British Football Questions

Aug 13th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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British Football Questions

The British football season begins shortly and I have questions.

1. How are your divisions chosen and how many teams are in each?
2. How many games are played in the regular season and how often do teams play each other?
3. How many games does a team play in a given week?
4. How are team rosters built?
5. How do fans choose which team to support?
6. Are all games televised?
7. Are home-grown players preferred?
8. How often are strategic substitutions made during a match?
9. Do teams attempt favorite plays during a match?
10. How accessible are players to their fans?
GeorgeW is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 06:01 AM
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This should get you started, although I'm sure I might not be the first.
1. See, and click on Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two, Non-League. Which teams are in which leagues has a historical basis but several are promoted/demoted between leagues each season depending on final placing.
2. Twice
3. Usually one, sometimes a mid-week evening match, sometimes more if they are successful in parallel knock-out competitions, such as the FA Cup, League Cup, European competitions etc.
4. By the manager.
5. Geography usually, ie the nearest, often from family tradition.
6. No
7. Yes by the supporters. But managers buy players with a view to success.
8. Maximum of 3 times.
9. Tactics are decided by the manager. Whether they work or not is dependent on the skill or otherwise of the players and the opposition. Teams do not have a book of standard moves that they have to learn such as exist with what we call American Football (NFL).
10. Not usually, more so in the lower leagues.
stfc is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 06:10 AM
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Oh, I am the first. To extend the answer to Q2. About 42 times in the league, more in other competitions, but variable depending on success in those competitions.

To stir the pot a bit, Scottish football is a comical failure. There are only two teams which can hold their heads up internationally, Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers. The others are universally awful.

There is a Welsh League that potters on by itself and an Irish league which can be surprisingly good and has supplied quite a few top players to England over the years.

What you won't see is a huge sub-structure of semi-professional teams that cover the country, and the system continues right down to youth clubs and pub team leagues. A very popular game at all levels.
stfc is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 06:32 AM
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"How do fans choose which team to support"

Interesting question - true fans (and I know this is perjorative) choose a team based on geography or family connections. I was taken to my first game at the age of six or seven by my uncle. I was hooked and have followed the same team ever since.

I do follow (to a lesser degree) an Italian side (AC Siena) purely because they were the home side in the first Italian game I watched live.

Many "plastic fans" just pick a successful team to support - to bask in reflected glory. Sometimes they will stay loyal to that team, but often last year's chelsea fan will be this years Man united supporter.

"Do teams attempt favorite plays during a match?" - I think this is more difficult in football because there are rarely times when a situation is identical - with the exception of corner kicks.
willit is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 10:18 AM
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<<< 8. How often are strategic substitutions made during a match? >>>

There is a limit of 3 substitutions for ALL reasons, not just strategy

alanRow is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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Which are the five or so teams who are always top-flight? Any teams who are what we Americans would call a dynasty, a team that has won four or five titles in a row?
GeorgeW is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool.
Aug 13th, 2008, 10:41 AM
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I'm not even a fan

Man U
Brighton and Hove Albion
J_R_Hartley is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:02 PM
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6. A few games a week are chosen for live television coverage, by various terrestrial, cable and satellite TV channels. The kick-off times are altered not to clash with games on Saturday (traditional day for matches) starting at 3 pm. You can see highlights and goal actions for all other games (in the top four divisions) in various highlight programmes and often online.
7. If you are talking about English/British players vs overseas, currently there is no restriction on foreign players, and subject to work permit and international clearance(where needed), a team can play as many foreign players as they like. Esp in the Premier League, foreign-born players often outnumber English players, and Arsenal has played a side consisting entirely of non-British players. This has led to underdevelopment of home-grown players, and it's one of the reasons why the English national team has performed poorly in recent years while club sides have won many European trophies.
Alec is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:08 PM
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2. How many games are played in the regular season and how often do teams play each other?

42 regular league games but the clubs also play in the FA Cup and the top Premier League teams play in the European Champions League(club level), so it's possible a team can play about 20 more matches. Then the top English players may play another 10+ games for the national team qualifying for the European Championship(national level) or World Cup. Then there are the pre season matches where the top teams travel to some exotic locale and play few games against the local teams.

It's possible that a top English player may appear in about 75+ matches a year.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:23 PM
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So when Wigan beats West Ham on Saturday, only those who attend the match will see the game?
GeorgeW is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:28 PM
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No, every PL game is televised, but just like NFL, some are only televised locally and some are televised nationally.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:31 PM
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GeorgeW - in theory yes, in practice no - it will probably be shown on several channels around the world, so will therefore appear on poor quality internet feeds (I watch games this way - often with a Chinese commentary)

Some enterprising pubs have large satellite dishes and will try and hook up to an Arabic or African feed of the game.

The ban on televising the 3pm games is to try and protect lower league sides - the casual fan who otherwise goes to watch Barnet or Colchester may decide to save their money and watch Chelsea on TV.
willit is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:39 PM
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5 & 7 sort of go together

5. You choose your team first on where you live. Where there's a choice, there's all sorts of family and peer influences, but you're usually stuck with one by about 3 or 4. You really can't change from then.

Practically all Britons live within 20 miles at most of a professional club. There are Britons who support irrationally, and I just don't understand how they can live with themselves. Usually, it's people living near a really crap club (like Swindon) attaching themselves to Liverpool, Spurs or Man U

There are two real examples of religion complicating this: it's virtually impossible to support Rangers (Glasgow) or Hearts (Edinburgh) if you're Catholic, or the rival (Celtic or Hibs) if you're a Prod. It's often alleged the same is true of Liverpool/Everton (really nonsensical, though it was sort of true in the 1930s) and Man U/Man City (possibly once true, but now overtaken by the belief that real Mancunians support City and plastic supporters from all kinds of weird places support United). One of the North London teams is supposed to have a Jewish bias, but every North London Jew I know thinks football's strictly for dumb shicksers.

Now 7. Teams are made up partly from the product of each team's training system, (which catches kids in the very early teens) and purchase on the open market. Very talented teenage boys who support second-rate teams (like Everton or Celtic) will often actively prefer to join "their" team's training system rather than that of a superleague team (like Liverpool or Man U). Fans love that, and such local players get idolised. This doesn't happen with very talented boys who support teams outside the Premiership or Scottish Premier Division: they typically go to the best team they can find, though often merely talented boys do join the local team. They get a certain local following.

But inevitably, if they're any good, they'll get a better offer from someone else. The only example I can think of (though the real fans will certainly know others) of a local boy who just won't move is Steve Gerard at Liverpool. But even he's attached to a club that's consistently in the world's top 20, and often top 10. Moving to Barcelona or Inter Milan wouldn't pay him that much more, and wouldn't significantly improve his chances of winning the European Champions Cup.

Apart from the sentimentality of a real local boy, fans - very, very vocally - want the world's best talent for their team. They might - at any rate in the real Liverpool/Glasgow mawkish sentimentality heartland - tolerate one local lad who's not quite up there with the world's top 100 hundred players. But only for a few months - and there's no real demand for more English players among Liverpool, Man U or Chelsea fans. Or even at Everton or Spurs. I THINK some Scottish fans might like to see more Scots - but English fans just want to see their team win. If that means more Ghanaians or Argentines (or even Australians), so be it

By the way, all Premiership games are televised. You just sometimes have to find pretty obscure channels if you want to watch a match including Wigan.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:39 PM
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I figured that Britain had a bar culture which included fans watching the games on the telly while downing a few pints of the local beer.
GeorgeW is offline  
Aug 13th, 2008, 12:59 PM
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The 'bar culture' has only arisen since Sky TV started satellite broadcasting of live matches a decade or so ago. Pubs pay thousands a year to show matches in the hope that their takings will match the expenditure. It's quite recent.

All Premiership clubs get their turn in the spotlight and most lower league sides once or twice a season. the BBC show edited highlights as the can't afford any more.
stfc is offline  
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