Bournemouth, Tranmere Rovers, And The Letter “B”

AFC Bournemouth have just been promoted to the top tier of English football for the first time (since they joined the Football League in 1923). Tranmere Rovers have been relegated to the Conference, losing their place in the Football League for the first time since they first joined in 1921.

The two clubs were amongst a small number that had spent more than 5 seasons in the second tier without ever playing in the first tier:

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Years Ending With …

So Germany have won the World Cup. Which means that, since the resumption of the World Cup after World War II, they have won every World Cup held in a year ending with the number “4”, except for 1994 (winning it in 1990 instead). Germany (or West Germany before re-unification) have won the World Cup in 1954 (in Switzerland), 1974 (in West Germany), 1990 (in Italy) and now 2014 (in Brazil).

Which brings me back back to an old superstition – Spurs winning the FA Cup in years ending with the number “1”:
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Englishness Of The Premier League (Or The Lack Of It)

On BBC News:

“Foreign footballers now appear in almost two thirds of minutes played in the Premier League ….

A BBC Sport study has calculated the total minutes played by each nationality in the English top flight, ….

English players made up the highest percentage of minutes played in the Premier League at 31.8% of the total, with French players second and Spanish third.”

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Years In The Fourth Tier

With the relegation of Hartlepool United from League One, three of the four clubs that have spent the most number of seasons in the fourth tier of English professional football are back there.

The club with the most number of seasons in the fourth tier, Rochdale, are also only recently returned, having been relegated from League One the season before.  Rochdale also hold the record for the longest continuous spell for any club in the fourth tier – 36 years from 1974 to 2010, which was brought to an end by their promotion in 2010 followed by two seasons in the third tier.

Below is a list of clubs that have spend 20 or more seasons in the fourth tier since it was formed in 1958:

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FA Cup Final 2013 – Manchester City v Wigan Athletic

Moving away from the distraction of David Moyes replacing Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, three weeks ago, I noted:

The cup finals in England, Spain and Italy this season all involve two clubs from the same city/metropolitan area – all Madrid final in Spain, all Rome final in Italy and all Greater Manchester final in England.

Double checked, and Wigan is part of the Greater Manchester metropolitan county, but not part of the Greater Manchester urban area.

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Replacing Alex Ferguson

My first reaction, yesterday:

The press have appointed David Moyes as Ferguson’s successor. Will he follow in the footsteps of Wilf McGuinness or Frank O’Farrell?

Man Utd would be better off trying to coax Jupp Heynckes out of retirement, as least for 3 years. You need an experienced and successful interim between a legend and younger man for the long term (and Moyes isn’t it) – if nothing else, to the reduce the immediacy of the shadow that will be cast.

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Changing Dominance In The Champions League

The Wikipedia article entitled “European Cup and UEFA Champions League history” addresses periods of dominance by countries or clubs.  What it doesn’t address is how the advent in 1997 of having more than one club qualify from certain countries has influenced which countries dominate the competition.  The dominant footballing nations of European club football, Italy, Spain, England and Germany, have benefitted.

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Last Eight To Finals Of The League Cup, 2012-2013

The 2013 League Cup Final on 24 February 2013 between Swansea City and Bradford City has been notable for the following:

  • Swansea City are the first Welsh club to win the League Cup.
  • This is only the second occasion that a Welsh club has won either of the two major domestic cup competitions in England.  The previous occasion was in 1927, when Cardiff City defeated Arsenal in the FA Cup Final.   The only other occasions a Welsh club has reached the final of either cup competition were in 1925, 2008 and 2012, with Cardiff City losing on each occasion – 1925 FA Cup Final 0-1 to Sheffield United, 2008 FA Cup 0-1 to Portsmouth and 2012 League Cup Final on penalties to Liverpool after a 2-2 draw.
  • Bradford City are only second fourth tier club to reach the final of either of the two major domestic cup competitions in England.  The first Rochdale, who also reached the League Cup Final, in 1962, losing over two legs to Norwich City 0-4 on aggregate.

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