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European Football 08/09 Season


kelley
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Anyone else here into Football, Futbol, Soccer? It's always been my favorite sport, still actively play it and follow it today.

 

In the English Premier League, I personally support the Super Blues, Pride of London, Chelsea FC. Rough year last season, but I think Gene Hackman...I mean Filipe Scolari will help guide us to the European glory we are after.

 

So anyone else here into it? Anyone interested in learning about it? If you have questions, post them here I'm sure they'll get answered.

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Anyone interested in learning about it?

 

I have always been interested. I grew up in a soccer family and played until my adult years. Love the World Cup, really got into Euro on ESPN.

 

How long is the season? How many teams are there and how are they configured? What is their "minor league" like? Am I still cool if I wear my Arsenal Dreamcast uniform? Does the Premier League champ play any of the other European league winners? Are any of the other European leagues remotely comperable to the Premier League? Why isn't there yet an organized European league? How is it the English can import collections of talent but are seemingly unable to mount a competitive national team?

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Hold on to your hats here it comes:

How long is the season?

Season opens mid August and ends mid May.

How many teams are there and how are they configured?

In the EPL there are 20 teams:

  • Arsenal F.C.
  • Aston Villa F.C
  • Blackburn Rovers F.C.
  • Bolton Wanderers F.C.
  • Chelsea F.C.
  • Everton F.C.
  • Fulham F.C.
  • Hull City F.C.
  • Liverpool F.C.
  • Manchester City F.C.
  • Manchester United F.C.
  • Middlesborough F.C.
  • Newcastle United F.C.
  • Portsmouth F.C.
  • Stoke City F.C.
  • Sunderland A.F.C.
  • Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
  • West Bromwich Albion F.C.
  • West Ham United F.C.
  • Wigan Athletic F.C.

There is one Table, the teams play each other twice, once home and once away. The Table order is kept by the number of points you have. You get 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and 0 points for a loss.

What is their "minor league" like?

There are several "minor leagues". The next league down from the EPL is the Championship. One interesting thing that is done between the leagues is Promotion and Relegation. The bottom 3 teams in the EPL at the end of the season get relegated to Championship league and then 3 teams from the Championship get promoted to the EPL. This works through the entire chain of "minor leagues".

Am I still cool if I wear my Arsenal Dreamcast uniform?

Sure, but why would you ;)

Does the Premier League champ play any of the other European league winners?

Yes! The greatest club competition in the world is called the UEFA Champions League, it features the top clubs from every club league in Europe. They play a system very much like the World Cup and EURO. Winning the Champions League is the greatest honor for a club. There is also the UEFA Cup for middle rung teams.

Are any of the other European leagues remotely comperable to the Premier League?

Yes:

England - Premier League

Italy - Serie A

Spain - La Liga

France - Ligue 1

Germany - Bundesliga

Why isn't there yet an organized European league?

Way too many teams, but you do get a taste of it with the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup.

How is it the English can import collections of talent but are seemingly unable to mount a competitive national team?

Some argue that its because they import all that talent that it doesn't allow the English players to rise up to the top in their home league. Some also say its the attitude of the English that because they invented Football they have a god given right to be the best. Some feel its the youth training system that is used in England. Some feel its because of PlayStation. There really is no one correct answer.

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Also EPL games are carried on Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports. They split the games between each other. One month Setanta will have all the great games, the next month Fox will. ESPN carries most of the Champions League matches along with Setanta. Rumors are that ESPN wants the EPL contract once it expires with Fox/Setanta and they have already proven in Europe they are willing to pay big for its rights. Rumors also state ESPN Classic is to go away and become ESPN Soccer. The EURO tournament was a ratings boom for ESPN.

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I'm a Scottish Premier League fan, particularly my home town team, Motherwell. I'm a big believer in supporting your local team, mainly because of the amount of bigotry and bias towards the two main teams in Scotland, Celtic and Rangers. I grew up going to football games with my dad and my friends, it's been a part of my life since I was around 10. I still keep up with them, but it's tough being so far away.

 

The SPL's nowhere near as glamorous as the English Premier or whatnot, but it's "my" league.

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I try to follow the EPL but have only really gotten back into soccer in the past year or so. Occasionally I'll catch a game of the Argentina league and Serie A as well.

 

I don't have any allegiance to any team so I'm just watching to watch some amazing players. I do admit I try to go out of my way to watch Christian Ronaldo play. What he can do with the ball is something amazing.

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I giggle when I try to imagine Brian as a football hooligan. :lol

 

I had friends in high school who were on the 'fringes' of the hooligans at Motherwell. Not my scene at all, I was a good little boy. Been on the fringes of fights back in the 80s, my dad would always say at the first sign of trouble, we jump over the (small) wall at the front of the terracing at Fir Park (Motherwell's ground). Fun days.

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Great info, Kelley. Thank you.

 

One interesting thing that is done between the leagues is Promotion and Relegation. The bottom 3 teams in the EPL at the end of the season get relegated to Championship league and then 3 teams from the Championship get promoted to the EPL. This works through the entire chain of "minor leagues".

 

That is genius! All sports should do that. I imagine it keeps the ownership competitive so you don't end up with teams like the baseball Royals or Pirates.

 

I'm a Scottish Premier League fan, particularly my home town team, Motherwell. I'm a big believer in supporting your local team, mainly because of the amount of bigotry and bias towards the two main teams in Scotland, Celtic and Rangers. I grew up going to football games with my dad and my friends, it's been a part of my life since I was around 10. I still keep up with them, but it's tough being so far away.

 

So, the Scottish Premier League teams don't play the EPL teams unless they meet in tournament play? I assumed that the name "English" Premier League was just a name but that it would include teams from all of the UK. However, when I saw Kelley's list of 20 EPL teams it became obvious just how regional it is.

 

How can so many professional teams be sustained? Drawing from US pro sports there is certainly a maximum limit on how many teams can be financially viable and remotely be competitive. Seeing 20 EPL teams in so many medium sized cities/neighborhoods just seems odd to me.

 

Assuming the same is true of the other European leagues there must be a huge gap between the average European pro and the superstars. Having only been exposed to the World Cup and Euro top talent I imagine the superstars can really stand out at the club level.

 

A couple more questions, if you don't mind:

 

Is there a league salary cap? -how is parity maintained?

What is the average salary among EPL players?

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So, the Scottish Premier League teams don't play the EPL teams unless they meet in tournament play?

 

Just in European tournaments or friendlies, correct. Technically, there's Welsh teams in the English leagues too.

 

How can so many professional teams be sustained? Drawing from US pro sports there is certainly a maximum limit on how many teams can be financially viable and remotely be competitive. Seeing 20 EPL teams in so many medium sized cities/neighborhoods just seems odd to me.

 

Most teams do not operate on the same budgets as Manchester United or Chelsea. Additionally, you have to factor history into it - there's no concept of "franchises" in most European sports (certainly not football), teams are where they are because of where they were founded by and large. Teams grew out of their community and continue to draw on those communities for their support by and large - again, Man Utd etc are the exceptions, not the rule.

 

Is there a league salary cap? -how is parity maintained?

What is the average salary among EPL players?

 

No salary cap that I know of. Here's some salary details for the EPL from 2006. Parity isn't maintained. There's no draft, no caps etc. These leagues aren't set up like the NFL and don't pretend to be. Most clubs aren't successful and are financially close to the wall. Outside of the EPL, it's more pronounced - clubs are on smaller budgets with less "glamour" compared to the upper echelon of the EPL. Again, a lot of this is historical, and also the EPL was a breakaway from the "traditional" English League structure specifically set up to benefit the big top tier clubs and set them up better for success in Europe.

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There are a lot of debates about letting in Rangers and Celtic into the EPL, those two teams have won the SPL title for something like 13 years in a row. They really have a death grip on the SPL trophy. If they were in the EPL they'd get more money from TV revenue, but would also probably be lucky to be mid table teams their first few years.

 

How can so many professional teams be sustained? Drawing from US pro sports there is certainly a maximum limit on how many teams can be financially viable and remotely be competitive. Seeing 20 EPL teams in so many medium sized cities/neighborhoods just seems odd to me.

Big money in TV, supporter fees, ticket sales, merch sales. Also something different from American supports is the way player trades happen. In Football, they sell players and they are only allowed to do it at 2 times a year. Right now is one of those times and the other is January. Lets say a lower table team has a hot striker they found in Peru, well that guy would easily bring in 15+ million to the club in player transfer fees if they sell him to a bigger club. A lot of times they'll also have appearance fees and cup fees tied into the transfer bid, so if that hot striker wins the Champions League, the team that bought him could have to send more money to the smaller club they got him from.

 

Assuming the same is true of the other European leagues there must be a huge gap between the average European pro and the superstars. Having only been exposed to the World Cup and Euro top talent I imagine the superstars can really stand out at the club level.

They can, but most of the big teams who own those superstars have more then just one superstar on their team. Look at Real Madrid, that is the biggest club in the world and they got there by spending big money buying all the superstars they could get. Their big competitor in La Liga is FC Barcelona and they do the same thing.

Is there a league salary cap? -how is parity maintained?

No salary cap, you are either blessed with a rich owner or your mid table.

What is the average salary among EPL players?

I think its about 40,000 - 50,000 GBP a week, which is 80,000 - 100,000 USD a week. Big stars easily make over 100,000 GBP a week, Chelsea's captain John Terry, who is also captain of England's MNT, makes about 126,000 GBP a week currently I think.

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Also in the EPL there are what is called the Big 4, they are Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea. They are the richest of the rich in England, all three of them were in the semi-finals of the Champions League last year, with Chelsea and Manure being in the final.

 

Here are some of the other big teams in each league:

Spain - Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

 

France - Marseille and Lyon, who have won Ligue 1 an amazing 7 times in a row now.

 

Italy - AC Milan and Inter Milan

 

Germany - Bayern Munich

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  • 5 months later...
  • 4 months later...

Kaka transfers to Real Madrid for a cool 68m euro or $95million dollars.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=653534&sec=transfers&cc=5901

 

This is the world record for a 'football' transfer. It blew the previous record out of the water by over 20m euro.

Word is they are not done and are looking at several other world class studs to add to their arsenal(no pun intended).

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It's the return of the Galacticos, which Perez built also. The previous world record transfer was another Perez transfer, and that was the greatest player ever going from Juventus to Real Madrid.

 

Supposedly next on the list for Perez is Ronaldo.

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