November 26, 2010

2010-11 FA Cup, Second Round Proper.

Filed under: 2010-11 FA Cup — admin @ 12:01 pm

2010-11 FA Cup, Second Round

BBC Sport/football/FA Cup, here.

From When Saturday Comes site, on 29th November, 2010, ‘Droylsden ignored by local media despite Cup run‘, by Tony Curran.
Thanks to the FA Cup silversmiths, Thomas Lyte Silver, for the photo of the FA Cup trophy, here.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, 2010-11 FA Cup/Second Round Proper.

November 22, 2010

The English 2nd Level (currently known as the Football League Championship) – All-time 2nd Level…the clubs that have spent the most seasons in the 2nd Level, which has been called…the Second Division (1892-93 to 1991-92) / Football League Division One (1992-93 to 2003-04) / Football League Championship (2004-05 to 2010-11). Also included is a chart of All-time 1st Level.


[Note: to see my latest map-&-post on the English 2nd division (the Football League Championship), click on the following, category: Eng-2nd level cham'ship.

Please note: All information below is accurate up to the close of the 2010-11 Football League season [June 2011].

    The English 2nd Level (aka the Football League Championship) – All-time 2nd Level…

The clubs that have spent the most seasons in the 2nd Level, which has been called…the Second Division (1892-93 to 1991-92) / Football League Division One (1992-93 to 2003-04) / Football League Championship (2004-05 to 2010-11)…
By Bill Turianski on 22 November 2010;

The first chart is shown in partial form further above, with just the top 10 all-time 2nd Level clubs. Click on it and the full first chart will show the 35-club All-time 2nd Level list. Clubs which have the tan horizontal bar running across are the 16 clubs that are on the All-time 2nd Level list and are currently in the 2nd Level (2010-11 season).
Those 16 Clubs on the all-time 2nd Level list that are currently [2010-11] in the 2nd Level are…
Barnsley, Leicester City, Hull City, Nottingham Forest, Bristol City, Derby County, Burnley, Sheffield United, Preston North End, Cardiff City, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Millwall, Swansea City, Crystal Palace, and Norwich City.

Below is the full, 5-level chart. It is also for 35 clubs, and has full League history…5 columns (1st Level, 2nd Level, 3rd Level, 4th Level, and Non-League). So when you click to go to the full chart, if you focus on the greyish-blue vertical stripe in the center, you will see the seasons spent in the 2nd Level. I will explain why the chart goes to 35 clubs, below, 2 paragraphs down.


The second tier began as the English Football League Second Division, in 1892-93. That name held for exactly 100 years (89 seasons, minus the war years [ with 4 seasons stricken due to WW I; and then 7 seasons stricken due to WW II ]). When the Premier League was formed, in the summer of 1992, the second tier became known as Division One. This lasted just 12 seasons, from 1992-93 to 2003-04. Then the current name of the Football League Championship began. With sponsor name, the 2010-11 season of the 2nd Level of English Football is known as the N-Power League Championship.

As I began compiling the 2nd Level All-time list, while keeping one eye on the much-easier to compile First Level All-time list [ data sources at bottom of this post ], it became apparent that there would be overlap. 9 clubs are on the 1st Level All-time top 20 list, and are also in the top of the All-time 2nd Level list. Clubs which fall into this category are Nottingham Forest (56 seasons in 1st Level/47 seasons in 2nd Level), Birmingham City (57 seasons in 1st Level/47 seasons in 2nd Level), Wolverhampton Wanderers (62 seasons in 1st Level/45 seasons in 2nd Level), Derby County (65 seasons in 1st Level/43 seasons in 2nd Level), Sheffield United (60 seasons in 1st Level/42 seasons in 2nd Level), Middlesbrough (60 seasons in 1st Level/39 seasons in 2nd Level), West Bromwich Albion (73 seasons in 1st Level/37 seasons in 2nd Level), Blackburn Rovers (71 seasons in 1st Level/36 seasons in 2nd Level), and Sheffield Wednesday (66 seasons in 1st Level/34 seasons in 2nd Level). All of these clubs have spent 60 or more seasons in the 1st Level, and are among the top 20 in that category, and are also among the top of the All-time 2nd Level list.

So I am going to stick to the Physics 101 principle that you can’t be in two places at one time. So those aforementioned 9 clubs that are near to the top of the all-time 1st AND 2nd Level lists…they go to the 1st Level All-time list of 20 clubs. That opened up 9 more spaces in the All-time Second Division. Then this All-time 2nd Level, which would logically be a 24 club-theoretical league…became a temporary 26-team league due to a three-way tie for the 24th spot, between Norwich City, Lincoln City, and Luton Town…all with 34 seasons spent in the second tier.

All-time 1st Level
(20 football clubs)…
First, we will start with the 20 English football clubs with the most seasons spent in the 1st Level (aka the top flight, aka the first division), which is currently known as the Premier League -
All-time 1st Level…


Here are the 20 clubs with the most seasons spent in the 1st Level…
1. Everton, 108 seasons.
2. Aston Villa, 100.
3. Liverpool, 96.
4. Arsenal, 94
5. Manchester United, 86.
6. Manchester City, 82.
7. Newcastle United, 80.
7. Sunderland AFC, 80.
9. Tottenham Hotspur, 76.
9. Chelsea, 76.
11.West Bromwich Albion, 73.
12.Bolton Wanderers, 72.
13.Blackburn Rovers, 71.
14.Sheffield Wednesday, 66.
15.Derby County, 65.
16.Wolverhampton Wanderers, 62.
17.Middlesbrough, 60.
17.Sheffield United, 60.
19.Nottingham Forest, 57.
20.Birmingham City, 56.

just missing out on the All-time 1st Level list…Stoke City, 55 seasons; West Ham United, 54; Burnley, 52; Leeds United, 50; Leicester City and Preston North End, 46.

That makes this the all-time 2nd Level…
(ideally 24 football clubs, but currently with a 3-way tie for 24th-most seasons, making it a temporary 26-club list)…
1. Barnsley, 74 seasons.
2. Leicester City, 59.
3. Hull City, 54.
4. Grimsby Town, 52.
5. Fulham, 50.
6. Blackpool, 46.
7. Bristol City, 45.
8. Burnley, 42.
8. Preston North End, 42.
10.Stoke City, 41.
10.Charlton Athletic, 41.
10. Leyton Orient, 41
10.Port Vale, 41.
14.Cardiff City, 40.
14.Plymouth Argyle, 40.
16.Portsmouth, 39.
16.Bury, 39.
18.Southampton, 38.
19.Notts County, 37.
19.Swansea City, 37.
21.Millwall, 36.
21.Oldham Athletic, 36.
23.Crystal Palace, 35.
24.Lincoln City, 34.
24.Luton Town, 34.
24.Norwich City, 34.

Just missing out on the All-time 2nd Level list…Huddersfield Town, 33 seasons; Leeds United and West Ham United, 31; Ipswich Town and Bradford City, 29.

The club that has spent the longest time in the 2nd Level is the South Yorkshire-based Barnsley FC. Barnsley have spent 74 seasons in the second tier, yet only one season in the top flight…in the sixth season of the Premiership, in 1997-98.
{Barnsley League History, from one of the 116 Footy Mad, here}. That’s gotta be a tough thing to swallow for longtime Tykes fans, but at least the club, and it’s supporters, got that one season in the sun. Unlike Port Vale, who are the football club in England which has spent the most seasons, 41 seasons, in the 2nd Level without ever winning promotion to the top flight. Or Plymouth Argyle, who have spent 40 seasons in the 2nd Level without ever winning promotion to the top flight.


Thanks to Lanterne Rouge, who writes for the excellent Football League site, The Two Unfortunates.
Lanterne Rouge coined the phrase ‘The Greater Championship’ earlier this year. In the following article, from 9th January, 2010, he talks about the idea of which teams belong in ‘The Greater Championship

Since then, I had been thinking about compiling the stats. Before I got too deep into this, I contacted Lanterne Rouge, and he responded with the caveat that…’I must admit [the article] was shamelessly speculative and designed partly to wind up friends who support other clubs!’
Btw, Leeds is talked about in the article, but Leeds United are not on the All-time 1st or 2nd Level lists, due to Leeds United AFC’s somewhat late formation. Leeds United were established in 1919, and were elected to the Football League Second Division in 1920-21, and first won promotion to the First Division in 1924-25. So Yorkshire’s biggest club is not in the top 20 of the All-time 1st Level list (Leeds have spent 50 seasons in the 1st Level, 6 seasons shy of being in the top 20), nor are Leeds United in the top 24 of the All-time 2nd Level list (Leeds has spent 31 seasons in the 2nd Level).

Here are the lists and the data source I used. The best I could find for all-time / all clubs was from 9 seasons ago, at the Football365 site, here (

First Division seasons list, at, under ‘Historical Domestic League History – Countrywise’ / then at ‘England – First Level All-Time Tables’, here.

For all-time season-by-season histories by club, I referred to the ‘League History’ section at each club’s page… .

November 18, 2010

National Hockey League, 1974-75 season, with two more teams added: the Kansas City Scouts and the Washington Capitals.

Filed under: Hockey,Hockey-NHL and expansion — admin @ 5:51 pm

NHL 1974-75 season

The 1974-75 NHL season…
The league expanded the schedule slightly, from 78 games to the 80 game regular season that it still maintains to 2010-11. The two-division format was replaced by a 2-conference/4-division format that on the surface had no geographic orientation. But there actually was a couple of geographic clusters within the 4 divisions, with the teams from the Eastern seaboard cities in one division (NY Rangers, NY Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Atlanta Flames), and the Midwest teams (Chicago Black Hawks, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars, Kansas City Scouts), plus the Vacouver Canucks, in another division.

The revised playoff format was sort of ahead of its time in one respect, and credit must be given to the NHL front office for this innovation…In each round of the playoffs, teams were seeded according to regular-season records, so best played worst/second-best played second-worst, etc. This gave more weight to the regular season and continued to reward the teams with the better regular season records.

1974-75 playoff brackets, here.

In the Stanley Cup finals, the Philadelphia Flyers, coached by Fred Shero, led by gap-toothed scoring wizard Bobby Clarke, and muscled by a cast of goons who earned the name “The Broad Street Bullies“, beat the Buffalo Sabres, led by the “French Connection” scoring line of Rick Martin/Gil Perrault/Rene Robert, 4 games to 2. The Flyers, who would repeat as champions the following season (but have never won the Cup since) were the first modern-day expansion team to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup.

1974-75 NHL Expansion…

At this point in the history of the league, the NHL was in a war of escalation with the World Hockey Association, and that meant continued expansion in defiance of logic, and in defiance of the depleted talent pool.

So 1974-75 saw the NHL’s fourth expansion in 7 seasons, with the addition of the 11th and 12th expansion teams in that 7 year period…that made it 18 NHL teams, when there were just 6 teams 8 years previous. And because the WHA had 14 teams at this point, there were now 32 major league hockey teams in North America, where 8 years before there were just 6 teams. The quality of play obviously suffered, and this season saw the worst-ever record by a major professional hockey team, with the expansion Washington Capitals winning just 8 out of 80 games (with 5 ties), for 21 points. The other expansion team, the short-lived Kansas City Scouts, had a better showing on the ice, with 15 wins and 11 ties for 41 points, but this ill-conceived franchise had a much bigger problem. Very few people in western Missouri/eastern Kansas bothered to attend Scouts’ games. It’s pretty obvious that the NHL front office did very little in the way of, well, scouting out suitable expansion locations, because this part of the USA has never been even remotely close to being a hotbed for ice hockey. To show you how little interest there is in hockey in Kansas City, currently there is no minor league hockey team there (the last being the Kansas City Blades of the now-defunct IHL, who drew 5,235 per game in their last season in 2001-02), although there is a Central Hockey League team in Independence, Missouri, which is 18 km./11 miles south of Kansas City.

The Kansas City Scouts’ two seasons saw an average of 4,109 per game (the league average in the NHL in 1974-75 was 13,224 per game {see this, from Hockey Zone}. The under-capitalized owners were forced to sell to a consortium in Denver, Colorado, and in 1976-77, the Scouts became the Colorado Rockies. That incarnation of the franchise would have similar problems, and the franchise only became viable when it moved east, in 1982, and became the New Jersey Devils.

The Washington Capitals had better financing, and, being situated on the southern edge of the chain of Northeast metro areas, were far better positioned to build a good fan base. The Capitals to this day have never won a Stanley Cup title (with one Stanley Cup finals appearance, in 1998), but are a strong NHL franchise that consistently sells out their arena (the Caps were one of the eleven NHL teams that played to 100% capacity last season), and have evolved into an exciting team that features one of the league’s superstars in the Russian left winger Alexander Ovechkin. Their biggest problem is that they are stuck in the NHL’s bogus Southeast Division, which, aside from the Washington Capitals (and arguably, the Carolina Hurricanes), is full of teams that never should have been created…the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Atlanta Thrashers. In the NHL, the Board of Governors has never learned the lessons of over-expanding.

It’s time for Canada to re-claim it’s rightful share of NHL teams

The fact is nothing has really changed in the NHL, and the top brass continues their pipe dream of establishing the NHL in places where there is no tradition of playing hockey or supporting an ice hockey team. So tens of thousands of potential season ticket holders in Canada go ignored, and the NHL is full of lame teams in the South or the Southwest that no one cares about, where attendances are even worse than the official attendance figures because the NHL pads the gate figures with thousands of free tickets per game. There are at least four teams that should never have been created – the Phoenix Coyotes, the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Atlanta Thrashers. Now add the Columbus Blue Jackets to the list of failing new franchises. Columbus is a pretty small market to sustain a major league team (1.7 million, 32nd largest city in the USA), so it could be said that it was inevitable that, come an economic downturn, a team like this would suffer. Columbus, Ohio is part of a region in south-central Ohio that is pretty devoid of any ice hockey history. And, you know, it is not that uncommon to hear citizens of Columbus, Ohio that speak with a southern accent…it’s a city that is more a part of the region of the greater Ohio River Valley than the region of the Great Lakes-rim cities of the Rust Belt. Columbus only averages 29 inches of snow a year, and the average high and low temperatures in the coldest month, January, are only a high average of 36 degrees F/2.4 Celsius, and a low average of 20 degrees F/-6.5 Celsius, so you can see there could never really have been a tradition of kids playing ice hockey outdoors in Columbus…ponds and flooded park parking lots would keep melting even in the coldest part of the year, unlike in Detroit, Buffalo, southern Ontario, etc. {see this}. Also, consider that Columbus, Ohio’s most famous product is the Ohio State Buckeyes college football team, and Ohio State University boasts the largest campus in America. When you look at the the demographics and the schedules, it is college football (and to a lesser extent, college basketball) that is going to be the biggest impediment to the NHL extending their product into new markets with any success, especially since the NHL likes to choose as expansion locations mid-sized cities where no NBA team is (like San Jose, Columbus, Nashville, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Greensboro, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and the 3 western Canadian teams). And college football is king in the South and the Southwest. College basketball is also pretty big in the Ohio Valley, and in case you’re wondering, Ohio State’s ice hockey team can also be seen to be eating into the Columbus Blue Jacket’s fan base (the Buckeyes ice hockey team averaged 3,096 per game in 2010…the 21st highest drawing program in NCAA hockey [Wisconsin was *1 again, see this pdf} . With very few exceptions, specifically the Dallas Stars, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Nashville Predators, there will never be significant interest in major league ice hockey in the South and the Southwest.

Here's a concrete example of how little presence ice hockey has in the Southwest... from Arena, the following link shows ice hockey arenas in the province of Manitoba, Canada, here [over 230 ice rinks in Manitoba].
This link shows ice hockey arenas in the far-more populated state of Arizona, here [20 ice rinks in Arizona}.

Where are the hard-core fans going to come from in Arizona when there is only 20 ice rinks in the whole state? Sure you are going to attract some casual fans, interested in the novelty of ice hockey in the desert, but they will by and large vanish when the economy falters and choices must be made about where someone's disposable income goes...and this is what's happening. NHL hockey games are not cheap, and good tickets are way above $100. If the team you are spending all that money on is doing bad, that 100 bucks or so you are dropping each time out gets old pretty fast. But Phoenix has a good team, so it's even worse than most examples of poor attendances in the recent past, by other NHL teams that are currently doing well. Because when teams like Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Vancouver, and Chicago were in trouble, those teams were also doing bad on the ice, and in some cases the arenas were inadequate (Vancouver especially), and in some cases the ownership was poor and alienated the fans (like in Chicago). But in those cases, bad teams precipitated poor attendances. Not so with Phoenix - the Coyotes had the 5th best record in the NHL last season, but still had the worst attendance at 11,989 {here are official 2009-10 NHL average attendance figures (as measured by tickets distributed by NHL teams), here}.

Teams like Phoenix and Atlanta and Columbus and the Islanders are getting 7,000-attendances for some games this season, and Phoenix is averaging 10,265 per game as of Nov. 18, 2010 - and remember, that's for tickets distributed, not tickets sold. Yes, the NHL's official statistics for attendances do not measure tickets sold. The figures don't even measure turnstile clicks, but rather tickets distributed. So in places like Phoenix, they are literally giving away tickets and still people won't attend. For many teams the attendance figures are hollow figures. It's the NHL's dirty little secret. And it's not like a couple hundred tickets per game, the give-away tickets very often number in the thousands per game...the poor-drawing teams are giving away, free, up to, and some times even more than 3,000 tickets per game. Often, this fact is not even brought up when poor hockey attendances are discussed, and it is all but impossible to find figures, in black and white, as to what extent free tickets are distributed in the NHL. But they were part of prospective (and continually rebuffed) would-be NHL owner Jim Balsillie's court filing in 2009... {see this post from June, 2009, from the From The site - sorry for the tiny print in the figures, but hit the Shift and + keys a couple times to enlarge}. To save you the trouble of eye-strain, the photo of the list submitted to the court shows that the announced gates at Phoenix home games in 2008-09 averaged 3,923 higher than the turnstile count. So the low gate figures are even lower. In 2008-09, Phoenix was actually seeing 10,943 ticket holders pass through the turnstiles per game, not the "official" atendance average of 14,866. So now, 10,200 per game in Phoenix, is more like 7,000 paying customers (if that). By the way, I can't confirm this, but I have seen it posted on some hockey fan message boards that the lowest number of free tickets distributed are in Canada and specifically the western Canadian teams, especially Vancouver, and Calgary.

Go to hockey message boards {HF -Attendance Issues, part II, ~Nov. 7, 2010, here}, with discussions about falling attendances in places like Atlanta and Phoenix and you will get Atlanta Thrashers fans who insist it's because of lame ownership and "poor marketing". The fact is, hockey does not need to be "marketed" in Canada. People care about the sport and are willing to drop way more than $75 dollars a pop, several times a season, to support local NHL product. Contrast this with the South, the Southwest, and many places in the Midwest, even, where NHL hockey highlights, if shown at all, will be shown after local high school football highlights. And saying that there is great potential for major league hockey in the Greater Atlanta metro area because the nearby Gwinnett Gladiators draw over 7,000 per game in the ECHL (Gwinnett's peak crowds were actually at 5,656 per game in 2007-08,{see this}) does not prove that Atlanta can be a successful major league hockey town, because those tickets are far, far cheaper than NHL tickets. We're talking like 20 bucks for an ECHL game versus at least 50 and more like 75 bucks for an NHL game {$78 for OK seats in Atlanta, see this}. A family of four can have a night out at a minor league hockey game for around $100, versus more like $300 to $400 at an NHL game.

From, November 9, 2010, by Alan Adams, 'Attendance Woes Just Won't Go Away for Sun Belt Teams'. The situation will not change until Gary Bettman is gone from the commissioner's seat. He is trying to gloss over the abject failure of NHL expansion into the Sunbelt, by propping up the Phoenix Coyotes, and preventing any talk of relocation of them, or of the other tepidly supported teams in Georgia and Florida. He thinks he is protecting his legacy, but he will only harm it more by basically betraying hockey fans. Why is it that these new teams are so crucial, but he did little if anything to save the Winnipeg Jets, the Quebec Nordiques, and the Hartford Whalers, all who moved to warm weather locales in the 1990s ? Because 2 of those 3 teams were based in mid-sized Canadian cities, and all 3 were teams in cold weather locations, and the NHL is primarily interested in expansion into warm weather areas...where very few people ever cared or ever will care about ice hockey. The NHL thinks it can create a coast to coast and north to south, continent-spanning league, that will generate vast sums in television contracts. In truth, ice hockey will always be a regional sport...but there is absolutely no shame in that. The NHL Board of Governors has been chasing this "major sport" illusion for over 40 years now, and have turned their backs on true hockey fans, and potential season ticket holders, in Canadian cities like Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Hamilton, Ontario; and Quebec City, Quebec.

"Can you imagine another industry which is of huge importance to Canadians, where Canadian consumers are being denied access to a product that they vigorously demand, all because of an anti-competitive agreement between 30 wealthy owners, 24 of whom are American?" -U.S. sports law professor Stephen Ross, of Penn State University, in this article by Dave Feschuk in the, from Sept. 12, 2009, here.
Canada is where ice hockey became a viable professional sport. Canada is where sizable bases of serious hockey fans are. What kind of patriots are these Canadian-born NHL owners and Canadian-born NHL Board of Governors? They have forsaken their fellow Canadians, and specifically Canadians who live in mid-sized cities who would jump at the chance to actively support new NHL teams. They have continued to reject James Balsillie's repeated attempts to relocate one of the failing US-based NHL teams to Hamilton, Ontario {see the following, 'NHL's ugly bid to beat Balsillie in Coyotes fray, more notes', by Jim Kelley at, August 27, 2009}. Why? The NHL can spin it any way they want, but it is because Hamilton is 57 km./35 miles away from Toronto...too close, they maintain, to the Toronto Maple Leafs and a threat to the Maple Leafs' fan base and franchise. Please. There are teams all over the world that are from cities or regions with similar or even smaller populations than Toronto (which has around 5.1 million people in the metro area, see this), who compete in the same leagues with other local rival teams, and they all are able to successfully draw association football [aka soccer]… cities from Glasgow in Scotland (approximately 1.16 million in the Greater Glasgow area), to Manchester (around 2.24 million in the Greater Manchester area) and Liverpool (around 1.37 million in the Liverpool urban area) in England, to Amsterdam/Rotterdam in the Netherlands (which are 55 km./34 miles apart and have combined metro populations of 1.5 million + 1.1 million= 2.6 million). ['List of largest United Kingdom settlements by population', from; Netherland largest cities, from, here].

The football clubs in these cities…Celtic and Rangers in Glasgow; Manchester United and Manchester City in Manchester; Liverpool and Everton in Merseyside; and Ajax and Feyenoord in Holland… are all able to maintain high average attendances (all over 35,000 per game and in some cases, like Man U., of over 70,000 per game) over a slate of 20 to 30 home matches each season, even though another high drawing competitor also plays in their area. When you crunch the numbers, these football clubs are pulling in, in total accumulated attendance from home league matches, as much as or more than the highest drawing NHL teams. Example…Liverpool FC plays 19 Premier League home matches a season. They drew 42,864 per game in 2009-10. Everton FC, who play 3 miles away, drew 36,725 per game. 42,864 X 19 = 814,416 total accumulated attendance for Liverpool.; 36,725 x 19 = 697,775 total accumulated attendance for Everton.

That’s two teams in a city/metropolitan region less than half the size of Toronto, with an average total accumulated attendance in 2009-10 of 756,095. Toronto Maple Leafs played to 102.5% capacity in 2009-10, and averaged 19,260 per game, with an accumulated total attendance of 789,681 over 40 home games total {NHL 2009-10 attendances, from ESPN. here}.

So that’s almost exactly equal accumulated attendances, and remember, Liverpool is less than half the size of Toronto, and probably has even a smaller fraction of the total disposable income that Toronto citizens have. And still Liverpool is able to support 2 big teams. And I haven’t even factored in the populations of Hamilton (or Kitchener, for that matter), so there really is more like 6.1 million, not just the 5.1 million, in Toronto’s wider regional area (ie, the area which people could attend a hockey game by driving approximately one hour or less). And I haven’t even included other home matches Liverpool and Everton played in Cup competitions, so those accumulated attendance figures will surpass the Maple Leaf accumulated attendance figures…even if Toronto made the playoffs once in a while, thus adding more home dates. But that’s another problem when one team gets complacent because they play in a large sports market with no local rivals…they start to stagnate. And Toronto has not won a Stanley Cup title since the modern expansion era began in 1967-68. Coincidence ? Want another example of how a local rival breeds a more competitive atmosphere ? The New York Rangers, after winning 3 Stanley Cup titles in their first 14 seasons, did not win a Stanley Cup title during the 30 years they were the sole team in the New York/New Jersey metro area (1942 to 1972) [the Rangers, of course finally won another Stanley Cup title in 1994].

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ majority owner is the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund {see this}. The last thing a huge pension fund wants to do is invest with no guaranteed return, and that’s exactly what attempting to build a championship contender would entail. So the Maple Leafs are virtually institutionally guaranteed to not be successful on the ice. They play to a plus-100% capacity. They have got a sweet deal, without even having to bother to be competitive, and the Leafs suck most years. The Maple Leafs haven’t made the playoffs since 2003-04. Why would a pension fund want to invest in building a championship caliber team when there is no need (there is no relegation system like in European football), when they have basically got a license to print money – because that’s what owning the sole hockey franchise in the largest city in Canada, with no competition in the market, will get you – guaranteed sell outs, and you don’t even have to bother fielding a competitive squad.

The New York Rangers were coerced into allowing the New York Islanders into the league in 1972-73, and then a decade later those two teams were coerced into allowing a third team into the New York/New Jersey metro area, when the New Jersey Devils set up shop in 1982-83. Granted, New York City is larger than Toronto, but the Toronto-and-southern Ontario region could easily support another NHL team. After all, in 1974-75, the WHA’s Toronto Toros were drawing 10,436 per game when they rented out the Maple Leaf Gardens from the Maple Leafs, and the Toros got most of the bad nights…that is to say, very few high-attendance generating game dates like on the weekends [The NHL average in 1974-75 was 13,224 per game {1960-61 to 1998-99 NHL attendances, here}]. That Toros’ attendance avrerage of 10,436 might seem on the low side today, but it wasn’t a low figure 36 years ago for a rebel league… only one other WHA team besides the Toronto Toros ever had a higher-than-10,000 per game average attendance, and that was the Edmonton Oilers, who did it in 3 of the 7 WHA seasons. [WHA attendance figures at the left of the WHA map page, here.]
Thanks to Jersey site, for the 1974-75 jerseys, – hockey [click on team names, for each team's jersey fronts, which are shown on a new page, horizontally and in chronological order].
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, 1974-75 NHL season. 2010-11 NHL season.

November 15, 2010

National Hockey League. 1972-73 season, with the 2 expansion teams – the Atlanta Flames and the New York Islanders.

Filed under: Hockey,Hockey-NHL and expansion — admin @ 6:55 pm

NHL 1972-73 map.

1972-73 NHL season at
The 1972-73 National Hockey League season saw the NHL faced with rival-league competition for the first time since 1926 (when the original Western Hockey League had it’s final season). This competition came in the form of the World Hockey Association, which ended up playing 7 seasons before putting four franchises into the NHL in 1979-80. [My map and post on the World Hockey League can be seen here.] The NHL’s reaction to the upstart WHA went from indifference to mobilization pretty quickly, and a hastily-assembled expansion was put forward to block the WHA from establishing teams in Long Island, New York, and in Atlanta, Georgia. So the New York Islanders and the Atlanta Flames joined the NHL, making it a 16-team league. Then players started bolting from the NHL to the WHA, and the big losers included the NY Islanders who lost 11 players to the WHA (!), and the California Golden Seals, who lost 8 players. I find it very significant that many players back then would rather risk their careers to play in the very unstable and unproven WHA than in the long-established NHL on ersatz hockey clubs like the Golden Seals.
Montreal Canadians were champions in 1972-73, beating the Chicago Black Hawks 4 games to 2 in the 1973 Stanley Cup finals {playoff bracket, here}. This season and the next (1973-74) were the last seasons the NHL utilized a two-division format (a two-division format existed in the NHL from 1926-27 to 1937-38, and from 1967-68 to 1973-74). In 1974-75, yet another two teams joined the league and 4 divisions were created. That will be elaborated on in my next NHL and Expansion post, on Thursday.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, 2010-11 NHL season.
Thanks to, NHL Jerseys.
Thanks to Jersey Database site, where I got the 1972-73 jerseys, Jersey Database/Hockey

November 9, 2010

The Highest Drawing Football Clubs in Europe, 2009-10 – the top 52 clubs (all clubs that drew above 29,000 per game in home league matches).

Filed under: Football Stadia — admin @ 4:01 pm

Please note: there is a more-recent map-and-post on this subject; click on the following…
Highest-drawing football clubs in Europe (UEFA domestic leagues), for 2015-16 or 2015 seasons: all clubs (75 clubs) which drew over 25 K per game (home matches in domestic season).
52 Highest drawing football clubs in Europe, 2009-10 season

Thanks to [Bird's Eye view] (link goes to Barcelona/Camp Nou photo)
Thanks to Spain Ticket (Dortmund/Signal Iduna Park photo).
Thanks to (Real Madrid/Estadio Santiago Bernebéu photo).
Thanks to , (Manchester United/Old Trafford photo).
Thanks to Maximilian Dörrbecker at (Bayern Munich/Alliananz Arena photo).
Thanks to (Schalke 04/Veltins-Arena photo).
Thanks to Byrne Group, (Arsenal/Emirates Stadium photo).
Thanks to (Internazionale/Stadio Giusseppe Meazza [aka San Siro] photo).
Thanks to (Olympique Marseille/Stade Velodrome photo).

Thanks to European Football Statistics site, for attendance figures, here.

November 3, 2010

2010-11 FA Cup, First Round Proper.

Filed under: 2010-11 FA Cup — admin @ 2:12 pm

2010-11 FA Cup First Round Proper

The map page shows the 80 clubs involved in the 2010-11 FA Cup First Round Proper…fixtures are on the far right; club locations are shown in the map itself, and attendance figures (home league matches) are at the far left. Southampton have the highest average attendance in the round, drawing 20,741 per game in their League One home matches. Tipton Town have the lowest average attendance in the round, drawing 83 per game in their Midlands Alliance home matches.
FA Cup fixtures, at BBC/football, here.
BBC/FA Cup home.

Saturday, 6th November – at Priestfield Stadium: Gillingham 0-2 Dover Athletic, attendance: 7,405.
Click on image sequence below, for a full-screen view…
Thanks to, here. Thanks to Dover Athletic official site, here. Thanks to British [map of Kent], here.
Thanks to The, match report, here.

Friday, 5th November – at Spotland: Rochdale 2-3 FC United of Manchester, attendance: 7,048.
Click on image sequence below, for a full-screen view…
Thanks to Rochdale, here. Thanks to Zimbio, here. Thanks to, here.Thanks to the, match report, here.

Photos and captions of the two lowest-placed clubs, Tipton Town and Hythe Town are shown below, about halfway down the page. Also, at the end of this post I have listed all derbies in this round, with a cut-off point of 100 km./60 miles. There are 13 Derbies in the 2010-11 FA Cup First Round that fall into that category, the closest being the Greater Manchester derby of Rochdale v. FC United of Manchester (10 km./6miles); the second closest being the East London Derby of Dagenham & Redbridge v. Leyton Orient (13km./8 miles). One other match-up needs mentioning, a West Country derby between Plymouth Argyle and Swindon Town (209 km./130 miles). All 15 of the derbies are listed at the bottom of this post.

The 2010-11 FA Cup commenced on 11 August, 2010, with the Extra Preliminary Round, when 402 clubs – from the 9th and 10th Levels in the English football pyramid – began the 130th edition of the world’s oldest knockout competition [the first FA Cup was held in 1871-72]. In total 759 clubs in England and Wales will compete in this season’s FA Cup competition.

Two clubs from the Extra Preliminary Round still remain in the First Round Proper…Hythe Town FC, of the Kent League; and Tipton Town FC, of the Midland Football Alliance. Both these clubs have won six matches to get to the First Round Proper. Tipton Town’s cup run started with a 0-5 victory over Alvechurch FC, in front of 59 spectators at Alvechurch’s ground in Worcester; while Hythe Town won their match versus Bookham FC by a 4-0 score at Hythe’s Reachfields Stadium in Hythe, Kent, in front of 169 spectators.

Then the Preliminary Round then saw 8th Level clubs enter (131 clubs entered in this round).

Then the First Qualifying Round saw 7th Level clubs enter from these 3 leagues…
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Southern Football League Premier Division
Isthmian League Premier Division
(66 clubs entered in this round).

Then the Second Qualifying Round saw 6th Level clubs enter from…
Conference North
Conference South
(48 clubs entered in this round).

The Third Qualifying Round had no new entrants, and at the end of the 3rd QR, the field at this point was whittled down to 40 clubs.

Then the Fourth Qualifying round saw the 24 clubs from the Conference National – the highest step in the Non-League ladder, at the 5th Level – enter the competition.
14 Conference clubs advanced from the 4th QR, plus 18 other lower placed Non-League clubs. These 32 Non-League clubs advance to the First Round Proper, at which point the 48 clubs from League One and League Two – the two lower levels of the Football League – enter the competition. [Premier League and League Championship clubs enter in the Third Round in early January.]

The breakdown of Non-League clubs in the 2010-11 FA Cup, by level…
9th Level clubs (2):
South coast/Kent club Hythe Town (Kent League), and Black Country/West Midlands club Tipton Town (Midlands Alliance).

8th Level clubs:

7th Level clubs (4):
Greater Manchester-based club FC United of Manchester (Northern Premier), Greater London-based club Harrow Borough (Isthmian Premier), Greater London-based club Hendon (Isthmian Premier), and the Wiltshire club Swindon Supermarine (Southern Premier).

6th Level clubs (12):
Essex club Chelmsford City (Conference South), Northamptonshire club Corby Town (Conference North), Thames estuary/Kent club Dartford (Conference South), south coast/Kent club Dover Athletic (Conference South), Greater Manchester-based club Droylsden (Conference North), Nottinghamshire club Eastwood Town (Conference North), Thames estuary/Kent club Ebbsfleet United (Conference South), West Yorkshire club Guiseley (Conference North), south coast/Hampshire club Havant & Waterlooville (Conference South), Warwickshire club Nuneaton Town (Conference North), the Ellesmere Port, Cheshire club Vauxhall Motors (Conference North), and the Surrey club Woking (Conference South).

5th Level clubs (14):
Greater London-based club AFC Wimbledon, Cambridgeshire club Cambridge United, the Surrey club Crawley Town, County Durham club Darlington, Lancashire club Fleetwood Town, Gloucestershire club Forest Green Rovers, Tyne and Wearside/Greater Newcastle-based club Gateshead, Greater London-based club Hayes and Yeading United, Bedfordshire club Luton Town, Nottinghamshire club Mansfield Town, Northamptonshire club Rushden & Diamonds, Merseyside club Southport, Staffordshire club Tamworth, and North Yorkshire club York City.

On Wednesday, 27th October there was a 2010-11 Fourth Qualifying Round Replay in the Black Country, at the Tipton Sports Academy (capacity 2,000; 208 seated) with Tipton Town defeating Sheffield FC (who are the world’s oldest football club, established in 1857). Tipton is midway between Wolverhampton and Birmingham, and has a population of around 47,000. Formed in 1948, Tipton Town are a 9th Level club who play in the Midland Alliance League, and are currently in 2nd place, 3 points behind leaders Coalville Town. Tipton Town’s greatest player is, hands down, Steve Bull, the England international and 300-plus goal scorer for Wolverhampton Wanderers (1986-99), who played for Tipton Town from 1981 to 1984 before he signed with West Bromwich Albion.

At the time of this their first-ever qualification for the FA Cup First Round Proper,Tipton Town were averaging 83 per game (league home matches). They drew an all-time high 1,429 for the replay with Sheffield FC on 27th October (the first match was a 2-2 draw in Sheffield in front of 1,026 at the Coach and Horses Ground in Dronfield, North Derbyshire). In the replay, goals were scored by winger Eric Bowen and striker Danny Campbell. Campbell had also scored the second half equalizer in the original meeting at Sheffield FC’s ground. Tipton Town wins the 17,250 pounds prize money for reaching the First Round, and in this current poor economic climate, that is a huge sum for a club of Tipton’s size. Their reward for making it to the First Round is a trip up north to Cumbria and a share of the gate receipts at Brunton Park, home of League One’s Carlisle United (who sit 8th in the league).

Tipton Town hit FA Cup jackpot‘, from The Express and on Thursday 28th October.

From the BBC/FA Cup, by Phil Maiden, ‘Tipton Town set for FA Cup first round debut‘.
Tipton Town FC, a 9th Level club from the Black Country, in the Midland Football Alliance…

There is one club in the First Round that is lower placed than Tipton Town (who sit 2nd in a 9th Level league), and that is Hythe Town, who sit 5th in the 9th Level Kent League. In the 4th QR, Hythe Town beat Conference South club Staines Town. Hythe Town are currently drawing 192 per home league match, which is the highest turnstile count in the Kent League. Hythe is a small coastal market town with a population of around 14,000, located 17 km. (10.5 miles) west of Dover. Hythe Town drew Hereford United away, which might give the Kent minnows a shot at an upset, seeing as how Hereford are battling relegation at third-from-bottom in League Two.
From BBC/FA Cup, by Matt Davidson of BBC Radio Kent, ‘Hythe Town looking to upset FA Cup odds’.
Hythe Town FC, a 9th Level club in the Kent League…


Derbies in the 2010-11 FA Cup First Round…
Rochdale AFC v. FC United of Manchester [FCUM play at Bury FC's Spotland] – 10 km. (6 miles) [A Greater Manchester derby.]. Note: This match is on Friday, and is being widely televised.
Brighton & Hove Albion v. Woking – 59 km. (37 miles).
Corby Town v. Luton Town – 69 km. (43 miles).
Stevenage v. MK Dons – 36 km. (22 miles).
Rotherham United v. York City [Rotherham's location being measured from Rotherham, although the club currently plays down the road in Sheffield, at the Don Valley Stadium] – 62 km. (39 miles) [A Yorkshire derby].
Hayes & Yeading United v. Wycombe Wanderers – 24 km. (15 miles).
Dagenhan & Redbridge v. Leyton Orient – 13 km. (8 miles) [An East London derby.].
AFC Wimbledon v. Ebbsfleet United – 45 km. (28 miles).
Chelmsford City v. Hendon [who play at Wembley FC's Vale Farm in Wembley, Brent, Greater London] – 60 km. (35 miles).
Gillingham v. Dover Athletic – 57 km. (35 miles) [A Kent Derby.].
Tamworth v. Crewe Alexandra – 74 km. (46 miles).
Barnet v. Charlton Athletic – 23 km. (14 miles) [A Greater London Derby.].
Accrington Stanley v. Oldham Athletic – 29 km. (18 miles).
Brentford v. Aldershot Town – 38 km. (23 miles).
Plymouth Argyle v. Swindon Town – 209 km. (130 miles) [A West Country Derby.].

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, 2010-11 FA Cup, First Round Proper.
Thanks to the FA site/FA Cup, here.
Thanks to this nice site for up-to-date Conference South attendance figures, (at bottom of their home page).
Thanks to this sweet site, which is the official site of Harrogate Town FC…they have attendance figures, up to date, for all the Conference North clubs [ESPN Soccernet stops compiling attendance figures at the 5th Level, and this season, Mike Avery's site doesn't have up to date attendance figures]… .
Thanks to the official site of the Northern Premier League [aka Evo-Stik League] (I calculated FC United of Manchester attendance figures from match reports there), here.
Thanks to, for Isthmian and Southern League attendance figures, at Non-League Football Stats – Attendances by Division [up to Sept. 4], here.
Thanks to the Zamaretto League site, for Swindon Supermarine attendance,
Thanks to Hythe Town FC site, for photos.
Thanks to the Kent League official site, for Hythe Town average attendance, here.
Thanks to Midland Football Alliance site, for Tipton Town average attendance.
Thanks to the official Tipton Town site, here, for photos.
Thanks to’s distance calculator, here.
Thanks to Pies and Mushy Peas site/Hythe Town FC, here.
Thanks to the FA Cup silversmiths, Thomas Lyte Silver, for the photo of the FA Cup trophy, here.

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