May 7, 2009

England: League Two, 2008-’09 season. The 3 Promoted Clubs, and the 4 Playoff Clubs.


Football League play-off predictions, from the {click here}.

The top 7 clubs in the 2008-2009 English Football League Two season are shown on the map.  The three promoted clubs,  Brentford FCExeter City FC,  and Wycombe Wanderers FC,  are shown on the right.  The four playoff clubs competing for the fourth promotion spot are shown on the left.  

On the upper right,  there is a list of the 7 clubs’ average attendance this season.

League Two champions Brentford had the third highest average attendance in the league,  at 5,707 [for the full list of League Two attendances, {click here}].   This club,  from the London Borough of Hounslow,  had it’s heyday in the 1930′s,  when the Bees reached the First Division (in 1933) and two years later finished in 5th place (in 1935-’36).  Brentford ended up having a 5-season run in the English top flight,  and had a peak average attendance of 25,768 in 1946-’47  (this was the first English Football League season following World War II,  and there were dramatic attendance increases throughout the country).  But by 1962,  Brentford had dropped to the old Fourth Division.  Since then,  the club has largely stayed in the 3rd and 4th Levels.  In the last 20 seasons,  the Bees have spent 3 seasons in the 4th Level,  16 seasons in the 3rd Level,  and 1 season in the 2nd Level.  That was in 1992-’93,  when Brentford drew 8,456 per game.  Griffin Park is Brentford’s home.  It is a compact ground with a pub on each corner.

Exeter City has won promotion two straight seasons now.  The club,  from the League football-deficient West Country,  have never risen higher than the 3rd Level,  so the Grecians return to this level next season makes for some heady times in this corner of Devon.  I can’t be certain,  due to the lack of lower league attendance figures prior to 1990,  but the club seems to have had their best season ever at the turnstiles,  with a 4,939 average gate.  Exeter’s best gate figures from 1989-’90 to 2007-’08 was when they won the Fourth Division in 1989-’90,  drawing 4,859 per game. 

Wycombe‘s form dipped in the last third of the season,  and the Wanderers backed into their promotion,  but that didn’t stop 9,625 from attending their final home match last Saturday (a 1-2 loss to basement-dwelling Notts County).

Gillingham‘s drop in gate figures (to 5,307 per game) can be attributed to their relegation from League One in 07/08,  but it must be noted that the club drew 9,600 last Saturday.  Shrewsbury Town had only a small increase at the turnstiles (to 5,664 per game) despite their good season,  because their gate figures from 07/08 had shot up,  as the club had just moved in to New Meadow.

Bury and Rochdale are two clubs from neighboring towns in the northern part of Greater Manchester  {see this map of Greater Manchester, here}.  Rochdale has spent 35 straight seasons in the 4th Level.  The Dale made it to the League two playoff final last season,  losing to Stockport County.  Bury,  known as the Shakers,  were in the 2nd Level as recently as 1999 (when it was called the Nationwide League Division One).  The club drew 6,179 in 1997-’98.  But for years,  both these clubs’ fan bases have dwindled,  overshadowed as they are by the hugely successful and well-supported Manchester United,  and the hapless yet still decently supported Manchester City.  Two interesting things about Bury are that their Gigg Lane ground is also home to the 6th Level Non-League club FC United of Manchester;  and the fact that Phil and Gary Neville’s father Neville Neville was a fomer chairman of Bury FC,  and still works for the club as a non-paid jack-of-all trades,  at Gigg Lane.

Here are the match-ups for the playoff semi-finals…

Rochdale v. Gillingham, Thursday 7 May;  Gillingham v. Rochdale, Sunday 10th May.   Both these matches are on Setanta. (!).

Shrewsbury Town v. Bury, Thursday 7 May;  Bury v. Shrewsbury Town, Sunday 10 May.

Thanks to  Colours of Football site {click here}.

Thanks to Tony’s English Football Site for the gate figures{click here}.   Thanks to EFS site, for older gate figues {click here}.   Thanks to the Footy-Mad sites,  for their invaluable league history sections on each club {click here (set at Bury FC League history)}.

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

Thanks to the Brentford FC site {click here}.   Thanks to Sky Sports {click here}.   Thanks to .   Thanks to .   Thanks to .   Thanks to .   Thanks to MattyGTFC @ {click here}. .   Thanks to .  

Thanks to Mike Serieys @ {click here}. .   Thanks to shanandphil @ Flickr {click here}.   Thanks to .   Thanks to Rutger Kuipers @ {click here}.   Thanks to .    Thanks to Chris Brookes @ {click here}. 

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here (set at Brentford FC page)}.

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