August 30, 2012

Germany: the 3 promoted clubs from 2.Bundesliga to Bundesliga, for the 2012-13 season – Greuther Fürth, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Filed under: Germany — admin @ 8:52 pm
    The 3 promoted clubs to Bundesliga for 2012-13 – Greuther Fürth, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fortuna Düsseldorf…

The 3 promoted clubs to Bundesliga

Greuther Fürth makes it’s first division debut in the 2012-13 Bundesliga. Eintracht Frankfurt returns to the Bundesliga after a one-year absence. Fortuna Düsselldorf returns to the Bundesliga after a 15-year absence which included stints in the second, third, and fourth tiers of German football. All three of these clubs have won national titles in Germany, but none of them have won Bundesliga titles (Football-Bundesliga was established in 1963-64 – before that, the German national title each year was decided by a tournament comprised of regional champions and runners-up).

Greuther Fürth are from Fürth, which is a city in the Middle Franconian region of the northern part of Bavaria, just west of and adjacent to the city of Nuremburg. Modern-day sprawl has made the two municipalities contiguous (the city centers are only 7 km., or 4.3 miles, apart). The Nuremburg/Fürth/Erlangen metropolitan area is sometimes referred to as the Middle Franconian Conurbation, or the Nuremburg EMR [European Metropolitan Region]. The Nuremburg EMR has a population of around 3.51 million {2006 figure}. Fürth’s population is around 116,000 {2011 figure}. Fürth was once a major beer brewing center in Germany (around the turn of the 20th century, it had a bigger brewing industry than even Münich). Now Fürth is known for it’s toy-making industry (small-scale craft toys to large-scale industrial enterprises) and for being a center of solar technology – on sunny days, the local utility Infra Fürth puts 2 megawatts (2,000,000 Watts) of energy into the grid per day.

Below: Greuther Fürth are known as Die Kleeblätter, which translates as the Cloverleaves. The 2012-13 season is Greuther Fürth’s Centenary, and the club is wearing metallic gold colored three-leaf-clovers as the badge on their usual green-and-white-hooped jerseys. The city of Fürth has used the trefoil, or three-leaf-clover, as their city seal since the 16th century.
Photo and image credits above – Small photo of 2012-13 Centenary crest on home kit badge from 1905 photo from page on ‘Greuther Fürth‘. 1818 seal from Present-day seal from ‘Fürth‘ (en.wikipedia). Municipality of Fürth official website banner from

The club now known as Greuther Fürth started out in 1903 as the football branch of the gymnastics club 1860 Fürth. Three years later in 1906, the football branch – Spielvereinigung Fürth, or SpVgg Fürth – went independent of the gymnastics club. [Note: Spielvereinigung, often abbreviated to SpVgg, means 'playing club', and refers to sports that are played not by individuals, but by teams.]. The club grew, and by 1914, SpVgg Fürth had over 3,000 members, making it the largest German sports club at the time. 1914 was also the year Fürth won their first national title, under English coach William Townley, defeating VfB Leipzig 1-0 in Magdeburg in the 154th minute of play (there were 64 minutes of extra time added on before the golden goal was scored). In October, 1915, German football championship play was suspended, due to World War I, and 5 seasons ended up being lost. The German football championship competition was re-started in 1920, and Fürth picked up where they left off, as one of the dominant teams of the era. So in 1920, Fürth found themselves back in the final, versus none other than local rival 1. FC Nuremburg. But Nuremburg were in the midst of an 104-game unbeaten streak, and beat Fürth 2-0 in Frankfurt. These two clubs were so dominant during this time-period that in 1924, the national team was made up of players exclusively from SpVgg Fürth and FC Nuremburg. The 2 sets of players slept in separate rail cars, which was indicative of the fierce rivalry between the two clubs. In 1926, Fürth won their second German title, beating Hertha Berlin 2-0 in Frankfurt. Fürth’s third and last German title was won 3 years later, in 1929, again at the expense of Hertha Berlin, and in a stadium just a few kilometers from their home-base, with Fürth winning 3-2 in front of 50,000 in Club-Stadion im Zabo in Nuremburg.

German football was re-organized in 1933 under the Third Reich into the Gauliga (1933-45). The national championship was still decided by a knockout tournament, but there were now 16 districts {see this, ‘Gauliga/ Overview [with map]‘ (}. SpVgg Fürth began playing in the Gauliga Bayern. But Fürth’s moment had passed and the squads that replaced the championship-winning squads of the 1920s were only able to win one Gauliga Bayern title (in 1934-35), and never progressed to another national championship final.

After the fall of the Third Reich, with Allied occupation in the south, center, and west of the Teutonic lands, and Soviet occupation in the east, postwar German football comprised West Germany’s 5 Oberligen, and East Germany’s separate system {see this, ‘Oberliga Süd/ Overview [with map]‘ ( Fürth began playing in Oberliga Süd, where they struggled, and 3 seasons in, in 1947-48, they were relegated to Landesliga Bayern [a present-day 3rd division league]. Fürth returned to Oberliga Süd the next season, and in 1949-50 as a newly-promoted-side, Fürth won the 1950 Oberliga Süd title. That season Fürth made it as far as the semifinals in the 1950 national playoffs, losing 4-1 to VfB Stuttgart. Four years later, two Fürth players, Karl Mai and Herbert Erhardt, were members of the 1954 German national football team that upset Hungary in Bern, Swirzerland to win the 1954 FIFA World Cup title.

With the long-overdue creation of a national football league in Germany in 1963-64 [official name: Fußball-Bundesliga], Fürth did not qualify as one of the then-sixteen teams that made up the new national first division. So they found themselves playing second division football in the Regionalliga Süd, where they were generally a mid-table side whose best finish was in third place in 1967. A national second division – 2.Bundesliga – was formed in 1974, with SpVgg Fürth as one of it’s charter members. One decade later, SpVgg Fürth were relegated to the regional 3rd division, then slipped again, to the fourth division, in 1987. They returned to the 3rd division in 1991, and after national lower divisional re-organization in 1994, Fürth became part of the thrd incarnation of Regionalliga Süd.

Meanwhile, a small village team from the western end of the city of Fürth was moving up the ladder. TSV Vestenbergsgreuth, established 1974, began as a 4th division club. In 1987, TSV Vestenbergsgreuth won promotion to the 3rd division just as SpVgg Fürth were being relegated to the 4th division. By the mid 1990s, both clubs were playing at about the same level in the 3rd division. For financial considerations, and for a chance to become a bigger and more successfil club, a merger seemed logical, and so in 1996, SpVgg Greuther Fürth was created, the ‘Greuther’ in the new name reflecting the TSV Vestenbergsgreuth heritage. The re-constituted club’s new crest included the wooden shoe from the Vestenbergsgreuth crest to indicate that the new club was more than just a continuation of SpVgg Fürth. The new club won promotion to 2.Bundesliga in it’s first season as Greuther Fürth (in 1996-97), finishing in 2nd in the division, right behind long-term-rival FC Nuremberg. Then, for a decade and a half, Greuther Fürth became a mainstay in the top half of the table in the German second division (with the exception of 2009-10, when they finished in 11th place). In December, 2009, former Fortuna Düsseldorf and FC Schalke MF Mike Büskens took over as manager of Greuther Fürth. In the season after that, in 2010-11, Greuther Fürth finished in 4th place in 2.Bundesliga, missing out at a shot at the Bundesliga promotion/relegation playoff finals by 4 points. By this point in time, Greuther Fürth was the longest-serving member of the German 2nd division. So it was a natural progression, after 15 seasons, for Fürth to finally get promoted in 2012-13. Quebec, Canada-born Olivier Occéan powered Fürth to the 2. Bundesliga title on the strength of his league best 17 goals (in 30 appearances, with 9 assists). But in July 2012, Occéan was sold to another newly promoted (and much bigger) club, Eintracht Frankfurt. Also important to Fürth’s successful promotion-campaign last season was FW Chrisopher Nöthe, who netted 13 league goals (in 26 appearances). Nöthe returns for the 2012-13 season. Other crucial members of the promotion-winning-squad last season (all of whom have returned for 2012-13) – 26-year-old captain, Defender Mërgim Mavraj, an Albania international; Kazhakstan-born/ethnic German Midfielder Heinrich Schmidtgal; the Münich, Bavaria-born former Bayern Munich youth team player, Midfielder Stephan Fürstner; and last but not least, the Winger Gerald Asamoah, who played 279 times for Schalke, and who came over from FC St. Pauli in the January 2012 transfer window, and scored 5 goals in 10 games for Fürth last spring.

Greuther Fürth are a pretty small club for Bundesliga standards – the Trolli Arena only had a capacity of around 15,000, and over the summer that capacity has been increased by 3,000 or so to a 18,500 capacity. Greuther Fürth averaged 10,909 last season, while the average attendance in the Bundesliga last season was 45,116. It remains to be seen whether Fürth will be able to survive in the German top flight as a club drawing less than 25,000, as other similar sized Bundesliga clubs like SC Freiburg are, and like FSV Mainz were. Freiburg still play in a small stadium (24,000 capacity), but Mainz built the 34,000-capacity Coface Arena in 2011, a move that has helped their chances of survival in Bundesliga immensely. Starting with their first division debut in 2004-05, Mainz have played 7 seasons in Bundesliga in 2 different spells, and won promotion both times with present-day Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp. Mainz drew around 20K per game in their last 2 seasons at their old arena, and drew 32,792 last season at the Coface Arena, when they finished in 10th place, after a 13th-place finish in 2010-11. Coface Arena, which was built by and is owned b, FSV Mainz, is not a bowl stadium, as too many large modern football stadiums are, and it’s designers looked to the high stands of traditional English football grounds as inspiration. Just think what amount of security that extra twelve-thousand tickets sold per home game means to Mainz. Freiburg had the lowest attendance in Bundesliga last season at 22,618 per game, and still managed to stay safe of the drop-zone (Freiburg finished in 11th place in 2012-13). But Freiburg have had 2 relegations and 2 promotions since 2002 and their total number of seasons spent in Bundesliga is 13 seasons – in other words, Freiburg are a club that could be on the verge of becoming a yo-yo club. It would seem that having attendances in the 18k to 24K range would significantly contribute to making a club’s long-term Bundesliga status unsustainable.

Here is a preview of Greuther Fürth’s 2012-13 Bundesliga team, from, from 17 August 2012, by Rick Joshua, ‘Season Preview – SpVgg Greuther Fürth – Bundesliga Bow for Die Kleeblätter‘.

Eintracht Frankfurt are from Frankfurt, in the state of Hesse. Their colors are red and black and they are known as die Adler (the Eagles), after the city of Frankfurt’s city seal, the one-headed imperial eagle, which dates back to the 13th century {see this ( Frankfurt/Colours, crest and nicknames); }. The word Eintracht translates as ‘unity’.

The official name for the city of Frankfurt is Frankfurt am Main, which means Frankfurt on the [River] Main. Frankfurt is Germany’s 5th largest city, with a city population of 679,000 {2010 figures}. Frankfurt is part of the second-largest metropolitan region in Germany, Frankfurt Rhine-Main, which has a population of around 5.8 million. Frankfurt is a world center for finance. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is the world’s 12th-largest stock exchange by market capitalization. Frankfurt is really expensive to live in – it is the 10th-most expensive city to live in in the world, according to The Economist, ‘Worlds Most Expensive Places To Live Is,,,[Zurich]‘.

In 1911, the club now known as Eintracht Frankfurt was the result of the merger of two different Frankfurt-based clubs (both of which formed in 1899 – Frankfurter Fußball-Club Viktoria von 1899 and Frankfurter Fußball-Club Kickers von 1899). These two clubs merged in May 1911 to become Frankfurter Fußball Verein (Kickers-Viktoria), better known as Frankfurter FV. The merger was an instantaneous success, with Frankfurter FV winning the 1912, the 1913, and the 1914 Nordkreis-Liga titles (the Nordkreis-Liga was the top football league of Hesse-Nassau and the Grand Duchy of Hesse, from 1908 to 1918). In 1920, Frankfurter FV joined the gymnastics club Frankfurter Turngemeinde von 1861 to form TuS Eintracht Frankfurt von 1861. But 7 years later, in 1927, the two went their separate ways, and the football-club-branch became known as Sportgemeinde Eintracht Frankfurt (FFV) von 1899. SGE Frankfurt won some regional trophies in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and the club competed for the first time deeper into the national knockout championships, making it to the quarterfinals in 1930 and 1931, then making it to the final in 1932. In the 1932 German national championship final, (at the present-day Frankenstadion) in Nuremburg, Eintracht Frankfurt lost to Bayern Munich 2-0. This was the first of Bayern Munich’s record 21 German titles.

Following the 1933 Nazi take-over in Germany and the re-organization of football leagues into the 16 Gauligen, Frankfurt played first division football in the Gauliga Südwest/Mainhessen, consistently finishing in the upper half of the table and winning their division in 1938, but never getting to the latter stages of the national championship tournament.

Following World War II, Frankfurt was placed in the Oberliga Süd (1945–63). Their first 7 years they never challenged for a title, then they won the 1953 Oberliga Süd title. The Eintracht squad of this time-period featured Frankfurt-born MF Alfred Pfaff, who joined the team in 1949 after being on the club’s youth team. {Here is a color photo of Pfaff that shows the striking white jersey with red-collar-and-placket that Eintracht Frankfurt wore in the 1950s (}. Pfaff would play 12 seasons for Eintracht Frankfurt, with 301 appearances and 103 goals. Pfaff would also get 7 German caps and go on to be a member of the German national team that pulled off their shock World Cup victory in Switzerland in 1954. 5 years later, in 1958-59, with Alfred Pfaff as captain and playmaker, Eintracht Frankfurt won the Oberiga-Süd for the second time, then went all the way to the national tournament final, where, as fate would have it, they played their local rivals, Kickers Offenbach. [Kickers Offenbach are a club located just east of Frankfurt in Offenback am Main, and are currently a 3rd division club with 7 seasons played in Bundesliga (last in 1983-84), with one major title, the 1970 DFB-Pokal title.]. In the 1959 German national championship final group rounds, Eintracht had won all 6 matches in the first stage, which was an 8-team/2-group/6-matches-per-team-round-robin set-up (with group winners advancing to the final). The final was played in front of 75,000 in Olympiastadion in Berlin. It was a classic. In the first minute, Hungarian FW István Sztáni netted for Eintracht Frankfurt. Kickers Offenbach responded in the 8th minute, with FW Berti Kraus scoring. Eintracht FW Eckehard Feigenspan put Frankfurt back ahead in the 14th minute, but then MF Helmut Preisendörfer evened the score again in the 23rd minute. It stayed knotted at 2-2 straight to the 90th minute, and extra time was needed [the format: 30 minutes added extra time, with no golden goal; then a re-play if necessary]. In AET, Eckehard Feigenspan converted a penalty in the 93rd minute to make it 3-2 Eintracht. Then it was 4-2 for Eintracht in the 108th minute when István Sztáni scored again, for a brace. Kickers, though, weren’t down yet, and made it 4-3 through a goal by FW Siegfried Gast in the 110th minute. But in the 119th minute, Eckehard Feigenspan scored again for the hat trick, sealing it for die Adler (the Eagles), 5-3. In the photo below, Alfred Pfaff is seen at center raising the trophy during the post-match celebrations there in Berlin.
Image credit above -Image from video uploaded by darkgeek2011, ‘Deutscher Meister 1959 – Eintracht Frankfurt – HD – 2012.wmv [1:13 video]‘. Image above is from a black and white photo {from:}, which was color-tinted by Olaf Dieters, at

In the 1959-60 European Cup competition – the 5th season of the tournament that is now called the UEFA Champions League – Eintraccht Frankfurt recieved a de-facto bye in the preliminary round when KuPS (of Finland) withdrew. In late November 1959, in the 1st Round, Eintracht drew the Swiss club Young Boys, and won 4-1 in the 1st leg at the Wankdorf in Bern, Switzerland in front of 35,000. The 2nd leg was at Eintracht’s then-55,000-capacity Waldstadion (now called Commerzbank Arena with a 51.5K capacity). The crowd of around 40,000 saw Eintracht play it safe with their 3-goal lead and draw 1-1 to advance. The Quartefinals in March 1960 had Eintracht matched up with the (now-third-division) Austrian club Wiener Sportclub. Ist leg went 2-1 to Eintracht in Frankfurt, again in front of around 40K. The 2nd leg, in front of 50,000 in Vienna’s Praterstadion [now called Ernst-Happel-Stadion)] saw Wiener Sportclub even the aggregate score, with a goal in the 31st minute. Then Eintracht Frankfurt’s FW Erwin Stein secured the aggregate-winning goal in the 59th minute.

That put Eintracht Frankfurt into the Semifinals in April 1960, where they were matched up against Glasgow Rangers. [The other European Cup Semifinalists in April 1960 were Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, and Real Madrid won that aggregate by the score of 6-2, with Alfredo Di Stéfano scoring twice, Ferenc Puskás scoring three times, and Francisco Gento scoring once for the all-whites].

On 13 April 1960, Eintracht destroyed Rangers 6-1 in the 1st leg, in front of an overflow crowd of 70,000 in Frankfurt. For the first half the match however, it was a tight affair, with Dieter Stinka of Frankfurt scoring in the 29th, closely followed by Eric Cadlow’s penalty conversion 2 minutes later for Rangers. But in the second half, the midfield wizard Alfred Pfaff took over, and scored a brace in five minutes, netting in the 51st and the 55th minutes. Then Dieter Lindner scored twice in 12 minutes (73′, 84′), and Erwin Stein added Frankfurt’s 6th goal in the 86th minute. The 2nd leg, on 5 May 1960 at Ibrox in Glasgow before 70,000, saw Eintracht Frankfurt score 6 again, for a 6-1 win and a final aggregate score of 12-4. Here were the goals…Rangers – John McMillan 10′, 54′; David Wilson 74′. Frankfurt – Eric Lindner 6′; Alfred Pfaff 20′, 88′; Richard Kreß 28′; Erich Meier 58′, 71′.

So on 18 May 1960, it was Real Madrid versus Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 European Cup final. Eintracht again traveled to Glasgow – this time to the Scottish national football stadium Hampden Park (current capacity of around 52,000). A vast overflow crowd of 126,671 watched the match. {Here is the match-day programme for the 1960 European Cup. Check out what the official match-day programme of the 1960 European Cup Final describes the match as… it reads [on the bottom of the cover of the programme], ‘EINTRACHT, Frankfurt v. REAL MADRID’. So even the folks who put the programme together thought Frankfurt were over-matched, seeing as how they didn’t use all-caps for the German club’s name like they did for the Spanish giants. The strange employment of the comma between Eintracht and Frankfurt is pretty interesting too.}.

From uploaded by Canal de Fútbol Retro Os Clá, ‘Real Madrid 7–3 Eintracht Frankfurt (1959–60 European Cup [a 6:01 video of 1960 BBC newsreel]. Alfred Di Stéfano scored a hat trick for Real Madrid, and the all-time greatest Hungarian footballer, Ferenc Puskás, scored 4 goals. Eintracht started brightly, though, with Richard Kress scoring in the 18th minute. But then the Argentine-born Di Stéfano swiftly netted 2 goals in 3 minutes (27′, 30′), and Puskás made it 3-1 at 45′+1. Puskás then scored in the 56th, the 60th, and the 71st minutes. Erwin Stein got one back for Frankfurt with a goal in the 72nd minute, but Di Sréfano answered back a minute later. Erwin Stein then scored 2 minutes after that, and the score stayed at 7-3, and Real Madrid had won their 5th straight European title.

Who knows if that defeat injured some deep part of the collective psyche of Eintracht Frankfurt. The fact remains that Eintracht Frankfurt have never won another national title, and have, for such a relatively large club, only managed essentially to become a Cup-specialist club that’s last major title was won a quarter of a century ago. Which is the main reason that one of Eintracht Frankfurt’s nicknames is die Launische Diva, which translates as the moody diva.

2012-13 will be Eintracht Frankfurt’s 44th season in Bundesliga…
Image credit above – Eintracht Frankfurt/Founding member of the Bundesliga {

After the disappointment of their loss in the 1960 European Cup final, Eintracht Frankfurt remained a solid team for several years. The side earned themselves a place as one of the original 16 teams selected to play in the inaugural season of Bundesliga, in 1963-64. Eintracht initially played Bundesliga football for 35 seasons straight, finishing in the top half of the table more often than not. But the closest the Eagles have come to a second German title were the 5 times they ended up with 3rd place finishes, and the nearest they got to putting their hands back on the ‘Salad Bowl‘ was in 1991-92, when they finished in 3rd place, only two points back of champion VfB Stuttgart (Borussia Dortmund finished in second place that season).

Eintracht Frankfurt have won 4 DFB-Pokal titles – in 1974 by a score of 3-1 (aet) over Hamburger SV in front of 52,000 in Düsseldorf; in 1975 [defending their title] by a score of 1-0 over Duisburg in front of 43,000 in Hannover; in 1981 by a score of 3-1 over Kaiseslautern in front of 70,000 in Stuttgart; and in 1988 by a score of 1-0 over Bochum in front of 76,000 in West Berlin. Eintracht Frankfurt have been relegated 4 times to 2.Bundesliga. Their last relegation, in 2011-12, saw the Eagles rebound immediately. Their promotion campaigh was helmed by former Stuttgart, Wolfsburg, and Hamburger SV manager Armin Veh, who took over at Frankfurt on 30 May 2011. Last season Frankfurt drew 37,641 per game, which was highest in the second division; and in their last season in Bundesliga, in 2010-11, Frankfurrt drew 47,335. That was good enough for the 6th-highest average attendance 2 years ago. The 6th best attendance in the country and no titles in 25 years…sounds like a slightly-higher-drawing version of Aston Villa to me.

Here is Bundesliga’s post on Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2012-13 team, from 22 August 2012, by Niklas Wildhagen, ‘Season preview – Eintracht Frankfurt – The Eagles have landed‘.

Fortuna Düsseldorf are from Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Düsseldorf’s city population is around 588,000 {2010 figure}, which puts the city as the 7th-largest in Germany. Düsseldorf is part of the largest metro area in Germany, the Rhine- Ruhr. The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region has a population of around 11.31 million {2011 figure}. Düsseldorf is basically is in the cente of the region (geographically and politically).

The Rhine-Ruhr is a metropolitan region which was once the industrial center of Germany for over one hundred years, starting at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century, to the late post-War period of the 20th century. The Rhine-Ruhr is named after the Rhine and Ruhr rivers, on whose banks there grew so much of the heavy industry that initially forged Germany’s industrial might. There are usually 5 or 6 clubs each season in the Bundesliga that are from the Rhine-Ruhr metro region. For 2012-13, with Köln having been relegated out and Fortuna Düsseldorf having been promoted in, there will again be 5 clubs in Bundesliga which are from the Rhine-Ruhr – Bayer Leverkusen, FC Schalke 04, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Möenchengladbach, and Fortuna Düsseldorf. You can see a map I made of these 5 clubs’ locations within the Rhine-Ruhr region {here}.

Before the Industrial Revolution, dating back to the Middle Ages, Cologne, Dortmund and other cities in the region were important trading cities, but by the 19th century the city of Düsseldorf grew to become the administrative center of the region and since 1945, it’s political capital. Today, the Rhine-Ruhr metro region accounts for around 15% of the GDP of the German economy, which would place it as the 3rd largest GRP (Gross Rating Point) of metropolitan areas in the European Union and the 16th largest GDP in the world. The problem is, the Rhine-Ruhr presents no unified image to the outside world – neither as a sort of mega-city or as a region – and the cities and sub-regions that make up the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area often end up competing with each other through separate economic policies.

The roots of Fortuna Düsseldorer Turn-und Sportverein Fortuna 1895 are in the former working class neighborhood in the eastern part of Düsseldorf, called Flingern, and now called Düsseldorf-Flingern. That is where Gymnastics club Turnverein Flingern was formed, on 5 May 1895. This club never fielded a football team. On 5 November 1919, TV Flingern merged with Düsseldorfer Fußball-Club Fortuna 1911 to form Düsseldorfer Turn-und Sportverein Fortuna. Let’s back-track 6 years to see where Düsseldorfer F-C Fortuna 1911, better known as Fortuna 1911, first entered league play…In 1913, Fortuna 1911 had began play in the 3rd division of the Westdeutsche Fußballmeisterschaft (West German football championship). [ 'Western German football championship', {excerpt from it's en.wikipedia page}...'The Western German football championship was the highest association football competition in Western Germany, in the Prussian Province of Westphalia, the Rhine Province, the northern parts of the province of Hesse-Nassau as well as the Principality of Lippe... The competition was disbanded in [the late summer of] 1933 with the rise of the Nazis to power.’…{end of excerpt} .].

In 1922, Fortuna Düsseldorf made it to the the first division in the Gauliga Berg Mark, and remained there until the German football league re-organization in 1933. In 1924, MF Ernst Albrecht began playing for Fortuna Düsseldorf. Albrecht would play two decades for the club (up until 1944), and was a German international.

Image credit above – 1925 Fortuna Dussweldorf crest uploaded by Fortuna Family at

In 1927, Fortuna won its first honours as a first tier side: they captured a district level Bezirksliga title. Three more district league titles followed, and in 1931 Fotuna Düsseldorf won the Western German football championship, defeating VfB Bielefeld. But their German national football championship tournament run ended with a second-round defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt. Two years later, though, in 1933, Fortuna Düsseldorf, as runners-up in their league, qualified for the national tournament. That year, Fortuna went all the way in the 16-team-knockout tournament to the final, where they would face FC Schalke 04. It was the first appearance in the German final for both clubs, and it was a re-match of the 1933 Western German football championship final played earlier that spring, which Schalke had won 1-0.

In the 1933 German national football championship tournament, Düsseldorf had steamrolled through the early rounds, not conceding a goal. First they beat Vorwärts RaSpo Gleiwitz 9-0 in Düsseldorf in the 1st Round. Then Fortuna beat SV Arminia Hannover 3-0 in Hannover in the Quarterfinals. Then Fortuna beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0 in Berlin in the Semifinals. In the 1933 German national championship final, on 11 June 1933 in front of 60,000 at the Müngersdorfer Stadium in Cologne, over 20,000 Düsseldorf supporters made the short trip south to Cologne to cheer on their team. Düsseldorf started off strong, and in the 10th minute, FW Felix Zwolanowski scored for Düsseldorf. Schalke never got into their rhythm, but the match was still a tense affair for the Fortuna faithful until MF Paul Mehl made it 2-0 in the 70th minute. And then MF Georg Hochgesang scored in the 85th minute to make it 3-0 and seal the first (and the only) national title for Fortuna Düsseldorf.

With their 1933 German title, Fortuna Düsseldorf became the first club from the industrial Rhine-Ruhr region to win a national title. Here is a pretty nice map from the German Wikipedia that shows all the German national champions (including East German champions), with the years of their tiles, ‘Karte-Deutsche-Fussballmeister.png‘.

At this point in time (June, 1933), the Nazis had taken over in Germany. A complete football league re-organization starting in the 1933-34 season saw Fortuna Düsseldorf placed in the Gauliga Niederrhein, one of 16 top-flight divisions formed in the re-organization of German football under the Third Reich. Düsseldorf dominated the division in the the late 1930s, with 5 first-place finishes from 1936 to 1940. In only one of those seasons, though, did they advance far in the national tournament – in 1936. By 1936, the format in the national tournament had changed from knockout to round-robin. Fortuna made it to the 1936 final after going 5 and 1 in their group, then winning their semifinal match versus the Silesian club Vorwärts-Rasensport Gleiwitz (a club that was located in present-day Gliwice, Poland). But in the final, Düsseldorf fell 2-1 to FC Nuremburg in front of 70,000 in Berlin.

The following season, 1936-37, Fortuna had a good cup run in the Tschammerpokal, the predecessor of today’s DFB-Pokal (German Cup), that saw them reach the final, but they fell to their nearby rivals Schalke, by a score of 2-1 before 70,000 in Cologne. Following league re-organization after World War II, Fortuna Düsseldorf was placed in Oberliga West (1947-63). Fortuna never challenged during this time period and played as a lower-to-mid table side. But the club did make three appearances in the final of the recently-instituted DRFB-Pokal (German Cup, est. 1953). Fortuna Düsseldorf made it to the DFB-Pokal final in 1957, in 1958, and in 1962, but lost all 3 finals – in 1953 to Bayern Munich by a score of 1-0 in front of 42,000 in Augsburg; in 1958 to VfB Stuttgart, agonizingly, by a score of 4-3 in added extra time, in front of 28,000 in Kassel; and in 1962 to FC Nuremberg 2-1, also in added extra time front of 41,000 in Hannover).

In 1953, Fortuna Düsseldorf began playing in the Rheinstadion, which was built in 1925. It had a capacity of 42,500 during this era. It was expanded to 78,000 capacity in 1974, and in it’s latter years the capacity was 55,000. The club played there up until 2001-02. [The stadium was also home of the NFL Europe team the Rhein Fire from 1995 to 2001.] It was the home ground for Fortuna Düsseldorf from 1953–1970 and 1972–2002.

All those years of second-division status and mid-table mediocrity for Fortuna Düsseldorf meant that, with the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963-64, Düsseldorf were not ranked high enough to be among the 16 clubs that comprised the first season of Germany’s national league. So in 1963-64, Fortuna Düsseldorf began play in the Regionalliga West (1963–74). 3 years later, Düsseldorf won promotion to Bundesliga. But their stay lasted one season, 1966-67, and it was was back to the second division. Four years after that, Düsseldorf were back in the Bundesliga, and this time they stayed for a good while – 16 seasons (1971-72 to 1986-87) – and that included two third place league finishes (in 1972-73 and 1973-74). In 1977, Düsseldorf made it to their fourth DFB-Pokal final, but they again lost, this time to Cup-holders Köln (ie, Cologne), 2-0 in front of 70,000 at Parkstadion in Gelsenkirchen. But the next season, 1978-79, Fortuna Düsseldorf returned to the DFB-Pokal final, and finally won the Cup in their 5th attempt. In Hannover at the Niedersachsenstadion (now called AWD Arena), before 56,000, Düsseldorf faced Hertha Berlin. They needed added extra time to win it, with FW Wolfgang Seel scoring in the 116th minute. Fortuna Düsseldorf then repeated the trick as Cup-holders the next year, defending their title against the club that had beaten them in the cup final 2 years before – Köln – in front of 65,000 in Gelsenkirchen. Köln took the lead in the 26th minute on a goal by MF Bernhard Cullmann, but two second half goals by Düsseldorf within a space 5 minutes – by MF Rüdiger Wenzl in the 60th minute and by FW Thomas Allofs in the 65th minute – sealed the win for Düsseldorf. That was the last major title for Düsseldorf.

Since then Fortuna Düsseldorf have really bounced up and down the ladder. Since 1971 to 2011, Fortuna Düsseldorf have been in the first division for 3 different spells, in the second division for 5 different spells, in the third division for 3 different spells, and in the fourth division for one spell.
Below: Fortuna Düsseldorf – Leagues and Levels Since August, 1971…
1971–1987 Bundesliga (1st tier/ relegated).
1987–1989 2. Bundesliga (2nd tier/ promoted).
1989–1992 Bundesliga (1st tier/ relegated).
1992–1993 2. Bundesliga (2nd tier/ relegated).
1993–1994 Oberliga Nordrhein (3rd tier/ promoted).
1994–1995 2. Bundesliga (2nd tier/ promoted).
1995–1997 Bundesliga (1st tier/ relegated).
1997–1999 2. Bundesliga (2nd tier/ relegated).
1999–2000 Regionalliga West/Südwest (3rd tier, league-name-change see below).
2000–2002 Regionalliga Nord (3rd tier/ relegated).
2002–2004 Oberliga Nordrhein (4th tier/ promoted).
2004–2008 Regionalliga Nord (3rd tier, league-name-change, see below).
2008–2009 3. Liga (3rd tier/ promoted).
2009–2012 2. Bundesliga (2nd tier/ promoted).
2012–Present Bundesliga (1st tier).
In May, 2012, Fortuna Düsseldorf won promotion back to Bundesliga, after 15 years in the lower leagues, by beating Hertha Berlin by 4-3 aggregate score. The atmosphere at the 2nd leg in Düsseldorf was insane, with traveling Hertha fans shooting flares, which cause the referees to add 7 minutes. Hertha were threatening to score and even up the aggregate, when, with about a minute of added time left, Fortuna Düsseldorf fans stormed the field. It took 21 minutes to restore order, and stoppage time ended up being 28 minutes, by the time the final whistle blew. The pitch invasion very well might have been the reason Düsseldorf got promoted, but in the end, it cost the club a fine of 150,000 Euros, and a partial crowd exclusion for their first 2 home matches (versus Borussia Möenchengladbach on 1 September 2012, and versus Freiburg on 22 September 2012), which must now be played before a crowd restricted to 25,000 of home fans and 5,00 of visiting fans (which means a subtraction of probably at least 20,000 of crowd in total, and maybe as much as 45,000) (see links below).

From Dirty, from 16 May 2012, By Brooks Peck, ‘Fortuna Dusseldorf fans storm pitch before playoff actually ends‘.

From Fortuna Düsseldorf official site, from 16 August 2012, [translated], ‘Fortuna Düsseldorf accepted partial exclusion judgment‘.

From Deutsche Welle (, ‘Fortuna shines on Düsseldorf

Fortuna Düsseldorf’s 2012 promotion to Bundesliga means that they are the only club in German history to get back to the Bundesliga after being in the fourth division. Counting 2012-13, Fortuna Düsseldorf have played 23 seasons in Bundesliga. If you wanted to be sarcastic, you could call them a three-division-yo-yo-club, but I think their days of being stuck in the regional leagues of the lower divisions are gone. I say that because I think the futuristic stadium that Düsseldorf now play in, and all their thousands of new supporters (see below), will give them some staying power (Esprit Arena, with a capacity of 54,000, was built by the city of Düsseldorf, and opened in September 2004). This is a club that has pulled itself out of a 4.9 milion Euros debt – which has now been fully paid back. And this is a club that has seen their average attendance rise 18 thousand in a 5-year period.
Here are Fortuna Düsseldorf’s home average attendances (from league matches) from the last 5 seasons…
2007-08, Fortuna drew 12,682 per game (in the third division).
2008-09, Fortuna drew 14,875 per game (in the third division/promoted).
2009-10, Fortuna drew 28,001 per game (in the second division).
2010-11, Fortuna drew 21,486 per game (in the second division).
2011-12, Fortuna drew 31,900 per game (in the second division/promoted).

I am not saying Düsseldorf are a sure thing to avoid being immediately relegated back to the second tier, though. After all, the club has had to start the 2012-13 Bundesliga season with 16 new players, and 24 of Fortuna’s goals from last season were by 2 players – Sasch Rösler and Maximillian Beister – who are no longer there (Rosler retired, then decided to play for 3rd division club Aachen this season; and Beister had been on loan from Hamburger SV and has returned there). Fortuna Düsseldorf’s manager, former Werder Bremen MF Norbert Meier, has been in charge since January 2008, and has moved Düsseldorf up two divisions since then. Here is an interview from Bindesliga from 17 July 2012, by Niklas Wildhagen, ‘Interview – Norbert Meier‘.

From SB Nation, from 21 August 2012, by Phillip Quinn, ‘Bundesliga Previews: Fortuna Düsseldorf’.
Photo credits on the map page -
Fortuna Düsseldorf/ Esprit Arena – Aerial photo of area around Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf by Messe Düsseldorf GmbH at Aerial image from’s Eye satellite view. Photo of exterior of Esprit Arena with Düsseldorf rail connection by Jörg Wiegels, Düsseldorf at Photo of Düsseldoef fans queueing for 2010-11 season match by Falk Janning at Photo of Fortuna Düsseldorf fans with banners, scarves, and beers from Photo of Fortuna Düsseldorf fans’ pitch invasion on 15 May 2012 in Relegation Playoff 2nd leg from

Eintracht Frankfurt/ Commerzbank-Arena – Aerial photo of Frankfurt skyline with Commerzbank Arena in foreground by Heidas at Aerial photo from Intreior photo (panoramic photo) of Commerzbank Arena by Schlixn at Photo of Eintracht Frankfurt fans with flags and banners from

Greuther Fürth/ Trolli Arena – Aerial image from’s Eye satellite view. Aerial photo [unattributed] downloaded by actu.stades to Interior photo showing construction to expand South Stand (in 2012) from via Photo from 2 August 2012 of Trolli Arena expansion from Photo of Fürth players acknowledging home support from Photo of civic celebration following Fürth’s promotion (29 April 2012) by Hans-Joachim Winckler at Night-time photo of Fürth promotion celebration from Photo of Greuther Fürth 2012-13 home jersey badge from

Thanks to
Thanks to European Football for attendance data from 2007-08,
Thanks to for attendance data from 2008-09 to 2012-13,
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at for attendance data from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s – ‘DFB-Pokal‘. ‘List of German football champions‘.
Thanks to for the base map.

August 24, 2012

Italy: 2012-13 Serie A – Top of the Table chart, featuring 2011-12 Serie A champion Juventus / Plus 2012-13 Serie A Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Italy — admin @ 3:01 pm
    Juventus – champions of Italy (for the 28th time)…

Juventus – 2011-12 Serie A champions.

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

Juventus Football Club won their 28th Italian title last season. Or their 30th Italian title, according to Juventus – ‘Juventus defiant in match-fix controversy‘ (, by Alex Thomas and Paul Gittings, from 22 May 2012). Juventus and some of their supporters still think that their club did nothing wrong in the Calciopoli scandal of 2006, and that they never should have been stripped of their 2005 and 2006 titles, and that their then-general manager Luciano Moggi never did anything wrong by virtually having every Serie A referee on his speed-dial and by being able to control which referees officiated which games {see this, ‘2006 Italian football scandal‘ (

And last year, the fallout from 2006 had barely subsided when a new scandal unfolded – ‘Italian football rocked by fresh match-fixing scandal‘ (, from 2 June 2011, by James Callow). If you want to know more about how this latest scandal affects the clubs in Serie A, see the last link, at the bottom of this post (an article by Amy Lawrence at As far as the reigning champions are concerned, a 10-month touch-line ban for Juventus manager Antonio Conte has been imposed (for when Conte was manager of then-Serie-B-club Siena). But the evidence for that thread of the scandal rests with just one former Siena player, and appeals might change this ban. If not, Conte, sitting in the stands there in Turin, will probably just find some way to tell the coaches who to sub for – the way Jose Mourinho did. Italian society will probably never change – organized crime rules society there to such an extent that there often is the mind-set in Italy that you are not trying to succeed if you are not trying to get something by the authorities. From “The Camorra Never Sleeps”, an article by William Langieweische, “…{excerpt}…”In a place like Italy—where the recent prime minister condones tax evasion as a natural right and publicly impugns the courts—it becomes hard to believe that police actions are sincerely about law and order, or that officials still believe that law and order matter.”…{end of excerpt from page 6, paragraph 7 of In business, this means finding extra-legal ways to avoid onerous taxes and regulations that would kill off a 100% legitimate enterprise. In sports, this means actively trying to fool the refs, or at the very least, actively trying to coerce the refs. So the act of players diving, in Serie A matches, is not only tolerated by some, it is expected. Because the logic here is that if you are not trying to fool the ref, that means you are not using every tool at your disposal, and therefore by not diving in the penalty box and trying to win a penalty kick for your team by faking the act of being fouled, you are actually working against your own team’s best interests. And so in this context football club general managers, like Moggi was for Juventus, are expected to try to exert control over referees. This fluid moral code is a theme that runs throughout the book ‘Calcio: A History of Italian Football’ by John Foot {at, here}. Here is an excerpt from the book’s preface…
[excerpt]…’A better way way to see calcio is as a kind of fanatical civic religion – where loyalty is total and obsession the norm. Fair play seemed to me to be a concept absent from Italian football discourse. Diving was common and not particularly frowned upon – as long as it worked. In fact, commentators often praised the ‘craftiness’ of non-sportsmanship. There was no moral code here. Winners were always ‘right’, losers always wrong. ‘…[end of excerpt].

What, hopefully, might change in Italy is Italian football clubs’ reliance on lame, dreary, soul-less running-track-scarred municipal stadiums. You can say what you want about Juventus (and I just did), but, as with regards to the future of stadium construction in Italy, Juventus has now shown the way. The completion of Juventus Stadium (opened in August 2011) makes Juventus the only Serie A club to build and own their own stadium. It’s about time. And Juventus Stadium is stunning, and beautiful, and the steep angles of the stands {see this} affords spectators great views and comfortable seating. And there is no ridiculous, atmosphere-deadening running track, so the spectators are about as close to the field of play as is possible, the way football matches should be staged.

There are 20 clubs in the 2012-13 Serie A. 5% of them own their own stadium. 95% of them play in stadiums that were built by, are owned by, and are maintained by state institutions – in either municipal stadiums (85% of the clubs) or in a venue built and owned by the Italian National Olympic Committee (Stadio Olimpico in Rome, home of Lazio and Roma). Of the 17 stadiums that will be hosting Serie A matches in the 2012-13 Serie A season, 7 of them have running tracks which make the closest seats in some sections of the stadiums 15 or 20 meters away from the field. And almost every one of these municipal stadiums with running tracks feature seats that are set in stands that are at a very shallow incline, so by the 20th row or so, the football match you are trying to watch is pretty hard to see.

Here are the 8 clubs playing in the 2012-13 Serie A that play in venues that have a running track – Bologna, Catania, Lazio, Napoli, Pescara, Roma, Siena, and Udinese. Plus in several instances, in the stadiums of Fiorentina, Palermo, Torino, and Atalanta, the municipalities in each case either filled in the running-track-sections of the stadiums with new sections of stands (like at Fiorentina’s stadium, Stadio Artemio Franchi {see photos here at}, or they just planted grass there and left a bit of the track (like at Palermo’s Stadio Renzo Barberasee this photo by frakorea at That sort of re-build yields unsatisfactory results, and even in the nicest re-build, Torino FC’s stadium, Stadio Olimpico di Torino, the ghost of the running track and the divide it created between stands and playing field is still there, as you can see here. In all of Serie A there are only 3 top claiber stadiums – San Siro in Milan (the venue of Inter and Milan – here is Stadium’s page on San Siro with some photos at the bottom of the page]; Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa (the venue of Sampdoria and Genoa – a couple of photos here {, and now Juventus Stadium. Special mention must go to the municipality of Parma and home of Parma FC – Stadio Ennio Tardini, which is a stadium with some charm (despite being a utilitarian bowl-shape), with some nicley-angled stands {see’s Eye view of Parma FC’s home, here [to enlarge, multiple-click on magnify sign (plus-sign) at top right], and could be seen to be on par with some of the nicer French municipal stadiums (like at RC Lens and at Saint-Étienne).

How is it that big, and even medium-sized football clubs in England, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, and Portugal can build and maintain their own stadiums, but in places in Europe like Italy and in places in South America like Brazil, almost every club, even the big clubs, must rely on municipalities to build and maintain their stadiums? Municipalities that end up doing a ham-handed job of building insipid multi-purpose stadiums which are almost always devoid of any charm or character and which inevitably feature a running track. Who the heck cares about track and field outside of the Olympics? No one. Sure, governments, or municipalities themselves, should build running tracks, just like they should build libraries. But they don’t put libraries in buildings the size of aircraft hangers, so why do municipalities in Europe and in South America put running tracks in venues that are way too big for the demand? Why do they have to put them in 40,000-seat municipal stadiums? When was the last time, say, Naples really needed that running track in their Stadio San Paolo, because 60,000 Neopolitans were going to attend a track-and-field event? I am willing to wager that the answer is never. Just look at that soul-destroying vast yawning gap there between the fans in the stands and the playing field {here}. You see, Stadio San Paolo was built as a venue for the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics. So you’re thinking…Hey Bill, that just disproves your whole argument. Well, it would if the Olympic event that the Naples stadium was hosting in the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics was track and field. But it wasn’t. Stadio San Paolo in Naples hosted football in the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics. The city planners built the stadium specifically for football – in the Olympics that Italy was hosting – but those clueless city planners still built it with that STUPID USELESS RUNNING TRACK that ruins it for football and is fundamentally useless for anything else… because no one gives a flying fuck about stupid boring pointless track-and-field.

Those running tracks serve no purpose, situated as they are within stadiums that are also home to a football club that draws 20K or 30 K or 40K or more, twenty times a year. Tell me the last time a track and field event outside of the Olympics drew 40,000 people? 30,000 people? 20,000 people? OK, not counting the runners’ Mecca of the state of Oregon, where they recently had 20,000 at a US Track and Field event. But there are no pro soccer stadiums or college gridiron football stadiums in Oregon that have a running track in the stadium. So the place in the world with probably the highest percentage of runners (Oregon) doesn’t even see the need to put running tracks in large multi-purpose municipal stadiums that house their biggest sports teams. The idea of putting a running track into a sports stadium does exist in the USA, but it almost always is with regards to lower-division college sports programs or high school sports stadiums. I am pretty sure there is not one single example in the United States of an NCAA Division I FBS college football stadium that has a running track, out of a total 120 teams in Division I FBS [It turns out I was wrong - 5 of the 120 teams in NCAA Division I FBS play in stadiums with a running track - the Buffalo Bulls, the Eastern Michigan Eagles, the Nevada Wolf Pack, the SMU Mustangs, and the Texas State Bobcats - see comments #1 and #2 below. But that percentage - 4.1% - is still less than any Western European football league with the exception of England and Netherlands (who currently have zero top-flight clubs that play in stadiums with running tracks). And those 5 college gridiron football teams in the top level in America are mostly part of small but growing programs that will in all likelihood eventually move into a new, running-track-free stadium in the near future (except for Eastern Michigan)].

Here is an article I found when I Googled ‘attendance at track and field events’, ‘Empty Bleachers: Getting Fans To Attend Our Best Meets‘ ( And in the interest of full disclosure, I actually did find the mention of recent (2009) attendances of track events in Rabat, Morocco and in Belém, Brazil which drew in the 30 to 35,000 range { first poster at top of page}

But regardless, those anomalies aside, there is basically no public demand for track and field events outside the Olympics. However, there is plenty of public demand for top flight football, almost everywhere in the world – even, to a lesser extent in the USA and Canada {forget about Australia, though). Which is why English and Spanish and German and Dutch and Portuguese football clubs are able to build and own their own stadiums. These clubs had the means to build and own their own stadiums because the ticket-paying demand was there. You know, there has always been a huge demand for professional top flight football in Italy. And there have been millions of tickets bought to top flight football matches through the years in Italy. So why did over 95% of Italian football clubs, even the biggest clubs with hundreds of thousands of paying customers each season, never have the means (or the desire) to build their own stadiums?

From, from 6 May 2012, ‘Juventus wrap up Italian Serie A championship in style‘.

From, ‘Season review: Italy‘.

From, from 15 Aug. 2012, by Amy Lawrence, ‘Juventus turmoil leaves Roma and Napoli ready to pounce –
Coach Antonio Conte’s 10-month ban could derail the Serie A champions, but Milan and Internazionale have problems too

    Italian clubs playing in Europe for 2012-13 – Juventus FC, AC Milan, Udinese Calcio, SS Lazio, SSC Napoli, FC Internazionale -


    2012-13 Serie A Location-map, with attendance data -

Cagliari playing in Trieste (April 2012 article),
Attendance data from
Map by TUBS at, ‘Italy provincial location map.svg‘.

Juventus photos on the chart page -
Manager,both photos of Antonio Conte by Massimo Pinca/AP via
Players -
Alessandro Matri – Photo unattributed at
Claudio Matri – Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Europe via
– Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images Europe) via
Andrea Pirlo – Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images via
Stadium -
Aerial photo of Juventus Stadium [unattributed] from
Exterior photos of Juventus Stadium with crowd in foreground [unattributed], segment of outside shell of stadium [unattributed], and segment of exterior with Juventus Football Club sign [unattributed] from AP via
Large exterior photo of Juventus Stadium [unattributed] from
Interior photo of Juventus Stadium [at the far right on the page] by Massimo Pinca/AP via
Photo of 2011-12 Juventus home kit badge from

Other clubs on the chart page -
AC Milan/Stadio Giusseppe Meazza (aka San Siro) – Photo of Milan ultras from Fossa dei Leoni site via . Photo of interior of San Siro by Alessandro Mogliani at Exterior photo of San Siro by Sotutto at

Udinese/Stadio Friuli – Photo of Udinese fans [unattributed], Getty Images via Interior photo of Stadio Friuli by, Martaudine at Aerial image of Stadio Friuli from’s Eye satellite view.

Lazio/Stadio Olimpico – Photo of Lazio’s eagle mascot being released for it’s regular flight around Stadio Olympico [unattributed] from Photo of Lazio fans in Curva Nord by Andrea Buratti at Night-time aerial photo of Stadio Olimpico by Maori19 at

Napoli/Stadio San Paolo – Photo of traveling Napoli fans at Siena (Jan. 2012) by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images Europe via Photo of upper tier at Stadio San Paolo by David Rawcliffe/ Aerial image of Stadio San Paolo from’s Eye satellite view.

Internazionale/San Siro – Photo of Inter fans with giant banner in Curva Nord of San Siro by batrax at, here. Interior photo of San Siro from Exterior photo of San Siro by Sotutto at

August 20, 2012

England: Premier League – 2012-13 Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data, and 2012-13 home kit badges.

England: Premier League – 2012-13 Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data, and 2012-13 home kit badges

Please Note: to see my most recent Premier League map & post, click on the following category, Eng>Premier League.

From, from 26 July 2012, ‘PREMIER LEAGUE NEW KIT SPECIAL: The strips your team will be wearing in 2012-13‘.

Old content disclaimer – the map and the attendance data parts of the map page was posted in July {here/ 3rd gif}.

This is a new category (and can be found in in the Categories section as ‘Engl. & Scot.- Map/Attendance/Kit Badges’). What I am trying to do is simply show each club’s home jersey badge, as it appears on the jersey. The badges are placed in alphabetical order across the top of the map page. The procedure is that I get the official crest, or (as the case may be) a photo of the current home jersey crest, then I place the image in a rectangle that is the color, or colors, of that section of the home jersey. To get the background (jersey) colors right, I use my drawing program to sample sections of a photo of the home jersey. Please note that some of the badges at the top of the map page wiil be different than some of the club’s tiny crests within the location-map and within the attendance data. That is because several clubs this season have home jerseys with different badges than their official club crest. This is a trend which one can see throughout football leagues in Britain. Celtic and Rangers have done it for years. Celtic’s official crest is a primarily white clover leaf {Celtic FC official crest, here}, but their home kit badge, since 1977-78, is a primarily green clover leaf {2012-13 12th anniversary Celtic FC home jersey (}. Rangers have a red-rampant-lion-in blue-football as their official crest {Rangers FC/Rangers ‘newco’ official crest, here}, but have, since 1968-69, worn an R-F-C retro-font-acronym-crest (often with a 5-stars device) on their kits (2012-13 Rangers FC newco home jersey (}. Everton uses white, instead of blue letters spelling out the words ’1878′ and ‘Everton’ on their home kit badge. Nottingham Forest’s official crest is a reverse of their home jersey badge. The following are other examples across the globe of clubs with different home jersey badges than their official crest {click on the 4 club names to see crest and kits at each club’s wikipedia page}… Chilean club Universidad de Chile (large-red–block-letter-U instead of stylized red and blue owl with ‘U” on owl’s chest), the Brazilian club CR Vasco da Gama (red iron-cross instead of shield device including 15th century ship with red iron-cross insignia on its main sail), the Portuguese club CF Belenenses (red iron-cross instead of shield-device with cross inside it), and the Greek club Panathinaikos (plain, large white three-leaf clover instead of circular-device with green clover inside it).

And meanwhile, for years now, there have been widespread instances of a club’s away or third kit badges being monochromatic or just generally different (for example, with respect to Ajax, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Everton, and Liverpool away kits in recent seasons, to name just a few). Now you see it even more with home jersey badges. For the 2012-13 season, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Swansea City all have different home jersey badges than their official crests. And, although it is not a change in badge design, the 2012-13 Manchester United’s homage-to-Manchester’s-textile-industry-gingham-plaid-jersey makes for a decidedly different look. From, ‘United unveil new kit‘. The Man U gingham-jersey look has been poked fun at in a number of places, such as this post featuring a Photoshop send-up at Who Ate All the Pies, ‘Man Utd Post Teaser For Disgusting New ‘Gingham’ Kit On Facebook‘. To finish off the point, Fulham and Southampton both feature home jerseys this season that are different from the clubs’ usual style (both are pinstriped).

As mentioned, Chelsea has been using monochromatic crests on away and third kits for several years now, but their 2012-13 home jersey badge is the first time in four decades that Chelsea does not have their official crest as their home jersey badge. For 2012-13, their home kit badge is their regular rampant-lion-with-giant-key-in-circle device, done up in a subdued metallic gold.

Liverpool’s 2012-13 home jersey badge is a retro themed one, and it is pretty much their classic 1970s liverbird-atop-L.F.C.-acronym badge, done in metallic gold. This style crest first appeared on a Liverpool jersey in 1968-69, originally done in white, and was in bright gold from 1976-77 to 1984-85. That design lasted on Liverpool’s jersey until 1986-87, when Liverpool started tinkering with their crest, adding more flourishes to the liverbird – first a basic shield, and then an intricate design featuring a Hillsborough memorial (the two torches) and the Shankly Gates (done in green, at the top of the crest). Liverpool has worn this present-day official crest on their home jerseys from 2002-03 to 2011-12 {here is Liverpool’s page at Historical Football Kits, ‘Liverpool [kits, 1892 to 2012]‘ (

Manchester City’s home jersey badge this season is, bizarrely, almost completely black (which is an unusual way to celebrate their winning the Premier League title last season, but you have to admit that the look is, at the very least, distinctive).

Swansea City are celebrating their Centenary, and have a sublime home kit badge in three shades of gold. The swan-in-profile design is different than their official crest design [official Swansea City crest, here (}, and that same new design can be found in Welsh colors (green and red) on their stunning away kit. From, ‘Swansea City Launch Red Adidas 2012/13 Away Kit: New Shirt Looks Pretty Sharp‘. From, ‘New Swansea City away shirt is proving red hot with fans‘.

You can see all the new 2012-13 Premier League jerseys via the Daily Mail link at the top of this post, or via this link to Historical Football Kit’s 2012-13 Premier League page – ‘Barclays Premier League 2012 – 2013‘ (

I assembled the home jersey badge facsimiles at the top of the map page using photos as reference – photos obtained either from each club’s website, or at or at League. Several of the badges at the top of the map page are simplly photos (that I might have cleaned up or sharpened, or fine-tuned the colors on, using my drawing program).

Here are the photo credits for the jersey badges –
Photo of 2012-13 Chelsea home kit badge from Photo of Liverpool 2012-13 home kit badge {liverbird with L.F.C in gold) by Pub Car Park Ninja at; Pub Car Park Ninja’s photostream. Manchester City 2012-13 home jersey badge from Photo of Manchester United 2012-13 home jersey badge from

One jersey crests was hard to duplicate as a facsimile crest…
Thanks to

Thanks to whoever, sometime in late 2012 or early 2013, uploaded the 2012-13 Swansea City AFC home kit badge at the Swansea City page at, here.

Thanks to for the dates of jersey designs.

August 15, 2012

Spain: La Liga 2012-13 – Top of the Table chart, featuring 2011-12 La Liga champions Real Madrid / Plus 2012-13 La Liga Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Spain — admin @ 12:06 pm
    Real Madrid – champions of Spain for the 32nd time

Segment of photo of Real Madrid 2011-12 home jersey (above) from

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

From, from 25 May 2012, by Sid Lowe. ‘It’s the Sids 2012! The complete review of the La Liga season – From an epic two-horse race to the joy of Levante, it’s time for the annual end-of-season Spanish football awards‘.

    Spanish clubs playing in Europe for 2012-13 -
    Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Valencia CF, Málaga CF, Atlético Madrid, Levante UD, Athletic Club [Bilbao]

Champions League icon from

    Location-map of 2012-13 La Liga, with attendance data from 2011-12

[Note: Attendance figures and stadium capacities are from { Liga, 2011-12}.]
Thanks to NordNordWest at, for the blank map of Spain,
Photo and Image credits on the chart page –
Team celebration – Fireworks above Bernebéuu, and Sergio Ramos & team captain Iker Casilas with trophy: both photos unattributed at
Manager -
Jose Mourinho, photo by Denis Doyle at Getty Images Europe via
Christiano Ronaldo, photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via
Gonzalo Higuaín, photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via
Karim Benzema, photo by Addesolen at
Mesut Özil, unattribured photo from
Angel di Maria, photo by Hrvoje Polan/AFP/Getty Images via
Xabi Alonso, photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Europe via

Estadio Santiago Bernebéu – Aerial photo of Estadio Santiago Bernebéu in the Chamartin district of the city of Madrid by Cisco Pics at Screenshot of image of interior of the Bernebéu from [video]. Aerial photo of Estadio Santiago Bernebéu [unattributed] from

Other clubs on the chart -
Barcelona/ Nou Camp – Photo of ‘Mes Que Un Club’ ['More Than A Club'] tifo at Nou Camp [unattributed] from Interior photo of Nou Camp by MichaelMalin at Aerial Satellite image of Nou Camp from’s Eye satellite view.

Valencia/ Mestalla – Photo of Valencia fans [unattributed] from, Photo of Mestalla at sunset [unattributed] from, Aerial photo of Mestalla from

Málaga/ La Rosaleda (The Rose Garden) – Photo of Málaga fans [unattributed] from Interior photo of La Rosaleda by Morancio at Aerial photo of La Rosaleda [unattributed] from

Atlético Madrid/ Estadio Vicente Calderón – Photo of Atlético Madrid fans [unattributed] from via Interior photo of Estadio Vicente Calderon by FDV at Aerial image of Estadio Vicente Calderón from Peñ, here.

Levante/ Estadi Ciutat de València – Photo of Levante fans with balloons [unattributed] from Interior photo of Estadi Ciutat de Valencia by Iñaki Lasa Rodriguez at Aerial photo of Estadi Ciutat de València [unattributed] from

Athletic Bilbao/ San Mamés – Photo of Athletic Club Bilbao-supporter-group Albertzale Sur with banners and Basque flags from [two-thirds of the way down the page there]. Photo of interior of San Mamés by bcfcdavepics at Photo of exterior of San Mamés from adjacent rooftop by kammourewa at

August 9, 2012

France: the 3 promoted clubs from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1, for the 2012-13 season – SC Bastia, Stade de Reims, Troyes (aka ESTAC).

Filed under: France — admin @ 9:28 pm
    The 3 promoted clubs in the 2012-13 Ligue Un – SC Bastia, Stade de Reims, Troyes (aka ESTAC)…

France: the 3 promoted clubs in Ligue 1

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Ligue Un, click on the following: category: France.

Troyes (aka ESTAC) returns to the French first division after a 6-year adsence. SC Bastia returns to the French first division after a 7-year absence. Stade de Reims returns to the French first division after a 33-year absence.

There are some similarities which 2 of the 3 share, but are at the end of the day these are three very different football clubs. Here is one similarity…2 of the clubs are from the same Region – Reims and Troyes are 63 km. (or 39 miles) apart and are both from Champagne-Ardenne (which is in northeast France just east of Paris). The other similarity between 2 of them is that both Reims and Bastia have played the same number of seasons in the French first division – 30 seasons [counting 2012-13]. But Bastia has spread that 30 years of top-flight-presence throughout the last 45 years ( with 2 spells – their first of 18 seasons, and their second spell of 11 seasons), while Reims has not been in the top flight since 1978-79 (33 years). Both Bastia and Reims have won major titles, but Bastia have just the 1981 Coup de France title to their name. On the other hand, Reims’ silverware cabinet is quite full (though rather dusty)…Reims have won 6 French titles (last in 1962) and 2 Coupe de France titles (last in 1958). Troyes have no major titles.

The city of Bastia has a population of around just 43,000 {2008 figures}, Bastia is the second-largest city on the Island of Corsica, but in spite of that, SC Bastia are Corsica’s largest club. The largest city on Corsica is Ajaccio, which has a population of around 65,000, and is home to SC Bastia’s biggest rival, AC Ajaccio. Ajaccio are also currently in Ligue 1 (they were promoted back in May 2011, and just survived their first season back in Ligue 1 by finishing in 16th place in 2011-12, 3 points clear of the drop). So the Corsica derby will be played twice this season as a top-flight-match for the first time since 2004-05. From, ‘Derby Corse [Corsica derby]‘. 2012-13 will be only the 8th season that both Ajaccio and Bastia are in the first division at the same time.

2012-13 Ligue 1, Corsica derby matches:
Wed. 10 October 2012, Ajaccio v. Bastia.
Fri. 03 January 2013, Bastia v. Ajaccio.

Corsica has a population of around 302,000, and is about the size of Puerto Rico (or between the sizes of the states of Connecticut and Delaware) with an area of 8,680 km. squared (or 3,350 square miles). Bastia is on the northeast side of the island, at the base of the Cape of Corse. Ajaccio is further south, on the west side of the island.
Image and photo credits above –
Eric Gaba at, segment of the base map of France (blank topographic map of France with regional boundaries),

Note: this page on is well done, and is a nice history lesson, and is recommended. It is where I got the larger block of text in the illustration above.

SC Bastia were formed in 1905, by a Swiss teacher named Hans Reusch (who taught German in a high school in Bastia). Bastia remained in the lower reaches of the French football pyramid for decades, and did not turn professional until 1965, upon winning promotion to the second division. From there, it only took 3 more seasons to finally reach the French Division 1, as Bastia won the 1967-68 French Division 2 by 6 points ahead of the also-promoted Nîmes Olympique, and 7 points ahead of third-place finisher Stade de Reims. In 1968-69, Bastia promptly made themselves at home in the top flight, finishing in 7th place. The following season, 1969-70, Bastia really caught a break, though. That’s because they finished second-from-last (in 17th place), but they were not relegated because the then-18-team French Division 1 was expanding to 20 teams, and only one club that season was relegated (FC Rouen). Bastia again finished in 17th place the next season (1970-71). Bastia then got some new talent on the squad, such as FW François Félix (who had 14 league goals that season, and 17 the following season), and not only did Bastia do well in the league, finishing in 9th place, but they went all the way to the Coupe de France final, were they just fell short of glory, losing 2-1 to Olympique de Marseille, before 44,000 at Parc des Princes in Paris.

For the rest of the 1970s, Bastia established themselves in the first division, finshing in the top half of the table more often than not, with high points of 3rd place in 1976-77 (with 21 goals by François Félix) and 5th place in 1978-79 (powered by Dutch striker Johnny Repp’s 18 goals – Repp was a Netherland international with 2 FIFA World Cup final apperances). That era’s Bastia squad was built around Corsica-born MF Claude Papi (Bastia, 1968-81, with 421 app./121 goals), who played his whole career for Bastia, but sadly died at only the age of 33 of an aneurysm (in 1983). It was with Papi as field general that Bastia had probably their greatest moment, when they made it all the way to the finals of the 1978-79 UEFA Cup. En route to the finals, Bastia took some pretty big scalps – Sporting Club [Lisbon], Newcastle United, and Torino FC. It was in Turin, in the 16-team 3rd Round of the 77/78 UEFA Cup, that the relatively small club that is SC Bastia achieved their zenith, as Bastia beat Torino 2-3 to win the aggregate by a score of 5-3. At that point in time, Torino were not the yo-yo club they are today – Torino were Italian champions 2 seasons previously (1975-76), and were undefeated at home for a two-season spell. The first leg in Bastia featured Claude Papi scoring on a mazy run with a give-and-go. The second leg in Turin featured a sublime, low, 20-yard volley from Algerian-born Bastia FW Jean-François Larios, plus two nice finishes from Moroccan-born Bastia FW Abdelkrim Merry (aka ‘Krimau’) (the last goal coming off an assist from Papi from the Bastia penalty circle, where Papi slotted to Krimau at the center circle).
Here are videos which feature all those goals…
Claude Papi [UEFA Cup-1977/1978 SC Bastia 2-1 Torino FC, 23 Nov. 1977]‘ (1:07 video uploaded by obpjg at
UEFA Cup-1977/1978 Torino FC – SC Bastia 2-3 [2 Dec. 1977]‘ (3:52 video uploaded by eurocups dofootball at

Facing Dutch side PSV [Eindhoven] in the finals, the high-scoring Bastia squad might have won the 1978 UEFA Cup had it not been for a torrential pre-game downpour on Stade Armand Cesari, which made their field almost unplayable (the match should have been postponed), and nullified Bastia’s slick passing game – and the first leg finished scoreless. In the second leg in Eindhoven, PSV dismantled Bastia 3-0.
Photo credits above –

But 3 years later, Bastia were able to finally claim a major title, when they won the 1981 Coup de France title by beating AS Saint-Étienne 2-1. Bastia’s goals were scored by Louis Marcialis and Cameroonian legend Roger Milla (Bastia, 1983-85, with 113 app./35 goals). Clade Papi was unable to play due to injury, and retired shortly after. One side-note, in the Saint-Étienne squad that day was none other than current UEFA president Michel Platini (also playing for ASSÉ was former Bastia FW Johnny Repp).

Bastia’s great run, coming as it did from a town of only 40,000 or so, was bound to run short at some time, and after an 18-season spell in the first division, Bastia were relegated in 1985-86, when they finished in last place with only 5 wins and 20 points. The club remained in the second division for 8 seasons, and this time period was marked by one of the biggest tragedies in french football history. On 5 May 1992, the ‘Armand Cesari Stadium disaster‘ occurred when a hastily-built temporary stand at Bastia’s stadium collapsed, killing 18 and injuring over 2,300. The stand had been built to host the huge crowd expected for the semifinal match between Bastia and Olympique de Marseille.

Bastia won promotion back to the first division in 1994, managed by former Bastia midfielder and current [2012] Rennes manager Frédéric Antonetti, who is northern Corsica-born. The high points of this previous 11-season spell in the top flight (1994-95 to 2004-05) was a 7th place finish in 1996-97 which qualified them for the 97/98 UEFA Cup. Bastia also finished in 9th place in 1997-98. Antonetti left after the 2000-01 season to manage Saint-Étienne, and Bastia have never been in the top half of the table since. During the early 2000s, Bastia achieved their highest average attendances, in the 7,000-range in 2001-02 and 2003-04 [throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Bastia's highest average gates were in the 5,000-range]. Basta were relegated in May, 2004-05 finishing in 19th place.

Bastia played 6 seasons in Ligue 2 from 2005-06 to 2009-10, finishing in the top half of the table the first 5 years (but never truly threatening for promotion). Then the bottom fell out in 2010-11, and Bastia were relegated to the third division, a level the club had not played in in 46 years (not since 1965). In fact, Bastia were initially also administratively relegated a further level (to the 4th division) for financial reasons (a 1.2 million Euro debt), but were reprieved of that in the off-season. Bastia, with the squad full of many young players, then won the [third division] 2010-11 Championnat National by 13 points ahead of Amiens, going undefeated at home. Back in Ligue 2 for 2011-12, under manager Frederic Haentz, Bastia were again undefeated at home, and a promotion-clinching 3-0 win over Metz with 3 games to spare saw a pitch invasion at the Stade Armand Cesari. SC Bastia averaged 9,906 per game last season, which, despite being in the second division, was Bastia’s highest average attendance ever. That was the result of the buzz created by Bastia’s back-to-back promotion campaigns, as well as the buzz created by Bastia finally getting stadium improvements (which you can see on the map page). So expectations are high in the north half of Corsica, and the whole island is anticipating the return of the Corsica derby within a top-flight context.

Here is the French wikipedia page of Bastia manager Frédéric Hantz.

Reims is located 129 km./ 80 miles east-northeast of Paris. Reims has a population of around 188,000, and is approximately the 12th-largest city in France {see this,}. Reims is effectively the capital of Champagne {see this ‘Champagne (historical province)‘ (}. Speaking the obvious, the Champagne region is known for it’s fine wines and champagnes, and Reims is one of the the centers of champagne production.

Stade de Reims was founded in 1911, as Société Sportive du Parc Pommery, being the football branch of the sports club of the House of Pommery & Greno, a large winery in Reims. Its players (all with amateur status) were not only recruited from the staff of the vineyard and winery, but also from the other trades associated with the wine-making industry such as coopers and carters. The team wore kits that resembled the colors of a champagne bottle, with yellow-orange (ie, gold) jerseys and dark green pants. The club changed it’s name to Stade de Reims in 1931. Professional status was instituted in France in 1932, but Reims resisted shedding their amateur status for 3 years before succumbing to the inevitable and turning pro in 1935. The 1931 name-change brought about a change in kit colors, to orange jerseys (with a black chevron across the chest) and black pants, but the champagne-bottle-theme was retained in their new crest, a football with a champagne bottle on top, depicted in stain-glass form, in the colors of green, pale gold, red, and white. Stade de Reims crest from 1931 is a work of art in my opinion (see it below, and also see it in the photo of Reims’ 1950 jersey [which I found on the German Wikipedia page on Stade de Reims]).
Photo credits above – Wahrerwattwurm at

In 1938, Stade de Reims merged with a local club, Club du Reims. The Stade de Reims name was maintained, but the club adopted the colors of Club du Reims, which were basically Arsenal’s colors – red and white, with a red jersey that has all-white sleeves. This has been Reims’ style of uniform ever since (although they have won black pants, like in the 1956 European Cup fimal).

Reims won promotion to the French first division for the first time in 1946. That time period saw the arrival of two players who would become central to Reims’ subsequent success – defender Robert Jonquet (Reims, 1945-60) and defender Roger Marche (Reims, 1944-54). In 1948-49, in just their third season in the first division, Reims won their first French title, pipping Lille by a single point. At this point in time, Reims’ midfielder Michel Leblond began his 13-year tenure with the club. The next season, Reims won the Coupe de France, defeating Racing Paris 2-1 in the final. Reims won it’s second national title in 1953, when they were managed by longtime Reims midfielder Albert Batteaux (Reims, 1937-50). Batteaux would manage Reims for 13 seasons (1950-63), and lead the club to 5 French titles (in 1953, 1955, 1958, 1960, and 1962), as well as the 1958 Coupe de France title (defeating Nîmes Olympigue 3-1 in the final). Batteaux also led Reims to two European Cup final appearances. Reims were runners-up to Real Madrid both times, losing in agonizing fashion by a score of 4 to 3 in the first-ever European Cup final in 1956 before 38,000 in Paris {see this, ‘1956 European Cup Final‘ (}, then losing again 3 years later in 1959 to the Albert Di Stéfano-captained Real Madrid by a score of 2-0 in front of 72,000 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Reims of the late 1950s featured 4 French internationals – Just Fontaine, Jean Vincent, Roger Piantoni, and Dominique Colonna. The Marrakech, Moroccan-born Just Fontaine had the astounding goals-to-game ratio of 93% with Reims, making 131 appearances and scoring 122 goals (1956 to 1962). The year after their 1962 French championship, Reims finished second to AS Monaco, and their veteran midfielder Leblond moved on to RC Strasbourg. The following season, Reims finished in 17th place, and were relegated (there were 4 relegated clubs per year in France, back in the early part of the 1960s). It took Reims 3 seasons in the second division to win promotion back to the First Division, but when they did, they went straight back down, finishing in 19th place in 1966-67. It took Reims 3 years again to get out of the second division, and this time, when they returned in 1970-71, Reims lasted 9 seasons, with a high point of 1974-75, when they finished in 5th place, behind Nantes (4th), Nice (3rd), Sochaux (2nd), and St. Étienne (champions).

Since then, for Stade de Reims, it was over three decades of being stuck in the football wilderness of France’s lower divisions. In 1991, Reims was administratively relegated to Division 3, after the club failed to find a buyer to help alleviate the club’s debt, which was around ₣50 million. Reims were liquidated in May, 1992. Reims was reborn in July 1992 under the name Stade de Reims Champagne. The club began play in the Division d’Honneur (4th division/amateur) and spent two seasons there before earning promotion to the Championnat National (3rd division), but at the end of the 1990s, Reims were stuck back in the forth division. The club changed its name back to Stade de Reims in 1999. In 2002, Reims finally got out of the third division. But then they were relegated right back to the third tier the next season. Reims rebounded back to the second division in 2004, yet for 5 seasons they failed to finish in the top half of Ligue 2. In 2008-09, Reims were relegated out of the 2nd division for the third time in less than a decade. Ex-Reims defender Hubert Fournier {his French wikipedia page, here} began as assistant coach in the summer of 2009, and after earning his coaching badges, Fournier took over as manager of Reims in June 2010. Meanwhile, Reims went straight back up to the second division once again in May, 2010. In 2010-11 in Ligue 2, Reims finished a decent 10th place, and 2011-12, Reims won promotion – finally – back to the first division, by finishing in 2nd place in Ligue 2, six points behind 2011-12 Ligue 2 champions SC Bastia, and 6 points clear of 4th place.

Now Reims have won two promotions in 3 years, and as fortune and good timing would have it, the club finds themselves very well set-up, with a totally renovated stadium, the Stade Auguste Delaune, which seats 21,800 and which re-opened in 2008. The City of Reims is the owner of the stadium. Stade de Reims drew 12,851 per game last season, and will probably draw from 18K to 20K per game in 2012-13, as long as they can consolidate and avoid an immediate drop back to the second division.

Espérance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne is a club based in Troyes. The city of Troyes has a population of around 61,000. The club is most commonly referred to as Troyes, while Troyes AC is also used, and the ESTAC acronym is also used (but thankfully not so much, though, seeing as it just seems so odd to utter the word ‘Estack’). Troyes AC were founded in 1986. It is the third professional club from Troyes, after ASTS (1900-1965) and TAF (1970-79). Neither of the first two incarnations of the Troyes pro football club was in the French first division.

Counting 2012-13, Troyes AC has spent 7 seasons in Ligue 1, in 3 different spells. The first spell lasted from 1999-2000 to 2002-03 (4 seasons), and saw Troyes impressively finish in 7th place twice (2000-01 and 2001-02). Troyes collected a few scalps in Europe then, beating Newcastle United in the Intertoto Cup in 01/02, and Villarreal CF in the UEFA Cup in 02/03. Their European adventures probably contributed to their 18th place finish and relegation in 2003. Alain Perrin was manager of Troyes for a decade, from 1993 to 2002, and under him Troyes first established themselves in the French scene, while playing some attractive football to boot (Perrin then went on to manage Marseille, Portsmouth, Sochaux, Lyon, and Saint-Étienne, before he went over to Qatar for irrelevancy and fat paychecks, managing the club Al-Kor, and now currently coaching the Qatar national team).

Troyes’ next spell in the top flight was a 2-season stint from 2004-05 to 2005-06. Now, after five seasons in Ligue 2, Troyes are back in Ligue Un, after finishing in 3rd place in the 2011-12 Ligue 2, where they ended up 5 points ahead of fourth-place finishers Sedan. and won 4 of their last 5 matches. Their manager is Jean-Marc Furlan {his French wikipedia page here}.

Troyes play at the 21,684-capacity Stade de l’Aube, which was opened in 1924, was renovated in 1956, and was totally renovated in 2004. Troyes averaged 10,785 per game last season. When they first made it to the first division, in the early 2000s, Troyes were averaging in the 14,000 per game range. I am gussing they’ll average around 17K or 18K per game this season.

Photo credits on map page -
Troyes (aka ESTAC)/ Stade de l’Aube – Exterior photo of Stade de l’Aube at night by Aerial image is a screenshot from’s Eye satellite view (view to the East). Interior photo of Main Stand [unattributed] from Interior photo during night-time match [2007] by Photo of Troyes supporter-group Magic Troyes 1997 [unattributed] from Troyes official site, at

Reims/ Stade Auguste Delaune – Photo from re-constuction of Stade Auguste Delaune (circa 2007) from via Exterior photo of the renovated Stade August Delaune by Ludovic Péron at Aerial photo of the renovated Stade Auguste Delaune uploaded by parcdesprinces at, STADIUM AERIALS (three-quarters of the way down the page). Interior photo of the renovated Stade Auguste Delaune Wahrerwattwurm at Interior photo of the renovated Stade Auguste Delaune with crowd at night uploaded by parcdesprincers at Thread: FRANCE – Stadium and Arena Development News (one-quarter of the way down the page).Reims’ supporters pitch invasion: photo from stands by Stidpmi at Reims’ supporters pitch invasion: screenshot of video uploaded by ProdKenny at via

SC Bastia/ Stade Armand Cesari – Photo of since-demolished old South Stand [unattributed] from Aerial photo [circa 2007] by Marc Anto at Photo of new South Stand under construction [March 2012] from RCLD at Interior photo of Stade Armand Cesari, (with completed South Stand at the left), from May 2012, by tolenga dany at Photo of Bastia fans with scrves and banners in the stands with Bastia players in an on-field huddle (circa 2010-11 season) [unattributed] from

Thanks to E-F-S site for attendances,
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en. and fr., ‘2012–13 Ligue 1‘.
Thanks to Eric Gaba at, for the base map of France (blank topographic map of France with regional boundaries),

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