April 29, 2013

England (and Wales): Conference North: 2012-13 Location-map with final attendance figures for top 5 finishers, including champions Chester FC, and the 4 play-off clubs (Guisely AFC, Brackley Town, Altrincham, FC Halifax Town) / With photos of the 5 clubs’ grounds.

Filed under: 2012-13 English football,Eng-6th level,Football Stadia — admin @ 8:12 pm

England: Conference North, map with 2013 champions Chester FC, and the 4 play-off clubs.

2012-13 Conference North & Conference South Play-offs – Fixtures, Results (

The Conference North is one of 3 leagues in the Non-League Football Conference. It is a 6th Level league, and its sister league is the Conference South. Both were instituted in 2004-05. The 22-team Conference North and the 22-team Conference South are the highest regional leagues in the English football pyramid – promotion is to the 5th level and the Conference National (which is the lowest-level national league in the English football ladder, and the highest level in the Non-League pyramid). 2 clubs each from Conference North and from Conference South are promoted each season – one automatic promotion (1st place) and the play-offs winner. The play-offs are comprised of the 4 clubs which finished in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th places. The play-offs final in both Conference North and Conference South are played at the ground of the finalists with the better regular-season finishes.

This post features a location-map with attendance data for 5 clubs… the 1 promoted club from Conference North this season – Chester FC, and the 4 play-off clubs – Guisely AFC, Brackley Town FC, Altrincham FC, and FC Halifax Town. Also featured are captioned illustrations of the 5 clubs’ grounds, which include League histories for the 2 re-born Phoenix clubs (Chester and Halifax).

    Promoted to Conference National for 2013-14 – Chester FC.

Since forming in 2010 as a Phoenix-club, Chester FC, a wholly supporter-owned club, have won 3 straight promotions, and will now play in the Conference National (5th Level) in 2013-14. The club is on a definite trajectory back to the Football League, where the club it succeeded, Chester City FC (defunct in 2010) spent 69 seasons (last in 2008-09).

Chester FC are from Chester, which is in the western part of Cheshire, about 25 km. (15 miles) south of Liverpool and right on the Welsh border. Chester FC were formed in May 2010, immediately after Chester City FC were liquidated. Subsequently, in the three years that have followed, Chester FC became the highest-drawing Non-League club outside of the Conference National, pulling in around 2,400 to 2,700 per game. Now in August 2013 Chester FC will join the Conference National, making it 3 straight promotions for the 3-year-old club. So the trend of ‘how hard it is to get out of the Conference and back into the Football League’ looks to be getting a new wrinkle. Now, somewhat big clubs (for 5th Level standards) are not only dropping down into the Conference (such as Luton Town and Grimsby Town and Stockport County and Lincoln City and Cambridge United; as well as recent Non-League escapees such as Oxford United and York City and Mansfield Town [among others]), but now, sizable clubs (most of whom are re-born Phoenix-clubs) are getting promoted up into the Conference – such as in the recent past the re-born Phoenix-club AFC Wimbledon, and now Chester FC, and soon, probably, FC Halifax Town (plus there’s also another club that fits into this category, Boston United; plus, Stockport County and Lincon City [both of whom are now stuck in the Conference North/South after being relegated this season] also fit this category). This trend, in my opinion, is just one more reason why the Conference National is so interesting to follow these days. It is literally getting bigger by the inevitable inclusion of sizable clubs coming into the 5th Level from both directions these days.

The following article gets into a detailed breakdown of all the recently promoted and recently relegated clubs between the Conference and the Football League … from The Two Unfortunates site, from 20 March, 2013, by Gary Andrews, ‘RELEGATION FROM THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD‘ (

Chester FC are managed by Neil Young, a 38-year-old who is Birkenhead-based. Prior to his being re-signed as full-time manager in late 2012, Young also worked for Merseyrail (the commuter-rail network based in Liverpool) as a manager. As the Chester Chronicle has described him, Neil Young is ‘a fully paid-up member of the Liverpool pass-and-move school’ {see this interview of Neil Young by Paul Wheelock, ‘Chester FC: The Chronicle interview with new Blues boss Neil Young‘ from May 2010 (}.

Neil Young had started as a midfielder in the Tranmere Rovers set-up but was forced to retire in 1999 at age 24 while at Droylsden FC. Entering the coaching profession, Young got his first job as manager in Sept. 2008 with English-league-affiliated-Welsh club Colwyn Bay FC (of Colwyn Bay, North Wales), who were in the 8th Level Northern Premier League Division One North at the time [Colwyn Bay have since risen 2 levels higher, and have been a Conference North side since 2011-12, and just avoided relegation in 2012-13 by winning their last 6 matches and finishing in 18th place].

Young’s first year at the helm saw Colwyn Bay make the play-offs but fall short. The following season (2009-10), Young’s Colwyn Bay made the play-offs for the second straight time, and beat Curzon Ashton and Lancaster City to secure promotion to the 7th Level Northern Premier League. At this point (Spring of 2010), the brand-new Chester FC approached Young to become the first manager of the club, whom were at that point slated to begin in the 9th Level. In May 2010, Young signed a contract to manage Chester FC. Chester FC then successfully appealed to the Football Association with regards to their initial league placement – and their appeal was successful and the new club were placed one level higher – in the same level and same league that Young had just gotten Colwyn Bay out of – the 8th Level Northern Premier League Division One North. For the newly re-formed club, that ‘upgrade’ in 2010 on the initial level & league placement was only logical, because it has become plain to see in the subsequent 3 years that Chester FC has inherited most if not all of the original Chester City fan base. Chester FC has been drawing crowds which dwarf the 8th and 7th Levels – like over 1,500-per-game higher than the usual crowds in the Evo-Stick leagues. At their compact and tidy and all-roofed Deva Stadium (which opened in 1992 and has a capacity of 5,300 [4,500 seated]), Chester FC draw in the mid-2,000-per game range (2,582 per game in 2012-13 {home league matches}), while the Northern League’s top division [7th Level] is comprised of clubs who usually draw in the 200 to 500 per game range (with around 330 per game as the median); while the Northern Premier League Division One North [8th Level] is comprised of clubs who usually draw in the 100 to 300 per game range (with around 160 per game as the median) {see this site for data I used in this sentence (}.

12 months later, in late April 2011, for the second straight season, Neil Young got a club promoted from the Northern Premier League Division One North, as Chester FC squeaked past Skermersdale United on goal difference of 2 goals. 12 months later, now in the 7th Level 2011–12 Northern Premier League, Young’s Chester FC won promotion again – this time by a whopping 17 points (over Northwich Victoria [the Vics were later relegated that season for financial mismanagement]).

12 months later, now in the 6th Level 2012–13 Conference North, Young’s Chester FC have won promotion for the 3rd successive year – again by a wide margin as they finished 16 points ahead of Guiseley AFC. So Chester FC now progress to the highest level of Non-League football, the 5th Level Conference National. They will be among the five or six biggest clubs in the Conference National next season. I say that because if they can draw 2.5 K per game in the 6th Level, then Chester FC will probably be able to draw near to 3,000 per game in the Conference. And only 4 clubs in the Conference this past season [2012-13] drew above 3,000 per game, and one was relegated – Luton Town, Grimsby Town, Wrexham, and Stockport County drew above 3K per game in 2012-13, with Stockport County being relegated this season. As to the clubs being relegated from League Two into the Conference, both Aldershot Town and Barnet drew under 2.5K per game in 2012-13. Aldershot will almost certainly see a further drop off in crowds next season, while Barnet might see a bit of attendance increase despite relegation and their having to move out of their borough into the adjacent borough of Harrow – because Barnet will be moving into a new purpose-built stadium there, ‘The Hive Stadium‘ [provisional name]. The problem being that a significant portion of Barnet supporters have made it known they won’t be attending matches anymore because Barnet are no longer playing in the borough of Barnet.

Here is a thread from the When Saturday Comes forum that was supposed to be about the plight of south-England-based clubs that were stuck in the Conference North (such as Bishop’s Stortford) – but it turned into a discussion about Chester FC…’TOPIC: Defying Geography; Conference North 2012/13‘ (; (

From, from 12 Dec. 2012, ‘Deva Stadium‘.

Promoted to Conference National for 2013-14 – Chester FC.
Photo and Image credits above –
Photo, AltusImaging at
Illustration of Chester FC 2012-13 kits from ‘Chester FC‘ (
Photo of Chester manager Neil Young from
Photo of Narhan Jarman was unattributed at
Photo of Antoni Sarcevic by Andy White at

    The 4 Play-Off Teams in 2012-13 Conference North…(Guisely AFC, Brackley Town, Altrincham, FC Halifax Town)

Guiseley AFC.

Guiseley is a suburb of Leeds (located 14 km, or 9 miles NW of Leeds). In 2009-10 Guiseley won the Northern Premier League Premier Division and were promoted to the 6th Level for the first time. Guiseley’s first appearance in the Conference North saw immediate success, with a 5th place finish in 2010-11 (losing to Crawley Town in the first round of the play-offs). In their second season in the Conference North, Guiseley improved to second place, just 5 points shy of automatic promotion, but again lost in the first round of the play-offs (to Nuneaton Town). Now Guiseley hope that third time’s the charm in their quest to win promotion to the Conference National. Guiseley’s manager is Steve Kittrick, who has been managing the Lions’ squad since November 2007.

Photo and Image credits above -
Guiseley A.F.C.‘ (

Brackley Town FC.
Photo and Image credits above –
Brackley Town F.C.‘ (
Unattributed at

Altrincham FC.
Photo and Image credits above -
Altrincham F.C.‘ (

FC Halifax Town.
Photo and Image credits above -
F.C. Halifax Town‘ (

Thanks to for attendance figures,–s/20122013/north/.

Thanks to for Halifax Town AFC League history,
Thanks to for Chester FC attendance figure (2011-12).
Thanks to for Brackley Town attendance figure (2011-12).

April 25, 2013

England: Conference South: 2012-13 Location-map with final attendance figures for top 5 finishers, including champions Welling United FC, and the 4 play-off clubs (Salisbury City, Dover Athletic, Eastleigh, Chelmsford City) / With photos of the 5 clubs’ grounds.

Filed under: 2012-13 English football,Eng-6th level,Football Stadia — admin @ 9:09 pm .gif
England: Conference South: map with 2013 champions Welling United FC, and the 4 play-off clubs

2012-13 Conference North & Conference South Play-offs – Fixtures, Results (

The Conference South is one of 3 leagues in the (Non-League) Football Conference. It is a 6th Level league, and its sister league is the Conference North. Both were instituted in 2004-05. The 22-team Conference North and the 22-team Conference South are the highest regional leagues in the English football pyramid – promotion is to the 5th level and the Conference National (which is the lowest-level national league in the English football ladder, and the highest level in the Non-League pyramid). 2 clubs each from Conference North and from Conference South are promoted each season – one automatic promotion (1st place) and the play-offs winner. The play-offs are comprised of the 4 clubs which finished in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th places. The play-offs final in both Conference North and Conference South are played at the ground of the finalists with the better regular-season finishes.

    Promoted to Conference National for 2013-14 – Welling United.

Welling United are nicknamed the Wings and from south-east London in the District of Welling, which is in the London Borough of Bexley, near the Kent border. Before the railroads, Welling was a village on the main road from London to Kent, and legend has it that the town got its name because once you had traveled from London into the town, you were ‘Well in’ to Kent {see this article from from June 2012}. Bexley is around 18 km. (or 12 miles) southeast of the City of London, and about 5 kilometres east of the District of Charlton, where Charlton Athletic’s ground, The Valley, is located, and where the founder of Welling United FC, Sydney Hobbins, played football about 6 decades ago. Welling United were formed in 1963 by former Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Sydney Hobbins – Welling were formed as a youth team for Hobbins’ two sons. A senior team was later organized, and the club began playing in Saturday leagues in the early 1970s, playing in Eltham in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, in south-east London.

In 1977, Welling United moved a few kilometres east to Welling, Borough of Bexley, and into Park View Road (this after the ground’s former tenant, Bexley United, had folded, in 1976). In 1978, Welling United joined the now-defunct Athenian League. In 1981, Welling United progressed to the Southern League’s second division. The Southern League’s 1982 re-organization saw Welling United progress further, with a credible 3rd place finish in the new Southern League Premier League in 1982-83. The Southern League Premier was a 6th Level league then [it is now a 7th Level league]. Three years later in 1985-86, Welling United won promotion to the Conference (the 5th Level).

Welling United would play 14 seasons in the Conference, but finished only twice above 11th place (with their highest-ever finish being 6th place in the 1989-90 Conference). Wellling United were relegated from the 5th Level in 1999-2000.

Back in the Southern League, Welling were one of the 44 Non-League clubs who earned placement in the newly-instituted 6th Level, which comprised Conference North and Conference South, in 2004-05. Welling have been in Conference South for all 9 seasons that the league has played (2004-05 to 2012-13).

Recent history of Welling United
Recent history of Welling United saw then-30-year-old Bexley native and current player/manager MF Jamie Day’s appointment as the first team manager in November 2009. In August 2010, the club was threatened with being liquidated, as Welling were served with a winding-up petition by HRMC. The club escaped primarily thanks to funds raised by supporters. Here is an excerpt from en.wikipedia’s page on ‘Welling United F.C.‘…{excerpt}…’The Wings were given 14 weeks to pay the outstanding debt to the HMRC, and thanks almost entirely to the supporters were able to raise £60,000 to clear all monies owed. During this period, in a Football Conference Hearing on 16 September 2010, Welling United admitted to a misconduct charge in connection with the outstanding HMRC debt. Resultantly an immediate deduction of 5 points was enforced on the club together with a suspended £5,000 fine.’…{end of excerpt}.

In 2010-11, despite a 5-point deduction and a transfer embargo, Jamie Day’s Welling United finished in 6th place, missing out on the play-offs by one point. In 2011-12, Welling improved to 3rd and made it all the way to the Conference South Play-offs Final, but fell to nearby Kent-based club Dartford FC 0-1, at Darford’s Princes Park on 13 May 2012.

On 22 April, 2013, after a season-long run of 21 undefeated games at home, fourth-year player/manager Jamie Day’s Welling United all but mathematically clinched promotion to the 5th Level Conference National with a 1-1 draw versus Boreham Wood. Here is an article on that from, by Robin Cottle, ‘Welling United clinch first league title for 27 years‘ (

The following day, Monday the 23rd, Salisbury’s failure to win at Sutton clinched it for the Wings, and so in August 2013, Welling United will be back in the 5th Level for the first time since the spring of 2000. The final match this season on Saturday 27 April 2013 versus play-offs qualifier Eastleigh will be a formality, and a time for a bit of celebration for the Wings’ faithful. That 60 thousand pounds that Welling supporters contributed 3 years ago to save the club from liquidation has now paid dividends, and Welling are back in the top tier of Non-League football for the first time in 14 years. Back when Welling were in the Conference circa the late 1990s, very few clubs in the 5th Level then were full-time professionals. That situation had changed drastically in the decade-and-a-half since, and now the lions’ share of clubs in the Conference National are full-time pro squads (around 70 to 80 percent of the clubs are full-time pro in the Conference these days). There is no word yet on whether Welling United will turn from a part-time squad to a full-time squad. But chances are the club will remain semi-pro seeing as how the Wings were hard-pressed to pull in more than 600 per game in 2012-13. In other words, if Welling stay semi-pro, they will have their work cut out for them next season.

Photo and Image credits above –
Illustration of Welling United 2012-13 kits from ‘Welling United‘ (
Action Photo of player/manager Jamie Day from
Action Photo of FW Ross Lafayette by Keith Gillard at via

    The 4 Play-Off Teams in 2012-13 Conference South…

Play-offs: Salisbury v. Chelmsford, and Dover v. Eastleigh.

Salisbury City FC.
Photo and Image credits above –
Salisbury City F.C.‘ (

Dover Athletic FC.
Photo and Image credits above -
Dover Athletic F.C.’ (
Empics via
Aerial photo by Geoff Hall at

Eastleigh FC.
Photo and Image credits above -
Eastleigh F.C.‘ (
PA at

Chelmsford City FC.
Photo and Image credits above –
Chelmsford City F.C.‘ (

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘2012–13 Football Conference‘.
Thanks to for attendance data,–s/20122013/north/.
Thanks to the Welling United official site,

April 20, 2013

England and Wales: Conference National (aka Blue Square Bet Premier League) 2012-13 Location-map with final attendance figures for top 5 finishers, and promoted & relegated clubs listed / Plus photos of the 5 clubs’ grounds & their managers, and their League histories.

Filed under: 2012-13 English football,Eng-5th level,Football Stadia — admin @ 3:09 pm

England & Wales: Conference National (aka Blue Square Bet Premier League) 2012-13 Location-map with final attendance figures for top 5 finishers

2013 Conference National PLAY-OFFS. [All times Greenwich Mean Time.]
Tuesday 23rd April 2013, 19:45
Wrexham v Kidderminster.

Wednesday 24th April 2013, 19:45
Grimsby v Newport.

Sunday 28th April 2013, 13:30
Kidderminster v Wrexham.

Sunday 28th April 2013, 16:30
Newport v Grimsby.

Sunday 5th May 2013, 15:00 pm, at Wembley Stadium,
Newport County v. Wrexham in the Play-offs Final – meaning their will be a Welsh team joining the Football League, League Two next season…

From Two Hundred Percent site, from 29 April 2013, by Ian King, ‘Wrexham & Newport County: Salutary Tales Of Struggle & Redemption‘ (

From The Guardian, from 5 May 2013, by Stuart James, ‘Newport County victory over Wrexham puts them back into Football League‘ (

Fixtures, (

Note on relegated clubs listed in the small chart section on the right-hand side of the map page – The reason why there is a question mark next to just-relegated AFC Telford United is because AFC Telford United will most likely be one of 3 ex-Conference-National clubs now placed in Conference North, with a re-shuffling of current Conference North clubs resulting in either Bishop’s Stortford or Gloucester City being placed (or re-placed, in Stortford’s case) into Conference South for the 2013-14 season. This is all, of course, pending which 6th Level and 7th Level clubs, exactly, find themselves in Conference North/Conference South (ie, in the 6th Level) in the following few weeks.

From, from 20 April 2012, ‘Mansfield 1-0 Wrexham‘.

    Champions of the 2012-13 Conference National,and returning to the Football League after 5 seasons in Non-League football, Mansfield Town FC.

Mansfield Town. Est. 1897 as Mansfield Wesleyans/ changed name to Mansfield Town FC in 1910. The Stags.
Field Mill [aka One Call Stadium], Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. Opened circa 1861. Mansfield Town began playing at Field Mill in 1919-20. The first stand was built in 1922. The stadium was last renovated in 1999 to 2001. The provisional capacity is 7,574 (with one of the main stands temporarily closed for safety reasons).
Mansfield Town average attendance: 2,764 per game. (From 2012-13 home league matches in Conference National/5th Level).

Photo and Image credits above -
Mansfield Town F.C.‘ (
PA at
Unattributed at

    Below: the 4 play-off clubs (#2 v. #5; #3 v. #4 in the 1st Round of the 2013 Conference National Play-offs)…

#2, Kidderminster Harriers.
Photo and Image credits above -
Kidderminster Harriers F.C.‘ (
Screenshot of satellite view of Aggborough from

#3, Newport County AFC.
Photo and Image credits above –
Newport County A.F.C.‘ (
Pwimageglow at,_Rodney_Parade,_Newport.jpg.
Unattributed at
Photo from Play-offs final at Wembley by Andrew Couldridge at

#4, Grimsby Town FC.
Photo and Image credits above -
Grimsby Town F.C.‘ ( via

#5, Wrexham FC.
Photo and Image credits above -
Wrexham F.C.‘ (
Huw Evans/PA via

Thanks to this group of sites for clubs’ League histories ( sites, such as
Thanks to this site for data on clubs’ League histories,

Thanks to, for 2011-12 attendance data,
Thanks to ESPN Soccernet for current attendance figures,

April 12, 2013

Rugby league football (England and France): Super League – Super League XVIII (2013 season) location-map, with 2012 attendance data, and all-time Rugby Football League titles list / Plus illustrations of the grounds of the 3 best-drawing English rugby league clubs in 2012 (Wigan Warriors RL, Leeds Rhinos RLFC, and St Helens RLFC).

Filed under: Rugby,Rugby>England — admin @ 8:56 pm

Super League, location-map with 2012 attendance data of the 14 teams, and all-time Rugby Football League titles list

Note: my most-recent Super League map & post can be found here,
Rugby League: 2015 Super League XX location-map, with all-time English RL titles list & attendance figures from 2014./ Plus a season-preview article on 2015 Super League XX, written by James Nalton./ Plus illustrations of the 4 semifinalists from last season, including 2014 champions St Helens RLFC.

Official site of Super League,

From, from 10 Sept.2012, by James Gordon, ‘Wigan top average attendance table – Six Super League teams averaged crowds of more than 10,000 during the 2012 regular season.’

    Below, the top 3 drawing rugby league clubs in England in 2012: Wigan Warriors, Leeds Rhinos, and St Helens…

Best-drawing English rugby league football club in 2012, Wigan Warriors, 16,043 per game and a 66 percent-capacity.
Photo credits above –
Photo of Wigan Warriors’ jersey crest from
Aerial photo of DW Stadium unattributed at
Interior photo of DW Stadium from
Photo of Wigan Warriors fans by mikemcsharry via

Second-best-drawing English rugby league football club in 2012, Leeds Rhinos (2012 Super League champions), at 14,948 per game and a 72 percent-capacity.
Photo and Image credits above –
Aerial photo of Headingley Carnegie Stadium from
Alam at
Leeds Rhinos’ jersey badge and 2013 jersey front [wallpaper] uploaded by azsportza at
[azsportza at, (Australian RL, English RL, Premier League, La Liga kit wallpapers).]
Varley Picture Agency at
Unattributed at

Third-best-drawing rugby league football club in 2012, St Helens, at 14,088 per game and a 78 percent-capacity – in their brand-new 18,000-capacity Langtree Park, which opened in November, 2011, and is owned by St Helens RLFC (and is also the new home of Liverpool FC reserves).
Photo credits above –
Photo of St Helens’ jersey crest from
Aerial photo of Langtree Park by Simon Kirwan at
Action Images at
Chris Stoddart at


Thanks to James Gordon a, for compiling the attendance figures,

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘Super League‘

Thanks to Daniel Dalet at for the blank maps of England and France,

April 3, 2013

Ecuador: Ecuadorian Primera Categoría Serie A – location-map for 2013 season, with titles list & attendance data / Plus a brief article on Ecuador’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign; and notes on stadiums in the Ecuadorian first division.

Filed under: Ecuador,Football Stadia — admin @ 1:27 pm

Ecuadorian Primera Categoría Serie A – location-map for 2013 season, with titles list & attendance data

Ecuador, as its name implies, sits right on the equator in the north-western part of South America. Ecuador is a medium/small-sized mountainous country with ample coastline on the Pacific Ocean, bordering Colombia to the north and Peru to the east and south. Included in the territory of the nation of Ecuador is the singular eco-tourist mecca which is the Galápagos Islands, where around 180 years ago naturalist Charles Darwin spent crucial time during the ‘Second voyage of HMS Beagle [1831-36]‘ leading to his theory of evolution by natural selection, and where today giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas thrive. The Galapagos are located about 1,000 km. (620 mi.) due west of the Ecuadorian mainland. Here is an excerpt from ‘Ecuador‘ at … ‘ Ecuador is also home to a great variety of species, many of them endemic, like those of the Galápagos islands. This species diversity makes Ecuador one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. The new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights.’…{end of excerpt}. (

In 1979, Ecuador returned to democracy after 8 years of rule by 2 different military juntas, when, following civil pressure, Ecuador held democratic elections. After 3 changes of power, the country has remained a representative democracy with a president at its head, but, owing to several factors including the destabilizing effects from both the elites and from leftist movements, the presidency is a weakened and ineffective position in Ecuador. As it says here, at Freedom, …’since 1998, three presidents have been forced from office before the conclusion of their terms as a result of popular protests and congressional action’. (

By size, Ecuador is just about the same size as the US state of Oregon, or slightly smaller than New Zealand and slightly larger than Romania – at 266,000 km-squared (or 98,985 sq. mi.), making it the 78th-largest country in the world {country-size data, here (}. As to Ecuador’s GDP, on a per-capita basis, Ecuador currently [April 2013] is ranked #64 in the world, and in local-comparison-terms, considerably lower than Colombia and Venezuela (#s 33 and 34, currently), and a bit lower than Peru (#53, currently) {GDP data, here (}.

Ecuador’s population is around 14.4 million, and its 2 largest cities are the port city of Guayaquil {city pop. around 2.3 million}, and the high-elevation capital city of Quito {city pop. around 1.6 million} {population figures from 2010 census, here}. Quito is the highest-elevation national capital in the world, at 2,800 metres or 9,850 feet. That is 1.8 miles high or 3 kilometres high.

    Ecuador national football team

Chart above from World Cup qualification (CONMEBOL), here.

Ecuador did not enter a qualifying tournament for the World Cup until the late 1950s, with the 1962 FIFA World Cup being the first World Cup that Ecuador tried to qualify for. That was 5 years after Ecuador finally formed a professional national football league (in 1957, see further below). Ecuador’s men’s national football team has qualified for just 2 FIFA World Cup tournaments, although both times in which they qualified were relatively recent – in 2002 and 2006. In 2002 in Japan/South Korea, Ecuador were eliminated in the Group Stage. In 2006, in Germany, Ecuador made it to the Round of 16 (beating Poland and Costa Rica en route to being eliminated by England).

Currently, Ecuador are in a very good position to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, seeing as how they are in second place in the South American WC qualifiers, 5 points and 3 teams above the cut-off, with a game in hand {CONMEBOL/South American WC qualifiers, fixtures, results, table, here (}. Argentina leads the South American World Cup qualifiers with 24 points, and Ecuador is in second with 20 points. Ten or eleven of 16 matches per team have been played, and the top 4 automatically go to the World Cup (5th plays Oceania winner), and Brazil is already in as host, so Ecuador are positioned nicely and their high-altitude home field advantage at Estadio Atuahalpa in Quito will continue to give them an extra edge on most visiting sides. Ecuador are 6-0 at home in the 2014 WC qualifiers. They just dismantled Paraguay 4-1, before a capacity crowd of around 30,000 in Quito on 26 March. Goals were scored by MF Jefferson Montero (who had a brace), FW Felipe Caicedo, and FW Christian Benítez. Ecuador is a team that is chock-full of technically-adept speedsters – it seems like every squad member, even all the defenders, have pace. Ecuador pose a big threat on the counter-attack, while it looks like their weak point is in defense. Ecuador are coached by Colombian-born former Honduras national team coach Reinaldo Rueda. Rueda made his mark in 2010 by getting the unheralded Honduran national team into the FIFA World Cup for only their second time (Honduras also had qualified for the 1982 World Cup in Spain).

Below is a captioned illustration of 3 of the more highly-touted players currently playing for the Ecuador national team – Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, Borussia Dortmund transfer target and current Lokomotiv Moscow striker Felipe Caicedo, and Wigan transfer target and current Monarcas Morelia (of Mexico) midfielder Jefferson Montero.
Photo and Image credits above -
Ecuador national football team‘ (
Getty Images at
Unattributed at
Getty Images via
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images North America via
Unattributed at
Unattributed at

    The Ecuadorian professional first division – Ecuadorian Primera Categoría Serie A

Ecuador – Primera A [Serie A], fixtures, results, table‘ (

Ecuador – Primera Etapa overview [including attendances]‘ (

The Ecuadorian professional first division was established in 1957. The current format, called Ecuadorian Primera Categoría Serie A, has 12 teams playing 2 half seasons of 22 games each. The season runs from February to December (with the first half-season ending in June). The two half-season winners then face off in a 2-match finals in mid-December (unless the same club wins both halves of the season, like Barcelona SC did in 2012). 2 clubs (11th and 12th places aggregate) are relegated each season to Serie B, and at the end of each season, 2 are promoted up from the Ecuadorian Serie B.

Current champions are the biggest club in Ecuador, Barcelona Sporting Club, who are of course named after the Catalan giants and are from Guayaquil. Barcelona SC average around 20 to 25,000 per game in a good year or 8 to 15,000 per game or so in a bad year. Barcelona SC, formed in 1925, have the most Ecuadorian pro titles, with 14 (but they had not won a title in 15 years prior to last season, and their attendance really slumped circa 2009-2010). Barcelona SC own their own stadium, Estadio Monumental, which was opened in 1987 and at just over 80,600-capacity is one of the largest football stadiums in the world {see this, from 2010 at the, ‘The 10 Biggest Football (or Soccer) Stadiums in the World‘. Barcelona SC averaged 24,066 per game in 2012, which was more than double the crowd-size of any other team in the country last year.

After Barcelona SC, the fan-base-size of the next-largest Ecuadorian clubs shrinks to the 7,000 to 13,000 per game range, with 2 clubs fitting this category, both of whom are over 85 years old, and both of whom are tied for the third-most national pro titles with 10 apiece… Quito’s LDU Quito, established in 1930, and who are the only Ecuadorian club to have won a Copa Libertadores title (in 2007); and Guayaquil’s Emelec, who were established in 1929. Both these clubs also own their own stadiums. LDU Quito’s stadium, Casa Blanca, was opened in 1997 and has a capacity of 55,000. Emelec’s Estadio George Capwell, which was built in 1945 and was last renovated in 1991, has a capacity of 24,000, mostly in steep stands that make it look like an Argentinian football ground. Estadio George Capwell is named after the US-born engineer and founder of the electrical company in the late 1920s from which the club sprung from (see Emelec illustration further below for etymology of their name). Estadio George Capwell might have seen better days, but that tight cauldron is an atmosphere-charged home-field-advantage for Emelec for sure (you can see what I mean about the atmosphere at Estadio George Capwell if you scroll down to the next paragraph and check out the 3:00 video highlights of Emelec’s recent 2-0 win over Peñarol in the 2013 Copa Libertadores). Emelec averaged 8,888 per game last season (which was second-best in Ecuador); LDU Quito averaged 8,502 per game last season (3rd best).

Emelec are the only Ecuadorian club currently with a shot at advancing to the 2013 Copa Librtadores Round of 16. On Tuesday, the 2nd of April, before 22,000 at Estadio George Capwell in Guayaquil, Emelec scored two late goals (both from set plays) against Peñarol to win 2-0 and take a 3-point lead over Peñarol for the final advancing-spot in their group (see this, ( Copa Libertadores, Second Stage). If Emelec draw in their final match away against group-winners Vélez Sarsfield they will advance, but Emelec can also advance if they can maintain their better goal difference (currently at +1 g.d for Emelec, versus Peñarol's -3 g.d.). Video highlights can be seen at the following link (via, 'Copa Libertadores: Emelec 2-0 Peñarol (Tomado de Fox Sports)' (; 3:00 video uploaded by / original article here, 'Emelec venció 2-0 a Peñarol y se acerca a los octavos de la Copa Libertadores' ( ]

So the 3 biggest clubs in Ecuador all own their own stadiums. Two of those venues might be too big, and the other one is in need of a refurbishing, but still, 3 clubs out of 12 owning their own stadium is not too bad compared to some countries (like Italy, at 1 for 20 currently). The 3 biggest clubs in Ecuador show there is the capability there, as in places like Germany, the Netherlands, England, and Spain (and to a lesser degree in countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Portugal), of clubs being able to build and own their own football grounds.

Elsewhere in Ecuadorian football, there is still the reliance by clubs for local municipalities or national government agencies to do the inevitably poor job of building god-awful stadiums. Stadiums with a wide bowl-shaped single encircling stand (at a shallow incline), and poor sight-lines and vast distances from the stands to the pitch, thanks to a useless, atmosphere-destroying running track. However, there are several exceptions to this in Ecuador, with 3 decent (though admittedly spartan) municipal stadiums in provincial cities in Ecuador. The 18,000-capacity Estadio Bellavista in Ambato (home of yo-yo club Macará, and also home of the recently-relegated Técnico Universitario); the 15,000-capacity municipal Estadio Jocay in the coastal city of Manta (home to Manta FC); and the 16,000-capacity municipal stadium Estadio 7 de Octubre in Quevado (home of the recently-promoted Deportivo Quevado). All 3 of these stadiums are, like many French or some Spanish municipal stadiums, built with nice and steep-angled stands that are often extremely close to the pitch and with no running track {see a couple photos of Estadio Bellavista in Ambato here (}; {see a photo of Estadio Jocay in Manta here ({; {see a photo of Estadio 7 de Octubre in Quevado here/click on photo there to enlarge (

As to the second-most titled club in Ecuador, well, El Nacional didn’t get the memo, because they never tried to build their own stadium, and ever since they were formed in 1964 they have played in a soul-less bowl-shaped government-sports-agency-built stadium in Quito with a running track, now currently in a three-way stadium share at Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa. As it says about Estadio Olimpico Atualhalpa at the Football in the Clouds blog, …’It is a big concrete block of a structure which looks like the home of a Soviet Bloc team or nation’… {full article here, ‘New stadium plans in Quito’ (}.

So its no surprise that El Nacional, as successful as they are, have never been able to establish much of a fan base and a good average crowd size, at least not on a consistent basis – in bad seasons, El Nacional struggle to even reach 4,000 per game (like in 2012, when they averaged only 3,977 per game). Granted, at 49 years old, El Nacional are not really a very old club, so maybe it could be argued that they have been unable to build a bigger fan base because they are about half as old as venerable Ecuadorian clubs like Barcelona SC or Emelec or LDU Quito. In a good season, El Nacional can draw up to near the 8,000 per game range, as in 2011 when they were in the running for the title (eventually finishing fourth and drawing 7,206 per game).

Rounding out the clubs that can, in a good season, draw above average in Ecuador, there are, in addition to El Nacional, 5 other clubs which can draw between 3,500 and 8,000 per game – the relatively-new-club-and recently promoted club from the south of Ecuador, LDU Loja; the recently-relegated Technico Universitario; Deportivo Cuenca; Deportivo Quito;, and Macará. Two of these clubs have won Ecuadorian titles – Deportivo Quito has won 5 titles (last in 2011); and Cuenca has won 1 title (in 2004). Of the other three, LDU Loja, from Loja, the current southern-most club in the Ecuadorian top flight, deserve mention as they draw best of all the provincial clubs in the country. To see a photo of LDU Loja’s municipal stadium, the 15,000-capacity Estadio Federativo Reina del Cisne, {click here [and scroll down the page half-way to see the enlargeable photo]} ( LDU Loja are a pretty new club (est. 1987), and first made it to the top flight in 2005. Despite their unremarkable municipal stadium, Loja can draw between 6 and 9,000 per game – in 2010 they won promotion back to the first division and in 2011 drew 8,844 per game; last season Loja drew 6,332 per game, which was fourth-best in Ecuador. Although there a several other clubs in Loja (population of around 215,000 in the metro area {2010 figure}), LDU Loja are the only club from the city who have been in the first division.

(Note: the Ecuadorian pro fútbol titles list (1957 to 2012) is on the map page).

Below are captioned illustrations of all the clubs in the 2013 Ecuadorian Primera Categoría Serie A which have won national titles (6 clubs)…

    Current first division clubs in Ecuador with national professional titles…

Barcelona SC. Estadio Monumental, Guayaquil.14 Ecuadorian titles (last in 2012).
Photo and Image credits above -
Unattributed at
Unattributed at
Barcelona Sporting Club‘ (
María Isabel Valarezo / EL COMERCIO at .

El Nacional. Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa, Quito. 13 Ecuadorian titles (last in Clausura-2005).
Photo and Image credits above -
Unattributed at
Club Deportivo El Nacional‘
Unattributed at

Emelec. Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil. 10 Ecuadorian titles (last in 2002).
Photo and Image credits above -
Unattributed at .
Unattributed at
Club Sport Emelec‘ (
Unattributed at
Unattributed at
API (Agencia de Prensa Independiente) at

LDU Quito. Estadio de Liga Deportiva Universitaria [aka la Casa Blanaca (the White House)]. 10 Ecuadorian titles (last in 2010).
Photo and Image credits above -
Unattributed at
Unattributed at
Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito‘ (

Deportivo Quito. Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa, Quito. 5 Ecuadorian titles (last in 2011).
Deportivo Quito‘ (
Photo and Image credits above -
Unattributed photo uploaded by Inkandrew9 at [Ecuador stadiums thread].
Deportivo Quito‘ (

Deportivo Cuenca. Estadio Alejandro Serrano Aguilar, Cuenca, Azuay Province. 1 Ecuadorian title (in 2004).
Photo and Image credits above -
Club Deportivo Cuenca (Ecuador)‘ (
Unattributed at


Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en. and, ‘2013 Campeonato Ecuatoriano de Fútbol Serie A‘.
Thanks to – base map from at Demis Web Map Server,
Thanks to for the attendance figures,

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