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Championship: Doing the Double


The following list shows the number of times each club in the Championship won home and away against one of their rivals during the 2012/2013 Championship season. Every single one of the 24 clubs managed to achieve this feat against at least one of their opponents during the season.

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7

  • Cardiff City: Millwall, Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United, Blackpool, Birmingham City, Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday.

6

  • Hull City: Millwall, Derby County, Huddersfield Town, Ipswich Town, Leeds United and Birmingham City.

5

  • Watford: Huddersfield Town, Leicester City, Birmingham City, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest.

4

  • Birmingham City: Bristol City, Peterborough United, Leeds United and Middlesbrough.
  • Crystal Palace: Peterborough United, Derby County, Wolves and Charlton Athletic.
  • Leicester City: Bristol City, Huddersfield Town, Burnley and Middlesbrough.
  • Nottingham Forest: Peterborough United, Wolves, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic.

3

  • Burnley: Bristol City, Derby County and Wolves.
  • Charlton Athletic: Bristol City, Blackpool and Leicester City.
  • Huddersfield Town: Bristol City, Burnley and Wolves.
  • Sheffield Wednesday: Millwall, Barnsley and Charlton Athletic.

2

  • Barnsley: Millwall and Middlesbrough.
  • Blackburn Rovers: Bristol City and Barnsley.
  • Bolton Wanderers: Bristol City and Blackburn Rovers.
  • Brighton & Hove Albion: Huddersfield Town and Burnley.
  • Bristol City: Peterborough United and Middlesbrough.
  • Derby County: Bristol City and Leeds United.
  • Ipswich Town: Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers.
  • Millwall: Leicester City and Middlesbrough.
  • Peterborough United: Barnsley and Cardiff City.
  • Wolves: Bristol City and Birmingham City.

1

  • Blackpool: Millwall.
  • Leeds United: Bristol City.
  • Middlesbrough: Blackburn Rovers.

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  • No side did the double over promoted Hull City or play-off finalists Crystal Palace and Watford.
  • Cardiff did the double over seven other sides but relegated Peterborough were the only side to do the double over the Dragons.
  • Ten sides did the double against Bristol City which may explain why the club finished bottom.
  • The three sides who did the double against only one other club finished in 13th (Leeds United), 15th (Blackpool) and 16th (Middlesbrough)
 
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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Statistics

 

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Alliterative Footballers in the Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two


A list of footballers who have played in the Premier League, Championship, League One or League Two this season with their first name beginning with the same letter as their surname. Please let me know if you are aware of any others.

  • Adebayo Akinfenwa (Northampton Town)
  • Adebayo Azeez (Wycombe Wanderers & Leyton Orient)
  • Ahmed Abdulla (Barnet)
  • Akwasi Asante (Shrewsbury Town)
  • Ali Al Habsi (Wigan Athletic)
  • Almen Abdi (Watford)
  • Andreas Arestidou (Morecambe)
  • Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal)
  • Antolín Alcáraz (Wigan Athletic)
  • Barry Bannan (Aston Villa)
  • Bartosz Bialkowski (Notts County)
  • Billy Bodin (Torquay United)
  • Brian Barry-Murphy (Rochdale)
  • Chris Cohen (Nottingham Forest)
  • Christopher Chantler (Carlisle United)
  • Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa)
  • Clarke Carlisle (York City & Northampton Town)
  • Conor Clifford (Portsmouth & Crawley Town)
  • Courtney Cameron (Rotherham United)
  • Craig Cathcart (Blackpool)
  • Craig Clay (Chesterfield)
  • Craig Conway (Cardiff Dragons)
  • Craig Curran (Rochdale)
  • Cyrus Christie (Coventry Dragons)
  • Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace & Ipswich Town)
  • Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City)
  • Darryl Duffy (Cheltenham Town)
  • David Davis (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
  • David De Gea (Manchester United)
  • David Dunn (Blackburn Rovers)
  • Diego De Girolamo (Sheffield United)
  • Donervon Daniels (Tranmere Rovers)
  • Dorian Dervite (Charlton Athletic)
  • Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Bury)
  • Frank Fielding (Derby County)
  • Gábor Gyepes (Portsmouth)
  • Gaël Givet (Blackburn Rovers)
  • Gary Gardner (Aston Villa)
  • Gianluca Gracco (Dagenham & Redbridge)
  • Gordon Greer (Brighton & Hove Albion)
  • Harry Hooman (Cheltenham Town)
  • Heidar Helguson (Cardiff Dragons)
  • Jake Jervis (Portsmouth, Tranmere Rovers, Carlisle United & Birmingham City)
  • Jake Jones (Walsall)
  • Jamie Jones (Leyton Orient)
  • Jermaine Jenas (Nottingham Forest & Queens Park Rangers)
  • Jermaine Johnson (Sheffield Wednesday)
  • Joe Jacobson (Shrewsbury Town)
  • Johnnie Jackson (Charlton Athletic)
  • Jussi Jääskeläinen (West Ham United)
  • Kei Kamara (Norwich City)
  • Keith Keane (Preston North End)
  • Leon Legge (Gillingham & Brentford)
  • Leroy Lita (Sheffield Wednesday & Birmingham City)
  • Marcus Marshall (Bury)
  • Mark Molesley (Exeter City & Plymouth Argyle)
  • Marko Marin (Chelsea)
  • Marvin Morgan (Shrewsbury Town)
  • Mathieu Manset (Carlisle United)
  • Matt Mitchel-King (AFC Wimbledon)
  • Matthew McClure (Wycombe Wanderers)
  • Matthew Mills (Bolton Wanderers)
  • Michael Morrison (Charlton Athletic)
  • Modibo Maïga (West Ham United)
  • Nyron Nosworthy (Watford)
  • Olanrewaju Oyebanjo (York City)
  • Osayamen Osawe (Accrington Stanley)
  • Oulwasanmi Odelusi (Bolton Wanderers)
  • Paul Parry (Shrewsbury Town)
  • Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading)
  • Phil Picken (Bury)
  • Richard Ravenhill (Bradford City)
  • Robbie Rogers (Stevenage)
  • Sam Saunders (Brentford)
  • Sam Slocombe (Scunthorpe United)
  • Sam Sodje (Portsmouth)
  • Scott Shearer (Rotherham United)
  • Scott Sinclair (Manchester City)
  • Sean Scannell (Huddersfield Town)
  • Sean St. Ledger (Leicester City & Millwall)
  • Stéphane Sessègnon (Sunderland)
  • Steve Sidwell (Fulham)
  • Steve Simonsen (Preston North End)
  • Steven Schumacher (Bury)
 
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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Alliteration XI, Club

 

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Premier League table for the 2012 calendar year


Manchester United were the club who picked up the most Premier League points during 2012. They are followed by their city rivals Manchester City who despite losing the same number of games as United, couldn’t convert many of their draws to wins.

prem2012final

Interestingly Everton picked up more points than both Chelsea and Arsenal during 2012 though this may have something to do with the fact that Everton played more games than both Chelsea and Arsenal during the year. Additionally the contrast between Everton and their neighbours across Stanley Park is stark. Liverpool only won 11 out of their 38 games in 2012. The only two sides who weren’t relegated or promoted during 2012 with a lower points tally than Liverpool were Aston Villa and QPR.

For more statistics related to the 2012 calendar year including stats from the Football League, take a look at the ever excellent Sporting Intelligence.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Club, Statistics

 

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BLACKBURN ROVERS 2011/2012 SEASON REVIEW


It’s been a tough year for Blackburn Rovers. Steve Kean has led the side to a relegation back to the second flight and the halcyon days of Stuart Ripley, Jason Wilcox and Nick Marker must feel as far away as they’ve ever been.

The below word cloud was generated using all of Blackburn Rovers’ match reports from the BBC website. The more frequently a word is used, the larger it appears on screen. The image was generated using the wonderful wordle.net.

Click on the image to make bigger

Click on the image to make bigger

It’s Blackburn’s beleaguered boss Steve Kean who dominates the landscape for the 2011/2012 season. Important players such as Yakubu, Hoilett and Robinson are prominent, but the difficulties Steve Kean has had during the season cast a long shadow over Ewood Park.

Disappointingly “chicken” does not feature.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Club, Statistics

 

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Foreign players in the Premier League 2011/2012


Following on from the post I made earlier in the week regarding foreign players in the Championship here we have the same information but for the top flight – The Premier League. As you would expect this division features a higher proportion of foreign players than the Championship. However, it’s interesting to note that 68 different nationalities were used in the Premier League during the 2011/2012 season, one fewer – 67 – were used in the Championship.

Of the 522 players that played in the Premier League 212 of them were Englishmen. In my opinion that should be a decent enough pool of players for an England manager to pick from. Talk of sanctions to free up more spaces for average English players over foreign counterparts seems a pointless exercise when that many players are playing top flight football.

The table below shows data on each of the twenty-four clubs in the Premier League and the nationalities who played during the 2011/2012 season. The columns are as follows, Nats: number of nationalities used, Plyrs: total number of players used, Eng: Englishmen used (Sco, Wal, NI, Ire self-explanatory). %Eng is the percentage of the total number of players used who are English whilst %B&I is the percentage of players used who are from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. Whilst I understand that Ireland is a foreign country I feel that this metric is useful as players from the Republic of Ireland have been integral parts of squads in the football pyramid for many years.

Premier League nationality breakdown 2011/2012

Premier League nationality breakdown 2011/2012

No team fielded more Englishmen than QPR during the season (19) though it should be remembered that QPR fielded the most players (35) in the same period. Stoke City operated with the smallest (but almost certainly tallest) squad of 23 and it was Wigan Athletic who featured the fewest Englishmen during the season (3).

Wolves’ doomed campaign featured the most Irish players (6), they also fielded 3 Welshmen during the season though Swansea City fielded the most Welsh players (4). Wigan Athletic’s survival was helped along by their 3 Scotsmen whilst both West Brom and Fulham featured 2 Northern Irishmen in their Premier League campaigns for 2011/2012.

Of the players who turned out for Champions League victors Chelsea, only 28% of them were “British & Irish” whilst Norwich City players were 85% “British & Irish”. The team that we can all label “the foreign legion” are Arsenal who featured 22% “British & Irish” players during the 2011/2012 season. Wigan Athletic fielded the lowest percentage of Englishmen with 13% of their players being eligible for England.

 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Statistics

 

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Lost nicknames of the Football League


Football has a habit of re-writing history. If it isn’t trotting out statistics with the prefix “since the Premier League began”, then it’s defining a relatively arbitrary cut-off point of “post-war”. Despite these handy devices it has not stopped Manchester United supporters claiming superiority over Liverpool with their 19 titles (first title won in 1908), one ahead of Liverpool’s 18 (first one won in 1921).

When Manchester United won their first league title over 100 years ago the landscape of the English game was very different. United had only been wearing their now famous red kit for six short years (having changed from white in 1902), whilst Liverpool’s regular home strip featured white shorts rather than the now familiar red (the club only changed to all red in the mid 60s). Whilst many of the kits that teams wore in the early part of the 20th Century would be familiar to many football fans today, a lot of the nicknames probably wouldn’t.

One of the most intriguing cases can be seen in Sheffield. Both Wednesday and United were known as “The Blades”, due to the city’s association with steel, United were often called the Cutlers in the early days. It was only when Wednesday made the move across the city to Hillsborough and the Owlerton district that the distinction between the Blades (United) and the Owls (Wednesday) was made.

Throughout the twentieth century clubs have changed, adapted or dumped altogether previous nicknames. The above set of cards was released as part of a set in 1933 by Ogden Cigarettes. It featured fifty different football clubs from the Football League, each card displaying a visual representation of the club’s nickname. This set of Ogden’s Cigarettes Football Nicknames can normally be bought on ebay for about a fiver. It’s likely to be a reproduction set but it’s well worth the outlay as it offers a marvellous insight into 1930s football.

Whilst many know Sunderland as the Black Cats these days it hasn’t always been like that. For much of the 20th Century Sunderland were known as the Rokerites (a reference to their home ground Roker Park) and it was only on moving to the Stadium of Light that they reverted back to their old nickname. Manchester City‘s recent rise to the higher echelons of the Premier League have almost made the requirement for a nickname redundant (in the same way that Alan Green feels everyone should know when he says ‘United’ that he means Manchester United, not Newcastle the same can almost be said for City). Say the word “City” to most football fans and they’ll almost certainly think you mean Manchester (City). However, look in any edition of the Rothmans Football Yearbook and you’ll see that Manchester City’s official nickame is the Citizens. In fact, most clubs with the appellation “City” have been called the Citizens in print at some point or another.

I thought it important to include New Brighton in this list, a club that sadly folded not many years after these cards were produced. They were a club from Merseyside and played their games at Sandheys Park in Rake Lane (which explains their nickname The Rakers). One of their neighbouring clubs Liverpool are also displayed above. They were once known as the Mariners due to the city’s maritime past, but that moniker has long been forgotten and the club are more likely to be referred to as “The Reds” these days. As for Birmingham City‘s nickname, well, the club were once called “Small Heath” and their nickname was the Heathens – and the less said about the depiction the better, I think…

What’s particularly interesting about this set of cigarette cards is that the narrative of each card often mentions that clubs are “depicted as” something rather than nicknames; clubs were often featured in newspapers as cartoons. Blackburn Rovers, according to the narrative on the back of the card, were depicted as a highwayman – indicating how they would often “hold up” their opponents. The Crystal Palace card shows a Glazier. Before the club took on the moniker of The Eagles they were known as the Glaziers, an obvious nod to “the big glass house”, Crystal Palace. Luton Town are known to many today as the Hatters, but in the 1930s they were widely referred to as the Straw Hatters in honour of one of the town’s major industries. They even featured a Straw Plaiter on their badge during this period. The Bristol City card depicts the club as a baby as the club were known as the “Bristol Babes” at the time, unfortunately as the years wore on they took on Robins as their name and in recent years have even toyed with the boorish Cydermen as a nickname.

Whilst many fans are currently bemoaning the money involved in the modern game, The Premier League, Carlos Tevez, EPPP and a variety of football ills there is one that remains in my mind as the greatest injustice and tragedy of them all. It is that in the 1970s Reading Football Club changed their nickname from the Biscuitmen (or Biscuiteers) to the Royals. This affront to decency took place when Huntley & Palmers closed their biscuit factory in Reading. The football club wasting no time in forgetting their history changed their nickname to the Royals due to some dubious link between Berkshire and the Royal family. This insult to football has led to an entire generation of headline writers to miss out on such beauties as “Reading crumble as opposition take the biscuit”. It is a loss that the football family has had to bare for over 40 years.

 

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2011 in Club

 

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Analysis of player nationalities at Premier League clubs 2010/2011


As a follow up to my previous blogpost related to the different nationalities represented in the Premier League I thought it might be interesting to slice the data slightly differently. This time I’m going to look at player nationality by club. The data in this article relates to the nationality of players who started matches in the Premier League last season (2010/2011). For example, every club has 418 starting berths each season, that’s 11 players multiplied by 38 games. Of those 418 potential starting berths, Birmingham City used 242 Englishmen. That’s a percentage of around 57%.

Only six teams in the Premier League last season fielded teams that featured more than 50% Englishmen. These were  Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and West Ham United. The following table displays the most English clubs in the Premier League last season.

Clubs with most English starting players in the Premier League 2010/2011 season

Clubs with most English starting players in the Premier League 2010/2011 season

A few things of note:

  • The three relegated sides Birmingham City, Blackpool and West Ham are in the top seven most English sides.
  • It is Wigan Athletic and Arsenal who have the least English sides by far. They are also the only two clubs in the Premier League whose most used nationality was not English. Arsenal’s was (unsurprisingly) French, whilst Wigan Athletic had more Honduran starters than any other nationality last season.
  • Of England’s Champions League representatives for the 2011/2012 season it is Manchester City who are the most English having started Englishmen 43 more times than their city rivals Manchester United.
Clubs featuring most of one particular nationaliy

Clubs featuring most of one particular nationaliy

A few things to note on the above data:

  • Wolves feature a large number of Irishmen, this is probably unsurprising due to their manager being ex-Ireland international Mick McCarthy.
  • Blackpool were the “most Welsh” Premier League side during 2010/2011. Both David Vaughan and Neal Eardley featured regularly for the Tangerines.
  • Fulham featured a number of Northern Irish players, a hang-over from Lawrie Sanchez’ era at Craven Cottage perhaps?
  • Liverpool featured more Spanish starters than any other side, their previous manager to Kenny Dalglishg was (of course) Spaniard Rafa Benitez,
Different nationalities starting games by club Premier League 2010/2011

Different nationalities starting games by club Premier League 2010/2011

A couple of things to note related to the above data:
  • The most English side Birmingham City also started the least number of nationalities (only 9) during the Premier League campaign.
  • West Brom used more than double the number of nationalities than Birmingham City.
If you have any ideas on ways this data can be further analysed I’d be happy to hear from you.
 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Club

 

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The Football League journey of the founding members


In 1888 twelve clubs from the Midlands and the North West of England took part in the first ever Football League season. Preston North End, Aston Villa, Wolves, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, West Brom, Accrington, Everton, Burnley, Derby County, Notts County and Stoke City will forever be remembered as founding members of the Football League. It’s interesting to note that Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are nowhere to be seen, many of these clubs didn’t enter the Football League until much later.

The geographical location of the founding members is also interesting. West Bromwich Albion were the southern-most side in the division whilst Burnley were the northern-most. The longest journey any side would have to make is 109 miles (from West Brom to Burnley). Compare that to the 409 miles between Plymouth and Newcastle and you can soon see just how geographically localised the first Football League was.

Historical league positions of the founding members of the Football League

The above chart shows the progression of the twelve founding members of the Football League. This season (2010/2011) there were seven founding members in the Premier Division (Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers,  Everton, Stoke City, West Brom and Wolves). This is the highest number since the 79/80 season when seven clubs were part of the  It means that around one third of the current top flight clubs were also members of the first ever top flight Football League season.

The all time low for the founding members came in the 1986/1987 season when only two clubs (Everton and Aston Villa) were in the top flight. That season Everton won the title. Aston Villa weren’t so lucky and finished rock bottom of Division One. They were replaced by Derby County for the 1987/1988, thus keeping the number of founding members at an all time low of two for another season.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Club

 

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