October 29, 2015

2015-16 FA Cup, First Round Proper: location-map with current average attendances./ Plus: illustrations and a few words about each of the four FA Cup first-timers (Barwell, Didcot Town, Salford City, Whitehawk).

Filed under: 2015-16 FA Cup — admin @ 8:56 pm

2015-16 FA Cup, First Round Proper: location-map with current average attendance

-Competition…FA Cup (
-First Round: fixtures/teams…FA Cup/First Round Proper (
-FA Cup at soccerway…FA Cup [Summary] (
-BBC’s page on the FA Cup…FA Cup (

By Bill Turianski on 29 October 2015;

    2015-16 FA Cup 1st Round Proper, featuring the 4 clubs in the FA Cup 1st Round for the first time ever
    (Barwell, Didcot Town, Salford City, Whitehawk)…

Barwell F.C.
The yellow-and-green-clad Barwell FC, nicknamed the Kirkby Roaders (after their 2.5-K-capacity ground), are located in south-western Leicestershire, in Barwell, which is about 2 km NE of Hinckley, and about 19 km or 12 miles SW of Leicester (by road). Barwell FC are a 7th Level side in the Northern Premier League, and currently sit 15th. This is a rather new club, being formed in 1992, from a merger between Hinckley FC and Barwell Athletic, both of whom had been in the 11th Level Leicestershire Senior League, and both of whom had never reached the FA Cup 1st Round. For 7 November 2015, in the 2015-16 FA Cup 1st Round, Barwell have drawn a home tie versus 5th-division side Welling United (of SE London).
Photo and Image credits above – Barwell 15/16 kits, illustration from Panoramic photo of Kirkby Road ground by Tim at Photo of main stand unattributed at

Didcot Town F.C.
Didot Town FC, who wear red-and-white, are nicknamed the Railwaymen, and are from Didcot, which is located 16 km or 10 miles S of Oxford (by road) in Oxfordshire. Didcot Town are the lowest-placed and smallest-drawing club to qualify for the 2015-16 FA Cup 1st Round. Didcot are currently averaging 130 per game. {Source: [Southern Div 1 S & W].} Didcot are an 8th Level club in the Southern League Division One South and West, and currently sit 16th. Didcot have drawn a home tie in the First Round, on the Sunday (8th Nov. 2015), and will face League Two (4th Division) side Exeter City. The match will be televised. {See this from the Didcot Town site, Didcot v Exeter chosen for Live TV Game (}
Photo and Image credits above – Didcot town 15/16 kits, illustration from Main stand at Didcot’s ground, photo by David Bauckham at Photo with cooling towers and training facility in background, photo by Hants at Photo of roofed terrace behind goal, in a downpour, photo by JJ Willow at

Salford City F.C.
Located within the city of Salford in west-central Greater Manchester, Salford City FC play in Kersal, Broughton, Salford about 4 km NW of Manchester city centre, and only about 3 km N of Old Trafford [home of Manchester Utd]). As it says in the Kersal page at, “[Kersal's] immediate proximity to Manchester effectively makes it a suburb of that city, although it is politically and administratively separate.” Like Barwell (see two sections above), Salford City are also a 7th Level side in the Northern Premier League; Salford currently sit in the play-off places in 4th. Salford City wear red-and-white (but wore orange before 2014-15/see 3 sentences below for why they changed to MUFC-type kit). Salford City play at the 1.4-K-capacity Moor Lane in the Kersal area of Broughton, and are nicknamed the Ammies (a reference to the club’s 1963-to-1989 official name of Salford Amateurs FC). Salford City were a 9th Level club just 8 seasons ago, and have gained 2 promotions since then – first being when they won automatic promotion as 2nd-place-finishers in the 9th-level 2007-08 North West Counties Football League Division 1. Then in March 2014, in a 10%-share/each consortium with a majority investor [50%-owner, the Singapore businessman Peter Lim], a bunch of famous ex-players, who all made their names just down the road at Old Trafford, bought the club. Those 5 being Manchester United alumni Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, and Nicky Butt (aka the Class of ’92). {See this, Why the f*** did we buy a football club?’: Scholes, the Nevilles, Giggs and Butt reveal the highs and lows of the Salford City takeover in new BBC documentary, article by Mike Keegan at} Then Salford City, in their first season under the new Red-Devil-alumni-owners, won the 2014-15 Northern Premier League Division One North, winning promotion to the 7th Level Northern Premier League. (Ryan Giggs has said the club has a 15-year goal of reaching for the upper reaches of the Football League.) For their FA Cup First Round debut, Salford City have drawn a home tie, versus 4th-division side Notts County, and it will be the first match in the 1st Round, on Friday evening the 6th of November, and of course it will be televised.
Photo and Image credits above – Salford City 15/16 kits, illustration from Photo of main stand by Photo of Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, and Nicky Butt at Salford City’s Moor Lane ground [March 2014], photo by Main stand at Salford’s Moor Lane, photo unattributed at

Whitehawk F.C.
From Greater Brighton, in East Sussex, Whitehawk are located a couple kilometres east of the Brighton city centre. Whitehawk FC are nicknamed the Hawks. The club was established in 1945, as Whitehawk & Manor Farm Old Boys FC. Whitehawk wear red and white, but the shield on their crest is a darker brick-red. They play at the spartan yet sylvan Enclosed Ground, which has a capacity of 2,000, with a main covered stand which seats about 120. Whitehawk are in their second season in the 6th level, in the National League South (National League South [2015-16]). Whitehawk have a modestly small fan-base, and draw second-least in their league, at just 246 per game currently. But…Whitehawk are sitting fourth and are in the play-off places, so, were they to gain promotion, Whitehawk would (almost cetainly) be the smallest club in the top Non-League division [the 5th division]). Whitehawk have drawn a home tie for the FA Cup 1st Round, on the Saturday (7th Nov 2015), and it will be versus 5th-division side Lincoln City. I think this could be a winnable fixture for Whitehawk, especially if enough folks in Sussex decide to attend the match.
Photo and Image credits above – Whitehawk 15/16 kits, illustration from Aerial photo of the Enclosed Ground, unattributed at Photo of fans at the Enclosed Ground, watching a match in the rain, photo by StephenHarris at
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (
-Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.
-Blank map of Greater Manchester, by Nilfanion (using Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater Manchester UK relief location map.jpg.

-Current average attendance figures from
-Current average attendance for lower Non-League clubs (7th and 8th Levels), at

-And a big thanks to this brilliant blog which I never knew about…FA Cup Factfile, I got the info on all the clubs-in-the-Cup-for-the-first-time from this blog.

October 19, 2015

Northern Ireland national team – starting line-up (Best XI) from match which clinched their qualification for the 2016 UEFA Euros in France. (Northern Ireland starting squad from 8 October 2015: Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece. Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, att: 11,700).

Filed under: Northern Ireland — admin @ 8:51 pm

-Article on Northern Ireland clinching…Northern Ireland reaching Euro 2016 feels like the glory days of 1982, (by Henry McDonald at on 8 Oct. 2015).
-Team…Northern Ireland national football team.
-Country…Northern Ireland (

    Northern Ireland national team – the Northern Ireland national team has qualified for the UEFA Euros [France, 2016] for the first time…and have now qualified for a major tournament for the first time in 30 years (previous: had qualified for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain & had qualified for the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico)…

By Bill Turianski on 19 October 2015;
Demographics of Northern Ireland
Size of Northern Ireland:
14,130 km-sq (or 5,456 K square miles). Northern Ireland is similar to the size of the state of Connecticut in the USA. And Northern Ireland is [about the equivalent of] the ~166th-largest country by area, placing them between Brunei and Trinidad & Tobago (that is, if Northern Ireland were an independent nation, as opposed to what they are [a constituent state of the United Kingdom]).
{Sources: Northern Ireland;
List of countries and dependencies by area;
List of U.S. states and territories by area.}

Population of Northern Ireland:
around 1.8 million {2015 estimate}. Northern Ireland is [about the equivalent of] the ~155th-most-populous country, placing them between Kosovo and Gabon (that is, if Northern Ireland were an independent nation, as opposed to what they are [a constituent state of the United Kingdom]). {Source: List of countries and dependencies by population.}

Capital & largest city:
Belfast, city population: about 333,000 {2015 estimate}. Greater Belfast metro-area population: about 579,000 {2001 estimate}.

Economic profile of Northern Ireland: see this chart, Profile of Northern Ireland (

Northern Ireland won Group F of the 2016 UEFA Euros qualifiers, beating out Romania, Hungary, Finland, Faroe Islands, and Greece…
Northern Ireland’s top-scorer in the qualifiers was Kyle Lafferty, who cannot even get onto the starting squad for his pro club, Norwich City (and he had been loaned out to Turkish 1st division minnows Çaykur Rizespor for the second-half of last season). But Lafferty sure was banging ‘em into the net for Northern Ireland all through the qualifiers. The 28-year-old Lafferty scored 7 goals in 9 matches in the 2016 UEFA Euros qualifiers (and led Group F in scoring). However, Lafferty had to sit out the crucial 9th match, after he amassed his 3rd yellow card in the 8th match (when Northern Ireland drew 1-1 with Hungary at Windsor Park in Belfast, on 7 September 2015). So in the 9th match, versus Greece at the temporarily-11.7-K-capacity Windsor Park, on the 8th of October, Josh Magennis filled in as the lone Striker (and scored; a brief match-report for the clinching 9th match can be found 3 paragraphs below, in the Steven Davis section).
Photo credit above – unattributed at

Coach of Northern Ireland:
Michael O’Neill. Michael O’Neill.
Age 46, born 5 July 1969, in Portadown, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, UK.
CV – as a player (MF), from 1984 to 2004: Coleraine (N.I.), Newcastle Utd, Dundee Utd, Hibernian, Coventry City, Aberdeen, Reading, Wigan Athletic, St Johnstone, Portland Timbers (USA), Clydebank (Sco.), Glentoran (N.I.), Ayr Utd (Sco.). Retired as player in 2004. Pro clubs managed: Brechin City (Sco.) from 2006-08, Shamrock Rovers (Ire.) from 2009-11. Hired as the head coach of the Northern Ireland national team in December 2011. In October 2015, O’Neill’s Northern Ireland team secured qualification to a major tournament for the first time in 30 years by winning Group F of the 2016 UEFA Euros qualifiers.

Squad captain:
Steven Davis. Steven Davis.
Age 30, born 1 Jan. 1985, in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Appearances for Northern Ireland national team: 78 app/ 7 goals.
Steven Davis had a very solid 2016 UEFA Euros group-stage qualifications, and at least one person in the blogosphere put Davis on the 2016 Euros qualifiers Best XI…{see this, European Qualifiers All-Star team ( via, thread, here)}. Steven Davis plays club football for Southampton. Davis is a CMF who usually works in a defensive-midfielder capacity, whether it be for the Hampshire, England-based side, or for the Northern Ireland team.

Despite being essentially a defensive-midfielder, Steven Davis has the ability to come through and score in the clutch, as he did versus Greece, at Windsor Park on 8 October 2015, when Northern Ireland were without their top-scorer and talisman, Kyle Lafferty. In the match versus Greece, which secured Northern Ireland’s qualification for the 2016 Euros tournament, Steven Davis scored a brace, the first via a deft slotted pass from Blackburn MF Corry Evans to Leeds United MF/Winger Stuart Dallas, who then set Davis up for a close-range finish. The second goal for Northern Ireland came early in the 2nd half (49′), from substitute-Striker Josh Magennis (of Kilmarnock), on a looping header from a corner kick taken by Oliver Norwood (of Reading). Steven Davis then got his brace 9 minutes later (58′), also on a header-from-a-corner – this one taken by West Bromwich MF Chris Brunt (one of 2 Baggies in the starting squad that day). And then the unheralded-yet-capable Northern Irish defense held Greece up to the 86th minute, when Christos Aravidis made it 3-1. But that was too little too late for Greece – the 2004 European champions – who finished last in Group F, behind even the plucky Faroe Islands. And now, all that is left is for the Northern Ireland team to do is to book their flights to France for June 2016. Here’s hoping the 2016-Euros-Q-playoffs-bound Ireland national team finds a way to France, as well.

Below – the Northern Ireland squad that clinched qualification for the 2016 Euros
(8 October 2015/ Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece. Windsor Park, Belfast; attendance, 11,700.)
Photo and Image credits above -
Blank map of United Kingdom, by Daniel Dalet at
Blank map of Ireland [segment], by NordNordWest/Maximilian Dörrbecker, at File:Island of Ireland location map.svg (
Photo of Josh Mageniss and rest of NI squad rushing to congratulate coach O’Neill after clinching qualification to the 2016 Euros [on 8 Oct. 2015), photo unattributed at
2015 NI jersey, photo unattributed at
2015 NI kit crest, from
Squad -

Michael McGovern, GK (Hamilton Academical), photo by Gary Hutchison/SNS Group via
Paddy McNair, CB/RB/DM (Manchester United) photo by Getty Images via
Gareth McAuley, CB/ MF (West Bromwich Albion) photo by
Craig Cathcart, CB (Watford), photo by Kevin Affleck at
Chris Brunt, LM/AMF/LB (West Bromwich Albion), photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Europe via
Central MF/Holding Midfielder,
Steven Davis, CMF/AMF (Southampton), photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe via
Jamie Ward, LW/RW/FW (Nottingham Forest), photo by Jan Kruger at
Corry Evans, MF (Blackburn Rovers), photo by
Oliver Norwood, AMF/DMF (Reading), photo by Martin Willetts at
Stuart Dallas, AMF/LW, photo by Nigel Roddis at
Josh Magennis, FW (Kilmarnock), photo by
Other player-options (incl. regular starter at FW, Kyle Lafferty, who was suspended for the 8 Oct. 2015 match)…
Kyle Lafferty, FW/W (Norwich City), photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Europe via
Liam Boyce, FW (Ross County), photo by Ken Macpherson at
Niall McGinn, RW/LW/CF (Aberdeen), photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images Europe via
Luke McCullough, CB/RB (Doncaster Rovers), photo from

Thanks to all at the following links -
-Northern Ireland national team (
-Special thanks to the very excellent site called – for their unerring ability to describe most any footballers position(s). rules.

October 10, 2015

France: 2015-16 Ligue 1 location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./ Plus a few words on, and illustrations for, the 3 recently-promoted clubs in Ligue Un (Angers, Gazélec Ajaccio, Troyes). /Plus a look at the new municipal stadium built by the city of Bordeaux, for FC Girondins de Bordeaux & the 2016 Euros [to be hosted by France].

Filed under: France — admin @ 1:18 pm


France: 2015-16 Ligue Un location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed

-Teams, etc…2015–16 Ligue 1 (
-Ligue Un official site (in English)…
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…Summary – Ligue 1 – France(

    France: 2015-16 Ligue Un location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed

By Bill Turianski on 10 October 2015;

    The 3 promoted clubs in the 2015-16 Ligue Un…Angers, Gazélec Ajaccio, Troyes…

Angers SCO, and their ground, Stade Jean-Bouin
Photo and Image credits above – Angers 15/16 jersey, photo unattributed at City of Angers city upon the Maine (fleuve), panoramic photo by tango7174 at File:Angers collage.jpg ( Aerial view of stadium [view to the south], image from a screenshot of satellite view at Interior shot of stadium with nearly-full-capacity-crowd (from 22 May 2015), photo by Thierry Bonnet/Ville d’Angers at . Exterior view of stadium (looking in), at twilight, photo by M. Mouchoir at File:Stade Jean Bouin Angers 2.JPG (

Angers (prounounced ‘Ahn-zhay’), is a city in western France and is the historic capital of Anjou. Angers has a city-population of around 147,000 {2009 figure}. Angers SCO wear black-and-white-stripes. They play in a 17.8-K-capacity stadium and have spent 24 seasons total (counting 2015-16) in the French 1st division. But Angers SCO had not been in Ligue 1 for over two decades. Angers had previously been in the top flight in 1993-94, when they finished last and went straight back down, drawing just 4.8 K per game. Granted, Ligue 1′s average attendance back then (10.0 K cumulative average for Ligue 1 in 1993-94) was less than half of what it is now, twenty-two years later (22.2 K cumulative average for Ligue 1 in 2014-15). That rather long spell without top flight football in the area has made it the case that Angers’ fanbase never really grew that much. Of course, it didn’t help that between 1994 and 2007 Angers had suffered 3 separate spells in the 3rd division. Once they got back into the second tier in May 2007, the side began drawing in the 6-K-to-8.6-K range in Ligue 2 (for the last 8 seasons). Currently, Angers are averaging a decent 12.4 K, and are playing rather well – they sit second on 18 points from 9 matches, after beating Marseille away then beating Bastia at home, before the international break started in the third week of October 2015. Angers might not be able to keep up that pace, but they are looking to be positioned well to avoid the drop.

Gazélec Ajaccio, and their ground, Stade Ange Casanova
Photo credits above – Jersey, photo unattributed at Shot of Ajaccio old quarter and harbor, photo by Aude Balloide at Aerial shot of stadium, photo by Steafa at File:Ange-Casanova 2011.jpeg. Photo of primitive terrace behind one of the goals at the stadium, & shot of main stand, both photos unattributed at [thread: Ajaccio stadiums].

The city of Ajaccio has a population of around 65,000 {2010 figure}. Gazélec Ajaccio, who wear bright-brick-red/orange-&-dark-blue, are the second-biggest club in the Corsican capital (after current-2nd-tier club AJ Ajaccio), and are the third-biggest club on the island of Corsica. (The biggest Corsican club being, of course, current-1st-division club SC Bastia, who hail from Corsica’s second city, Bastia.) 2015-16 is Gazélec Ajaccio’s top flight debut. (Note: I could not find recent post-stadium-renovation photos of Gazélac’s Stade Ange Casanova, but now, wrt to the concrete-step-terraced-goal-stand [seen in the lower-right-hand-photo above]…that goal-stand now has a full set of hard-plastic seats bolted to the terrace-steps there. The whole stadium also got a stucco re-plastering and a new coat of white emulsion, and the tiny ground now has a 4.2-K-capacity.) In France, maybe 2 or 3 times a decade, a real minnow emerges from the lower leagues, often via back-to-back promotions (such as Gazélec Ajaccio just did, and such as Arles did in the 2008-to-2010-time-period). Then they go straight back down – such as Arles did in 2009-10, and such as Istres did in 2004-05. I hope this will not be the fate of Gazélec Ajaccio. But when you are talking about a club that had always drawn below 2.4 K for its entire lifetime (before top-flight-promotion), and a club who currently play in a stadium that only has a 4.2-K-capacity (for Ligue Un matches), well, you can see how the deck is stacked against them. And Gazélec Ajaccio are currently winless after 9 matches, and sit last in Ligue 1, on 3 points. {Update 7 weeks later, on 22 Nov. 2015: but then Gazélec Ajaccio won 4 in a row, beating Nice, Bordeaux, Reims away, and Bastia away in their derby. That fourth-straight win on 22 November, which moved Gazélec out of the relegation-zone to 16th place (and put Bastia into the drop-zone), featured an excellent 12-yard left-outside-foot flick/volley by Khalid Boutaib (see it here).}

Troyes (aka ESTAC), and their ground, Stade de l’Aube
Photo credits above – Shot of Troyes 2015-16 jersey, photo unattributed at Aerial shot of stadium and surrounding countryside outside of Troyes, photo unattributed at [thread: Troyes, Stade de l'Aube]. Old village street in Troyes, photo by, at Exterior of stadium at night, photo by Troyes aka ESTAC at Interor of stadium, photo from [the now-defunct site] via

Troyes is a city of around 60,000 {2012 figure}, and is located in the Champagne region of northern France. Troyes is situated on the Seine, about 150 km (or 93 mi) ENE and upriver from Paris. The town of Troyes has existed since the Roman era, and the old town boasts many extant half-timbered houses from the 16th Century (see photo of a nice cobble-stoned street in the old town in Troyes, above). The Troyes pro football club wears light-royal-blue with gold and navy accents, and bears the official and profoundly unwieldy name of Espérance Sportive Troyes Aube Champagne (ESTAC). But no English-speaking fans or media outlets that I have ever come across calls the club “Ess-tock”. And I really wonder whether any French football fans call them anything other than “Twah”. But the club sure expects people to call them ESTAC (“Ess-tock”), because their crest has that acronym spelled-out in large letters, and the club’s official website’s address is

Troyes play in the 21.6-K-capacity Stade de l’Aube, which has been around for over 90 years, but, as you can see above, is pretty up-to-date. Troyes can draw around 11-to-14 K in the top flight, and around 8-to-10 K in the second tier. Currently (mid-October 2015), Troyes are drawing 11.7 K.

The football club of Troyes had went under twice in the 20th Century. The first incarnation – named AS Troyes Savinienne – existed from 1900 to 1967, and played 8 seasons in the first division, mostly in the 1950s, and once made it to the final of the Coupe de France (in 1956, losing to Sedan-Ardennes). Then the second incarnation of Troyes were formed in 1970 (3 years after the first version were wound up), but Troyes Mark-2 – named Troyes Aube Football (TAF) – didn’t last the decade and went bankrupt in 1979. Then Troyes had no club to speak of for 7 years, until this present-day/third incarnation was established, in 1986. It then took Troyes/ESTAC 13 years to make it from the amateur divisions into the top flight – their first season in French football was in 1986-87, and then they won promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time in May 1999. 2015-16 will be Troyes/ESTAC’s 8th season in the top flight, with their previous Ligue 1 appearance being in 2011-12 (and before that, Troyes had a 2-season spell in Ligue 1 from 2005-06-to-2006-07). In other words, Troyes is a yo-yo club, and, sure enough, they are right back in a relegation battle, sitting second-to-last after 9 matches, winless, on 4 points.

New stadium for FC Girondins de Bordeaux & for the 2016 Euros [to be hosted by France] – the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux
Photo credits above -
Aerial photo of stadium in construction, photo unattributed at Interior of stadium on opening day with giant banner of Bordeaux supporter group les Ultramarines, photo by N. Tucat/AFP via Exterior view of stadium at evening, photo by/at 2015-16 Bordeaux kits, photo [segment] by Bordeaux crest/Girondins banner from
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of France, by Eric Gaba (aka Sting), at File:France location map-Regions and departements-2015.svg.

-Attendances and Ligue 1 stadium-capacities, from the excellent Ligue 1 official site,

-Gazélac Ajaccio 2013-14 attendance [3rd division], from E-F-S site,
-2014-15 stadium capacities (for league matches) from; 2014-15 Ligue 1/Stadia and location (

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