billsportsmaps.com

January 30, 2011

England, Non-League Football: 2010-11 Conference South [a 6th Level league].

Filed under: 2010-11 English Football,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 1:37 pm

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2010-11 Conference South




Conference South table, fixtures, results (Soccerway.com).

The Conference South is one of two leagues that comprise the 6th Level of the English Football Pyramid. The Conference South’s sister league is the Conference North {to see my recent map of and post on the 2010-11 Conference North, click here}. These two leagues were instituted in 2004-05. Clubs were drawn from the Northern Premier League, the Southern League, and the Isthmian League [those three leagues now make up the 7th Level]. After each season, two promoted clubs go up to the Conference National (5th Level) – the league winner and the winner of the 4-team playoff. Three relegated clubs go down to the 7th Level, to the Southern Football League Premier Division, which is composed of clubs from the South West, the South Central, and the Midlands; or the Isthmian Football League Premier Division, which is composed of clubs from the East of England (particularly Hertfordshire and Essex), Greater London, and the South East. [Theoretically, a club relegated from the Conference South could go to the Northern Premier League Premier Division (which is composed of clubs from the North East and the North West), but there would have be real unusual circumstances for that to happen].

There are 22 clubs in the Conference South.


The map page shows the clubs’ profile boxes placed from top to bottom in the order of the current Conference South table (as of Sunday, 30 January, 2011). The profile boxes include the club’s home kit badge, nickname, year of formation, stadium and capacity, location, 2009-10 final placement, and all-time highest league placement. Current average attendances (from home league matches) and 2009-10 average attendances are shown at the right of the map.


Current leaders are the north Essex club Braintree Town FC (est. 1898), who hail from Braintree, which is 63 km. (39 mi.) north-east of London, and has a population of around 42,000 {2001 census figure}. Braintree Town have now won 6 straight matches, and are 6 points ahead of 2nd-place Bromley, with 4 games in hand. Braintree Town are known as the Iron, and the club’s origins are as Manor Works, the works team of the Crittall Window Company, who were once the leading window makers in the country (the Iron name refers to the company’s iron window frames). The factory overlooked the Cressing Road ground that Braintree Town play at, and though it was demolished in 2005, its image is still part of the club’s crest. Braintree Town were promoted to Conference South as champions of the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2005-06. The Iron play these days in orange jerseys (previously yellow) and blue pants. Their manager is Rod Stringer, who came over from the south Essex/Thames Estuary 7th Level club Aveley FC in May, 2010, after revitalizing that club and leading them to promotion from the 8th Level to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2008-09. Here is an article from This Is Essex.co.uk, from 20 January, by David Ward, ‘BRAINTREE TOWN: Iron progress a surprise for boss‘. Here is the official Braintree Town site, www.braintreetownfc.org.uk/. The site features highlights from their previous match. Also, at the Braintree Town site you can see the ambition the club have, with an architect’s rendering of the club’s proposed new stadium.

Pyramid Passion.co.uk’s page on Braintree Town, here.
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Photo credits – David Bauckman at Pyramid Passion.co.uk, here. Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. BraintreeTownFC.com, here.


Median average attendance this season in Conference South is currently (30 Jan.) 616 per game. This puts Conference South as a higher draw than Conference North, whose current median avg. attendance is 443 per game. There are currently 3 clubs drawing over 1,000 per game and 13 clubs drawing over 500 per game in Conference South. In Conference North, there are currently 2 clubs drawing over 1,000 per game and 7 clubs drawing over 500 per game.

The best-drawing club in Conference South this season is Dartford FC, who won promotion, as champions, from the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2009-10. Dartford is on the edge of Greater London, in Kent, on the Thames Estuary, and is 24 km. (15 mi.) south-east of London city center. Dartford has a population of around 89,000, and is perhaps best known as the location of the main thoroughfares which connect South East England to East London and Essex, via the Dartford Crossing and the Dartford Tunnel.

The Darts are currently in a relegation battle, in 17th place, but they have won 2 straight. Dartford FC are averaging 1,320 per game this season, which is a pretty impressive figure for a club that had never been in the 6th Level before this season. The primary reason for their good turnstile count is that the Darts play at Princes Park, a ground that is pretty unique, to say the least. It has been described as the most ecologically sound football ground ever built. Princes Park, which is constructed primarily of wood, maintains an open-air feeling underscored by the large glass windows of the club house behind parts of the main stand, and features a living roof (with sedum growing on it – sedum is a plant commonly used in green roofs, with water-retention characteristics that make it preferable to grass). The ‘green roof’ allows rainwater to be collected (and stored in two ponds on the site) and re-used for watering the pitch. Solar panels are employed for energy saving. Designed by Alexander Sedgley Architects, Princes Park opened in 2006. It has a capacity of 4,100 (642 seated) and is located close to the Dartford town center.
A Park Fit For A Prince‘, from SPAOTP.com.
Tims92.co.uk’s page on Dartford’s Princes Park, here.

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Photo credits-Groundtastic.co.uk. Tims 92.co.uk. SomePeopleAreOnThePirch. Bluesqsouth.com.

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Thanks to Soccerway.com, for attendance figures.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Conference South‘.

January 27, 2011

2010-11 FA Cup, Fourth Round Proper.

Filed under: 2010-11 FA Cup — admin @ 1:14 pm

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2010-11 FA Cup Fourth Round Proper


BBC/Football/FA Cup home.
From the Two Unfortunates.blogspot.com, 27 January, by Lanterne Rouge, ‘The Thursday Preview: West Ham Vs Nottingham Forest‘.

2010-11 FA Cup Fourth Round matches on television…
United Kingdom
FA Cup Live Televised Games‘, (FACupfootball.co.uk).
Saturday, 29 January:
12:30 pm GMT, Everton v. Chelsea (ESPN-UK).
5:15 pm GMT, Southampton v. Manchester United (ITV1).
Sunday, 30, January:
12:00 pm GMT, Arsenal v. Huddersfield Town (ESPN-UK).
2:00 pm GMT, Notts County v. Manchester City (ITV1).
4:30 pm GMT, Fulham v. Tottenham Hotspur (ESPN-UK).

USA and Canada
FoxSoccer.com/FSC programming, here.
Friday, January 28:
6:00 pm ET, FA Cup Preview Show (Fox Soccer Channel)
Saturday, January 29:
7:30 am ET, Everton v. Chelsea (Fox Soccer Channel).
10:00 am ET, Stevenage v. Reading (Fox Soccer Plus).
12:15 pm ET, Southampton v. Manchester United (Fox Soccer Channel).
Sunday, January 30:
7:00 am ET, Arsenal v. Huddersfield Town (Fox Soccer Channel).
9:00 am ET, Notts County v. Manchester City (Fox Soccer Plus).
11:30 am ET, Fulham v. Tottenham Hotspur (Fox Soccer Channel).
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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 en.wikipedia.org, 2010-11 FA Cup/Fourth Round Proper.
Thanks to ESPN Soccernet, for attendance figures – Barclay’s Premier League Stats: Team Attendance – 2010-11.

January 23, 2011

2011 Copa Libertadores, map of the 38 clubs in the competition.

Filed under: Copa Libertadores — admin @ 3:34 pm

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2011 Copa Libertadores, all 38 clubs


From BBC/football/blogs, Tim Vickery’s Blog, from 24 Jan., ‘Crunch time for Ronaldo and Corinthians‘.
The map page shows the 38 clubs’ locations on the map. Flanking the map, grouped by their countries, are the clubs’ profile boxes. Each club’s profile box includes…home kit; crest; city location; stadium(s), and capacity; how the club qualified; national professional titles (with year of last title); total Copa Libertadores appearances (and how the club fared in their last Copa Liberrtadores appearance); and Copa Libertadores titles (with year of last title).

Copa Libertadores page at ESPN Soccernet, here.

The Copa Libertadores is South America’s premier international football tournament. It is run by CONMEBOL, and includes clubs from 10 South American nations, plus, since 1998, it has included one CONCACAF country, Mexico (basically because the television money coming from Mexico is so lucrative). The 52nd Copa Libertadores competition, the 2011 Copa Libertadores, begins with First Stage matches on 25, 26, and 27 January. 6 of the 12 teams who must play in the First Stage get eliminated. To be very general about it, First Stage is comprised of non-national champions – each country has it’s own way of selecting their qualifying clubs, and if you are curious, you can go to the Wikipedia page {here}. One innovation that I really wish UEFA would adopt is that the winner of the ‘second-tier’ competition, the Copa Sudamericana, now qualifies for the Copa Libertadores…and that is the Argentine club Independiente (who have won the most Copa Libertadores titles, with 7 {List of Copa Libertadores winners, by club, here}). From ESPN Soccernet, from 25 January, ‘Inderendiente target success‘.

First Stage was introduced in 2005, as the Preliminary Round. The preliminaries became called the First Stage in 2006. Previous to this (in 2004 and 2005) there was no preliminary stage, with 9 groups of 4 in the Group Stage – 36 teams. Before that there were 32 teams – 8 groups of 4 (from 2000 to 2003). Before that there were 20 teams – 5 groups of 4 – which was a set-up that lasted for almost three decades (from 1971 to 1999). The competition originally began in 1960, with a 7 team format, and it’s first title was won by Uruguay’s Peñarol.

The Copa Libertadores presently has 38 clubs from 11 countries participating. Here are the countries, their first season involved, and the total Copa Libertadores titles won by clubs from that country, and the last club to win it from that country…
Argentina, 1960 – 22 Copa Libertadores titles (last in 2009 by Estudiantes de La Plata).
Bolivia, 1960 – 0 titles.
Brazil, 1960 – 14 Copa Libertadores titles (last in 2010 by SC Internacional).
Chile, 1960 – 1 Copa Libertadores title (in 1999, by Colo-Colo).
Colombia, 1960 – 2 Copa Libertadores titles (last in 2007, by Once Caldas).
Paraguay, 1960 – 3 Copa Libertadores titles (last in 2002, by Olimpia).
Uruguay, 1960 – 8 Copa Libertadores titles (last in 1988, by Nacional de Montevideo).
Ecuador, 1961 – 1 Copa Libertadores title (in 2008, by LDU Quito).
Peru, 1962 – 0 titles.
Venezuela, 1964 – 0 titles.
Mexico, 1998 – 0 titles.

The 16 clubs in the First Stage are all the lowest-seeded clubs from each country, except for Brazil, which, has 2 First Stage clubs. This is to make room for the Cup-Holder…SC Internacional, who won last years’ 2010 Copa Libertadores. The winners of the 6 First Stage ties advance to the Second Stage. On the map page, in the upper right-hand corner are the 6 First Stage match-ups. Below is the same fixtures list, with club crests…


The Second Stage will begin on 9 February. I will post a map of the Second Stage on 8 February.
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I used this list for all-time Copa Libertadores appearances ‘Copa Libertadores 1960-2010 Club Histories’ at rsssf.com .
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2011 Copa Libertadores‘.

January 19, 2011

England, Non-League Football: 2010-11 Conference North [a 6th Level league].

Filed under: 2010-11 English Football,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 10:09 am

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2010-11 Conference North



Conference North/South tables, fixtures, results (Soccerway.com), here.
The Conference North is one of two leagues that comprise the 6th Level of the English Football Pyramid. The Conference North’s sister league is the Conference South. These two leagues were instituted in 2004-05. Clubs were drawn from the Northern Premier League, the Southern League, and the Isthmian League [those three leagues now make up the 7th Level]. After each season, two promoted clubs go up to the Conference National (5th Level) – the league winner and the winner of the 4-team playoff. Three relegated clubs go down to the 7th Level, to the Northern Premier League Premier Division or the Southern Football League Premier Division (which is composed of clubs from the South West, the South Central, and the Midlands). [Theoretically, a club relegated from the Conference North could go to the Isthmian Football League Premier Division (which is composed of clubs from Greater London and the South East), but there would have be real unusual circumstances for that to happen].

There are 22 clubs in the Conference North, but because of Ilkeston Town’s demise last September, the 2010-11 Conference North season has 21 clubs, and only two clubs will be relegated.

The map page shows the clubs’ profile boxes placed from top to bottom in the order of the current Conference North table (as of Wednesday, 19 January, 2011). The profile boxes include the club’s home kit badges, nickname, year of formation, stadium and capacity, location, 2009-10 final placement, and all-time highest league placement. Current average attendances and 2009-10 average attendances (from home league matches) are shown at the right of the map.

Current leaders are phoenix club Nuneaton Town, who hail from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, which is 14 km. (9 mi.) north of Coventry and 31 km. (19 mi.) east of Birmingham. Nuneaton has a population of around 70,000 {2001 figure}. Nuneaton Town FC are heir to another phoenix club, Nuneaton Borough AFC, who had 4 seasons in the Conference (5th Level) from 1999-2000 to 2002-03, and existed from 1937 to 2007. They were wound up in May 2007. Nuneaton Town were then formed in 2008. The club plays at tiny Liberty Way, which has a capacity of 3,800 (with just 300 seated). They wear royal blue and white halves, and still go by the nickname of Boro. Nuneaton won promotion from the Southern Football League Premier Division in 2009-10, and are one of three clubs in Conference North this season that have the chance of winning back-to-back promotions (the other two are talked about in the last paragraph). Nuneaton have been managed by Kevin Wilkin since 2006 (ie, in the last days of Nuneaton Borough, and also as the sole manager of the re-formed Nuneaton Town). Nuneaton Town draw well for this league, pulling in 1,002 per game currently.
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[Photo credits - Nuneatontownfc.com, here. I-want-football-2009.blogspot.com, here.]

Second place, two points back with 3 games in hand, are the Derbyshire club Alfreton Town. Alferton Town FC were formed from the merger of Alfreton Miners Welfare and Alfreton United, in 1959. Alfreton is 20 km. (12 mi.) north of both the cities of Derby and Nottingham, and serves somewhat as a bedroom community of both. It has a population of 22,000. Alfreton Town FC have never had a higher final placement than their current spot. Crowds are up 50% this season, to 746 per game.
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[Photo credits - parkin1s at PhotoBucket.com, here. Wherestheteahut.blogspot.com, here. Southport FC fansite at btinternet.com/~portconnection, here.]

Alfreton Town are managed by Nicky Law, who had an extensive career in the lower half of the Football League including captaining Chesterfield to a Division Three playoff final win over Bury at Wembley in 1995. Law has been Alferton’s manager since 2007. Alfreton Town play at North Street, which has a capacity of 3,600 (1,500 seated). That size of stadium is pretty much the norm in the 6th Level. It is one example of how the new gulf between English football levels is no longer between Levels 4 and 5 (the League/Non-League dividing line), but between Levels 5 and 6. Most clubs these days that play in the Conference National (5th Level) play in grounds of 5,000 to 6,000 or larger; while most clubs that play in the Conference North and Conference South play in grounds that are 3,000 to 4,500, with more standing capacity than seated capacity. 15 of the 21 Conference North clubs this season play in grounds that are smaller than 4,500 capacity; and 15 of the 22 Conference South clubs this season have grounds at or smaller than 4,500 capacity.

Another way that Conferences North/South are separated by a wide gulf from the Conference National is that most clubs in the Conference are full-time, and virtually all Conference North/South clubs are part-time. It is pretty much the normal routine these days for clubs that are relegated to Conference North or South to revert to part-time status once they get the drop. Not all clubs conversely go full-time immediately after getting promoted up to the Conference, though, but it usually happens by a couple seasons in.

Median average attendance for the Conference North is currently {19 Jan.} 443 this season; median average attendance for last season (2009-10) was 435 per game. The biggest club in Conference North this season are #1 draw Shropshire phoenix club AFC Telford United, who pull in pretty large crowds for this level…they currently are seeing 1,976 pass the turnstiles each game at the New Bucks Head in Telford {click here and zoom in for a Bing.com/Bird’;s Eye satellite view…you can see that the ground is pretty up-to-date}. The other club that is frankly too big for this level is Lincolnshire club Boston United FC, who played 5 seasons in the League (2002-03 to 2006-07). Boston United are now 3 seasons on from recovering from a two-level-relegation – one relegation from on-field performance and one relegation thanks to Steve Evans and his cooked books. [In 2007, Manager Evans and then-Boston Utd. chairman Pat Milkinson were charged with conspiracy to cheat the public revenue {see this, from BBC.co.uk from June 2007/11th and 12th paragraphs}. Evans is currently practicing his house-of-cards financing at Crawley Town in the Conference, and again, no one knows where the money is coming from. But I digress.] Boston United, who won promotion from the Northern Premier League Premier Division in 09/10, are drawing 1,477 per game this season, and, at fifth place, are in the running for a twice-promoted run. There is one other just-promoted club that could make it back-to-back promotions – Greater Leeds-based Guisely FC, who are in third place currently in Conference North, yet are only drawing at the league median, at 443 per game.
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Thanks to Mike Avery.co.uk, for 2009-10 average attendances, here. Thanks to HarrogateTown.com, for 2010-11 average attendances, here.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Conference North‘.

January 15, 2011

2010 NCAA Division I Football Rankings – Final AP Poll, Top 10.

Filed under: NCAA Gridiron Football,NCAA/fb->AP top 10 — admin @ 2:49 pm

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NCAA Division I Football, AP Poll – Final poll for 2010 season, Top Ten map


The Associated Press Top 25 Poll [Final Poll/January 11, 2011]‘ (SI.com).

If you think all the other Division I college football teams that make it to the plethora of Bowl games actually benefit from the pointless Bowl system, then why is it a fact that most Division I college football programs these days end up losing money when they go to Bowl games? Because schools are forced to buy huge blocks of tickets (like 17,000 tickets)…that no one ends up wanting or buying. That is why many of these tickets go on re-sale for next to nothing. Last season, in December, 2009, tickets for the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl game were on sale at Stub Hub.com (to see Kentucky v. Clemson in Nashville, TN) for 19 cents per ticket. And you know, Lexington, KY and Clemson, SC are both relatively near to Nashville, TN, but still there was so little demand for tickets that you could buy one for less than a quarter.

From Sports Illustrated, by Austin Murphy and Dan Wetzel, from November 15, 2010,Does It Matter?
[Note: the Sports Illustrated article linked to above has 5 pages. The part about what I just mentioned is on page 3/ Paragraphs 6,7,and 8 - here...

Excerpt from Sportsillustrated.cnn.com, 'Does It Matter?', by Austin Murphy and Dan Wetzel,
"...Very few bowls do, in fact, sell out. Aware of this, their directors require a ticket commitment, which obligates the purchase of thousands of tickets at face value. Schools must then resell those tickets or risk losses that can run into seven figures. Before Internet ticket sites democratized the market, the deal made sense to the participating schools. Now, for all but the biggest games, fans can avoid paying full price—as they must when they go through the school's ticket office. Tickets to the 2009 Music City Bowl were available on StubHub for 19 cents.

The commitment guarantees only one thing: the fattening of the bowls' profit margins. For their appearance in the 2009 Orange Bowl, Virginia Tech and the ACC agreed to purchase 17,500 tickets at $125 per seat, but they could sell only 3,342, according to university documents. The result: a $1.77 million bath for the school, not the bowl.

Ohio State ate $1.01 million in unsold tickets at the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. Smaller bowls do similar damage to schools thrilled by a mere invitation. The euphoria of playing in the postseason quickly wore off for Western Michigan two years ago when the Broncos' athletic department was able to unload only 548 of the 11,000 tickets it was required to purchase by the good folks at the Texas Bowl. Western Michigan's loss of $462,535 (before adding in travel and lodging costs) probably hurt more than its subsequent 38--14 defeat at the hands of Rice." -{end of except}
...
The only parties benefitting from the Bowl system are the Bowl Committees themselves. And no one cares about dead-end Bowl games involving teams with more than a couple losses, let alone Bowl games involving teams with .500 records or even losing records.

Meanwhile, if you are a Division I team and you go undefeated, and you are not in the SEC, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the PAC-10, the ACC, or the Big East, your shot at a universally-recognized national title is at the mercy of entrenched interests. And they will freeze you out. Utah (a Mountain West team) was frozen out in 2008, when they went 13-0. Boise State (a WAC team) was frozen out when they went 14-0 in 2009. And TCU (a Mountain West team at the time) was frozen out in 2010 when they went 13-0. That's 3 straight seasons that an undefeated team was not allowed to play in the BCS National Championship Game. [It also happened in 2006, when Boise State went 13-0.] But what does winning the BCS National Championship Game get you? It gets you the Mythical National Championship. Because no matter how you spin it, that’s what winning the BCS Championship Game still is. The NCAA does not recognize the title. The media just does.

NCAA Division I Football is probably the only competitive sports organization in the world that has never recognized a champion. The Bowl Championship Series is a third-party organization. Excerpt from the en.wikipedia.org page on Bowl Championship Series : “The NCAA, the governing organization of most collegiate sports, has no official process for determining its FBS (Div. 1-A) champion. Instead, FBS champions are chosen by what the NCAA calls in its official list of champions “selecting organizations”.” Selecting organizations?…a more apt description would be…Organizations set up to make sure only an SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, ACC, or Big East team can ever be called champion, so the NCAA can pass the buck on this, and so the Bowls can continue to make profits on pointless Bowl games.

The BCS was supposed to solve the problem of NCAA Division I not recognizing a Division I football champion, because of the belief that doing so would undermine the established Bowl system. The Internet is instead undermining the Bowl system by democratizing ticket sales. Fans are voting with their wallets, and those 19 cent tickets for the 2009 Music City Bowl speak volumes. Fan apathy might be the thing that brings down the BCS. I await the day when a college football team turns down a Bowl invitation so they don’t lose money. Do you think Western Michigan really wants to lose half a million bucks again, by going to some quasi- Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl game?
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Photo Credits -
Auburn/Jordan-Hare Stadium…College Stadiums at http://www.collegecharlie.com/stadiums.html.
TCU/Amon G. Carter Stadium…Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.
Oregon/Autzen Stadium…http://tom.nosleep.net/flying.html.
Stanford/Stanford Stadium….Skyscrapercity.com/thread ‘USA – College Football Stadiums’, submitted by westsidebomber here.
Ohio State/Ohio Stadium…College Charlie.com, here.
Oklahoma/Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium at Owen Field…Sharenator.com, here.
Wisconsin/Camp Randall Stadium…Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.
LSU/Tiger stadium…http://www.collegecharlie.com/stadiums.html.
Boise State/Bronco Stadium…BroncoSports.com, here.
Alabama/Bryant-Denny Stadium… http://www.rmbama.com/alabama.html.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘NCAA‘.
For the helmet illustrations…Thanks to MG’s Helmets, http://www.mghelmets.com/.

January 10, 2011

2010-11 UEFA Champions League, Knockout Phase – Round of 16, with match-ups.

Filed under: Denmark,Football Stadia,UEFA Champions League,Ukraine — admin @ 6:14 pm

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2010-11 UEFA CL, Round of 16 map





The UEFA Champions League 2010-11 Knockout Phase, Round of 16 gets underway on 15th and 16th February, with four matches; then resumes a week later for the other four 1st Leg matches. 2nd Leg matches are set for 8th and 9th / 15th and 16th March. If you want to see the 8 match-ups, with club profile boxes and 2 stadia photos for each club, scroll down a bit and click on the 2 dark blue boxes near the end of this post.

Teams that play at home for the 2nd Leg Leg were seeded higher for for the draw by winning their groups in the Group Stage. The biggest surprise in that category are Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk, who finished ahead of Arsenal in their group. This is the first time Shakhtar Donetsk have made it to the Round of 16 in the Champions League. Shakhtar come from the heavily industrialized Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, from the city of Donetsk, which is a grim city built on coal mining and heavy industry, offering little in the way of the things considered to be tourist attractions. In fact, enlarging the amount of total hotel rooms in the city is one of the most pressing issues facing Donetsk when the city hosts some of the matches for UEFA Euro 2012 (which Ukraine is co-hosting with Poland in June 2012). Shakhtar Donetsk are owned by Ukraine’s wealthiest citizen, Rinat Ahkmetov, who began his rise as an oligarch in the banking sector in Donetsk in the first half of the 1990s, when newly independent Ukraine was freeing itself from the grip of Russian imperialism and setting up a system of private enterprise. Akhmetov is an ethnic Tatar/ Ukraine-born son of a Donbass coal miner, and is 42 years old. In 2000, Akhmetov founded Systems Capital Management (SCM Holdings), which has stakes in metals, coal mining, power generation, banking, insurance, real estate, telecommunications, and media. Assets of the company, 100% owned by Akhmetov, have been recently disclosed as $18 billion {SCM.com.ua/Key Financial Indicators [to 2009]‘. Akhmetov has devoted considerable sums in turning Shakhtar Donetsk from a small cup-specialist club with no national titles to a force in Ukraine and now Europe. Their futuristic new Donbass Arena (cap. 51,504) is testament to this. Shakhtar are pulling in around 33,000 per game this season in domestic home league matches, and are running away with the Ukrainian Premier League title again (they have won 4 of the last 6 Ukrainian titles). Akhmetov has undertaken this by making sure players he lured to eastern Ukraine are treated like royalty – it is common knowledge these days among football players that Shakhtar Donetsk’s facilities and infrastructure are on par with the most elite clubs in Western Europe. Shakhtar Donetsk are managed by the Romanian Mircea Lucescu, who has also coached in Turkey (winning titles for Galatasaray in 2002, and Besiktas in 2003), and in Italy (with Internazionale in 1998-99). Lucescu has managed Shakhtar since 2004. For the past few seasons, Shakhtar has been fielding around 3 to 5 Brazilians in their starting lineups in most matches. By way of example, when Shakhtar Donetsk beat Werder Bremen in Istanbul to win the 2008-09 UEFA Cup title, Shakhtar started 5 Brazilians (including goal scorers Luz Adriano and Jadson), 3 Ukrainians, 1 Croat (captain and DF Dario Srna), 1 Romanian (DF Razvan Rat), and 1 Pole (Mariusz Lewandowski). Luz Adriano, Jadson, Srna, and Rat still figure prominently in Shakhtar’s current configuration.

The crucial match which propelled Shakhtar Donetsk to the Round of 16 this season was the 3 November, 2010 match in Ukraine which saw a 2-1 defeat of Arsenal in the Donbass Arena before 51,153. This had come two weeks after Arsenal had humiliated Shakhtar by a 5-1 score at the Emirates Stadium in North London. In the 3 November match, goals for Shakhtar were scored by western Ukraine-born DF Dmitro Chygrynskiy in the 28th minute (following a 10th minute Arsenal goal by Theo Walcott), and a 58th minute winner by former Arsenal player, the Croatian international/Brazilian-born Eduardo, who looks to be recovered from his devastating leg injury in early 2008. From uefa.com, 3 Nov. 2010, ‘Eduardo strike sinks former club Arsenal’.
shakhtar-donetsk_potted-history-with-old-crests_r.gif
Shakhtar Donetsk have drawn AS Roma for the Round of 16. They will meet for the 1st Leg on 16 February at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. 2nd Leg is for 8 March in Donetsk.

Of the 16 clubs still alive in the 2010-11 Champions League, the biggest surprise overall is the qualification of FC Copenhagen (in Danish, FC Kobenhavn). This is the first appearance in the Round of 16 for a club from Denmark. Like quite a few other football clubs in Denmark in recent history, FC Copenhagen was the result of a merger. In this case, it was between two historically successful but stagnating clubs from the country’s capital city, KB and B 1903. The two clubs had not won a Danish title between them for 12 years running when they merged; and immediately after the merger FC Copenhagen won the 1993 Danish title. KB (Kjobenhavns Boldklub) won 15 Danish titles, including the first in 1913, and most recently in 1980. B 1903 (Boldklubben 1903) won 7 national titles, their last in 1976. FC Copenhagen are the highest-drawing Danish club, and can draw in the 20,000 per game range (their peak has been 23.7 K in 2006-07).The club’s home is Parken, which is also the primary venue for the Denmark national football team. FC Copenhagen are coached by the Norwegian Stale Solbakken, who has been at the helm since 2006. Their goal scoring threats are Porto Alegre, Brazil-born FW César Santin, Senegalese FW Dame N’Doye, and Danish winger/supporting striker and former Ajax/Chelsea/Birmingham City/Atlético Madrid/VfB Stuttgart player Jesper Gronkjaer (age 33).

kb_b1903_fc-copenhagen.gif

FC Copenhagen have drawn Chelsea for the Round of 16, with the 1st Leg on 22 February in Copenhagen, and the 2nd Leg on 16 March in West London. Judging by Chelsea’s recent form, Copenhagen can be seen as having a fighting chance of advancing. After all, FC Copenhagen beat Manchester United in the CL Group Stage in 2006-07, and Chelsea can’t beat bottom-of-the-table clubs like Wolverhampton Wanderers these days.

Last season I posted a map of this round of the competition in December, 2009, right after the draw was held. I decided to hold off a little this season. The CL Knockout Phase still will not be starting for 36 days, but on the Sunday (13 Feb.) before the matches begin on 15 and 16 February, I will re-post the 3 gifs here (the map and the 2 match-ups pages), along with a map of the 2010-11 UEFA Europa League Round of 32 (which will begin on Thursday, 17 February).

From Backpage Football.com, from 6 January, ‘Champions League – Reason to be excited‘, by Ger McCarthey.

The following gif shows the 8 clubs involved in the first two match days of the 2010-11 Champions League Round of 16, on 15 and 16 February…
AC Milan v. Tottenham Hotspur
Valencia v. Schalke 04
Arsenal v. Barcelona
AS Roma v. Shakhtar Donetsk
Click on box below…
uefa_cl-2010-11knockout-phase_round-of-16_part-1_post_.gif

The next gif shows the 8 clubs involved in the second set of match days, on 22 and 23 February…
Lyon v. Real Madrid
FC Copenhagen v. Chelsea
Internazionale v. Bayern Munich
Marseille v. Manchester United
Click on box below…
uefa_cl-2010-11knockout-phase_round-of-16_part-2_post_.gif
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Photo Credits -
AC Milan/San Siro…Dankuna.com, here. RossoneriBlog.com, here.

Tottenham/White Hart Lane…Jazza5 at en.wikipedia.org, here. Daily Mail.co.uk, here.

Valencia/Mestella…A Life In Valencia.com, here. z6.invisionfree.com/Ultras Tlfosi, here.

Schalke 04/Veltins-Arena…VioletaS_gr at Flickr.com, here. ArenaPark.Gelsenkirchen.de, here.

Arsenal/Emirates Stadium…ByrneGroup.co.uk,/Projects, ‘Emirates stadium – Scope of Work [6-photo slideshow]‘, here. DailyMail.co.uk, here.

Barcelona/Camp Nou…kammourewa at Photobucket.com, here. Bing.com/maps Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

AS Roma/Stadio Olimpico…Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. ASRomaAlive.com, here.

Shakhtar Donetsk/Donbass Arena…Elparadiso19 at en.wikipedia.org (link is to a Donbass Arena gallery, here). Ultras.org.ua, 2010 Shakhtar gallery, here.

Lyon/Stade de Gerland…Bing.com/maps Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. Chasseurdestades.com/France, here.

Real Madrid/Bernebéu…FCB Transfers.blogspot.com, here. Real Madrid Videos, here.

FC Copenhagen/Parken…Virtual Tourist.com, here. MTU.edu, here.

Chelsea/Stamford Bridge…cyberdees at Flickr.com, here. Eco Compact City.org, here.

Internazionale/San Siro…zerozerofootball.com/San Siro (gallery, 30 photos), here. oscar federico bodini at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Curva (stadia)/Italy‘.

Bayern Munich/Allianz Arena…Karl Leidorf at Leidorf.blogspot.com, here. Maximillian Dörrbecker (Chumwa), at en.wikipedioa.org, here.

Marseille/Stade Vélodrome… Projets-Architecte-Urbanisme.fr. fredGLLS at Flickr.com, here.

Manchester United/Old Trafford… ManUtd24.com, ‘Nervous Glazers tell ManUtd players not to wear Green and Gold!’. ManUtdPics.com , (Manchester United/Old Trafford photo).

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2010-11 UEFA Champions League‘.
Thanks to E-F-S site, for attendance figures from 2009-10, and for Shakhtar Donetsk current attendance figures. Thanks to ESPN Soccernet for most of the current attendance figures. Thanks to Soccerway.com for FC Copenhagen current attendance figures {Danish Super Liga at Soccerway.com}

January 3, 2011

2010-11 FA Cup, Third Round Proper.

Filed under: 2010-11 FA Cup,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 3:32 pm

2010-11_fa-cup_third-round-proper_post_i3.gif
2010-11 FA Cup Third Round

BBC Sport/football/FA Cup, here.

2010-11 FA Cup Third Round Proper…The 5 biggest upsets…
#1, Stevenage 3-1 Newcastle United. League Two’s Stevenage, a club that is spending it’s first-ever season in the Football League, defeated the Premier League’s Newcastle United. In terms of current league tables, Stevenage are three levels and 75 places lower than Newcastle. Stevenage are just the 13th club from the 4th Level or from Non-League to defeat a 1st Level club in the FA Cup since 1980, and are only the third club to do this since the Premier League was formed in 1992-93..
From Guardian.co.uk/football, by Paul Doyle, ‘Peter Winn seals famous victory for Stevenage over Newcastle‘.
From TVGolo.com, ‘Stevenage 3-1 Newcastle (FA Cup) [video highlights, 1:39]‘.
stevenage-3_1-newcastle-united_2010-11_fa-cup_3rd-round_-.gif

#2 biggest upset…Crawley Town 2-1 Derby County (3 levels and 61 places separate the two clubs). Crawley Town are the only Non-League club still alive in the competition. [The club are in second place in the Conference National, 3 points behind AFC Wimbledon (with 3 games in hand).] from Guardian.co.uk/football, Monday 10 January 22:16 GMT, by Dominic Fifield, ‘Crawley Town beat Derby County to keep non-league flag flying in FA Cup‘.
From 101 Great Goals.com, ‘Remember Sergio Torres: Crawley keep the magic of the FA Cup alive dumping Derby‘ [video highlights from all 3 goals].
crawley-town_fc.gif

#3 biggest upset…Sunderland 1-2 Notts County (2 levels and 54 places separate the two clubs). ‘Lee Hughes seals Notts County win at Sunderland in FA Cup third round‘, by Lance Harvey at Guardian.co.uk/football.
notts-county_fc.gif

#4 biggest upset…Burton Albion 2-1 Middlesbrough (2 levels and 47 places separate the two clubs). ‘Burton Albion 2-1 Middlesbrough‘, from BBC.co.uk/FA Cup.
burton-albion_.gif

#5 biggest upset…Norwich City 0-1 Leyton Orient (1 level and 40 places separate the two clubs). ‘Norwich 0-1 Leyton Orient‘, from BBC.co.uk/FA Cup.
leyton-orient_fc.gif

As usual with this category of map, fixtures are on the far right of the map page; locations of clubs, with their crests, are on the map and within the map segments flanking the main map; and current average attendances (from domestic home league matches) are listed on the far left. Also on the left is each club’s percent change versus 2009-10 average attendance.

The FA Cup Third Round is when clubs from the top two levels of English Football, the Premier League and the Football League Championship, enter the competition. That accounts for 44 teams. The other 20 teams come from lower levels, in this case as far down the pyramid as the 6th Level (Dover Athletic; more on them below). Due to the inclement weather this winter in Britain, there are 65 clubs on the map, not 64 clubs, because one Second Round tie, Lincon City v. Hereford United, has been postponed 3 times due to a frozen pitch at the Imps’ Sincil Bank. That Second Round replay is now scheduled for when the bulk of the matches this round are being played – at 2 pm GMT on Saturday. The winner of Lincon/Hereford is then scheduled to play in Buckinghamshire on Tuesday the 11th, versus Wycombe Wanderers.

Here are the matches scheduled for television…
United Kingdom…The FA Cup on TV (The FA.com).
Sat. 8 Jan…
12:45 pm GMT, Arsenal v. Leeds United (ITV1).
5:30 pm GMT, Stevenage v. Newcastle United (ESPN/UK).
Sun., 9 Jan…
1:30 pm GMT, Manchester United v. Liverpool (ITV1).
4 pm GMT, Leicester City v. Manchester City (ESPN/UK).
Mon. 10 Jan…
8 pm GMT, Crawley Town v. Derby County (ESPN/UK).

USA and Canada…
foxsoccer.com/fsc
foxsoccer.com/fs+
Sat. Jan. 8…
7:45 am, Arsenal v. Leeds United (Fox Soccer Plus).
9:30 am ET, FA Cup Preview Show (Fox Soccer Channel).
10 am ET, Sheffield United v. Aston Villa (Fox Soccer Channel).
10 am ET, Scunthorpe United v. Everton (Fox Soccer Plus).
12:30 pm ET, Stevenage v. Newcastle United (Fox Soccer Channel).
Sun. Jan. 9…
8:30 am ET, Manchester United v. Liverpool (Fox Soccer Channel).
11 am ET, Leicester City v. Manchester City (Fox Soccer Channel).
Mon. Jan. 10…
2:30 pm ET, Crawley Town v. Derby County (Fox Soccer Plus).

Fom The Guardian.co.uk/football, ‘FA Cup third-round preview: five potential upsets to look out for‘, by Rob Bagchi.

Dover Athletic are the lowest-placed club still alive in the FA Cup this season. The coastal Kent club are in the 6th Level, in the Conference South. The Whites aim to make it two promotions in three seasons, and are currently in the playoff places, in 4th place. They’re unbeaten in their last 5 matches, which includes a 7-2 trouncing of Thurrock on Sunday the 2nd of January. Dover’s manager is Martin Hayes, whose playing career included 102 matches and 26 goals for Arsenal (1983-90). Dover Athletic have sizable support for a club two rungs below the Football League, and in fact Dover Athletic were in the Conference National (which is the 5th Level) for nine seasons, from 1993-94 to 2001-02. Dover are currently drawing 1,013 per game to their Perry’s Crabble Athletic Ground in River, Kent (the ground is just across the border from the town of Dover; Perry’s are a car dealership).

In the 2010-11 FA Cup First Round, Dover beat Gillingham away, 2-nil. That match-up was significant in two ways – first, it was a Kent derby. Second, it was a grudge match for Dover, as Gillingham had wrested away Dover’s then-manager, Andy Hessenthaler, over the summer break, and to rub salt into the wound, Hessenthaler then lured two of the Dover staff over to the Gills. On 6 November, Dover dispatched the two-levels-higher Gillingham before 7,475 at Priestfield (which included 2,300 Dover supporters). Then in the Second Round, on 27 November, Dover hosted another League Two club, Aldershot Town, and they beat the Shots 2-0. 4,123 filled the Crabble Athletic Ground for the match. That match was televised, so Dover made a bit of cash on that, too. Both goals v. Aldershot were scored by Adam Birchall, who is attracting the attention of clubs in higher divisions. He had played 104 games for League Two’s Barnet from 2006 to 2009, and it’s likely he will end up back in the 4th Level soon. Adam Birchall was born in Maidstone, Kent, and is a Wales U-21 international. Birchall currently is the second-highest scorer in the Conference South – he has netted 13 league goals (Braintree Town’s Sean Marks has 14 league goals). Birchall also has 11 cup goals in 6 matches in the FA Cup this season (five rounds’ worth of matches plus one replay). That’s insane. Birchall has been crucial to the Whites’ First and Second Round victories – netting the first goal in the Gillingham match – a 30-yard screamer in the 18th minute; and scoring both goals (one from the penalty spot) versus Aldershot. The photo on the left directly below the stadium image shows Birchall seconds before he scored that strike against Gillingham. The photo on the right, there, shows Luke l’Anson right as he was about to score on the parried rebound from a shot by teammate Harry Baker, in the 28th minute.

Here is Dover Athletic’s page at Pyramid Passion.co.uk…Dover Athetic FC/Crabble Athletic Ground.

Below is a satellite view image of the Crabble Athletic Ground, plus photos from the 2 matches (all photos from Doverathletic.com).

dover-athletic_crabble-athletic-ground_gillingham0-2dover-athletic_2010-11fa-cup-1st-rd_birchall_lanson.gif

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Dover Athletic have their work cut out for them in the Third Round, as they must travel up to West Yorkshire to face 3rd Level club Huddersfield Town, who sit 6th in League One.
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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 en.wikipedia.org, 2010-11 FA Cup/Third Round Proper. Thanks to Bobby McMahon at SoccerReporetExtra, here (via @OptaJoe) for the Stevenage/FA Cup stat. Thanks to ESPN Soccernet for attendance figures – here… 1st Level/Premier League ; 2nd Level/Championship ; 3rd Level/League One ; 4th Level/League Two ; 5th Level/Conference National.


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