Roots Hall Stadium, Southend-on-Sea (photo by Kirsten Schlewitz)
I know that this is a website for a Premier League club that regularly makes it to Europe, but I'm pretty indiscriminate in my love for football. With less than one week to go until the EPL kicks back in, at 7500 headquarters we're brainstorming it up, making sure that we're providing you with every possible resource regarding the league and its teams before Saturday comes
But today brought football as well--the football of the 72 teams playing in the Football League. These are the teams that battle for lesser glories. They're fighting to move up to the Championship, or to be a giant-killer in the FA Cup, but somehow in the back of every supporters' mind is the thought that maybe one day their team will be in the first division (again).
It's hard to follower lower league football if you're not in England, but with the internet it's certainly possible. In fact, you can even catch some games on Fox Soccer Plus (although I have no idea how to obtain this elusive station). But we'll try to keep you in the loop with each week's football league round up. Updates after the jump.
22 of the 24 teams in the second level of English football played on Saturday, with just Cardiff v Sheffield United facing off on Sunday. QPR made the biggest splash, showing just how much they want promotion to the EPL by positively smashing Barnsely 4-0, including two converted penalties.
Newly promoted Leeds United couldn't give their fans a magical moment, going down 1-2 to Derby at Elland Road. Leeds were certainly the favorites in this match, given that they hadn't lost at home on opening day since 1989, and Derby only won three away matches last year. But the Rams attacked fiercely and, aided by a converted penalty, left with three points.
Portsmouth continued marching along their tear-stained path with a 2-0 loss to Coventry. While Pompey lives to see another day of football, it's probably not going to be a pretty season, having sold off almost their entire squad and still being hopelessly mired in debt. The Sky Blues gave them a little something more to weep over just three minutes into the match, the first of a brace by Freddy Eastwood
It's this league that gets the most of my focus, and I hope it will continue that way next season. While Villa rarely face a relegation battle, my lower league team, Exeter City, almost found themselves back in League Two last season. A few of you have inquired as to how a person in Seattle comes to find themselves as a Grecian supporter. I blame Gary Andrews, a friend who was kind enough to semi-adopt me while I lived in London and to take me out for a day at the seaside, where we watched Exeter City play out a draw against Southend United. While the most interesting thing on the pitch that day might have been a seagull convinced of its inherent right to tend goal, I came away loving the chants of ciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiider and with an appreciation for the ginger-ness of Ryan Harley.
Today my Grecians are in 12th place, barely scraping a draw against Colchester. Penalties again featured in this match, with the aforementioned Harley converting one in the 7th minute (I hope the crowd sang). Shortly afterward, Anthony Wordsworth bagged a brace for Colchester, with two goals within three minutes. Fortunately for my heart, Richard Logan managed an equalizer in the 87th minute, leaving ECFC chilling in midtable.
With other loves come other hates, and the rivals of Exeter are Plymouth Argyle--who unfortunately managed to win their first match. Plymouth were relegated last season and are apparently determined not to spend one extra second of time in League One.
I admit to not having any particular affection for League Two, but perhaps after a season of paying attention I'll find a club that attracts me. Any readers have a League Two team?
Today was a day of draws in the third division, with ten teams taking a point from the day. Next week I'll try to bring you something more interesting.