Club Football: for those who want to take it up
A football club is a privately owned sports team which primarily indulges in the game of football (or Soccer) and participates in various footballing competitions organised in the country. Professional Clubs are the owners of their own stadium(called a club’s home stadium), and are responsible for paying the fees of its players and staff. They are also expected to negotiate their own sponsorship deals and set their ticket prices.
NOTE: THE MODEL OF ENGLISH FOOTBALL WILL BE USED TO FURTHER ELABORATE ON THIS TOPIC
CUP COMPETITIONS: In English Football there exist many competitions. There are a few Cup competitions like the FA Cup(which is the oldest Football competition in the world) and the Carling Cup(also known as the Football league Cup). Both these cup competitions use the knockout round format to come down to a list of four semi finalists which in turn gives two finalists, with the finals for both the competitions contested for at the Wembley Stadium in London. Apart from these Cup Competitions there exists a league tournament as well, which takes place in various tires.
LEAGUE SYSTEM: The top 20 clubs of England participate in the Barclays Premier League. The Second tier teams take part in the nPower Championship, followed by the next set of teams in League One, then the League Two, then the Conference National(each of the aforementioned leagues consists of 24 teams each) follwed by two parallel leagues called the Conference North and the Conference South. These are followed by a few more parallel leagues like the Northern Premier League, the Southern Premier League and the Isthmian League.
MATCHES: Each team plays two matches with the remainder of the teams in the league. The schedule of all these matches is determined by the FA(the premier Footballing Body of England). One match with a particular opposition is played at the home ground of the club, and the second match is played at the home ground of the opposing club. 3 points are awarded for a win, and 1 to each of the teams for a draw, and 0 for a loss.
THE LEAGUE TABLE: After the completion of each set of matches, a table is computed which determines in descending order, the teams which have fared better. The teams with the most no. of points are at the top end of the table while those with lesser no. of points are at the bottom end. In case two teams have equal number of points, then a parameter called Goal Difference is used. Goal Difference (or GD) of a team is calculated by taking the total number of goals scored by a team and then subtracting the number of goals conceded by them. It is possible that this parameter is negative for a team. In case of equal goal difference, the team which has scored the more number of goals is placed higher in the table.
THE CHAMPIONS: The champions of a league are decided after the completion of all set of matches. The team on top of the league table at this point of time, are crowned the champions of the League.
RELEGATION/PROMOTION: A fixed set of teams from each of the leagues gets demoted to the league below it, and a fixed set of clubs from each of the leagues apart from the Premier League get promoted to the league above it at the end of the football season. They resume their new positions at the start of the next football season. All other clubs remain in their respective leagues. The bottom three clubs of the Premier League are demoted to the Championship, while the top two finishers in the Championship are promoted automatically to the Premier League, while the third vacant spot is contested for in a playoff tournament by the teams which finish 3rd-6th in the Championship. The winners of this tournament are promoted to the Premier League.
EUROPEAN FOOTBALL: There exist two European Footballing tournaments, the UEFA Champions league, and the UEFA Europa League. These tournaments run parallel to the English League and is contested between clubs of all member nations of Europe’s Premier football body, UEFA. These competitions carry an immense pride value in addition to the much greater match recepits, money generated from the television rights, and prize money associated with them in comparison to the National Leagues. Qualification to the UEFA Champions League for English Clubs is possible by finishing 1st-4th in the Premier League. The team finishing 4th would have to play an extra play off round to enter the group stages of the Champions League. It consists of 32 teams at the start of the group stages, and progresses in a fashion similar to the World Cup. The only exception is that two round of matches are played in the group stage and the knockout stages as well, one at the home ground of a club and the other at the opposing club’s home stadium. For Qualification to the Europa Leauge, teams have to finish either 5th or 6th in the Premier League. In addition to this two more spots are granted to the winners of the FA Cup and the winners of the Carling Cup. If the team winning the FA Cup has already qualified for one of the two tournaments, then the place is granted to the runners up of the tournament.
TRANSFERS: Club may compete in the transfer market for players of other clubs which is open during two periods of the footballing season. The summer transfer market is open before the start of the new season in July and runs into August. The winter transfer market opens mid season, in January. Clubs contact other players and agents for the players that they are interested in and pay a certain transfer fee to the club where he is still in contract. The fee is agreed upon between the two clubs, which may or may not be disclosed to the public. The player is then offered a new contract by his new club. This contract contains a pre agreed set of terms.
The top four clubs of England are as follows
- ARSENAL FC: Arsenal Football Club or the Gunners, based in the Emirates Stadium in London are the most successful club out of the national Capital. They are known in contemporary football as the icons of stylish football, with their neat passing and easy on the eye breezy football as its ornaments. Under the guidance of its manager, Arsene Wenger, who is currently the premier league’s second most experienced manager at his club have developed a side full of youth and energy. The Club, currently under a rebuilding phase have maintained respectable league positions over the last few years, with clubs in similar positions finding them in relegation battles, and some even a few leagues below them. The most successful moment of the club came when they finished 49 games unbeaten in a row, including a whole season unbeaten.
- CHELSEA FC: Chelsea, based in the West-London region of the same name are the most recent entrants to the league of big-boys in English Football. This was made possible by its take over by Russian Billionaire, Roman Abrahmovich, who showed to the footballing world that money can buy success. They have hence won 4 league titles, and have done well in Europe as well. Such policies adopted by the club, have led to the press jokingly naming it as the BANK OF ENGLAND. Chelsea FC are currently the Champions of England. They are known for an aggressive approach on the pitch, which may not necessarily be pleasant to the neutrals, but it does get the results for them.
- LIVERPOOL FC: Liverpool Football Club, based in the historic Anfield Stadium in Liverpool are perhaps the most successful club in England. But success has eluded them in recent years, with their last league title coming in the 1988 season. They are the only club out of the 4 mentioned who have not won the Premier League thus far. And they are right now in danger of loosing out their status as the member of the big four in England, after a seventh place finish in the table and ensuring that they will not be taking part in the Champions League, resulting into financial problems for the already cash stripped club. They are also perhaps the most boring team out of the big 4.
- MANCHESTER UNITED FC: MUFC, or the Red Devils are based at the Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester. Having won 18 league titles, they are by far the most successful team in the history of the Premier League. Sir Alex Ferguson is currently their manager, who has held that post since 1986(which makes him currently the most experienced manager at a club) are known for their attacking football. They are currently battling debt due to the loans taken in order to complete the purchase of the club by their new American owners.
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