Olympique Lyonnais – OL 2006/07. How many can you name? 🤔 #UCL
Olympique Lyonnais – OL 2006/07. How many can you name? 🤔 #UCL
Describe #UCL legend Ronaldinho Gaúcho at FC Barcelona in one word! 😎
🇧🇷 The next Brazilian superstar? 🤔
Real Madrid C.F. unveil their new wonderkid Vinicius Jr 👌 #UCL
The concept of promotion and relegation in English soccer is a difficult one for most American sports fans to grasp immediately. In major American sport leagues, if for instance the Washington Nationals have an awful year where they only win 40 games, they’ll be right back next year playing the likes of the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. That is not the case in the English soccer ‘pyramid’, where the different levels of soccer are directly connected through a series of promotions and relegations.
To talk specifically about the English Premier League, at the end of each season the bottom three teams are relegated down to the next tier of English soccer, which is called the Championship. The EPL is a 20-team league, so each team plays the other 19 teams twice. At the end of that 38 game schedule, the teams in places 18, 19 and 20 are automatically sent down to the Championship for the next season. That means a team like Portsmouth, who is likely to be relegated this 2009-2010 season, could go from playing Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea one season to playing Watford, Bristol City and Blackpool the next. That’s quite a huge difference and it’s one of the main reasons why the relegation battle is often more compelling than the battle for the Premier League Champion. These teams are in some cases fighting for the survival of their club as well, as the Premier League television compensation is vastly superior to that of the Championship.
Promotion from the Championship is quite similar in concept. In the 24-team Championship, each team plays the others twice, and at the end of those 46 games, the top two teams are automatically promoted to the Premier League. Teams in places 3-6 then contest a playoff where the winner is awarded the third promotion place to the Premier League. So it’s simply three teams relegated and three teams promoted each season. With some slight variation, this type of promotion and relegation exists throughout the entire English soccer pyramid, many levels below the Premier League. It really adds to the allure of the sport that a team can literally rise from a local club to one day play against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Premier League.
Sapele is a city in southwestern Nigeria, located in Delta State. Sapele is situated at the headwaters of the Benin River, which flows out to the Niger Delta.
Football development in Sapele started in the 1950’s, when football was just at its infancy in Nigeria, and Sapele a town noted for excellence was at the fore front in football then. The then Sapele township stadium was among the first constructed stadium in Nigeria The desire to fully develop football at the grassroots level gave birth to the Sapele Amateur Football Association in 1987.
This was quickly followed by the staging of the inaugural Sapele Cup of Nations Competition in 1988. It was a competition that featured 16 teams from Sapele and environs. Some of the teams that participated at the inaugural Cup of Nations competition include: K.B Stars, Athletico De Marin, Ghana Black Stars and Loaders F.C.
The competition was put together by Mr. Gabriel Igarri and Mr. Dan Evumena. It is interesting to note that the inaugural Sapele Cup of Nations trophy was donated by Chief P.D.O Akpeki the Ugo of Okpe Kingdom. Going back to football development in Sapele, it is worthy of note to recall that in 1968, Nova Luna Football Club was formed. It was the first Youth club in Sapele. It was founded by Late Mr. Tony Okonedo who was then a Graded football referee. He also founded Ladies Football club that same year. After the formation of Nova Luna, came Niger Pools Football club in 1969. It was formed by the Niger Pools company.
It later metamorphosed into Strangers Football Club in 1969 which was formed by former players of Niger Pools F.C. Strangers Football club was then captained by Olayinka John( Ayogi) who died on the 7th of January 2010 after a protracted illness. The club existed for two and a half years.
In 1971, Ethiope F.C Sapele was formed and it gained prominence due to the caliber of players in its fold then. When it was rumored that the club will be leaving Sapele for a new base, the then Governor of Bendel State- Osaigbovo Ogbemudia took over the affairs of the club and re-named it New Nigeria Bank F.C, with its base in Sapele.
There were four State club in the then Bendel State
Ethiope Football Club (Later re-named New Nigeria Bank F.C Sapele)
Viper F.C Benin (Later re-named Bendel Insurance of Benin)
Ika Rangers F.C Agbor (Later re-named Midwest Line F.C)
Warri Wolves F.C Warri (Later re-named Midwest Line F.Cz)
These four clubs were later handed over to various companies by the then Bendel State Government.
In 1971/72, there was the eleven brothers F.C and Eleven Strikers F.C both based in Sapele.
Late Olayinka John (Ayogi) was the then coach of eleven brothers. The club produced the likes of German Odjegbe who was the then captain of Bendel U-17 football team that won Gold medal at the 1973 National Sports Festival. The club also produced Prince Afejukwu, Oshoff Shogbene, goalkeeper Nasiru Momoh, Samuel Afejukwu and Ighoraye Ogayone. Eleven Strikers F.C were then captained by Monday Daibo and the team had the likes of Andrew Boyo.
In 1973, Ethiope F.C later re-named New Nigeria Bank F.C left Sapele and in 1974, the team was then known as Custom and Exercise F.C. A bulk of players from Strangers F.C Sapele formed the Custom F.C which was then under the Custom and Exercise Department.
The team was then captained by inspirational defender Gabriel Igarri from 1975 to 1983. Within this period under review, there were other teams that sprang up in the Sapele metropolis. These include: Government Coastal Agency F.C – Founded in 1976, Seaboard F.C (Comprising Delta Packaging company, Life Flour Mills and Top feeds)- founded in 1977 and Palm Line Agency F.C- Founded in 1977. From these three teams, a joint team to represent Sapele was formed. It was then called Urhiapele F.C. Urhiapele F.C was founded in the 1985/1986 season. The club did not however last long due to administrative problems. They only played one friendly match against the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Football Club Warri.
There was also the Rainbow Football club which came into existence in 1980. The club which was then playing in the State League/ State Challenge Cup was sponsored by Chief Michael Ibru. One notable player that came out of the ranks of Rainbow F.C was Goalkeeper Andrew Aikhomogbe who later rose to prominence and represented the U-17 National team the Golden Eaglets at the FIFA U-17 Championship tagged Scotland 89.
Alisson Becker 👀🏆
Will Liverpool FC win a trophy this season?
Lionel Messi was born in Rosario city on June 24, 1987. He started playing football at the age of five for Grandoli, a club coached by his father. Messi switched to Newell’s Old Boys in 1995. At the age of 11, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. Every month Messi required treatment for the illness that cost over 500 Pounds. River Plate showed interest in Messi’s progress, but did not have enough money to pay for his treatment. FC Barcelona was made aware of Messi talent. After watching him play, Barcelona signed him and offer to pay for the medical bills if he was willing to move to Spain.
Messi is a player with exceptional quality. He is highly creative, and has the skills to take on defenders with ease. He is a versatile left-footed player who can play either in the middle or on either wing, or even as a centre forward. Messi makes up for the lack of height with his speed and agility. His sudden changes in pace make him a true problem for the defenders. In addition, his accurate powerful shot make him truly unique in free kick and corner situations. He has drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona, and indeed Maradona himself named Messi his “successor”.
In club football, Messi made his debut against Espanyol on October 16, 2004, becoming the third-youngest player ever to play for FC Barcelona and youngest club player who played in La Liga at that that time (a record broken by team mate Bojan Krkic in September 2007). He scored his first senior goal against Albacete Balompié on May 1, 2005. Messi was 17 years, 10 months and 7 days old at that time, becoming the youngest player to ever score in a La Liga game for FC Barcelona until 2007 when Bojan Krkic broke this record.
Messi won the Under 20 World Cup in Holland with Argentina. He was crowned the leading goalscorer and voted best player in the tournament. Aged 18 years, he had become one of the hottest properties in the world game. Shortly after, he made his first full international appearance in a friendly against Hungary. In 2005, José Pekerman called Messi up to the senior Argentine national team. He made his debut on August 17, 2005 against Hungary. He was sent off in the 63rd minute, just 40 seconds after he came in as a substitute. The referee found Messi to have elbowed defender Vilmos Vanczák, who was tugging Messi’s shirt. He left the pitch disappointed and in tears.
Since then, Lionel Messi has developed into a more complete and mature player. There are still many years left in his career. Everyone is waiting for him to emulate Diego Maradona success by guiding Argentina to win the World Cup again.
If there is one common thread interwoven throughout all European cultures, it must be soccer, right? Perhaps in popular theory. But the conventional wisdom now hangs in the balance as the quest for the almighty buck – that is, the supreme euro – has eroded the very fabric of soccer (no offense to Pete Rozelle, but let’s call it what it really is: football). As “European integration” becomes a buzz word for the 21st century, football will likely play an integral role in either facilitating or decelerating this cultural, political and economic merger of countries.
Football club owners have offered to help the cause by composing a framework for the future European SuperLeague, which would consist of the region’s most elite franchises. Europe has already made a transformation in showcasing athleticism, whether its unbridled fans are willing, as investors assemble to protect their shares in perhaps the most anticipated “cash cow” in sports entertainment.
However, even top football officials have their doubts. FIFA president Sepp Blatter, arguably the most powerful man in football worldwide, has stated his strong opposition to a breakaway superleague.
Regardless, sports business experts insist that any successful venture in football integration would require the solidarity of ownership policies and fan participation. True, the former condition is already growing at an explosive pace. Corporate investors have estimated the economic feasibility of supporting ESL franchises in various cities across Europe. Plans have already been proposed to compete with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in forming the most marketable superleague. Media Partners International, a Milan-based consulting firm, has garnered over $1.2 billion investments from JP Morgan to sustain the ESL for the first three years. Judging from the success of professional sports in the United States, there is no telling of this league’s untapped potential.
If any doubts of European football’s growth still remain, then consider the burgeoning of players’ salaries. Inter Milan recently acquired Italian striker Christian Vieri for an estimated $43 million, dwarfing the annual payroll of most professional franchises. And the issue of whether Vieri deserved more or less than, say, Michael Jordan (excluding endorsements) is irrelevant. For now, football club owners can afford these superstars because consumers are compliant to rising ticket prices.
However, ESL owners must not discount the relationship between European fans and their revered teams. Football, for countless decades in each country, has supplied a measurement of national identity. As Europeans, during the integration process, ponder the potential void of national traditions, football remains their sole source of patriotic autonomy.
If the ESL passes, then UEFA would be subject to drop one of its Cup competitions, likely the Cup Winners Cup. More importantly, UEFA stands to sacrifice two underlying principles which have sustained the organization’s existence – a commitment to divide Cup proceeds in an equitable manner for all clubs, and to televise all games free of charge to European subscribers.
The ESL would consist of Europe’s top 32 (mostly large market) teams competing in a comprehensive tournament to determine the European football champion. If the league is supervised by UEFA, it will comprise of little commercial influence – in which case, some officials suggest that a league without proper promotion or relegation will lose people’s interest in less than three years. But the traditionalists insist that UEFA’s policies, although diplomatic in nature, serve to protect the institution of football from an onslaught of manipulation by massive corporations.
Even if the ESL and its large market teams are successful in growing the sport of football to unprecedented financial and social levels, there will undoubtedly be significant ramifications to the remaining franchises. Once again, the argument of revenue disparity between small and large market teams will assume center stage. Instead of George Steinbrenner clashing with Bud Selig, it will be two others bickering – without regard to the fans, any sport’s key ingredient.
The decision of what ownership structure to emulate remains undetermined. The real challenge, at this point, is securing the support of the regional community. It is clear that the combined prowess of European cultures, not the individual national interests, will ultimately ensure the success of supranational football. Owners cannot and will not force an unnatural medium of sports entertainment to their consumers. Most business leaders in the European Union have recognized that integration comes at a cost – a lesson that football club owners are about to discover.
Despite the European Commission’s diplomatic efforts to balance competition with equal protection, the fussbudgets will continue to question the motives of not only owners but also everyone else involved.
The fruition of ESL may or may not advance European integration, but the fight to protect one of Europe’s most treasured assets – football – will surely accomplish the task.
[Originally Printed: Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 7/24/99]
© 2007 LineDrives.com, Michael Wissot,
Retired #UCL & international legends. Who do you miss the most? 💪
1. Steven Gerrard
2. Andrea Pirlo
3. Philipp Lahm
4. Dirk Kuyt
5. Xabi Alonso
6. Frank Lampard
Women’s soccer never would have been the same if Mia Hamm hadn’t started up soccer when she was little. She had such an impact in the women’s soccer world that she is often thought to mean as much for it as Pele or Cruyff meant for men’s soccer. But before being a great soccer player and athlete that broke down almost every possible record at her level, Mia Hamm is a great person and I’d like you to meet the human behind the soccer god in this Mia Hamm biography.
Mia Hamm as a Child
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how and when did Mia Hamm start playing soccer and what events drove her to become a super star of women’s soccer. Mia Hamm’s childhood circled around sports and athleticism and as her brother recalled, she was faster and more athletic than most of the boys on the block, so she was able to play competitively with and against them.
After taking up youth soccer training at her school’s football team when she was only 12 years old, she learned the basics of soccer and started enjoying the sport more and more. Little did she know that three years later, when she was just 15, she would be called up for the United States national women’s soccer team, becoming the youngest player ever to play for her country at that level (one of her first broken records).
That was kind of a weird situation, since Mia Hamm was a soccer player for her national squad but didn’t have a fully professional playing contract with a club. But after seeing her performances, the North Carolina Tar Heels quickly signed her and they made quite a deal, since Mia Hamm stayed with the club for 4 seasons, scoring over 100 goals during her time here.
Mia Hamm’s Accomplishments
Probably one of Mia Hamm’s most important accomplishments is that she managed to bring women’s soccer to a level close to what men are playing. She is one of the two women named in Pele’s “List of 125 Best Soccer Players of All Times” and she is a symbol of women’s sports throughout the World.
She also holds two FIFA World Player of the Year awards, which she got in 2001 (the first year the trophy was given) and 2002. Unfortunately, she would have gotten a lot more of these awards, but with the World Player of the Year awards being granted for women when Mia Hamm was already nearing the end of her career, she didn’t really have a chance to widen her trophy room.
In numbers, Mia Hamm was the United States top goal scorer, with 158 goals in 275 matches, a remarkable record that will probably dust and rust before it is beaten. She scored more goals than any man or woman for her national team, although many soccer specialists will agree that the level of women’s soccer is still in an early grade and cannot be compared to men’s soccer yet.
She won the Women’s World Cup twice, in 1991 and 1999 and also put the US national team through a Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in 1996. All these titles, records and awards make Mia Hamm one of the most important players in women’s soccer and the fact that Pele considered to put her on the same list as legendary male players such as Maradona, Cruyff, Platini or Beckenbauer says a lot about the influence she had in the game.