The King Chulalongkorn Memorial Building, or Thailand Pavilion, is located in Utanede, Jämtland, smack in the middle of the Scandanavian peninsula. It was built to commemorate the centennial of the 1897 visit of the Thai monarch Chulalongkorn to Sweden. Source.
Haligonians can't wait for the new Ikea to open so they can get their claws into some of that goat whey cheese from Jämtland. Source.
Östersund host Malmö FF. ÖKF enter today's action in 10th place (out of 16) with 4 wins, 3 draws and 4 losses. Malmö are 1st with 8 wins and 3 losses.
What is the most illustrious football club in Sweden?
By league title: Malmö FF (21), IFK Göteborg (18), IFK Norrköping (13)
By Svenska Cupen wins: Malmö FF (14), AIK (8), IFK Göteborg (7)
By years in UEFA competition: Malmö FF (32), IFK Göteborg (30), AIK (17)
Malmö is the most illustrious football club in Sweden.
Malmö have been in the Allsvenskan continuously since 2001. ÖKF was formed in 1996, and up until 2013 only played in northern regional leagues. Malmö is in the south. This is the first ever league game between these two clubs.
After this weekend the Allsvenskan takes a summer holiday. The Swedish national team will be part of Euro 2016 in France. The league starts up again on July 10th, a little bit of pessimistic scheduling considering that the Euro 2016 final is also July 10th.
In England they're talking about expanding from 92 pro teams in four divisions to 100 teams in five divisions. This would put England in 2019 where Japan plans to be in 2093.
Greenock Morton have unveiled a selection of prototype home jerseys for supporters to vote on.
Joe McKee has signed with Carlisle United.
The 2016-17 Highland League fixtures list is out and it includes the dates of the first two rounds of the Challenge Cup: August 3rd and 17th, both Wednesdays.
The League Cup groups were drawn yesterday. Morton are in Group H with: Kilmarnock, Clyde, Berwick, Albion Rovers.
It's the UEFA Champions League final today: Real Madrid [1 - 1] Atlético Madrid. [Real win on penalty kicks.]
May 24th, it was the AFC Cup round of 16: Mohun Bagan vs Tampines Rovers. They had met once before, you'll recall, in the preliminary round of the AFC Champions League. MB won that time. Tampines (The Stags) won this time, 1 - 2. Mohun Bagan are done for this season.
Meanwhile, AFC Champions League round of 16, second leg:
FC Seoul 3 - 2 Urawa Red Diamonds
Shanghai SIPG 1 - 0 FC Tokyo
Both Urawa and FC Tokyo are out.
CAF Champions League group stage draw was held May 24th. Zamalek and Enyimba are in the same group.
Nabisco League Cup Wednesday: Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 1 Vegalta Sendai
Tomorrow Blaublitz Akita visit Ryukyu. [1 - 1.]
Tomorrow it's Athlone Town [1 - 2] UCD.
Tomorrow at Hampden it's the Scottish Junior Cup final: Beith vs Pollok. After this match the Scottish fitba season is well and truly over. [1 - 1. Beith win on penalty kicks.]
Östersunds FK is a Swedish football club newly promoted to the Swedish top flight, the Allsvenskan. They are located in Östersund, Jämtland. They play at the Jämtkraft Arena, which can accommodate 6,400 spectators. They wear red and black.
The club was founded in 1996 through the amalgamation of four local clubs. In this decade the club has rapidly climbed the promotion ladder, from Division 2 in 2011, to Division 1 in 2012, to the Superetten in 2013, to the Allsvenskan in 2016.
Östersunds FK is the northernmost club in this year's Allsvenskan. GIF Sundsvall is ÖFK's natural rival. Both are on the rail line that crosses Scandinavia at the waist. Sundsvall is on the Baltic coast, Östersund is inland. Rosenborg BK of Trondheim would be their other natural rival, but they're in the Norwegian league.
Östersund's population is about the same as Greenock's. Average attendance in 2015 was 3,857. Compare Morton's 2,726 for 2015-16.
Brian Wake, Tomáš Peciar, Fouad Bachirou, and Michael Tidser have all played for both Greenock Morton and ÖFK.
The name Östersund translates into East Sound, or, for Haligonians, Eastern Passage.
After seven league matches, Östersund hold 13th place out of 15.
A note on Swedish club names. You will often see Swedish clubs like Östersunds FK or Leksands IK listed in English-language sources as Östersunds and Leksands. It's Östersund, or ÖFK, and Leksand, or LIF. The S is a possessive suffix, and not itself part of the name.
The Still Playing Cup. In Scottish football the month of May progresses almost like a knock-out cup tournament. The weekend of April 30th/May 1st saw 17 SPFL clubs play their last match of the season. Four or five* more clean out their lockers today, 15 or 16* more next weekend. May 21st the Scottish Cup finalists end their season. May 22nd* the Premiership playoff finalists end theirs. What is the latest date Morton have played in the 21st Century? May 15th (2004).
*Depending on Hibs.
League Two Play-offs, Round Two, first leg:
Edinburgh City [1 - 1] East Stirlingshire
If Edinburgh City earn promotion to League Two, it'll bring Meadowbank Arena back into the league after an absence of 21 years. Meadowbank Thistle moved to Livingston to get away from the thing. Have Livingston and Edinburgh City ever played a match at Meadowbank? No. Have they ever played? No.
League One Play-offs, semi-finals, first leg (midweek):
Clyde 3 - 1 Elgin City
Queen's Park 2 - 0 Cowdenbeath
Second leg (today):
Elgin City [0 - 2] Clyde. [Clyde advance.]
Cowdenbeath [1 - 0] Queen's Park. [Queen's Park advance.]
Championship Play-offs, semi-finals, first leg (midweek):
Peterhead 1 - 4 Ayr United
Stranraer 5 - 2 Livingston. This was Livi's first ever playoff game.
Second leg (today):
Ayr United [2 - 1] Peterhead. [Ayr advance.]
Livingston [4 - 3] Stranraer. [Livi are out of the Championship.]
Premiership Play-offs, quarter-finals, first leg (midweek):
Raith 1 - 0 Hibs
Second leg (today):
Hibs [2 - 0] Raith. [Hibs advance.]
Prior to the playoffs, Hibs record against Raith for 2015-16 was four wins and one loss.
Hibs playoff history. In 1997 the SFL experimented with a playoff between the 9th-place Premier Division club and the 2nd-place First Division club. Hibs (9th) beat Old Airdrieonians (2nd) in both legs. The experiment was not repeated until 2013-14, when the current Premiership playoffs were introduced. In 2013-14 Hibs (11th in the Premiership) met Hamilton (2nd in the Championship) and lost. The next year Hibs (2nd in the Championship) lost to 3rd-place Rangers.
Raith playoff history. In 1907 Raith played a one-game playoff against East Stirlingshire to see which would claim the coveted tenth position in Division Two. Raith won. It made no difference to anyone. Flash forward one century to 2007. Raith (3rd in the Second Division) played Stirling Albion (2nd) and lost. The next year 3rd-place Raith lost to 2nd-place Airdrie United.
Relegation and promotion between the Lowland League and the sixth-tier South of Scotland and East of Scotland leagues is not fully up and running yet (not all EoS clubs have the necessary licenses, apparently) but it does look as if St Cuthbert Wanderers will swap places Threave Rovers this year. St Cuthbert have won the SoS championship, while Threave were last in the Lowland League and also failed to field a team for their Lowland League Cup match against Cumbernauld. St Cuthbert is the patron saint of Northumbria, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom that once included large chunks of South and East Scotland. Wanderers dress like Morton in blue and white hoops.
Had the playoffs been in place in 2012-13, would Morton have gained promotion?
Morton finished second with 67 points in the 2012-13 First Division, 11 points behind Partick. If the current playoff system had been in place then, Falkirk and Livingston would have met in the first round. They were dead even in their four league matches, though Falkirk scored one more goal, so let's say Falkirk win the playoff on penalty kicks. Now Morton meet Falkirk. Morton and Falkirk were also dead even in league play, with Falkirk one goal ahead, so the Bairns win in a heartbreaker, and go on to meet St Mirren. Based on their last season together (2009-10), it goes to penalty kicks again, and St Mirren win.
Which SPFL clubs have never played in a playoff?
Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Ross County, St Johnstone.
Wait, are you telling me that Celtic have been in the playoffs?
1904-05, Celtic and Rangers finished atop the table with 41 points each. A playoff game was held to decide the title. Celtic won.
The use of goal difference as a tiebreaker did not begin until sometime after 1970. Prior to that there was a period when goal average was the determiner. I must look into that.
AFC Champions League group stage this midweek:
Becamex Bình Dương 1 - 2 FC Tokyo
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2 - 1 FC Seoul
Melbourne Victory 2 - 1 Gamba Osaka
Urawa Red Diamonds 1 - 1 Pohang Steelers
The group stage is over. Urawa and FC Tokyo advance.