Hello to all my American… acquaintances

I can’t say cousins, because as far as I know I don’t have any family over there, although coming from a catholic family on my mothers side I seem to have a lot of relatives I never knew about so maybe, who knows!

Anyway, first off I’d like to thank Rob for inviting me to join this site, I do occasionally have things I’d like to get off my chest and have own views and opinions on things, so lets gets started shall we?

And for my first post it’s all about… FOOTBALL!

And please, no comments/emails/IM’s about it being called Soccer! I’m English, we call it football, end of argument!

This year we saw the World Cup and no, you Americans did not WIN against England in the first round match, away goals, do not count for extra!  And quite frankly England were worse than ever, they were shockingly bad, had no passion and no one really cared when they were knocked out of the tournament!

But Rob did ask me about the English game and since it starts this Saturday (August 14th) Rob asked me how our system works, now I’ve no idea how it works over in America, but here’s how the UK system works, very easily…

The Premeir League

Our top league is called The Premier League, there are hundreds of lower leagues in the UK, they all work to the same principle.  The Premier Leagure has 20 teams in it, some have more, some have less.  Each team plays all the other teams in the league twice during the season, which starts in August and ends in May.

So 38 games are played throughout the season, but not all the games are played together over the course of a weekend (as in a rounds system), some teams have other engagements throughout the season which are mainly tournament games for other trophies, these are…

In the UK…

  • The FA Cup
  • The League Cup

For a few select teams they play in these European tournaments…

  • The UEFA Champions League
  • The UEFA Europa League (formerly the UEFA Cup)

Just to point out, UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) is the European branch of FIFA who are football’s governing body!  In America your branch is called CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) that’s a hell of a mouthfull, and LOOK, it even has the word FOOTBALL IN IT!!!

If the interest is there, I’ll post up how those four tournaments work in another post…

The games are played over 2 halves for 45 minutes with a 15 minute break in between.  There’s no extra time if the game ends in a draw, the only added time is for anytime the ball has been out of play for any reason, during the 45 minutes of that half. The points system is as follows, 3 for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a defeat.  No bonus points for anything.

The league plays out from August to May, most matches take place on a Saturday at 3pm, there is normally a match which kicks off at 12:45pm and another at 5pm, with 19 matches to choose from, the FA (Football Association) along with Sky Sports (satellite channel here in the UK) have plenty to choose from and can say when matches are to be played, its been known for matches to move from a Saturday 3pm fixture to another fixture, depending on who’s playing and their current position in the league, matches also take place on Sundays, there’s normally 2 of them that day, one played 1pm, the other at 4pm with another match played on a Monday night at 8pm.

The matches not played on Saturday at 3pm are all shown on the aforementioned Sky Sports, the 3pm games are commented on during a show called Soccer Saturday!

YES I KNOW ITS SAYS SOCCER… but its a Saturday if it had been a Friday it would have had the name Football Friday! OK?!

The only time all matches are played together is on the last day of the season, its normally the 2nd last Sunday in May and all matches start at 4pm, this is basically incase there is a chance 1 of 2 maybe even 3 or 4 teams could win the title and how do they win the title?  By being top!

It’s that simple!

I’ve seen in other leagues, that being top of the table at the end of the season doesn’t mean you’re champions!  They have ‘mini tournaments’ so that teams lower in the table can be crowned Champions.

WHY?  Whats the point, they didn’t win the league, they didn’t amass the most points over the season!  It’s unfair… its politically incorrect, its like School Sports Day here in England!  No one goes home the loser, because you took part, your still a winner!  So even the littlest kid in class who was entered in the egg and spoon race who dropped his egg more times than anyone can care to remember, who finished 5 minutes after everyone else had crossed the line is still a winner!

RUBBISH!

Anyway, I disgress, back to the Premier League.  So as I said, all the teams play 38 games throughout the course of the season, even on Boxing Day and New Years Day, I bet theres a few hangovers in the crowd on those days!

But going back to the last game of the season the reason they all play together is to add to the excitement, if more than one team can become Champions, its fun to watch the results as they come in and see what it does to the league table, and since they are all playing at the same time, they have no way of knowing, until the guy on the tannoy makes an announcement or you can see the supporting fans in the stands with radios listening to national radio station 5 Live and getting excited or scared as they here their teams fate possibly being decided by another team playing elsewhere.

So by 6pm the champions are announced, that is of course, if its gone that far, sometimes, the champions can become champions earlier, it depends on how many points they acquire during the season, and if they have a succesful run and other teams can’t keep up, then they can win the title with maybe 3 or 4 games left.  If by the time the champions are crowned before the last game, they normally display the trophy at the last home game of the season.

However, at the other end of the table, the bottom 3 teams are relegated while the top 2 teams plus the winners of a 4 team play off knockout tournament played between the teams in 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place all come up into the Premier League.

So thats basically it, a 9 and half month, 20 team, round robin tournament with a few extra matches thrown in.

Hope that helps, if you still a little confused/stumped/pondering, just ask I don’t mind! Comments / responses are encouraged!

Catch you all next time!