FanDuel - WFBC

March 05, 2003

Down time.: Relegation and promotion are phenomena that US pro sports will never witness. With nine or ten weeks left in the EPL season, at least five teams are battling to avoid becoming the unlucky three to drop to the First Division next season. Conversely, there are a bevy of First Division teams fighting to take their places.

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 12:16 PM - 35 comments

West Brom and Sunderland look like lost causes. But I don't think, with ten games left, that the list stops at Birmingham. The list should include Leeds and Aston Villa. Villa are in a funk, having lost their last three games. And their manager fears that they will slide into the relegation muck. Blues, on the other hand, have won their last two games and have the spirit to survive. But then of course, there's West Ham. Who do you think will go down at the end?

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:38 PM on March 05

Really, I think it's a shame that there is no relegation in US sports. All of the major sports would be better off if the Clippers, Bengals, and Expos had been relegated to the minor leagues a while ago.

posted by tieguy at 02:01 PM on March 05

The EPL newbie has a couple of questions. First, it's nice to see Everton clinging to a Champions League spot, but I need to clarify that the top four teams get the pass. It's only four, right? I'm not sure they can hold onto their current position with the tough schedule ahead. The second is a bit for the trivia folks. Has a defending champion ever been relegated? I thought of this because I figure the Marlins would have been relegated if such a system were in place for basebll and that would have made that season that much more interesting.

posted by 86 at 02:15 PM on March 05

First: Europe qualification is complicated, even for someone who knows about the premiership. It changes every season as far as I know: Top 2: Automatic qualification for Champions League 3-4: Playoff, win means Champions League, loss means UEFA cup 5-6: EUFA Cup qualification FA Cup Winners and League Cup get EUFA Cup qualifcation. It also gets a bit more complicated when teams qualify for EUFA through the cup, but finish in the top 6. Oh and there's the Inter-toto cup, which most premiership clubs can apply for, which is a mini-european-cup with a place in the EUFA cup if you win the inter-toto. Second: Manchester City (a team with a habit of spectacular disasters) is the only one in 1936/37 season. In more recent times, Blackburn were relegated two seasons after winning the premiership.

posted by BigCalm at 05:51 PM on March 05

worldcup2002 is right, they shoulda included Villa in the relegation candidates (and maybe Leeds too). Birmingham have just lost their first choice keeper for nine months, which may be our downfall. And the bastards at the Premier League refuse to let us get a replacement. Every fucker is against us. It's not just paranoia, honest. I'm grateful to BigCalm for explaining the Europe situation because it confuses the hell out of me. Why he should be interested though, is another matter. ;-) I don't make predictions. Sorry.

posted by squealy at 06:18 PM on March 05

Another note: 40 points is the magic number. That's the rule-of-thumb number of points that teams should get in order to be "safe" from relegation. Doesn't mean you have to get at least 40 -- you may still survive with less -- but it pretty much guarantees safety if you do. After today's games: Position - Team - Games Played - Goal Difference - Points 14 Aston Villa 29 -3 35 15 Leeds United 29 -4 34 16 Birmingham 29 -14 32 17 Bolton 28 -14 26 18 West Ham Utd 29 -21 26 19 West Brom 29 -23 21 20 Sunderland 29 -27 19

posted by worldcup2002 at 06:44 PM on March 05

"If they don't win this and the next run they getting relegated to the third division." I agree: this approach would do wonders for baseball (Milwaukee, KC, Tampa Bay . . . goodbye), football and basketball. No dumping games for LeBron then. The NHL is instituting something similar: team bankruptcy.

posted by yerfatma at 07:05 PM on March 05

yerfatma: except in the NHL, it's the good teams that are going bankrupt. I don't recall where I saw it, but just this week I saw an article claiming that the Clippers were actually the most profitable franchise in the NBA. Costas argues this point well in his book on saving baseball- a salary cap is necessary, but a floor is necessary to or else you get the Bengals and the Clips.

posted by tieguy at 09:17 PM on March 05

American sports would be better off if we had relegation. Baseball should definately consider it, since they want to contract. The problem is that it would affect the dynamic of the minor leagues as MLB's farm system. I don't know what this would do for the way that teams manage their prospects and players getting called up to the Big Leagues. The same dynamic exists in hockey. Football and Basketball don't really have minor leagues, since their farm system is the college teams. While the Bengals might possibly be competitive in college ball, it would require ending the fiction that these are student-athletes... Practical considerations aside, American pro sports would be much more interesting with relegation...

posted by andrewraff at 10:45 PM on March 05

and, tieguy, not all of the teams going bankrupt are good. For example: Buffalo.

posted by andrewraff at 10:47 PM on March 05

You couldn't really do relegation to the minor leagues in baseball. The way the system is currently set up, it just isn't feasible. Here is an article on Baseball Prospectus that explains why. And the same problem would exist with professional hockey as well.

posted by grum@work at 11:49 PM on March 05

A few observations: - Leeds came close to relegation after they won the league 10 years ago - Isn't the "Champion's" league a farce - fourth in the league is the champion of what? - Remember Newcastle have been in the Champions League (they didn't win the prem) and the old Cup Winners Cup (as losers of the FA cup because the winners had already qualified for Europe)

posted by Brettski at 04:38 AM on March 06

When Bolton sold their top scorer, Michael Ricketts, they gave up on staying in the Premier League. Lay off the Expos tieguy. They haven't finished last since 1976

posted by Steve-o at 04:50 AM on March 06

- Isn't the "Champion's" league a farce - fourth in the league is the champion of what? Well, this is a good point, made by Arsene Wenger recently, and Alex Ferguson a couple of years ago (surprisingly, they were leading the premiership at the time) The disadvantage is that if you have just champions, you weaken the champions league over all - all leagues get their champion to go to the champions league. So, you could expect say, Haverfordwest of Wales to be in the champions league, rather than say, Manchester United or Juventus who finish second in their higher profile leagues. It would make the first round of the champions league a bit of a farce, and it would only get interesting by about the quarter finals. Haverfordwest could still qualify for the champions league, but they have to get through the Playoff round (and therefore possibly go against the 3rd or 4th team in the premiership) in order to reach the Big Cup. The number of spots allocated by UEFA is dependent on how well the teams from each league perform in the champions league and UEFA cup - for example, Basle (Swiss team) did surprisingly well in the champions league this year, and Switzerland may be rewarded for this by having an extra place, or qualifying place for either the UEFA cup or Champions League. A couple of years ago, the premier league had only 2 spots + one qualifying spot, but good performances from Man U and Arsenal have given us an extra qualifying spot. If Haverfordwest somehow managed to qualify for the champions league and reach the quarter finals, the league of Wales would probably be rewarded with an automatic qualifying spot.

posted by BigCalm at 05:45 AM on March 06

Anytime i talk to an "American" about relegation, they can't believe what a genius system it is. Once they understand it, that is.

posted by StarFucker at 02:47 PM on March 06

Well, one reason that American's don't like "relegation" systems is that it kills any chance for the miracle underdog champions. For example: In 1990, the Minnesota Twins (2nd last) and the Atlanta Braves (last) were two of the worst teams in baseball. In 1991, they played against each other for the World Series (Minny won). If they'd been "relegated", they wouldn't have had a chance to win the top trophy (being stuck in the "2nd division").

posted by grum@work at 05:52 PM on March 06

rubbish. How about Wimbledon FC, who started in non-league football (i.e. one step up from a kick about in the park), who despite having no cash, few supporters, but fantastic team spirit charged up the leagues into the premiership, winning an FA Cup in the process. If that isn't romantic underdogism I don't know what is. How about if the Braves had been relegated, then two years later, got promoted and won the division. To make the highs higher, you must be prepared to sink lower. Relegation has a downside. Clubs go bust (though not very often), and the mighty do fall. Accrington for example, one of the founder members of the football league, went bust a long time ago.

posted by BigCalm at 06:09 PM on March 06

Ahem. Miracle underdog champions.

posted by squealy at 06:15 PM on March 06

But what I'm saying is that if a team gets relegated to the 2nd tier division, then they cannot possibly win the title this year. Period. They have to win their way back into the first division and THEN have a shot at the big title. North Americans don't tend to stick to teams that are "losers" very long. If you give them even a glimmer of hope (staying in one league), they might hang around if they are fanatical enough (Chicago Cubs, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Bills). But fan support can be fleeting...if they know they can't win, they don't tend to show up (Montreal Expos, Chicago Bulls after Jordan left). So relegating a team to a "can't possibly win" division is a death sentence in North America.

posted by grum@work at 06:55 PM on March 06

That's coz the teams themselves don't engender nor deserve loyalty. The Houston Oilers can in the next season turn into the Tennessee Titans, the frickin' LA Rams can go to Oakland, et fackin' cetera. Now, in England, they have fackin' history, tradition and bloody community pride. You wouldn't see the fackin' Birmingham City team suddenly show up as the twat London Birminghammers because the capital built a new shite stadium there for them. You wouldn't see Manchester Utd. turn up as the Oxford Manchesties the next season, coz they couldn't get the fockin' city of Manchester to bankroll a new stadium. These teams have charters going back 100-200 years. (Give me some real stats here, Englishmen.) What's the oldest US team that's stayed in one city? The closest the US pro teams come to that is the Yankees, the Celtics (Celtic!), and the Boston Stockinged teams. Show some fackin' loyalty, and you'll get some in return! Faaaack!

posted by worldcup2002 at 10:16 PM on March 06

LA Raiders ... Oakland Raiders. Doh.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:05 AM on March 07

English clubs probably aren't quite as old as you think wc2002. Villa is one of the oldest, who played their first game in 1873. In the very early days it was primarily midland and the northwest of England that played it. A club moving far from it's home support is unthinkable in England. Wimbledon FC have tried to move to Milton Keynes, about 60 miles away - the result? All the fans have left and formed a new team.

posted by BigCalm at 03:35 AM on March 07

- the result? All the fans have left and formed a new team. The point being that because of promotion and relegation it's possible for the AFC Wimbledon (their new team) fans to dream that they will one day play in the same league as Franchise FC (their old one). I think it's great that the new Wimbledon claim that they are the true successors to the crazy gang and therefore their honours list them as FA cup winners!

posted by Brettski at 04:35 AM on March 07

Brettski, squealy: You guys need to be in the SpoFi EPL fantasy league next season. Your knowledge, intelligence and humo(u)r would greatly enhance our camaraderie and fun. And we need to increase our chances of someone beating StarFucker.

posted by worldcup2002 at 09:51 AM on March 07

Big Calm: Point of Order: Accrington Stanley were not founder members of the Foolball League in 1888. Accrington FC were founder members until they went bankrupt in 1893. Accrinton Stanley joined the Football League in 1921.

posted by salmacis at 09:59 AM on March 07

"And we need to increase our chances of someone beating StarFucker" Talk about a sense of humour!

posted by StarFucker at 10:06 AM on March 07

I stand corrected salamcis. Two teams, both called Accrington, both who've since gone bust. easy mistake to make. /puts on scouse accent "Ian Rush says if you don't drink lots of milk you will only be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley" "Accrington Stanley? Who are they?"

posted by BigCalm at 12:35 PM on March 07

Ian Rush is fackin' brilliant!

posted by worldcup2002 at 07:45 PM on March 07

worldcup2002: You been watching Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels again?

posted by salmacis at 04:04 AM on March 08

No. Any show with Vinnie Jones has got to suck.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:25 AM on March 08

posted by StarFucker at 03:07 PM on March 08

That's coz the teams themselves don't engender nor deserve loyalty. The Houston Oilers can in the next season turn into the Tennessee Titans, the frickin' LA Rams can go to Oakland, et fackin' cetera. Now, in England, they have fackin' history, tradition and bloody community pride. You wouldn't see the fackin' Birmingham City team suddenly show up as the twat London Birminghammers because the capital built a new shite stadium there for them. You wouldn't see Manchester Utd. turn up as the Oxford Manchesties the next season, coz they couldn't get the fockin' city of Manchester to bankroll a new stadium. These teams have charters going back 100-200 years. (Give me some real stats here, Englishmen.) What's the oldest US team that's stayed in one city? The closest the US pro teams come to that is the Yankees, the Celtics (Celtic!), and the Boston Stockinged teams. Show some fackin' loyalty, and you'll get some in return! Faaaack! This whole statement is utter nonsense. Most US teams have never moved. This is a rare happening and when it does happen its because the market can't support the team. And often when a team moves it is replaced by a team that is more suited to the market. One need look no further than Hartford, CT. When the Whalers moved, a minor league hockey team called the Wolfpack was founded. Or NYC comes to mind. They couldn't suppot three major league teams, but it can support two major league teams and some minor league teams. How can a US team have a charter going back 200 years when the leagues and most teams have not been for that long? In baseball alone, the Cubs, Reds, Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, White Sox are teams with long traditions. Not to mention all of the expansion teams that have never moved. Why there traditions any less vital? If they get relegated I guess they'd never even have a chance to have a tradition. For more on my view see here. North Americans don't tend to stick to teams that are "losers" very long. As a diehard Cubs fan I say that is just not true. Chicago has stuck by the Cubs for the last 127 years despite only two world championships, and one none in the past 95 years. But fan support can be fleeting...if they know they can't win, they don't tend to show up (Montreal Expos, Chicago Bulls after Jordan left). So relegating a team to a "can't possibly win" division is a death sentence in North America. I like your point about the "death sentence" that relegation would bring. And by the way before the Bulls got Jordan, the Bulls sucked...I guess if the Bulls were relegation they'd never even have a shot at those six championships. I think the relegation system is refection of monarchy and a notion that one should win simply because one has won in the past. Both of those notions are outmoded. I'd also hate see my Roma being relegated after their more than 100 years of tradition. Pop quiz: How lone is Totti going to sick around if Roma falls into Seria B? Your answer should give you a good reason against relegation.

posted by Bag Man at 03:17 PM on March 08

I've got a question for some knowledgable British soccer fan. Last year I spent a semester in Swansea, and followed the Swans. It seems that this year they are in some serious danger of being relegated. However, being that they are in the the 3rd division already, where do they go from there? Do they just cease to exist or what? And do teams get promoted into the 3rd division, and where do they come from?

posted by split atom at 01:43 PM on March 09

Teams relegated from the third division go down to what is now known as the Nationwide Conference. There's a structure of leagues below that as well. All teams that come into the football league are promoted from the Conference.

posted by squealy at 02:36 PM on March 09

Ooh, it gets horribly complex below there. My local local team Moor Green FC, play in the Dr Martens Premier league and are one league below the conference. Try here for an explanation of the football pyramid in England.

posted by BigCalm at 05:58 PM on March 09

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