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  #1  
Old 02-27-2012, 01:43 AM
magellan01 magellan01 is offline
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Explain Soccer Leagues To Me

I'm in the U.S. and know squat about soccer. I'm trying to understand if each European/South American/Middle Eastern/Asian country has professional leagues like the NFL here in the state. I've looked around quite a bit and am getting confused by the number of teams and which teams, or leagues, would be the equivalent of the pro teams here in the U.S. The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all have about 30 teams. I'm assuming that the "pros" in these countries would have about that number of teams. Is that right?

Basically, I'm trying to understand how many teams out there would have strong fan followings like the major league football teams, etc. have in the U.S.

Any guidance is much appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 02-27-2012, 02:06 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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About every single team has a following, but define "strong". Many minor league teams don't have enough of a following to sell nameplated T-shirts, but so long as they have enough of one to maintain their field they'll keep playing.

In Spain the Liga is divided into several divisions; the uppermost is Primera (First), with teams from all over the country including (most of) those who go to international competitions; Segunda (Second) is country-wide as well; Tercera (Third) is divided into 18 regional groups (which may not necessarily correspond to administrative regions). There's even-lower groups below that, which are organized by the 19 regional federations and vary names by region.

All of them have enough of a following to pay for a playing field, and the majority (at least from Third on up) have a school which may rank from "slightly more prestigious than having your kid play for his school" to "OMG can I have your kid's autograph?"

Primera has 20 teams. Every year, the worst ones move down to Second and are replaced by the best from Second (I think it's 2 right now but that there have been times it was 3); similar promotions are held at every level. The most Primera has had was 22 teams, for two seasons in the 1950s. Four of the current Primera teams are owned by their fans (Athletic de Bilbao, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Osasuna), the rest are the property of Corporations which work like any other company; Bilbao, Barša and Madrid are also the only three teams which have always stayed in Primera. There's a total of nine teams which have never been below Segunda. The oldest team in Spain, Recreativo de Huelva, is not currently in Primera. A team may get kicked down to Segunda if it fails to meet its financial obligations; this could (and has) save another team which didn't play so well but did pay.

My brother follows both Barša and Osasuna, and for the longest time couldn't even say for sure which one was "his" main team. He eventually figured it out one day that our Barša-Barša-Barša cousin dissed Osasuna... yep, Osasuna first. Like him, many people follow one or more local teams as well as one of the big ones.

There is a yearly competition, Copa, which involves every team from Primera and Segunda. It raises as much passion as the Liga itself, specially when a Segunda team manages to kick out a big Primera (specially Madrid or Barša; people love kicking a fallen giant). At the same time, when international competitions come up, people will forget local relationships to cheer for "our" team... mind you, this has been known to cause trouble deciding which one is "our" team when we had, say, a Manchester full of Spaniards and coached by a Spaniard meeting a Barša where even the dog spoke foreign.

The Copa winner gets to go to international competitions, so you can have a Segunda travelling abroad to meet some of the biggest names in the sport.

Have I confused you enough?

Last edited by Nava; 02-27-2012 at 02:07 AM..
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  #3  
Old 02-27-2012, 02:21 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Not a soccer fan myself but from what I understand the leagues do not have fixed teams. Teams in the top league can be kicked down to a minor league if their performance drops off and a minor league team can rise up into the top league.

Interesting concept. It would be something to see the Virginia Destroyers or the Albany Metro Mallers challenging the Indianapolis Colts for their spot in the NFL.
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  #4  
Old 02-27-2012, 03:19 AM
The Niply Elder The Niply Elder is offline
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Most countries top division have 20 teams, who play round robin tournaments, twice a year, which works nicely with a few weeks rest between tourneys. To win a tourney, you add up 3 points per win, 1 point for tie, nothing for a loss. Whichever teams gets the most points, wins, and it's not uncommon for a team to be declared champion weeks before the 19th game (the runners up mathematically eliminated from reaching them). The promotion/relegation concept is pure genius. The above mentioned scheme for points earned per game is tracked, each teams three year running average point per game is calculated every June. As nava said, the bottom 2 (sometimes 4) teams in the top division have to play the top 2 (or 4) teams in second division. So, expanding on the concept, the last team of top division plays the top team of second division twice, once in each team's home turf. Total goals are added up for both games, if there is a tie, it goes to penalties. This way the team in top division still has a chance to redeem themselves and stay in top league. The other teams do the same thing, second worst team of top league plays against second best of second division, etc. the whole scheme is much more of a meritocracy, which is the whole concept of sports. Also, if the second division teams earn their spot, they stay at least one year (two tournaments), and if their one year points per game average (after their first year competing) is better than three other teams (even established teams with three year average) then they stay out of the "relegation zone". Many small teams can only muster to stay on top for one year every ten or twenty years, if ever.

The top division usually plays Fridays, saturdays and sundays. Then there are other prestigious tournaments where all teams strive to qualify for, such as the UEFA Champions League (Europe), or Copa Libertadores (S. America). Usually each country is allowed a fixed number of spots (3-5, usually 4), and the top teams from each top division will participate. Usually these games are played during the weekday, also these tournaments take place every year. Finally the winner of the UEFA and the winner of the Libertadores will play a Club World Cup game in japan. Additionally there are a number of other prestigious competitions, too numerous to count, not to even mention the tournaments that national teams play (World Cup, olympics, Euro Cup, Copa America, etc)
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  #5  
Old 02-27-2012, 03:45 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by The Niply Elder View Post
As nava said, the bottom 2 (sometimes 4) teams in the top division have to play the top 2 (or 4) teams in second division. So, expanding on the concept, the last team of top division plays the top team of second division twice, once in each team's home turf.
Spain has no promotion liguilla between Primera and Segunda, although there is at lower levels. The bottom of Primera moves to Segunda, the top of Segunda moves to Primera, but at lower levels there are a bunch of teams which would qualify to move up, so they have a liguilla round among themselves (the ones moving down are not included).
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  #6  
Old 02-27-2012, 04:11 AM
polar bear polar bear is online now
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The previous responses are correct, but not every league is the same. Firstly, there are three kinds of competitions in European football:

- Every country has one ore more proffesional leagues, the number of teams in the top league of any given country is usually 20 (but 18 is common as well). Smaller countries (Scotland for instance) can have leagues with as few as ten teams. These teams play each other twice (home and away) during the season and you get 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. At the end of the season the team with the most point wins; this is the main national title in any country (so like winning the world series, super bowl, etc.). This team will be called 'the champions' for the next year. Every league has its own rules about how many (of the worst performing) teams drop down to a lower league. Some just lose their place, while others might have the chance to keep their position by playing a play-off with one of the better teams of the lower division. For instance: A league might have the rule that the two bottom teams of the 1st league are relegated, with the third wordt playing a playoff. This means the two best teams of the second league are automatically promoted, while the third best team plays in the playoff.

- Every country has a cup competition, with all teams from all proffessional leagues (and some amateur teams as well) competing. This is a tournament set up where the winner advances to the next round. In some countries (Spain), the teams play each other twice so both have the home advantage once; while in other countries (England) they play just the once and home advantage is decided by luck (the draw). This competition is considered a nice prize, but far less important than winning the league. England btw also has a second cup competition (which was just won by Liverpool yesterday), because they like it when players get injured from too many games.

- The third competitions are the European cups. This is where the better teams from each country (based on the league results of the previous season) meet each other. The important one is the Champions League and this is basically where the money is. Since the better soccer nations (England, Italy, Spain, Germany) are allowed to register 4 teams in this competition, you will often hear people talking about the importance of finishing in the top 4 of the league (which means admitance to next season's Champions league).
The competition officially starts in the summer where lesser teams (for instance fro Estonia or Macedonia) can try to qualify for the proper Champions League. This starts in August or September (just like the major leagues) and firstly consists of a 4 team group and after the round robins (home and away) the best two continue to the 'knock-out stage'. Here teams play each other twice and the winners progress to the next round, culminating in two teams that play a single final game (kind of like the superbowl) on neutral teritory (unless the home team of the elected venue happens to reach the final).
The othe European cup (the Euroleague) is similar, but with the lesser teams (nr5-7 from the top leagues) and is far less prestiguous.

In any country the top teams will have a strong following, while many smaller teams have a group of die-hard fans. In countries like Spain, England, Germany pretty much every top league team has a large following (and some lower league teams as well. In the Netherlands (no longer a top league) I think there are at least 6 teams that average can considered to have 'large followings'. All depends on you definition of large.
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  #7  
Old 02-27-2012, 05:28 AM
blindboyard blindboyard is offline
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Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
I'm in the U.S. and know squat about soccer. I'm trying to understand if each European/South American/Middle Eastern/Asian country has professional leagues like the NFL here in the state. I've looked around quite a bit and am getting confused by the number of teams and which teams, or leagues, would be the equivalent of the pro teams here in the U.S. The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all have about 30 teams. I'm assuming that the "pros" in these countries would have about that number of teams. Is that right?

Basically, I'm trying to understand how many teams out there would have strong fan followings like the major league football teams, etc. have in the U.S.

Any guidance is much appreciated.
Most countries have their own professional leagues, although not always. Small countries sometimes don't, like Lichenstein. Wales has a few professional teams, mostly being a Rugby country, but those teams play in the English leagues, while the native league is amateur.

England has about a hundred professional football teams, including the handful of Welsh teams. The League has ninety two professional teams split across four divisions from high to low. There are a few professional teams outside the league, as the English football leagues extend in a single competition from the teams with stadiums holding tens of thousands to those with a few dozen attendees, with all the professionals having at least a couple of thousand average home attendances. The top division has twenty teams, the other three twenty four each.

Other countries have things set up differently. Scotland has a couple of dozen professional teams, only a dozen in the top flight, but most European countries have the same basic setup with a league of teams each playing one another home and away and with promotion and relegation between divisions, and with the best getting a chance to play in European competition. A lot fo the South American teams divide the season into a apertura and clausura, a shorter league season followed by something like the playoffs in American sports, rather than separate league and cup competitions as in Europe. Africa and Asia have various different systems, some playing at different times of the year from being in the Southern Hemisphere or in the polar regions, as with Russia.

There's also the Toyota Cup, played between the clubs which are the champions of each continent, which hasn't really caught on.
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  #8  
Old 02-27-2012, 05:56 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Re promotion and relegation, the system in England is somewhat simpler than described above.

Each team in each division plays every other team in that division twice (once at home, once away), and gets three points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. At the end of the season, the bottom three clubs are relegated to the next lower division, and three teams are promoted to the next higher division - these being made up of the top two teams (automatic promotion) plus the winner of a series of "play-off" matches between the teams who finished in third to sixth places.

This year, for instance, the three "new" teams in the Premier League are Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City and Swansea City. West Ham United, Blackpool and Birmingham City were relegated last season and now play in the Championship.

The order of the leagues in England is as follows:

Premier League

then the "Football League" consisting of three divisions:

Football League Championship
Football League One
Football League Two


then you get into "non-league" football, but there is still promotion and relegation between League Two and the next level down, and so on...

Conference National
Conference North / Conference South


The Conference is the lowest nationwide division. Below that are the Conference North and the Conference South, which as the names suggest are regional. By this level, teams are mostly semi-professional, i.e. the players will have other jobs as well as being footballers.

Part of the appeal of the football league system is that it is possible for a tiny non-league team to win promotion into the football league and ultimately into the Premier League (although without some serious cash behind them this is rather unlikely!)




(Under the old system it was even simpler - there were four divisions called Division One through Division Four. The old Division One split off to become the Premier League in 1992, and the remaining three divisions were then numbered One to Three instead of Two to Four. Then a few years later the new Division One became the Championship, while Divisions Two and Three (the old Three and Four) became League One and League Two. Got it?)

Last edited by Colophon; 02-27-2012 at 05:59 AM..
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  #9  
Old 02-27-2012, 06:01 AM
blindboyard blindboyard is offline
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Average attendances in the top five English leagues:
http://www.emfootball.co.uk/attend.html

Global list of leagues by average attendance:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...sports_leagues
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  #10  
Old 02-27-2012, 07:41 AM
MarcusF MarcusF is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Not a soccer fan myself but from what I understand the leagues do not have fixed teams. Teams in the top league can be kicked down to a minor league if their performance drops off and a minor league team can rise up into the top league.

Interesting concept. It would be something to see the Virginia Destroyers or the Albany Metro Mallers challenging the Indianapolis Colts for their spot in the NFL.
No expert so somebody correct me if I am wrong but as I understand it the major difference - and why you won't get promotion/relegation in American Football - is that the basic commercial entity in the UK, and most other countries, is the club whereas in the States it is the League.

In the UK the clubs - which can be privately owned, publically owned or mutuals - were all started as specific local entities which all came together to form a league with rules for moving up and down depending on success during the season. In the States the League came first and grants a franchise to an owner to form a club an play in the league. The owner has paid for the franchise to be part of the league so can't be kicked out at the end of the season!

This also means that the American leagues have a considerable interest in trying to keep competition even so that all teams have a chance to compete and possibly win. They also have the power to do so. The NFL is set up to strengthen the weakest teams through the draft and a salary cap and prevent the richest teams running away with it each year. Obviously not perfect but overall the gap is a lot less than in the UK.

In England for some years there have been four clubs with the financial muscle to dominate the Premiership - they can buy in top players from across the world. This can be from merchantising and ticket sales but is much more likely to be from rich owners willing to put up the cash to buy success e.g the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, and this means that new teams can get in the hunt if they find a rich sugardaddy, for instance Sheikh Mansour who bought Manchester City a couple of years ago. Money does not guarantee success but without it a team is unlikely to make it into the top four which guarantees European Champions' League football and more money to keep the success going.
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  #11  
Old 02-27-2012, 10:23 AM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by MarcusF View Post
In the UK the clubs - which can be privately owned, publically owned or mutuals - were all started as specific local entities which all came together to form a league with rules for moving up and down depending on success during the season. In the States the League came first and grants a franchise to an owner to form a club an play in the league. The owner has paid for the franchise to be part of the league so can't be kicked out at the end of the season!
That's pretty much true, though there's a few nuances:

- The teams within an American professional sports league are still independent entities; the league is essentially a co-operative trust between the teams. This is why the pro sports leagues have special anti-trust exemptions from the U.S. government; any other group of businesses acting the way pro sports teams do would be prosecuted under anti-trust laws.

- In some cases (mostly baseball and football), there are teams which pre-dated the formation of their leagues (for example, the organization which evolved into the NFL was founded in 1920, but the Packers and Cardinals were both local "club teams" which operated prior to 1920). However, that's not a relevant distinction anymore, and those teams don't have any difference in how they operate within their leagues than do the newer teams.

- Another big reason why we don't have relegation / promotion in U.S. sports is the difference in the structure of "leagues" beneath the top pro league. In baseball and hockey, the "next league down" is the minor leagues, and each team in those leagues is an affiliate of a major-league team (and many of the players on the minor-league team are actually under contract with the major-league team). In the case of football and basketball, while there are smaller pro leagues (Arena football, the NBA's developmental league), it could be argued that the "next league down" is actually NCAA Division 1 ball.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 02-27-2012 at 10:24 AM..
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:05 PM
ticker ticker is offline
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
- Another big reason why we don't have relegation / promotion in U.S. sports is the difference in the structure of "leagues" beneath the top pro league. In baseball and hockey, the "next league down" is the minor leagues, and each team in those leagues is an affiliate of a major-league team (and many of the players on the minor-league team are actually under contract with the major-league team). In the case of football and basketball, while there are smaller pro leagues (Arena football, the NBA's developmental league), it could be argued that the "next league down" is actually NCAA Division 1 ball.
In England, and probably elsewhere, it is against the rules for two teams to have financial ties, even if they are separated by several divisions. This is to prevent conflict of interest if they should meet. This could happen e.g. in the FA Cup competition, which is a knock-out competition run in parallel with the leagues where any team could potentially meet any other.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:45 PM
magellan01 magellan01 is offline
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This has been massively helpful. Thanks. It sound pretty confusing, but I guess if you grow up with it it's second nature.

Let me ask this. If you were to make and sell, say, hats, for some teams, which ones would you do? I don't need the actual names of teams, but would you do the Top 10, Top 50? Top 100? I'm trying to figure out where the fanship falls off in the soccer world. Here in the U.S it's pretty easy, after the pro teams, there's almost no local following *other than college sports, which is huge in and of itself). So, which leagues might make the most sense? And, is there as much enthusiasm for the national team as the top league teams?

Also, I'm trying to find a list as to how one would refer to one player on each team? Akin to:

Someone who plays on the Boston Celtics is a Celtic
Someone who plays on the New York Yankees is a Yankee
Someone who plays on the Denver Broncos is a Bronco
Someone who plays on the Chicago Blackhawks is a Blackhawk

Someone who plays on Manchester United is a _____________?

I tried to google via team nicknames, but that was giving me what I was looking for. I did google Manchester United and via Wikipedia see that they are called the Red Devils. But how official is that? And is there a list someone can point me to? Here's one, but it seems to be a bit of a mess.

I did find this article quite interesting, but I'm hoping that things are not so nuanced for every team. Or if they are, if there's a safe alternative, like "Patrick Ewing was a Knick".

Thanks, again.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:53 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
This has been massively helpful. Thanks. It sound pretty confusing, but I guess if you grow up with it it's second nature.

Let me ask this. If you were to make and sell, say, hats, for some teams, which ones would you do? I don't need the actual names of teams, but would you do the Top 10, Top 50? Top 100?
Definitely the Premier League, which is 20 teams, and the Championship, which is another 24 teams.

Because of the promotion and relegation each year, and the changes in fortunes of teams, some current Championship teams are probably more "famous" (or at least more historically significant) than some current Premier League teams. E.g. Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Crystal Palace (now in the Championship) were fairly "big names" when I was a teenager in the 1980s, whereas Stoke City and Swansea City (currently in the Premier League) didn't really figure on the radar.

Even the third tier (League One) features several teams that have been regulars in the top flight in the past, e.g. Sheffield United (who were in the Premier League just five years ago), Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic.


Quote:
Also, I'm trying to find a list as to how one would refer to one player on each team? Akin to:

Someone who plays on the Boston Celtics is a Celtic
Someone who plays on the New York Yankees is a Yankee
Someone who plays on the Denver Broncos is a Bronco
Someone who plays on the Chicago Blackhawks is a Blackhawk

Someone who plays on Manchester United is a _____________?

I tried to google via team nicknames, but that was giving me what I was looking for. I did google Manchester United and via Wikipedia see that they are called the Red Devils. But how official is that?
Red Devils is an "official" nickname, in that the team themselves use it, but you don't really tend to refer to players by the team nickname. You wouldn't say "Wayne Rooney is a Red Devil".

Last edited by Colophon; 02-27-2012 at 12:57 PM..
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  #15  
Old 02-27-2012, 12:53 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by ticker View Post
In England, and probably elsewhere, it is against the rules for two teams to have financial ties, even if they are separated by several divisions. This is to prevent conflict of interest if they should meet. This could happen e.g. in the FA Cup competition, which is a knock-out competition run in parallel with the leagues where any team could potentially meet any other.
Once upon a time (i.e., particularly before WWII), the minor leagues in baseball were often independent of any ties to the major leagues -- and there were a lot more of them. Back then, the American and National Leagues, while they were widely seen as being the highest level of the game, were somewhat regional -- St. Louis represented both the western and southern reach of the leagues, and there was no TV to carry MLB games to the rest of the nation. While fans in the rest of the country certainly followed the majors (in print, and maybe on radio), baseball fans also likely followed their local minor-league team closely, too.

While there are still low-level leagues (such as the Northern League) in which the teams are independent, teams in the "high minors", as well as many low-minor teams, now comprise the "farm systems" for MLB teams.
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:03 PM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
Looks like it got started in alphabetical order, then merged with another one which was organized by geography... I can verify that the ones I'm familiar with are correct, but that's only a small amount. And now you know where Red Fury got his name .

Quote:
I did find this article quite interesting, but I'm hoping that things are not so nuanced for every team. Or if they are, if there's a safe alternative, like "Patrick Ewing was a Knick".
The safe alternative would be to call them what they call themselves, if there's more than one nick.

I know a few for Spanish teams, but many are repeated, specially those which are a direct description of their usual uniform. For example, Espanyol (aka los periquitos, the parakeets) are often called los blanquiazules by sports reporters (not by regular folk) - both periquitos and blanquiazules refer to their usual equipment (white and light-blue striped shirt, white shorts), but while periquitos is exclusive afaik (at least within Spain, I can't promise there isn't another team with that nick somewhere in Latin America), blanquiazules can be used for any other team with a similar shirt... Sometimes the equipment itself gets a nickname: there was a year when Barša's second uniforms were orange; both the uniform itself and the team when they wore it were called naranjitos ("little (m) oranges"), after the Spain '82 mascot.




In Spain, many tourist shops carry paraphernalia for both Barša and Madrid. You can easily find paraphernalia for any team in Primera and don't need to look too hard for stuff from those in Segunda. Some teams (Getafe, in Primera this year but from a town that's part of the Madrid metropolitan area so no strong regional feelings) will be harder to find than others (Real Sociedad or Celta de Vigo to name two have strong regional followings no matter what division they're playing in).

Last edited by Nava; 02-27-2012 at 01:08 PM..
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:18 PM
magellan01 magellan01 is offline
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Looks like it got started in alphabetical order, then merged with another one which was organized by geography... I can verify that the ones I'm familiar with are correct, but that's only a small amount. And now you know where Red Fury got his name .

The safe alternative would be to call them what they call themselves, if there's more than one nick.

I know a few for Spanish teams, but many are repeated, specially those which are a direct description of their usual uniform. For example, Espanyol (aka los periquitos, the parakeets) are often called los blanquiazules by sports reporters (not by regular folk) - both periquitos and blanquiazules refer to their usual equipment (white and light-blue striped shirt, white shorts), but while periquitos is exclusive afaik (at least within Spain, I can't promise there isn't another team with that nick somewhere in Latin America), blanquiazules can be used for any other team with a similar shirt... Sometimes the equipment itself gets a nickname: there was a year when Barša's second uniforms were orange; both the uniform itself and the team when they wore it were called naranjitos ("little (m) oranges"), after the Spain '82 mascot.

In Spain, many tourist shops carry paraphernalia for both Barša and Madrid. You can easily find paraphernalia for any team in Primera and don't need to look too hard for stuff from those in Segunda. Some teams (Getafe, in Primera this year but from a town that's part of the Madrid metropolitan area so no strong regional feelings) will be harder to find than others (Real Sociedad or Celta de Vigo to name two have strong regional followings no matter what division they're playing in).
This is very helpful. Thanks. I need this kind of info for all of soccerdom. And if I kind find it in a nice little list, I will be elated.
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  #18  
Old 02-27-2012, 01:50 PM
Rayne Man Rayne Man is offline
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The English team Northampton Town hold the dubious distinction of rising from the fourth division up to the first division and then back to the fourth division in the space of just 9 years between 1961 and 1970.
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:48 PM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
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Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
This has been massively helpful. Thanks. It sound pretty confusing, but I guess if you grow up with it it's second nature.

Let me ask this. If you were to make and sell, say, hats, for some teams, which ones would you do? I don't need the actual names of teams, but would you do the Top 10, Top 50? Top 100? I'm trying to figure out where the fanship falls off in the soccer world. Here in the U.S it's pretty easy, after the pro teams, there's almost no local following *other than college sports, which is huge in and of itself). So, which leagues might make the most sense? And, is there as much enthusiasm for the national team as the top league teams?
The clubs are very well supported. All the top 100 will sell merchandise and have season-ticket holders, maybe more. It's often difficult to convey to Americans how enthusiastic the most ardent supporters are about their club - it can be a club that's nowhere near the top division and some supporters will still be willing to (literally) fight and kill for it. The different sets of fans have to be strictly separated in the stadium itself as well as before and after the game, and alcohol isn't allowed in the stands. If the game is a major local derby or a passionate rivalry like Liverpool vs Man United, the amount of police required for it can be enormous. There's even greater enthusiasm for the national team, because everyone supports them.

Quote:
Also, I'm trying to find a list as to how one would refer to one player on each team? Akin to:

Someone who plays on the Boston Celtics is a Celtic
Someone who plays on the New York Yankees is a Yankee
Someone who plays on the Denver Broncos is a Bronco
Someone who plays on the Chicago Blackhawks is a Blackhawk

Someone who plays on Manchester United is a _____________?
We don't do that in England. Someone who plays for Manchester United is just a Man United player. Chelsea player, Liverpool player, etc. Same goes for fans.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:57 PM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
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Here's a link to the BBC football table page. The first table that comes up is the Premier League table (the top division). The way the club names are written there is genuinely how they're referred to in speech: Manchester City and Manchester United are usually abbreviated to "Man City" and "Man United". The rest of the clubs are basically just called by their place names, eg. Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea, Stoke. The only exceptions there are Queens Park Rangers who are always called "QPR" and Wolverhampton Wanderers who are always called "Wolves".
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  #21  
Old 02-27-2012, 06:36 PM
magellan01 magellan01 is offline
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The clubs are very well supported. All the top 100 will sell merchandise and have season-ticket holders, maybe more. It's often difficult to convey to Americans how enthusiastic the most ardent supporters are about their club - it can be a club that's nowhere near the top division and some supporters will still be willing to (literally) fight and kill for it. The different sets of fans have to be strictly separated in the stadium itself as well as before and after the game, and alcohol isn't allowed in the stands. If the game is a major local derby or a passionate rivalry like Liverpool vs Man United, the amount of police required for it can be enormous. There's even greater enthusiasm for the national team, because everyone supports them.



We don't do that in England. Someone who plays for Manchester United is just a Man United player. Chelsea player, Liverpool player, etc. Same goes for fans.
I saw somewhere that Manchester United were the Red Devils. Is that not used the same way Blackhawks is used here in the U.S. Also. if you look at the sidebar, you'll see that here Brazil's national team has the nickname Canarinho (little canary). How/when might that and Red Devil be used?

Oh, and thanks for the helpful info and links.
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  #22  
Old 02-27-2012, 06:53 PM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
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Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
I saw somewhere that Manchester United were the Red Devils. Is that not used the same way Blackhawks is used here in the U.S. Also. if you look at the sidebar, you'll see that here Brazil's national team has the nickname Canarinho (little canary). How/when might that and Red Devil be used?

Oh, and thanks for the helpful info and links.
Not really. Man United do technically have the nickname Red Devils but no one would ever call them that in practice. The only time you ever see it is on merchandise. If you said "I support the Red Devils" or "Wayne Rooney is a Red Devil" people probably wouldn't even understand you. English football just doesn't use nicknames like that in the way American teams do. I don't know about Brazil or other cultures; they might do.
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:42 PM
Ian D. Bergkamp Ian D. Bergkamp is offline
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Yeah, Manchester United is a poor example for nicknames, because the club and its supporters don't really use them, other than shortening the name of the club to "Man United." Some teams do use them, though. Arsenal, for example, uses "the Gunners" and it's not unusual to refer to an Arsenal player as a Gunner (fans, however, are "gooners"). Similarly, Liverpool supporters refer to themselves and the players as "Reds."

For that matter, colors get used as nicknames a lot in England. Lots of Reds, Blues, and Whites, in particular.
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:00 PM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
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Yeah, Manchester United is a poor example for nicknames, because the club and its supporters don't really use them, other than shortening the name of the club to "Man United." Some teams do use them, though. Arsenal, for example, uses "the Gunners" and it's not unusual to refer to an Arsenal player as a Gunner (fans, however, are "gooners"). Similarly, Liverpool supporters refer to themselves and the players as "Reds."

For that matter, colors get used as nicknames a lot in England. Lots of Reds, Blues, and Whites, in particular.
These are quite common, and there are other ones as well - Newcastle call themselves "Magpies", Sunderland call themselves "Mackems", Tottenham call the club "Spurs". And as you point out a lot of fans call themselves things like the Reds, even when they're playing against teams who also play in red and also call themselves the Reds.

But this is all getting pretty informal and specialized; these are all more like pet names that serious fans occasionally call themselves. It's nothing like how a Denver Bronco is a Bronco, and from the perspective of an American trying to get a hold of what to call English football teams I don't think these nicknames are really worth mentioning. You can't go wrong calling the teams by their actual names; that's the standard way of doing it over here, even amongst hardcore fans.
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  #25  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:06 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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  #26  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:07 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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These are quite common, and there are other ones as well - Newcastle call themselves "Magpies", Sunderland call themselves "Mackems", Tottenham call the club "Spurs". And as you point out a lot of fans call themselves things like the Reds, even when they're playing against teams who also play in red and also call themselves the Reds.

But this is all getting pretty informal and specialized; these are all more like pet names that serious fans occasionally call themselves. It's nothing like how a Denver Bronco is a Bronco, and from the perspective of an American trying to get a hold of what to call English football teams I don't think these nicknames are really worth mentioning. You can't go wrong calling the teams by their actual names; that's the standard way of doing it over here, even amongst hardcore fans.
The nicknames of American sports teams were less formal in the old days (particularly in the early days of baseball and football). By the 1920s or 1930s, nicknames became a formal part of the team name (and, today, are trademarks).
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:09 PM
Ővejk Ővejk is offline
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On that topic, there's a tendency in the anglophone press to refer to foreign football teams not only by their club names but also by the city that they're in; possibly because this is the standard pattern for sports teams in North America (but I've seen it in British coverage too, and sure enough there's a bunch of teams that do have their city in their name in Europe too). At any rate, a lot of teams *don't* have their city in their name, and it always looks really weird to see 'Feyenoord Rotterdam' or hear someone say AZ Alkmaar when these teams are just AZ and Feyenoord.
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  #28  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:28 PM
isaiahrobinson isaiahrobinson is offline
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The nicknames of American sports teams were less formal in the old days (particularly in the early days of baseball and football). By the 1920s or 1930s, nicknames became a formal part of the team name (and, today, are trademarks).
Sure; the problem with the nicknames in English football is that even today they're still so informal that if you tried to identify a team by the nickname alone most people won't have a clue what you're talking about. If you say "I support the Toffees" you'd get blank stares unless you're talking to Everton fans, and even they would probably find it weird that you didn't just say "I support Everton". Nevertheless if the OP is really keen on this 'nicknames' business there's a list here, and the Premier League nicknames are:

1. Man City - Sky Blues
2. Man United - Reds/Red Devils
3. Tottenham - Spurs/Lilywhites/Yids (Yids refers to the club's Jewish heritage - Tottenham fans use it themselves but I wouldn't recommend using it)
4. Arsenal - Gunners (fans are 'Gooners')
5. Chelsea - Blues
6. Newcastle - Magpies
7. Liverpool - Reds (fans are 'Kopites')
8. Norwich - Canaries
9. Sunderland - Mackems
10. Everton - Toffees/Blues
11. Fulham - Cottagers
12. Stoke - Potters
13. West Brom - Baggies
14. Swansea - Jacks/Swans
15. Aston Villa - the Villa
16. Wolves - Wolves
17. QPR - Hoops
18. Blackburn - Rovers
19. Bolton - Trotters
20. Wigan - Latics

I've been following football for decades and I still had to look a couple of those up to remember them...
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  #29  
Old 02-27-2012, 10:59 PM
Nava Nava is offline
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In England, and probably elsewhere, it is against the rules for two teams to have financial ties, even if they are separated by several divisions. This is to prevent conflict of interest if they should meet. This could happen e.g. in the FA Cup competition, which is a knock-out competition run in parallel with the leagues where any team could potentially meet any other.
In Spain the biggest clubs have a second team that's in a lower division, but they're usually so far apart that they won't meet.

Players have a contract with the club, not with one team, so in theory a player that was hired for the first team may be sent to the second team, but that's highly unlikely (the player's contract may have a proviso that if they are to be sent to the second team they must be traded/loaned to another club instead; if the player being 'demoted' is first-team quality, other clubs will raise a ruckus that will be heard outside our borders...). The other way 'round does happen, though: it's a way to rest first-team players, it gives the second-team players a chance to prove they can play with the big boys... and of course, when a team filled with second-teamers does better than the first team was doing lately, hurt pride provides a great way to whip the firsters' into action.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:58 AM
JessMagic JessMagic is offline
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Right, I'll take Scotland then. It being my specialist subject and all.

Senior football (I'll tackle this definition later) in Scotland consists of the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League. The SPL is the top level, and is formed of twelve clubs. The SFL is formed of three divisions, the First, Second and Third Divisions, each containing ten clubs. There is annual promotion and relegation between these four levels - the team that finishes top of the SFL First Division gets to play in the SPL the following season. Between the First, Second and Third Divisions, but not between the SPL and the First Division, automatic promotion of the top-placed team and relegation of the bottom-placed team is augmented by a playoff system.

These 42 senior teams are all "professional", in that their players get reimbursed for playing, even if it is just a match fee. However, only the SPL clubs, and most of the SFL First Division clubs, are "full-time", by which I mean the first-team players earn their living from playing football and nothing else. Clubs in the Second and Third Divisions will commonly have a full-time manager and a few core staff, but their players will be part-time, and will most likely have a full-time job in a different industry.

There are other "professional" football teams in Scotland - indeed, some of the Junior (the Senior / Junior thing does not refer to the age of the players or clubs. Confusing, eh?) and Highland League teams can pay fees and attract crowds greater than SFL Third Division teams. However, the 42 is a closed shop - you have to be voted in, and this only happens when one of the 42 goes out of business, or the league system is expanded.

Nicknames - these are quite fluid. Some teams possess nicknames that are used in normal conversation. For example, Aberdeen FC (my team) are nicknamed "the Dons", and everyone in Scotland knows this - "the Dons" is used in media coverage and normal conversation. For other teams, like Hibs, Hearts and Kilmarnock, the shortened version of their full name functions as a "nickname" (although they also tend to have other nicknames, such as "Jambos" for Hearts) and these tend to be widely used. Here are the twelve SPL clubs this season with what I think their nicknames are:

Aberdeen - the Dons
Celtic - the Bhoys / the Hoops
Dundee United - the Tangerines / the Arabs
Dunfermline Athletic - the Pars
Hibernian - Hibs
Heart of Midlothian - Hearts
Inverness Caledonian Thistle - (had to look this one up - wiki says Caley Thistle / ICT / Caley Jags)
Kilmarnock - Killie
Motherwell - the Well / the Steelmen
Rangers - the Gers
St. Johnstone - the Saints
St. Mirren - the Buddies

These names are perhaps more engrained in Scottish culture than the English nicknames listed by isiahrobinson. You could expect to see any of them appear in match reports or pub conversations. The most obscure one is probably "the Bhoys" for Celtic - "the Hoops" is much more common now.

Of course, I've only listed the twelve teams from the top level in Scottish football. As you go down the divisions, the nicknames keep coming, and some of them are fantastic. The "Gable Endies" (Montrose) and "The Blue Brazil" (Cowdenbeath) are two particular highlights. Nicknames of Scottish football teams is a pretty complex subject, but you get the idea, I hope.

Man, this post has turned into an absolute beast. And there's still so much I haven't covered. In the unlikely event that you want to know more about this "fascinating" subject, I'll try to help.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:09 AM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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< hijack >

Jess (or others), what do you make of the whole Rangers mess? I read a weekly column about Scottish football, but it hasn't really explained exactly what happened, other than "financial difficulties...turning into disaster." Is Rangers too big to fail? I understood the basics of Leeds' failings a few years ago (essentially spending on credit, with expectations of Champions League football, and when the CL run failed to continue, things went bust). Rangers surely didn't spend thinking they'd go deep in the CL each year...did they? Does it all start with the tv rights collapse from ~10 years ago? Why hasn't Celtic seen similar problems? Is it just a more stable owner with real cash to spend, or a better academy to keep from buying new players? Any info is appreciated.

< /hijack >
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  #32  
Old 03-08-2012, 04:32 AM
JessMagic JessMagic is offline
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Originally Posted by mkecane View Post
< hijack >

Jess (or others), what do you make of the whole Rangers mess? I read a weekly column about Scottish football, but it hasn't really explained exactly what happened, other than "financial difficulties...turning into disaster." Is Rangers too big to fail? I understood the basics of Leeds' failings a few years ago (essentially spending on credit, with expectations of Champions League football, and when the CL run failed to continue, things went bust). Rangers surely didn't spend thinking they'd go deep in the CL each year...did they? Does it all start with the tv rights collapse from ~10 years ago? Why hasn't Celtic seen similar problems? Is it just a more stable owner with real cash to spend, or a better academy to keep from buying new players? Any info is appreciated.

< /hijack >
Wooft. Now yer askin'! As I understand it, the current situation (they're in administration, and liquidation looks extremely likely), results from years of financial mismanagement, some of it illegal. A fair chunk of the money owed was due to Employee Benefits Trusts - over a decade ago, when they were buying world-class players, they paid them huge wages, and didn't pay any income tax or national insurance. There were some shady offshore accounts involved as well. For the best detail, this guy has been detailing the case for ages and seems to be the best-respected independent voice:

http://rangerstaxcase.com/

My gut reaction was "fuck them, I hope they go bust". That hasn't really changed. They basically cheated their way to success for years, often at the expense of my team. They're getting huge support now from the media and MSPs - Rangers are an "institution", a "special case" and so on. In recent years, Rangers and Celtic have repeatedly flirted with the English Premier League, threatening to leave Scottish football. Now, apparently, their continued existence is vital to the future of Scottish football. Pish.

There's a very real possibility that Rangers FC will be liquidated, owing tens of millions to HMRC and other creditors. It's also possible (likely?) that a phoenix club will emerge, get voted straight back into the SPL, have a few years struggling, but then eventually re-establish the duel hegemony with Celtic.

The feeling among Dons fans on the message board I hang out on, and I think among other non-OF fans, is that that will be it for them. What's the point of teams like AFC struggling to clear their debts, paying crap wages for crap players, when they could have just spent crazy, gone bust and started again? There's huge potential to change Scottish football for good, but I fear that it will be damaged irrevocably.
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  #33  
Old 03-08-2012, 01:49 PM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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Thanks for the insight, Jess. I'll check that site out tonight, too.
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  #34  
Old 06-12-2012, 08:42 AM
Ximenean Ximenean is offline
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Hope it's OK to bump this old thread, but news today is that Rangers FC is indeed to be liquidated. The club will reform as a "newco", but really that ought to mean them applying for admission to the Scottish League at the bottom tier, as a new entity. But as JessMagic says, there is a feeling that when the other SPL clubs have a vote they might decide to admit New Rangers straight into the Premier League, fearing lost revenue otherwise. Perhaps with a points penalty, as some kind of punishment. Either way, Rangers will be barred from European competition for a few seasons.

So, great job, Rangers board.
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