As you know I like to get around Europe and elsewhere and watch some less than Premier League matches.
One of my biggest assets is a unique web site called www.footiemap.com which is the work of Erik, a footie nut in a small rural part of South Carolina. You can access the site and get to look at first division teams world wide free of charge, and for a small fee you can become a member and access all the way down to six tiers of clubs in 100 plus countries, including new site for women's soccer in England and non-league football.
I often like to see a big time match on a weekend and go to some more 2nd-6th division matches on a 4 day weekend, Friday-Monday, as I did in Poland recently. Erik says he has combined his interest in geography, soccer and computers. He confesses to have only been to two real soccer stadiums, The Emirates in London and Blackbaud Stadium, Charleston SC., so its even more interesting to see how much he has achieved. When I was a schoolboy I learned more about the geography in Scotland, for example, by reading and hearing the soccer scores, then look at a map and Thomas Cooks Railway Timetable to find out about Queen of the South, Heart of Midlothian, Raith Rovers, East Fife, St. Johnstone, and Falkirk, Stranraer, Dunfermline and more.
Well, Footie Map makes this easy world wide. You click on a map of the world and a country, or go to a list and can just look at top teams, or leagues, or all clubs on a country's map. You click on the club badge which leads to their web site, or at the side to access www.viamichelin.com for location and/or driving directions. Pretty neat!!
Have you been keeping up with the recent F.A. Cup saga? Chesterfield v Droyslden 2nd Round. The first match at Saltergate near Chesterfield's crooked spire cathedral came to a premature end when fog decended and the referee abandoned the tie. The re-arranged match at the same venue was a bit of a farce. After 79 minutes it was 1-1. Following an injury to Droylsden's Carl Lamb the ball was put into touch. The ball was thrown-in to Carl Lester, who, instead of passing it to Droylsden goalkeeper Craig Mawson, lobbed it over his head and into the net.
There were angry scenes in the crowd and between the players. As a sporting gesture the Spireites coach Lee Richardson told his players to allow the visitors to score from the kick-off without resistance. That made it 2-2. So, a replay at Droylsden's Butchers Arms stadium was necessary. That replay ended prematurely with Chesterfiled ahead 2-0 when the floodlights failed. The re-arranged match was won by The Bloods 2-0, with both goals scored by defender Sean Newton and a 3rd Round match on Saturday 3rd January, 2009 beckoned against Ipswich Town after the greatest victory in their 116 year history.
Well, NOT QUITE !. Newton had received 5 yellow cards this season and The Football Association informed the club, and he was supposed to sit out a match. On Monday 29th December the F.A. will meet and decide if Droylsden are kicked out of the F.A. Cup and Chesterfield, the league's 4th oldest club, founded 1867, will meet Ipswich instead.