Sunday, May 29, 2011

Links to FIFA sponsors contact information

Here are electronic ways to contact FIFA sponsors. Some of the locations are defaulted to Canada as that is where I am. All of the websites for the sponsors also provide address and phone numbers where they can be reached.

Here is the link to FIFA's sponsor page.

I looked at the sponsors of the organisation rather than the sponsors specific to the World Cup. Here are the ways to contact them. Please do contact them as it only through volume that they will hear our message.

Adidas -

Adidas -

Adidas on twitter: @adidasUS @adidasUK

Coca Cola on twitter @CocaCola

Hyundai on Twitter @hyundai

Kia Motors on Twitter @Kia_Motors

Emirates on twitter @flyingemirates

Sony on twitter @sony

Letter to FIFA Sponsors

Dear FIFA Sponsors,

As you are no doubt aware there have been serious accusations of corruption within the FIFA executive. We as fans do not believe in FIFA's ability to investigate itself. We are calling on you to use your abilities as a sponsor of FIFA to pressure them to hold open, transparent, and independent investigations into all of the allegations of corruption.

We also regret to inform you that until you take action on this issue we will be boycotting the products and services your companies provide. We as fans and you as sponsors have a responsibility to hold FIFA to account; we are doing our part and it is now your turn.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Elder, a fan of football.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Year of Falling Giants

This past season has been very bad for a number of big teams. Their downfalls have been confusing and surprising; while some teams managed to rebound and finish in a respectable position, many finished the season near the bottom of the table. First, let's look at those clubs that had an incredibly poor season they wish they could forget.

The most notable club that had a poor season is of course Schalke in Germany. They made it to the Champions League semi-finals and won the German Cup - that doesn't sound like a poor season, does it? Well they also finished the Bundesliga in 14th place, only two places above relegation. They were 2nd last year, 8th the year before, 3rd before that, and 2nd before that. Their average finish in the four seasons before this one is 4th. A drop of twelve places is huge and will signal big changes for the club - in fact, star goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has already announced that he will not be back at Schalke next season.

Schalke weren't alone in Germany as a big club having a poor season. Wolfsburg finished one place behind Schalke - one place above the drop. Wolfsburg were Bundesliga Champions two years ago. They were 8th last season, 5th in the season before they were Champions, and 15th the year before that. Wolfsburg have taken their fans on quite the roller coaster ride from 15th to 15th in 5 years. The back to back seasons of dropping seven places doesn't bode well for these former champions.

In Italy, Sampdoria started this season in the Champions League and will start the next one in Serie B after being relegated. They dropped 14 places this season, from 4th last year to 18th this year. Their average finish in the league for the four years prior to this campaign is 8th, ten places higher than their finish. We will need to watch through the summer to see what happens to Sampdoria's squad to know if they will be able to make a quick return to Serie A.

In Spain, Julian de Guzman's old club Deportivo la Coruna were relegated from La Liga. They finished in 18th place after finishing 10th last year. They were 7th the year before. Depor hadn't been competing in Europe for a while but they were certainly an established La Liga side. Their average finish in the four years leading up to this campaign was 10th. If JDG left the club because of some financial issues there, then those are only going to get worse in the Segunda and it could be awhile before Depor are back in the top flight.

Moving north to France, it has been a bad year for AS Monaco. Granted it has been a while since they were in the Champions League final, but after an 8th place finish in Ligue 1 last year, their fans certainly expected more from them than to be in 18th place with one match left. They need at least a point to have a chance at survival, but are home to 3rd place Lyon who need one point to secure 3rd place and Champions League football. In my mind Monaco are going down. Like Depor their four prior seasons average was 10th.

There were a few other clubs I wouldn't consider to be big clubs, but certainly established clubs in the top flight, that were relegated as well. In England, both Birmingham and West Ham were relegated. Birmingham finished 9th last season and won the League Cup this season, but were only able to finish in 18th this year. The club has been a bit of a yo-yo side with two promotions and two relegations in the last five years; however they looked to put that behind them with a 9th place finish and a League Cup victory. In the end they couldn't avoid the drop. I don't expect them to get promoted back to the Premier League next season unless they invest in a number of new players. West Ham had a dismal season, and after a poor campaign last year as well they aren't in the same category as the other teams. Even with their poor year last year, their prior four years average finish was 13th, seven places higher than the 20th of this year. This club is in a lot of trouble; they need to do a huge rebuild and a number of their star players are leaving. West Ham's main focus should be on avoiding back to back relegations.

A similar story played out in Portugal. Naval 1 Maio were relegated for their last place finish. While not achieving any huge heights, they had an average finish of 11th in the four years before this season. They would have expected to do better this year, especially after they managed an 8th place finish last year.

Let's switch over to some of the big clubs that managed to salvage a poor season. Returning to Germany, Bayern Munich spent a much larger portion of the season away from the top than anyone at the club is used to; consequently, head coach van Gaal was sacked. That said, they did manage to salvage 3rd place and qualify for the Champions League. With German keeper Neuer rumoured to be joining from Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen's coach joining the club, next season should be better for the Bundesliga giants.

In England, Liverpool got off to a horrible start and sacked their manager, too. However King Kenny came in and got Liverpool into 6th place. Also in England, 9th place Aston Villa were involved in the relegation battle until the last month of the season. Their manager left the club at the start and then replacement boss Gerard Houllier was hospitalised and his assistant took over for the last few matches of the season. After the way this season has gone, I imagine most Villa fans are pleasantly surprised with a finish in the top ten.

Moving to Turkey, Galatasaray managed an 8th place finish this year. They spent a large portion of the campaign just above the relegation zone. In fact, they only finished six points out of 14th. This was a huge disaster for the Istanbul club whose last four league finishes were 3rd, 5th, 1st, and 3rd. They had a few injuries this season, brought back Fatih Terim for a 3rd time as manager, and have moved to a new stadium. They have also been linked with Didier Drogba -safe to say that they will likely improve on their 8th place finish next season.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Barcelona what happened?

Barcelona, mes que un club. (More than a club) This phrase is emblazoned upon the Camp Nou and ties together the players, fans, executive, city, and Catalonia. Barcelona have represented what a football club should be. They play attractive winning football and have an excellent youth academy programme. Until 5 years ago they had nothing on their uniforms except for their logo until they reached a deal to pay Unicef to put the Unicef logo on their kits. In my mind this was a big snub to the millions of dollars of potential sponsorship dollars and a challenge to other clubs to do the same. There were a few other clubs that adopted charities on their kit, but there was no revolution. Barcelona were alone amongst the big clubs again giving the feeling that they truly were more than a club.

Last month there were four match ups between Real Madrid & Barcelona across 3 competitions. As you know by in large the football public was disappointed in what we received. There were a few moments of brilliance that delighted us, but largely overshadowed by general nastiness (on and off the field) and a lot more play acting than we are used to seeing. I am well aware that there is a lot of fake injuries in football today, and I am not going to pretend that this is limited to one club, country, or league. However when you are being mentioned as potentially one of the greatest sides in the history of the game, then you should be able to get past your arch rivals without resorting to faking head injuries in the hopes of getting an opponent sent off. I know that there are worse offenders etc etc, all I am saying is that with the eyes of the football world all on Barcelona they didn't impress, in fact they embarrassed.

The champions league final is still to come, with Barcelona getting a chance to redeem itself with a beautiful performance at Wembley, but another aspect of the club is gone forever. Barcelona unveiled their uniform for next season, no longer is Unicef across the front. It has been replaced by the Qatar Foundation. The Qatar Foundation paid 125M pounds to have their name on Barcelona's shirts for the next 5 seasons. So now they are just like every other club in football. To me it seems that football as well as Barcelona have lost something. I know that in the new financial world money is scarce and the money will no doubt ensure that they can continue to pay inflated transfer fees and wages to remain competitive at the highest level. With a sponsor on their kit, they have joined the rest of the football world as a club. They are still a great club, but they are mes que un club no more.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thoughts on United's 19th title

This morning on the Score, Kristian Jack wrote a great article about Manchester United winning their 19th title, and it got me thinking. Here in the land where hockey rules, the mark of quality is the performance in the playoffs and the winning of the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. However, what would it look like if we re-examined the NHL standings and forgot about the cups and focused on the league crowns. There have been 93 NHL league titles awarded and 112 league titles in England. In the NHL 20 different teams have won the title, in England there have been 23 different winners. Only one of the NHL champions no longer exists, which are the 1925 Champions the Hamilton Tigers. All 23 English Champions are still playing football, with most at the highest level. Of the 20 Hockey Champs 13 have won more than once, with the 23 English Champs 19 have won multiple times. I think we have waited about long enough, lets have a look at the combined list of champions, (number of times won in brackets) and the year of the last league title.

1. Montreal Canadiens (23) - 1978
2. Manchester United (19) - 2011
3. Liverpool (18) - 1990
3. Detroit Red Wings (18) - 2008
5. Arsenal (13) - 2004
6. Boston Bruins (12) - 1990
7. Everton (9) - 1987
8. Ottawa Senators (8) - 2003
9. Aston Villa (7) - 1981
10. Sunderland (6) - 1936
11. Toronto Maple Leafs (5) - 1963
12. Newcastle United (4) - 1927
12. Sheffield Wednesday (4) - 1930
12. Chelsea (4) - 2010
15. Huddersfield Town (3) - 1926
15. Wolverhampton Wanderers (3) - 1959
15. New York Islanders (3) - 1982
15. Edmonton Oilers (3) - 1987
15. Chicago Blackhawks (3) - 1991
15. Leeds United (3) - 1992
15. New York Rangers (3) - 1994
15. Blackburn Rovers (3) - 1995
23. Preston North End (2) - 1890
23. Portsmouth (2) - 1950
23. Burnley (2) - 1960
23. Tottenham Hotspur (2) - 1961
23. Manchester City (2) - 1968
23. Derby County (2) - 1975
23. Philadelphia Flyers (2) - 1985
23. Calgary Flames (2) - 1989
23. Dallas Stars (2) - 1999
23. Colorado Avalanche (2) - 2001
33. Sheffield United (1) - 1898
33. West Bromwich Albion (1) - 1920
33. Hamilton Tigers (1) - 1925
33. Ipswich Town (1) - 1962
33. Nottingham Forest - 1978
33. Pittsburgh Penguins (1) - 1993
33. St. Louis Blues (1) - 2000
33. Buffalo Sabres (1) - 2007
33. San Jose Sharks (1) - 2009
33. Washington Capitals (1) - 2010
33. Vancouver Canucks (1) - 2011

There are a number of interesting stats that I noticed while looking at the lists of champions. First the NHL has had 4 first time champs in the last 5 years, that is remarkable. To give you an idea the last 4 first time champs in England were Nottingham Forest (1978), Derby County (1972), Leeds United (1969) and Ipswich Town (1962). Something else that amazed me were that the great teams of Gretzky & Lemieux won so few titles. Another thing that I noticed when looking at England is that 3 sides won all of their titles in back to back seasons. Portsmouth winning in 1949 & 1950. Huddersfield town winning in 1924, 1925, and 1926. Far away the most painful would be Preston North End winning in 1889 & 1890. The first ever seasons of league football. So North End fans who celebrated back to back titles have endured a wait of 121 seasons for their next title. When you factor in the fact that PNE were just relegated to League One it will be at least 2014 before they can even have a chance to compete for the title again, where they will look to erase a 123 year drought. So Leafs fans who have wondered how bad can things get, you can thank your lucky stars you don't support Preston. Speaking of Leafs fans, the league crowns have done you no favours either with your last title now coming in 1963.
What I found interesting as well was that of the 23 English Champions 13 played this season in the Premier League. 8 Champions were playing in the Championship and 2 were playing in League One. Of course former champions Preston North End & Sheffield were both relegated to League One. Huddersfield are competing in the League One playoffs and could be promoted, while Nottingham Forest are in the Championship playoffs and could be promoted as well. That said it could be former champions Blackburn Rovers or Wolverhampton Wanderers that make room for them in the Premier League. Also if you are curious and think that the Premier League should be for the 20 biggest clubs and do away with relegation. Then using league titles as the criteria those 20 are the 19 teams with more than one title and depending on your tie breaker of choice one of Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion, Ipswich Town, or Nottingham Forest.

In the NHL some of the more hapless franchises are the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks both of which have played in most of the 93 NHL seasons but have only 3 titles each. Another interesting stat is that all 6 current Canadian NHL teams have one at least one title.

I hope that you found this interesting. Especially as I have another post coming up looking at football in Europe since the 1954 campaign (the first one where you qualified for European competition) to determine what the most successful football club in Europe is. That article will be posted on The Subs Bench.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Relegation Battles - Update

As you know we have been watching the relegation battles across England, Italy, & Germany. Here is an update on what has changed in those battles.

In English Premier League both Bolton & Fulham are now safe from the drop. In the Championship Sheffield United & Doncaster Rovers were both relegated, so the relegation battle in the English 2nd tier is over. In League One Plymouth were relegated. In League Two Stockport were relegated, leaving the battle for the last relegation place between Lincoln City & Barnet.

In Italy Fiorentina & Genoa are safe from the drop in Serie A. There were no changes in Serie B. Though Reggina could achieve safety if they win their suspended match against Albinoleffe. Albinoleffe were leading 1-0 in the 1st half when the match was suspended.

In die Bundesliga Freiburg are safe from the drop. FC Inglostadt 04 & SC Paderborn 07 are also safe from the drop in die 2 Bundesliga.

Lots of big matches remaining, especially in the football leagues in England with only one match left in their season. This weekend is also the big match between Cologne & Frankfurt in die Bundesliga.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Podcast

Listen to Matt & I discuss a wide range of topics including the Voyageurs Cup, Champions League, & the born again EPL title race.