August 22, 2007

English Football League 2006-2007

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 12:39 pm

english_football_league_attendances_and_league_history.gif  english_football_league_attendances_and_league_history2.gif46england_3.gif 

This map shows the location of all 92 teams in the English Football League, in the 2006-2007 season.  Logos of the teams in the top two divisions, plus a few larger teams in the 3rd division, are shown. The size of each team’s logo is in proportion to it’s average attendance.  A two-page chart showing teams’ attendances, and league history, is also included.  [To view this, click on the 2 gifs at the top]

The English Football League is split into 4 divisions.  The top division is called The Premier League.  It is considered, along with Spain’s La Liga, and the Italian Serie A, the best soccer league in the world.

Each season, the top 3 teams are promoted from the 2nd division to the Premier League.  Also, the bottom 3 teams are relegated from the Premier League to the 2nd division.

This promotion/relegation system is in place in all 4 divisions, and is crucial to the highly competitive nature of  English Football.  Big clubs cannot sit on their laurels, or they’ll find themselves sent down.  Recent examples of this are Leeds United FC and Nottingham Forest FC.  Both are very big clubs… ex-champions, in fact.  (Leeds in 1992, Nottingham in 1978.)  But through profligate spending, ill-advised moves, and ultimately,  poor play,  both are currently stuck in the 3rd division. 

On the other hand, plucky “minnows” (small clubs) like Colchester United FC and Scunthorpe United FC have punched above their weight, and now find themselves in the 2nd division.  This in spite of the fact that both teams play in small towns, and in stadiums with capacities of less than 9,500.  This in a division where half the clubs have average attendances above 20,000.

The whole relegation/promotion system dates back to the late 1800′s, during the earliest days of the League.  It has been adopted by most every soccer league in the world, with the notable exception of  leagues in the USA.  It is ironic that America, land of free-market capitalism,  has pro sports leagues that behave like communist states.

In America, once a team joins a pro sports league, it can  stay there no matter how continuously poor it’s performance is.  If the team is making a decent profit, but not performing well, what reason does management have for trying to improve ?  That’s expensive, and with no guarantee of success. They can sit back and be mediocre, making their safe profit.  This smacks of socialism in it’s most negative sense, where a person need not actually strive for competence, because he has no threat of being sacked. 

Meanwhile, Europe, land of the Social Democratic State, has sports leagues that are so competitive that they resemble a highly Darwinian form of cut-throat capitalism.

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