Daily Archives: October 6, 2009

Uruguay face tactical dilemma

“It’s South America’s newest force against the oldest when Ecuador meet Uruguay this Saturday in a crunch World Cup qualifier. It is a match with much to teach about the geography of the continent and the history of the game in this part of the world. Introduced mainly by the British, football first caught on in the South Cone, in Montevideo and Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo – a region that was going through large scale immigration and rapid urbanisation.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)

England: Non-League Football, attendance map for 4th October, 2009 (all clubs drawing above 600 per game- 45 clubs).

“Attendance in the Conference is up 10.5%. Last season, the final average attendance for the entire league as a whole was 1,857. This season, as of 4th October, 2009, the average is 2,051. The main reason is the huge gates, in Non-League terms, of Luton Town and Oxford United (in the 5,00o-6,000 range). The Oxford v. Luton match of 8th September (a Tuesday) drew 10,613. (!) Also, Mansfield Town, another former Football League club, is seeing a big upswing at the turnstiles, with a 40% increase from last season, to 3,392 per game. And one of the newly promoted clubs is AFC Wimbledon, who are seeing a 20% increase to 3,844 per game. Two more clubs in the Conference are drawing above 3,000 per game: Wrexham (3,734) and Cambridge United (3,032).” (billsportsmaps)

A Sinister, Merciless, Fickle Crowd

“At San Siro in Milan on a Saturday night, the game is three-quarters done, the team is not playing well, and the home crowd needs a focal point for its discontent. When Inter’s coach withdraws a player, he becomes the butt of their discontent. He is Sulley Muntari, and as his number is illuminated, the tifosi whistle and bay at him. Muntari’s tears are visible on the big screen. Sometimes we must ask, why must soccer be such a bear pit?” (NYT)

The Brazilian Darren Fletcher

“Liverpool, by any measure, have had a stuttering start to the season. Three losses in the league(more than last season already we are consistently told – although it wasn’t Liverpool’s losses last year that caused them to come 2nd in the league… rather the number of draws against weak opposition. Liverpool, after all, came top of the top four table by quite some margin. It did not matter a jot) and a poor, poor performance against Fiorentina can at best be called stuttering, at worst a crisis but is probably a shade closer to the former than the latter.” (Left Back in the Changing Room)

Top 10 Scottish Club Nights in Europe

“Scotland’s clubs have had many glory nights in European football history. To mark Rangers reaching the quarter final of the UEFA Cup in 2008 we’ve put together a Top 10 of the best of them. The dates perhaps reflect the waning influence, not just of Scottish clubs in Europe, but of all small nations. The behemoth that is the Champions League has seen to that. All the notable, recent achievements by Scottish sides have been completed by the Big 2 in Glasgow. Indeed, Celtic’s 2003 UEFA Cup campaign, knocking Barcelona and Liverpool out en route, came very close to inclusion.” (midfielddynamo)