All good things come to an end. The SPL season is no exception ! We had three games to play before we could evaluate the final ranking and performances of the teams. The weather was good and this season we have been lucky with the weather ! No complaints to the weather gods from our side !
There was nothing at stake anymore in this game and the atmosphere was very friendly. Leftovers from Frederik’s goodbye Shanghai Party were shared between the teams and the referees. ERS scored first and after that it was a festival of missing opportunities for the Flamenkos. Sharing the points and the friendship was a good way to end the season for our number 5th and 6th of the SPL !
Despite the high score line the game was always good in sport and credit to the Galacticos who never gave up to try and score a goal. Marlins were happy with the result and ended up drinking away the Shanghai Beer Stock in Blue Marlin after the game. Banksy in person closed down the establishment in the dark hours of the night !
- Shanghai 2000 1-9 Cowboys
It was hard for the Shanghai 2000 players to stop Zhuang our SPL top scorer ! He just never stops scoring goals. First half it was 0-5 and luckily Shanghai 2000 could score a goal in the second half as they missed a few opportunities in the first.
Looking back it was an amazing season with hardly any incidents. I think that’s a great achievement of all the managers and players of the SPL ! Of course the Referees and the Grass-masters have done a fantastic job every week ! Its the confirmation that we are on the right track in the SPL. In the SPL we all respect our opponents and we respect the game of football and yes we battle for 90 minutes but afterwards we shake hands and have a chat or a beer to talk about the game.
We played a record 110 games at the three best locations in Shanghai ! Total goals scored 698 !
We will wait until the 16th of June at our end of the season party to put everybody in the spotlight. There will be plenty of awards to give away ! Don’t miss the party.
A Quick recap of the ranking :
- 11th Galacticos – Difficult season for them as they struggled to have a solid team base after a few key players left last season. What stood out for me was their spirit and the love for the sport. Losing almost every week is hard for any team, but the Galacticos never ever gave up and still managed to have fun during the games. If they can get a solid base group of players together next season they can be back at their best !
- 10th Super 48 – Despite ending close to the bottom of the SPL Super 48 had their best seasons ever. They gave many teams a lot of trouble and the highlight for them was their victory over the cowboys. If every game was only 45 minutes long they would end up in the Top 6 of the SPL no doubt about that. They are a big contender for the Fairplay Cup this season. As well its rumored they will change their name to Super 38 next season !
- 9th Pistolera Bulls – Looking at the performance of the Bulls this season it’s obvious that with 91 goals conceded they had their problems in the defense. I have seen games where Bilgin opted for a one man defense, most of the time himself. In this way he could collect more yellow cards and in that sense the strategy worked. Overall fitness level is another point of concern for the Bulls as they are not getting any younger and some of their players need to carry the extra kilos. Bilgin is working on a mega deal with the largest fitness center operator in Shanghai to get his player back to their old level. Scoring is no problem for the Bulls with over two goals per game on average !
- 8th Japan – This will be the lowest ranking for Japan in the SPL. One of the problems is that their top striker only scored 8 goals. If they could have scored more than their 46 goals they would easily have ranked 6th place or better. Of course their season had highlights as well a come back to clinch a draw versus the Flamenkos after being down 5-0 will be remembered far beyond Tokyo ! A draw versus the Lions as well as its not easy to take points from them. We expect a better performance from Japan next season !
- 7th Shanghai 2000 – Our rooky of the year ! Playing on the super pitch at Century Park as their home ground we can conclude that they had a decent first year in the SPL. Too bad that their top goals scorer Hugo had to leave China half way through the season but still they managed to score 63 goals. Shanghai 2000 are a team with experienced players and a good disciplinary record. In China that’s a good asset to own besides many properties !
- 6th Flamenkos – If only everybody would have come to each game they promised to come they would have been in the top of the SPL. A mix of Champions League games / Formula 1 / El Classico’s resulted in a small squad. If everybody was present they were a hard team to beat. With only 53 goals scored it as well were the missed opportunities that kept them out of the title race this season !
- 5th ERS – A few very good players left at the end of last season. It resulted in a difficult first half of the season. It was their teams spirit that kept them alive and after Chinese New Year they had a very good run of results. Scoring goals was their problem you cannot blame their strikers as together they scored 50 pct of ERS’s total of 44 goals. A good scoring midfielder will surely send them in the top the SPL next season. ERS scouts are already searching the globe ! Fifth place out of 11 teams is not a bad result !
- 4th Marlins – Before the start of the season Steve disclosed to me that their strategy was to win the SPL on goal difference in the final game of the season. For very long it seemed to be the right choice. They ended up scoring an all time SPL record of 123 goals ! Helped by goal scoring machines like Kevin and Fedja and Gui who together scored 63 pct of their total. However in the final games of the season they let the title slip out of their hands or feet…or heads. ! Having scored the most goals this season and having the second best defensive record in the league might leave you with the question why they only ended on the 4th place !
- 3th Gremio – Very solid team performance until the very end of the season. First year to operate under the Gremio name and despite losing the title they can look back at a successful season. They had a solid defense the third best in the league but scored a bit less goals compared to the other top 4 teams, 83 goals ! However some of those goals surely belong to the SPL “Best Goals of the Season” !
- 2nd Cowboys – To say that the Cowboys were the surprise factor of the season is an understatement ! We never knew that Cowboys could play football ! They had a super season ending only 5 points behind the Lions. Their strength was their attacking duo Zhuang and Chen KL. Zhuang became the SPL top scorer with 40 goals ! The cowboys reached over 100 goals for the season in their last game. Defense was not as strong conceding 43 goals but overall a fantastic result for them !
- 1st Lions – The Lions thought they had lost it when in the last game of 2012 they lost against the Marlins 4-3. However after the game all players stayed back for a few beers to heal the pain as team ! It helps to always be positive and the conclusion of the day was that they needed to win all the games left for the season in order the be Champions ! This is exactly what happened. The secret of their success was by all means their defense as they conceded only 2 goals in the rest of the season and 18 in total. By beating their closest rivals in the last games of the season we can say that they deserved the Championship !
Let’s all celebrate the good end of the season tournament on the 16th of June followed by the SPL Party and the SPL awards Ceremony !
Thank you for being part of the SPL. You all made the SPL Special !
Happy Freek – SPL President on behalf of the SPL Committee