland).   Atletico Madrid are in Group D (see below).  

Fourth place went to perennial underachievers Atletico Madrid, who seem poised to begin a new, more successful chapter in their club’s history, with their qualification for the Group Stage of the Champions League.  Wednesday, Atletico won 4-0 over the German club FC Schalke 04 (who also are a big club that has underachieved in the recent past).  This clinched advancement to the holy grail of the Champions League.  Atletico Madrid have been drawn into a very competive group, with Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven, and Marseille.  All four of these clubs have a viable shot at advancement {See this (from the UEFA site)}.

Fifth place went to Sevilla, who failed to equal their impressive 3rd place finish of 06/07, and will have to content themselves with a 1st Round UEFA Cup appearance (a competition which they won, twice straight, in 2005 and 2006). 

Sixth place went to Racing Santander.  This is a  medium sized club (with an average gate of around 17,000) whose defining characteristic has been the ability to survive the drop, year after year, without any sort of distinction.  So their first-ever qualification for the UEFA Cup is definitely cause for celebration up north in Cantabria.

Spain’s final UEFA Cup spot went to Valencia, who had a disasterous La Liga season in 07/08 (with a 10th place finish).  But Valencia salvaged the season with a win over Getafe in the Copa del Rey, thus qualifiying them for European competition.

There is one more Spanish club to qualify for the UEFA Cup, via the Intertoto Cup:  Deportivo La Coruna.    {Click here to see  all the clubs in the 08/09 UEFA Cup.}

Here are the final standings from La Liga 07/08 {Click here (ESPN Soccer Net)}.

Here are the leading scorers from 07/08 {Click here}.

Thanks to Demis, of the Netherlands, for the base map  {Click here}.     Thanks to European Football Statistics  {Click here}, for the attendance figures.    Thanks to Ahmed, at Soccer Lens, for linking up with, and featuring, some of my recent maps.

August 26, 2008

Italy: Serie A, Clubs in the 2008-09 Season (with 07/08 Final Standings Chart, and 07/08 Attendance Map.)

Filed under: Italy — admin @ 3:41 pm

(Note: to see my latest map-and-post on Italian football, click on the following, Category: Italy.)
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The 2008-’09 Season of Italy’s Serie A starts the weekend of 30th-31st August.  Internazionale (called “Inter Milan” by many in the English-speaking world, but by no one in Italy) are winners of the last 3 championships…one via the courts, the last two on the pitch.  But they still saw fit to sack their manager, and hire Jose Mourinho.  You can read about it in this preview (from the CNN site) {Click here).

Here are the final standings from 07/08 {Click here (Wikipedia)}.

Here are the leading goal scorers from 07/08 {Click here (ESPN Soccernet)}.

Thanks to the Colours Of Football site, for the kits {Click here}.  Thanks to football-shirts.co.uk  for the Chievo away kit.

Thanks to Demis, for the base map {Click here}.

August 22, 2008

Italy: Serie A, Clubs in the 2008-09 Season (with 07/08 attendances).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Italy — admin @ 3:00 pm

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(Note: to see my latest map-and-post on Italian football, click on the following, category: Italy.)

Italy’s Serie A will start it’s 77th season on 30th August.  This map shows the 20 clubs in the league this season.  Club crests are sized to reflect 07/08 average attendances.

Last season,  Serie A averaged 23,180 per game.   This figure was up 25.5% from 06/07,  but this can be viewed as an expected increase,  as the pro game in Italy has recovered somewhat as the widespread fan disaffection in the wake of 05/06, and the “calciopoli” scandals wanes.   Also,  three clubs were promoted (Napoli especially) which that draw much better than the average promoted clubs. 

Whether top flight Italian football can get back to it’s peak modern gate figures, of 1991-’92, when Serie A drew 34,002, remains to be seen.  But a more reasonable goal would be the 25,400 per game that the league drew in 02/03, 03/04, and 04/05.

Thanks to Demis, for the base map {Click here}.

Thanks to European Football Statistics, for the attendance figures  {Click here}.

August 18, 2008

Spain: La Liga, Clubs in the 2008-09 Season (with 07/08 attendance map).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Spain — admin @ 2:14 pm

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

The 30th of August will see the opening of the 78th season of Spain’s Liga de Futbol Professional,  popularly known as La Liga.   The map shows the 20 clubs in the 2008-’09 season.  Club crests are sized to reflect each club’s average attendance from 07/08. 

Last season, La Liga averaged 29,124 per game {see this}.  That figure will probably go down this season, though.  This is primarily because Real Zaragoza, who drew 30,000 per game last season, were relegated,  and one of the three promoted clubs is Numancia (who drew only around 5,000 a game last season).

Since 2002-’03,  La Liga has been averaging between 28,500 and 29,200 per game.   The way it stands now,  La Liga has two clubs that draw over 60,000 (reigning champions Real Madrid, and Barcelona);  five clubs that draw between 35,000 and 45,000 (Atletico Madrid, Valencia,  Sevilla,  Real Betis, and Athletic Bilbao);  9 clubs that draw between 17,000 and 24,000 (Murcia,  EspanyolVillarrealMallorcaDeportivo La CorunaValladolid Racing Santander,  Recreativo Huelva,  and Osasuna);  and some medium-small sized clubs that usually survive a year or to, or go straight back down to the Segunda Division.  The exception to this last category has come to be Getafe, the rather tiny club from a heavily industrialized region just south of Madrid’s city center, who were formed in 1983.  This club is hard pressed to draw more than 10,000 a game, yet has thrived in their first 4 seasons in La Liga, and made it to the Quarter-Finals of the UEFA Cup last season.  Another example of this may be under way on the southeast coast, in eastern Andalusia, where top flight novices Almeria (established in 1989), finished in 8th place last season, and drew around 15,000 per game.  {See this profile, from the Albion Road site}.  Five years ago, new to the second tier, Almeria averaged  only 5,800.

Thanks to Demis, of the Netherlands, for the base map {Click here}. 

Thanks to European Football Statistics, for the attentance figures {Click here}.

Thanks to the Spanish Football & Sports site, for linking to this post   {Click here}.

August 12, 2008

Premier League: Clubs in the 2008-09 Season (With 2007-08 Attendance Map, and Final Standings Chart).

Please Note: to see my most recent Premier League map & post, click on the following category, Eng>Premier League.
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The Premier League, England’s top level of football,  begins it’s 16th season,  on the weekend of 16th-17th August.

Below are the average gates (from last season) of all the clubs who are in the Premier League for the 2008-09 season.   Included is the percentage change from the 2006-07 season.

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Thanks to Historical Football Kits {Click here}, for the kits used on the chart: copyright Historical Football Kits, and reproduced by permission.

Thanks to the European Football Statistics site for the attendance figures      {Click here}.

August 8, 2008

2008-’09 English Football: League Championship- Attendance Map (with attendances from the 2007-’08 season).

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The League Championship is the second level of English football.  Last season, the league averaged 17,022 per game.  Attendance was down 3.4%,  which can be explained by the promotion to the Premier League, last year, of the two highest drawing clubs from the season before:  Sunderland and Derby County.

This season, there will be an unusually large number of local derbies.  That’s because there will be four clubs from South Yorkshire (with the promotion of Doncaster Rovers,  plus Sheffield United,  Sheffield Wednesday,  and Barnsley);   two clubs from Wales (with the promotion of Swansea City,  plus Cardiff City);   two clubs from the East Midlands (with the promotion of Nottingham Forest,  and the return of Derby County);  and three clubs from the West Midlands (with the return of Birmingham City,  plus Wolverhampton and  Coventry City).   And once again, there will be three London clubs (Charlton Athletic,  Crystal Palace,  and Queens Park Rangers),  along with Watford (which most people consider to be part of London,  although it is just over the border, in Hertfordshire).  

When one factors in the new clubs for this season,  the relegation of two smaller clubs (Colchester United and Scunthorpe United),  and the general trend over the last decade towards higher gates in the Football League, the League Championship will probably have it’s highest drawing season ever.  [It's highest was 2006-07, with an average gate of 18,221.]

Here is a preview of the League Championship (Telegraph UK) {Click here}.

For promotion, the oddsmakers like Birmingham CityQueens Park Rangers,  and Reading   {Click here (statto.com site)}.    But if last season is anything to go by, some clubs in the middle of the oddsmaker’s pack will gain promotion, rather than all the favorites.  It was wide open last season, and going into the final half-dozen matches, fully half the league (actually 13 clubs) had a viable shot at promotion.   In the end,  two of the three clubs who won promotion this May,  Hull City and Stoke City,  were not at all highly rated for advancement.  Hull were 66 to 1 to win the league outright, and Stoke City were 25 to 1.  Eventual League Championship winners West Bromwich Albion were highly rated to win it, though,  at 6 to 1.

What has vaulted QPR into the top three projected clubs is their new ownership and investor {see this}.   Ticket prices have shot up, and some are worried that the new ownership will price the average loyal fan out  {see this, from The Guardian UK, by Benjie Goodheart}.

Here is a nice League Championship preview, from a QPR supporters’ site called Loft For Words  {Click here}.

Staying on the QPR theme, here is a preview of the 08/09 team,  from the great Unprofessional Foul site  {Click here}.   This site is in the process of previewing the whole league,  in their insightul and irreverent way.   [Note: that is QPR's old badge pictured there in the article...the new one can be seen on my map.]

Thanks to the European Football Statistics site  {Click here},  for the attendance figures.  Thanks to the Historical Football Kits site  {Click here}.  Not for images, this time, but for pointing out the plethora-of-derbies angle.

August 4, 2008

2008-09 English Football: League One- Attendance Map (with attendances from the 2007-08 season).

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of the English 3rd division, click on the following, Eng-3rd Level/League One.
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League One is the 3rd Level of English Football.  This level invariably has the biggest disparity in attendance figures.  In the past decade,  this league has been usually comprised of one or two “big” clubs, who have fallen on hard times;  mixed in with a large portion of medium-small sized clubs;  and rounded out by some rather small clubs who are punching above their weight.  Last season, League One had an overall average gate of 7,992, up 6.7% from the season before (thanks to Leeds’ gate figures, mainly).

This season, in the first category are Leeds United and Leicester City.  Both these clubs, particularly Leeds, have fan bases bigger than some current Premier League clubs.  In recent years (1999 to 2008),  Nottingham Forest,  Sheffield Wednesday,  Manchester City,  and Birmingham City have had spells in the 3rd Level.  These are all clubs that have spent considerable time (at least 45 seasons) in the top flight, and all regularly draw above 20,000 per game. 

In the second category are clubs that presently draw around 5,000 to 10,000 per game.  Some of these clubs, such as Oldham Athletic,  Millwall,  and Brighton & Hove Albion, have had a somewhat recent spell in the top flight (Oldham from 1991 to ’94,  Millwall from 1988 to ’90,  Brighton from 1979 to ’83).  Huddersfield Town won 3 straight English Titles in 1924, ’25, and ’26,  but has not been in the top flight since 1971-72.   Four clubs here spent a single season in the top tier:  Swindon Town in 1993-94,  Carlisle United in 1974-75,  Northampton Town in 1965-66,  and Leyton Orient in 1962-63.   Some of these clubs, like Colchester UnitedSouthend UnitedCrewe Alexandra,  and the just-promoted Stockport County have recently been in the second level, but have never made it to the top tier.  

In the third category are a few clubs with very small fan bases,  like Cheltenham Town,  Hartlepool United, and the newly-promoted Hereford United.   Yeovil Town, who until 5 years ago had never been above the 5th level, can be considered as part of this category, even with their rise in attendance (to the range of 5,400 to 6,400) since they were first promoted to the League, in 2004.  Nevertheless, many feel the Glovers, from the Football-deficient outpost of Somerset, cannot maintain their status as a third-level club, and are due for the drop.  Pretty much the same thing could be said for Gloucestershire’s Cheltenham Town, as well as Hereford.  But County Durham’s Hartlepool seem to be holding their own in the third tier (with a 7th place finish last season), despite only drawing 4,500 per game. 

As of 3rd August,  the bookies’ favorites for promotion are Leeds United, the just-relegated Leicester City, and the just-promoted Peterborough United.  The next favorites are the just-promoted MK Dons, as well as Huddersfield, Carlisle, and Southend.  Brighton, and the just-relegated Colchester, are also rated as relatively good bets to go up  {Click here (Statto.com site)}.

Thanks to the European Football Statistics site {Click here}, for the attendance figures.

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