Unimaginable excitement here in our beachside control tower as the fourth season of the Summer League of Shirts kicks off. The rules are unchanged, though we have increased the number of locations in which shirts are counted, which should give a more representative reflection of football tastes across Europe.
The rules are very simple. Points are awarded for each shirt of a football team observed on Italian beaches and in various French tourist locations during the summer months. One shirt, one point. Unofficial gear is excluded. National team shirts are excluded. Anything unrecognisable (after reasonable efforts to identify it) is excluded. Bonus points can be awarded at the discretion of the League of Shirts Board. Teams tieing on the same number of points will be ranked by criteria based on the long-term financial sustainability of the club without massive injections of cash from financial backers (ie: clubs that are more self-supporting from their own revenues will be marked up), and a second tie-breaker based on style of play may also be used. Of course we don't have much of this info on the beach, so these criteria are fairly loose.
Anyway, our decisions are final. Those are the rules.
Our new spotting locations should mean we get an even greater array of shirts and colours from across Europe this year. Can Inter clinch a third successive title? Can Barcelona recover from their remarkable collapse in 2011? Will previous runners-up Bayern and Chelsea finally break through? Or will the French and Italians finally start wearing shirts and surprise us all?
The league tables for each week of the 2012 season will appear below.
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Summer 2012 - Week 5
FINAL LEAGUE TABLE
10th – Orlando Pirates (2 points) Bhakashushu Happy People! The Bucs are the second team from outside Europe to finish in the top 10, and the first from Africa. And they finish 20 places above their local Sowetto rivals the Kaizers.
7th - Cagliari (4 points) – with a late surge, the Rossoblu remain at the top of the table, and it was good to see some support for the local team, even though Italians tend not to wear football shirts as much as northern Europeans. We hope Cagliari can build on their 15th place finish in Serie A in 2011-12.
Here's the full table:
|19||Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense||1|
|26||West Ham United||1|
|28||ASCC Chernoviz Passy||1|
|29||Queen's Park Rangers||1|
|Summer 2012 - Week 4|
Sandefjord from Norway's top flight, the Adeccoligaen, are in 21st place
with one point. We rarely see shirts from
Scandinavian countries - presumably because
they take their holidays on their own islands. And also new, in 22nd
place, our first non-league side of 2012:
ASCC Chernoviz Passy, who run children's and youth teams in local
competitions in Paris.
|20||West Ham United||1|
|22||ASCC Chernoviz Passy||1|
|23||Queen's Park Rangers||1|
|Summer 2012 - Week 3|
Chelsea knocked off the top spot with a surge from both Arsenal and Barcelona - leaving all three on 5 points each. Barca top the league on financial sustainability, followed by Arsenal in second, and Chelsea third. Our financial sustainability rule separates teams tied on points, and in general marks down teams which are reletively reliant on being bankrolled by outside funders (such as wealthy individuals or other businesses) rather than living off their own revenues - hence the ranking of this week's top three.
Bayern are up to third on 3 points after a mini-surge of their own in the afternoon around the pool, while Inter slip to 5th, and Cagliari to 6th, reflecting a poor showing by Italian tifosi this week. An extra point was enough to keep Paris Saint-Germain in 7th, with league newcomers Liverpool in 8th with 2 points. With 1 point, Norwich slip to 9th, while local Serie D side Porto Torres appear again in 10th.
We have our first American club of the year: in 11th we welcome Botafogo of Brazil's Série A, a club from a stunning part of Rio de Janeiro and who play in Rio's Olympic Stadium. And we also welcome to the League our first ever African team - Johannesburg-based Orlando Pirates of South Africa's Premier Soccer League, this week in 16th place with 1 point.
Finally, our third team from Turkey's Süper Lig, Bursaspor, the Yeşil Beyazlılar or green-whites from the city of Bursa - an industrial but still very green city, which is also the home of the İskender kebab. Bursaspor won the Süper Lig in 2010 becoming only the second team from outside Istanbul to do so. Bursaspor are 21st in this week's League of Shirts.
|17||West Ham United||1|
|18||Queen's Park Rangers||1|
|Summer 2012 - Week 2|
After being in second or third place for most of the last few years, Chelsea finally made it to the top spot this week, well ahead of the rest on 5 points. Next come Barcelona and Inter on 3 points, together with 'local' Sardinian Serie A side Cagliari. Paris Saint-Germain make the top 5 for the first time with 2 points, pushing Norwich City into 6th, still on 1 point. All the others are on a point each: Bayern München return to the league in 7th, Arsenal in 8th, League newcomers Celtic in 9th, and Napoli 10th.
St Pauli head the bottom half in 11th, and they are followed by a remarkable bunch of four clubs from London - League 1's Leyton Orient (12th), Premiership returnees West Ham (13th), Queen's Park Rangers (14th) and Fulham (17th). We warmly welcome our first Turkish league sides - Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe - in 15th and 16th respectively.
|13||West Ham United||1|
|14||Queen's Park Rangers||1|
|Summer 2012 - Week 1|
A familiar look to the top of the table. Current champions Internazionale top the table, followed by last season's runners up and Champion's League winners Chelsea in second - the only clubs with two points. All the others are on a point each, ranked broadly by financial sustainability - led by Barcelona in third, and Premiership side Norwich City in fourth. Like Inter and Chelsea, Norwich start in exactly the same position as they finished the 2011 season.
In fifth, newcomers to the League of Shirts, we're delighted to see German Kult counterculture and anti-fascist legends the pirates of St Pauli, who narrowly missed out on promotion back to the Bundeliga last season.
Napoli are 6th, followed by newcomers West Ham in 7th - great to have the Hammers back in the Premiership. Local Sardinian Serie A side Cagliari Calcio are 9th, followed by Paris Saint-Germain, absent from the league since 2009 but now heavily bankrolled from the Middle East, and therefore with a sustainability penalty. Both Napoli and Cagliari were in the top 10 at the end of last season.
More English clubs follow - Queens Park Rangers in 10th, clung onto their Premiership status last season. Notts County are recovering from a bad patch in which they were taken up and shaken out by a Middle Eastern investment company, and are our only 3rd tier club in Week 1. We're delighted to have them in the league. In 12th place in week 1 - AC Milan, restored to the League after their expulsion last year as a result of Silvio Berlusconi's expulsion from national office. But he still owns the club, so AC Milan languish at the bottom of the League of Shirts.
|7||West Ham United||1|
|10||Queen's Park Rangers||1|
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