Saturday, 13 December 2014

Matchday 15 Results & Updated Tables


Burnley  2   Liverpool St Helens  1
Hungaria 2   Audenshaw Dynamo  2
Manchester City  3   Stalybridge Celtic  5
Marlow  2   Blyth Spartans  3
Matlock Town  1   Gainsborough Trinity  2
Mossley  5   Wrexham  3
Northwich Victoria  2   Oxford Excelsior  1
Red Star Sunderland  2   Hartlepool United  0

Second Division

Crewe Alexandra  2   Inter-Italiano  1
Hendon Hotspur  0   Atletico Espanol  1
Manchester Newton Heath  2   Sheffield Wednesday  1
Marine  3   Bradford City  2
Merthyr Tydfil  2   Crystal Palace  4
Nelson CBR  3   Spartak-Slavia  2
Newcastle Blue Star  2   Newcastle United  2
South Liverpool Red Star  7   Gateshead Dynamo  0

Mid-term Review

The league season reaches its half-way point and a suitable place at which to enjoy a few weeks’ break to take stock of proceedings thus far, with Stalybridge Celtic extending their lead at the head of the Championship to four points after another Manchester derby goalfest in the form of a thrilling 5-3 victory at City - noteworthier still for being their hosts’ first home reverse of the campaign - following last Saturday’s 6 – 4 win over Audenshaw.
The ‘Bridge find themselves in this healthy position courtesy of a combination of their own fine result(s) and second-placed Liverpool St Helens’ surprise setback at faltering Burnley, whose thoroughly-merited even if last-gasp 2-1 win was a first in 5 matches and only a second in 10, enabling them to climb a place and two further points clear of the relegation berths, raising the Clarets’ spirits just in time for Christmas.

It must be said that Stalybridge’s success has been something of a surprise, as they wouldn’t have been expected to be amongst the frontrunners this season, even allowing for last term’s mid-table consolidation in the top flight, but their consistency has been admirable, confidence instilled by the early win at Gainsborough and blossoming after the remarkable 6- 2 demolition of their hosts at Burnley: even an eventual first defeat of the season at Hartlepool has proved to be the most temporary of blips, being followed by a 15-goal-fuelled salvo of another three straight wins.

Hungaria and Audenshaw did themselves little good with their 2 – 2 draw, keeping them both in the danger zone, although Oxford and Matlock’s defeats ensured they ended the first half as the bottom two, the only bright spot for either so far being the latter’s surprise success at Marlow in the previous round of fixtures, which the reigning champions followed up with another home defeat, this time to Blyth, intensifying what is becoming an increasingly unimpressive, hapless and hopeless defence of their title. Spartans, meanwhile, are themselves on something of a roll and up to fourth with that result, with Gainsborough Trinity also on an upward curve and moving rather ominously into third place, level on points with St Helens.

Of this season’s newcomers, Hartlepool have been solid and are the only team to have beaten Stalybridge so far, although they’ve failed to win in three since, but Northwich’s win over Oxford, following last weekend’s fine victory at Wrexham, has seen the Vics climb to fifth in the table, an impressive introduction to the Championship and a continuation of their upward progress following three successive promotions up the league structure.

In the Second Division, where matters are very close, Crewe’s home win over Inter-Italiano coupled with then-leaders Spartak-Slavia’s reverse at resurgent (four wins in four) Nelson enabled them to exchange places at the top, with also-defeated Sheffield Wednesday, victims of Manchester Newton Heath’s continuing upturn in form and defensive soundness, two points behind in third, one ahead of early pacesetters Marine, who appear to have steadied their previously rocking ship with a second successive home win, and South Liverpool Red Star, who trounced a somewhat less-than-dynamic Gateshead 7 – 0.

Although hardly the ideal result for either struggler, the point apiece gained by Blue Star and United from the Newcastle derby enabled them to climb off the bottom of the table (now fourth- and second-from respectively), to be replaced by Hendon Hotspur, whose two-match winning streak came to an end at home to Atletico Espanol: things remain very tight at the wrong end, though.

More in the new year…

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Matchday 14 Results & Updated Tables


Blyth Spartans  2   Red Star Sunderland  0
Gainsborough Trinity  2  Mossley  0
Hartlepool United  2   Burnley  2
Liverpool St Helens  7   Hungaria  4
Marlow  0   Matlock Town  1
Oxford Excelsior  2   Manchester City  2
Stalybridge Celtic  6   Audenshaw Dynamo  4
Wrexham  1   Northwich Victoria  2

Second Division

Bradford City  2   South Liverpool Red Star  1
Crystal Palace  1   Nelson CBR  2
Gateshead Dynamo  1  Crewe Alexandra  0
Inter-Italiano  2  Hendon Hotspur  3
Marine  4   Merthyr Tydfil  1
Newcastle United  1  Manchester Newton Heath  2
Sheffield Wednesday  2  Atletico Espanol  1
Spartak-Slavia  4  Newcastle Blue Star  1

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Matchday 13 Results & Updated Tables


Audenshaw Dynamo  2   Oxford Excelsior  1
Burnley  3   Blyth Spartans  4
Hungaria 5   Hartlepool United  2
Manchester City  3   Wrexham  1
Matlock Town  2   Mossley  2
Northwich Victoria  2   Gainsborough Trinity  3
Red Star Sunderland  1   Marlow  0
Stalybridge Celtic  4   Liverpool St Helens  2

Second Division

Atletico Espanol  2   Newcastle United   0
Crewe Alexandra  6   Bradford City   1
Hendon Hotspur  5   Gateshead Dynamo   3
Manchester Newton Heath  2   Spartak-Slavia   1
Merthyr Tydfil  0   Nelson CBR   1
Newcastle Blue Star  2   Crystal Palace   3
South Liverpool Red Star  2   Marine   1
Sheffield Wednesday  3   Inter-Italiano   3

Monday, 24 November 2014

Matchday 12 Results & Updated Tables


Blyth Spartans  5   Hungaria  0
Gainsborough Trinity  2   Manchester City  2
Hartlepool United  2   Stalybridge Celtic  1
Marlow  5   Burnley  4
Mossley  2   Northwich Victoria  0
Oxford Excelsior  0   Liverpool St Helens  2
Red Star Sunderland  3   Matlock Town  1
Wrexham  4   Audenshaw Dynamo  0

Second Division

Bradford City  2   Hendon Hotspur  1
Crystal Palace  5   Manchester Newton Heath  2
Gateshead Dynamo  2   Sheffield Wednesday  0
Marine  1   Crewe Alexandra  5
Nelson CBR  5   Newcastle Blue Star  3
Newcastle United  2   Inter-Italiano  0
South Liverpool Red Star  6   Merthyr Tydfil  2
Spartak-Slavia  2   Atletico Espanol  1

Monday, 17 November 2014

Matchday 11 Results & Updated Tables


Audenshaw Dynamo  3   Gainsborough Trinity  2
Burnley  1   Red Star Sunderland  1
Hungaria  6   Marlow  4
Liverpool St Helens  3   Wrexham  1
Manchester City  3   Mossley  2
Matlock Town  1   Northwich Victoria  4
Oxford Excelsior  2   Hartlepool United  2
Stalybridge Celtic  4   Blyth Spartans  3

Second Division:

Atletico Espanol  3   Crystal Palace  1
Crewe Alexandra  5   South Liverpool Red Star  3
Hendon Hotspur  4   Marine  1
Inter-Italiano  2   Spartak-Slavia  3
Manchester Newton Heath  2   Nelson CBR   0
Merthyr Tydfil  2   Newcastle Blue Star  4
Newcastle United  2   Gateshead Dynamo   0
Sheffield Wednesday  5   Bradford City  3

Monday, 10 November 2014

Matchday 10 Results & Updated Tables


Blyth Spartans  2   Oxford Excelsior  1
Burnley  3   Matlock Town  2
Gainsborough Trinity  2   Liverpool St Helens  1
Marlow  1   Stalybridge Celtic  1
Mossley  10   Audenshaw Dynamo  2 
Northwich Victoria  5   Manchester City  1 
Red Star Sunderland  5   Hungaria  3
Wrexham  3   Hartlepool United  1

Second Division

Bradford City  3   Newcastle United  1
Crewe Alexandra  2   Merthyr Tydfil  3
Crystal Palace  4   Inter-Italiano  5
Marine  2   Sheffield Wednesday  2
Nelson CBR  0   Atletico Espanol  1
Newcastle Blue Star  8   Manchester Newton Heath  2
South Liverpool Red Star  2   Hendon Hotspur  0
Spartak-Slavia  1   Gateshead Dynamo  0

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Archive #5: European Cup 2012-13

Continuing with the European Cup records catch-up with the 2012-13 edition:

Proceedings kicked-off with a pair of shocks, as both the holders Vasas Budapest and the previous season's beaten finalists Sporting Lisbon fell at the first hurdle, along with a greater proportion of seeded teams than has been the norm.

The quarter-finals provided a good deal of excitement, with Velez Mostar earning a crucial first leg victory in Hungary against Raba ETO Gyor, Dubocica Leskovac producing a fine second leg comeback to overcome Stromsgodset, and Internazionale conquering Atletico Madrid with a late, decisive third goal in their rematch, Atletico previously having squeaked past Rapid Vienna on penalties after a drawn second round replay, the same stage at which Matlock Town were thrashed by Raba after putting up a fine display over the two original legs of the tie. Making up the last four, and for the first time, were Slavia Prague, convincing winners over Saint-Etienne, beaten heavily for the second season in succession.

Slavia fell to Internazionale but only after a replay in the semi-final, whilst Dubocica again tripped at the penultimate stage, once more losing out by a single goal on aggregate, this time to Bosnian neighbours Velez, who then proceeded to win the cup, for the first time, thus depriving Internazionale of what would have been a record-equalling fifth triumph, in a thrilling end-to-end final.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Archive #4: European Cup 2011-12

Realising recently, when posting the list of European Champions' Club Cup Winners/Finals, that I still had three seasons' records-worth of the continental competition to catch up with, here's the first step in rectifying that tardiness, with the 2011-12 edition of the tournament, which, of course, enjoys the same format as the original actual European Cup before it became the UEFA Champions' League, being a straightforward home-and-away-legged knock-out competition ending in a one-off final (with scope for replays in the event of aggregate ties, no account taken of away goals, as with the early years of the European Cup).

The domestic league's representatives, Wrexham, making their debut in the European Cup, made a first round exit (one of only 3 of the seeded teams to do so), failing to recover a hapless 0 - 3 first leg defeat to Levski-Spartak in Sofia, but another newcomer, Yugoslavia's Dubocica Leskovac, reached the semi-finals only to lose narrowly in the second leg and on aggregate to Vasas Budapest, whilst cup-holders Sporting Lisbon defended their title all the way to the final, only to succumb to Vasas, who thus became the first club to win the trophy for a fifth time.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Archive #3: Championship Results & Final Table 2013-14

By way of a little contextual information in relation to the current league season, and how the teams are performing so far, here's how last season's Championship played out and concluded:

As can be observed, current new league leaders Stalybridge Celtic achieved a steady, mid-table finish, an improvement on the previous season (their first back in the top flight after a few years' absence, having won the Second Division title to earn promotion) which saw them end in 13th position, a couple of places and points clear of the relegation spots.

Of the different names from last season to this, Marine (currently leading the second tier, despite a wobble that has brought them 3 defeats in 4 games) and Wimbledon were relegated, the latter leaving the league altogether, as did Shrewsbury Town, who failed to earn the necessary licence to continue in the revamped two-division structure. In their stead were promoted Hartlepool United and rapidly-rising Northwich Victoria, with third placed Audenshaw Athletic, as they then were before the brave-new rebranding as 'Dynamo', subsequently filling the vacancy created by Shrewsbury's demise. Oxford United as was have also undergone a name change, to 'Excelsior', although as they have recently slumped to the bottom of the Championship, they seem to be having trouble living up to such a billing.

West Ham United merged with Walthamstow Avenue, having some years ago done likewise with Dagenham, and the decision was taken to honour both clubs' historical association with the East End's Hungarian community (I make this stuff up, but it's good enough for me) by taking the name 'Hungaria', who are at the moment tentatively trying to find their feet in the competitive environment of the Championship.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Matchday 9 Results & Updated Tables


Audenshaw Dynamo  2   Northwich Victoria  4
Hartlepool United  2   Gainsborough Trinity  2
Hungaria  4  Burnley  1
Liverpool St Helens  2   Mossley  2
Matlock Town  2   Manchester City  1
Oxford Excelsior  2   Marlow  3
Stalybridge Celtic  4    Red Star Sunderland  1
Wrexham  3   Blyth Spartans  1

Second Division

Atletico Espanol  4   Newcastle Blue Star  1
Gateshead Dynamo  2   Crystal Palace  1
Hendon Hotspur  1   Crewe Alexandra  2
Inter-Italiano  2   Nelson CBR  2
Merthyr Tydfil  6   Manchester Newton Heath  0
Newcastle United  1   Marine  0
Sheffield Wednesday  4   South Liverpool Red Star  2
Spartak-Slavia  2   Bradford City  1

Friday, 24 October 2014

Matchday 8 Results


Burnley  2  Stalybridge Celtic   6
Gainsborough Trinity  5   Blyth Spartans  3
Hungaria  2  Matlock Town   1
Manchester City   1  Audenshaw Dynamo   0
Marlow  0   Wrexham  3 
Mossley  5   Hartlepool United   1
Northwich Victoria  3   Liverpool St Helens  1 
Red Star Sunderland   7  Oxford Excelsior  0 

Second Division

Crewe Alexandra  6   Sheffield Wednesday  6
Crystal Palace  2   Bradford City  1
Hendon Hotspur  1  Merthyr Tydfil  2
Manchester Newton Heath  2   Atletico Espanol  2
Marine  6   Spartak-Slavia  0
Nelson CBR  2   Gateshead Dynamo  3
Newcastle Blue Star  2   Inter-Italiano  2
South Liverpool Red Star  5   Newcastle United  1

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Archive #2: European Cup Finals 1982 - 2011

A second dip into the archives, this time going beyond domestic matters and featuring the history of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup Finals, at least up until 2011 – there are obviously 3 seasons’-worth of the competition I need to catch up with and record before launching this season’s edition, which will of course feature reigning league champions Marlow as England’s representatives.

It quickly becomes apparent that Hungarian teams have dominated matters (winning exactly half of the 30 tournaments recorded so far: the competition between the Budapest clubs, and provincial Raba ETO Gyor’s with them, being expanded onto a continental scale and generating fiercer rivalries yet), making their complete absence from the last 3 finals a notable one, whilst Internazionale are the third club to have triumphed on 4 occasions, with, particularly, Barcelona and Sporting Lisbon also being serial finalists, Sporting finally winning the cup at the sixth (ninth including replays) attempt most recently. Immediately prior to that, Marlow (who have acquired a pronounced French influence over recent seasons) became the first English club to lift the trophy, after losing the previous final, with Gainsborough Trinity also having reached the final twice, without ultimate success.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Archive #1: League Champions 1981 - 2014

As our first contextual offering, here's the roll call of league champions since the EWFA national league's inception in the 1980-81 season:

As can be seen, Mossley and Gainsborough Trinity lead the way with 5 championships each, with Marlow earning their fourth most recently, being, with twice-winners Wrexham, the team of the last few years. Hartlepool United, also with 4, achieved their score in an earlier 7-season period.
Championship retentions have been relatively rare, with Gainsborough's consecutive hat-trick being unique: the only thing that prevented them winning 4 in a row (which would then have become 5) was a last-day, winner-takes-all home defeat to Blackburn Rovers (who this season, having been absorbed in a merger, form the 'B' in Nelson CBR - the 'C' is Colne, the Dynamoes being an earlier merging with Nelson), the latter's only championship.
Currently bottom of the championship, Matlock Town were the first league winners, then waiting 31 years before achieving their second title.
Newcastle United have fallen furthest from their champions' perch, spending last season languishing in the fourth tier (a few have dropped to the third at one time or another), before being included amongst those clubs constituting the new Second Division upon the league's restructuring for this season.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Matchday 7 Results & Updated Tables


Blyth Spartans  2  Mossley  1
Gainsborough Trinity  3  Marlow  5
Hartlepool United  3  Northwich Victoria  2
Liverpool St Helens  2  Manchester City  1
Matlock Town  1  Audenshaw Dynamo  1
Oxford Excelsior  2  Burnley  1
Stalybridge Celtic  2  Hungaria  1
Wrexham  0  Red Star Sunderland  1

Second Division:

Bradford City  3  Nelson CBR  2
Crystal Palace  3  Marine  2
Gateshead Dynamo  3  Newcastle Blue Star  2
Inter-Italiano  6  Manchester Newton Heath  2
Merthyr Tydfil  2  Atletico Espanol  1
Newcastle United  1  Crewe Alexandra   1
Sheffield Wednesday  2  Hendon Hotspur  0
Spartak-Slavia  5  South Liverpool Red Star  3

Friday, 17 October 2014

Season 2014 – 15: Getting up to speed

On the day before what will be Matchday 7 in the current League season, here are the results and tables to date for both the Championship and 2nd Division.

More will be explained about the member teams, etc, in due course, but, in the Championship, Marlow are the defending champions, whilst Hartlepool, Northwich and Audenshaw (rebranded ‘Dynamo’ from ‘Athletic’) are the newly-promoted teams (3 promotions in 3 seasons for the upwardly-mobile Vics). Early leaders Liverpool St Helens, relative newcomers themselves to the top flight, have never previously threatened the top spots, so their presence at the summit is something of a surprise.

In the Second Division, early pacesetters Marine are one of last season’s relegatees from the Championship, obviously aiming for an instant return.

The presence of ‘ethnic’ named clubs is due to my long-standing devotion to European teams, as detailed in the past on my other blog (specifically here but also through the evidence of my badge collection over the course of the last year), which itself has gradually become obsessed with football, not least in the form of its current drawing project. Hopefully, some drawing might appear on this site too.

See you for the latest results tomorrow!

The First Post

Welcome to ‘Delusions of Randomness’, which is, essentially, a fantasy football blog.
Anyone who follows football knows that, for the most part, the reality is a bit rubbish, mostly disappointing or at the very least falls some way short of anyone’s ideal, even allowing for the vagaries of life.

Hence the need to make things better, to imagine a world where our favourite teams might occasionally have more of an opportunity to prevail and the particularly horrible ones (and we all know/agree who they are) needn’t even exist (some of them are way beyond pantomime villainy, so appalling and/or corrupt are they). To this end, some years ago I created a fantasy Football League based on the real English one and its structure, just featuring a selection of the teams/team names I actively liked or otherwise, to make up the numbers, didn’t mind as much as some of the others or regard as pointless.

Having over the last couple of years discovered a similar enterprise in the form of Marc Renshaw’s ‘The Sporting League’ – although it must be admitted, Renshaw’s is a more imaginative and rounded enterprise – presented as artistic practice, it feels time, as an artist myself, to go live online with my own creative football endeavour, the ‘England & Wales Football Alliance League’ and the adventures of its members.

By way of contextual introduction, continued intermittently since about 1990, 2014-15 will be the 35th season of the league’s history in terms of its results and tables archive, the structure having been through a number of changes over the course of that time to the point where its launching on the internet here sees possibly the most radical overhaul yet, with a reduction from four to two essential national divisions of sixteen teams each.

The league began with 5 divisions of 16 teams – at that particular time, we had a lot of free time to devote to its upkeep – the constitution of which had been decided by 3 ‘prequel’ seasons’-worth of 8 regional leagues, with combined points totals within deciding the national divisional placings, underwent various ‘improvements’ (play-offs have been and gone) and streamlinings, before settling upon the most recent form of 4 divisions, the top 2 of 16 teams & the lower 2 of 14 each.

The break from these pre-online times has, then, been seismic and quite ruthless in some of the decisions taken about exactly which teams would constitute the new league as it will appear here, although a significant core has remained, particularly in the ‘Championship’ which is mostly faithful to its continuing history, whilst the 2nd Division is about half consistent with its immediate past and half new/rebranded or manipulated (one of its number, Newcastle United, for instance, had finished last season languishing in the fourth tier, having declined alarmingly from consecutive championship-winning seasons a decade previously, but seemed to have the historical heft that  demanded inclusion in the brave new world).

Otherwise, things remain the same. The points system has endured from the very beginning: 2 for a home win, 3 for an away win, 1 for a draw.

The member teams – a few familiar English league teams, more non-Leaguers, a few invented clubs and others of an ‘ethnic’ nature that reflect my European football obsession - will be introduced and explained in more depth as the blog goes along, as, hopefully, will the posting of the historical archives to help illustrate how we got to this point.