Thursday, 10 June 2010

I Am Now Writing For Another Website, Please Follow Me There!

Hi everyone. After being asked to write for another website, I have decided to stop posting in here. I know the blog didn't exactly live for long but the website I am now writing for has much more traffic and a whole host of writers so is generally much busier.

I would like to thank everybody who has been reading and commenting. If you have enjoyed what you have read so far then please visit:

I will be writing on there at least once a week and there are several other writers to enjoy also!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

2009 / 2010 Season Review

There are many things that the 2009/2010 Premier League season will be remembered for. The demise of Portsmouth will be one thing that stays in the mind of the masses for a long time, particularly the unfortunate fans of the club. Tottenham Hotspur will be remembered for breaking into the top 4 with their most successful season since the Premier League began. Manchester United will be remembered for the green and gold army that has become a mainstay of the Old Trafford crowd, whilst Liverpool will be remembered for the massive underperformance and behind the scenes problems.

The Winners

Chelsea are the obvious candidates here even though it was a strange old season. Despite a fairly poor season in terms of number of games lost they did enough in Carlo Ancelotti’s first season to win the league and even broke the hundred goal barrier. Some could argue that Chelsea only won the title as a result of the shortcomings and failures of the other teams around them but, at the end of the day, the table doesn’t lie.

Tottenham Hotspur made history this season by qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since the Premier League was formed. At the beginning of April it looked unlikely after losing 3-1 at Sunderland. Heroic back to back victories at home to London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea put them right back in the picture but, after a 3-1 loss at Old Trafford, their hopes depended on an away game at Manchester City. In a pretty poor game Tottenham were the better team and came away with a narrow 1-0 win that sealed their qualification for the Champions League.

Fulham were the neutrals’ favourites this season with a wonderful run all the way to the final of the Europa League. They were narrowly beaten 2-1 in the final by Atletico Madrid as the red hot Diego Forlan continued his run at the sharp end of the season after providing the firepower to knock out the season’s underperformers, Liverpool, in the previous round. Although Fulham finished much lower in the league this season in 12th nostalgia will remember the heroic European nights rather than the final league position.

Birmingham and Wolves were both expected to be heavily involved in relegation battles in their first season back in the Premier League but both clubs defied the odds under the guidance of Alex McLeish and Mick McCarthy respectively. Birmingham started particularly well and, but for a lull near the end of the season, could have actually contested for a place in the Europa League next season. Both clubs are clear examples of how clubs being promoted to the Premier League should look to conduct themselves bar, of course, the infamous team selection from Mick McCarthy against Manchester United! Neither team has spent recklessly, instead continuing the good preparation that had been put in place in prior seasons and the continuity has served them well.

The Losers

Everton suffered a horrendous run of injuries early in the season that had them languishing in the bottom half for a long time. Despite some encouraging displays from their youngsters, which can only bode well for the future, it was just a little too early for some of them. As soon as the first team players began to return to fitness the performances picked up. I read somewhere that if the league was calculated based on results since the turn of the year then Everton would have been 3rd – how they must be ruing their early season injury crisis that effectively put paid to their quest for another season in Europe.

Liverpool were amongst the biggest losers of the season as they not only dropped out of the top 4 for the first time in five years but they also managed to crash out of the Champions League in the group stages and only just finished in a high enough position to qualify for the Europa League next season. There are clearly big problems at Anfield that seem to be in all areas. Financially they are in a mess and desperately need to be taken over by somebody with the funds to propel them back into the top four and to build the new stadium that will help generate the sums of money needed to be amongst Europe’s elite. On the pitch things were also very bad with several players no longer looking up to the task, injury crisis after injury crisis, long periods of lost confidence and, in some cases, downright bad attitudes. It is clear that Benitez has a big job on his hands to put things back in order next season.

Portsmouth were involved in the biggest story of the season that, whilst shocking, was not really a shock at all. Their reckless financial management had long been a source of debate and the merry go round ownership that occurred during the season was nothing short of pathetic. Portsmouth represented everything that is wrong with the modern English game; greedy owners who gamble on the long term futures of the club with bids for success that are just not sustainable. I would love to see the business model that was in place at the club over the past few seasons. I suspect it is not very detailed!

Top Players

A quick look at the scoring charts for the season tells you that Drogba, Rooney, Bent, Lampard, Tevez, Defoe, Torres and Fabregas were at the top of the game. Drogba hit a massive 29 goals during a season in which he was also absent for the African Cup of Nations in January; remarkable! Rooney had his best ever season with 26 goals and Bent showed that, despite not being the most fashionable of strikers, he certainly knows where the goal is!

Lampard posted his highest ever goals return with the rampant Chelsea whilst Tevez went a long way to disprove the myth that he wasn’t much of a goalscorer. Defoe played a huge part in Tottenham’s tremendous season, providing 18 of the goals that provided them with their first chance to compete in Europe’s elite competition since the Premier League was formed. Torres, despite being injured for long periods of the season, posted 18 goals in 22 appearances and was also the most lethal with a goal every 95 minutes and 10 seconds, 33 seconds better than Drogba and 9 minutes and 29 seconds better than Rooney.

Of course, the heroes of the season are not always the players that get the goals. Joe Hart played a huge part in Birmingham’s superb performance this season and, as a result, is now being coveted by some of the top clubs in the Premier League and looks like he may even end up as England number one in time for the World Cup. At Tottenham, Michael Dawson and Ledley King showed the world what they are capable of with both players featuring on a regular basis and showing the class required at a top four team. It was a different picture from 12 months ago when Dawson looked clumsy and King couldn’t play two games in a week.

At Everton Jack Rodwell had a superb season and showed that the future is bright for Evertonians. His season was so good, in fact, that he has recently been the subject of much speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United. Unlike Rooney, it looks like Rodwell actually does love Everton though as he has just put pen to paper on a new contract, reportedly worth around 30k per week. Steven Pienaar also had another superb season for Everton and did even more to disprove my formerly held notion that he would lack the physicality for the rough and tumble of the world’s most demanding league.

The Most Disappointing Players

Steven Gerrard has been up on a pedestal now for about 7 or 8 years at Anfield and, up until this season, deservedly so. His never say die attitude, his ability to lift others around him and the knack of coming up trumps at that vital time have become synonymous with him. This season, however, it has been almost the complete opposite. He has looked disinterested at best and the good attitude that has rubbed off so well on team mates in the past appears to have been replaced with a bad attitude that has seemingly affected his team mates just as much. It has been a bad season for Gerrard and I am sure he will be looking to put that right next time around. I am sure he would be the first to admit that he has been simply not good enough but I do wonder whether a better attitude at times might have helped this season.

John Terry is another who prides himself on his ability to give that little bit more than most and deliver high standards time and time again. This season, however, he has certainly not been up to his usual standards and you have to wonder just how much of a part the off the field antics have played. There is no doubt in my mind that he will get back to his best but this season, by his standards, was pretty poor and he can count himself lucky to still have his England place seeing as Capello alleged early in his reign that he would pick his teams based on form, not reputation. You have to wonder, if he were picking on form, should the likes of Dawson and King be taking his place?

Another player who must be very disappointed with how his season has panned out is Michael Owen. He signed for Manchester United in the hopes of playing and scoring enough across the season to gain a place in Capello’s World Cup squad. Despite managing to be involved in 31 games across the season and scoring a respectable 9 goals given the fact that a lot of his appearances were as a substitute, he only managed 3 goals in 19 league appearances before picking up an injury that finished his season. I am sure that, looking back, Michael was expecting much more from this season and is probably now waving goodbye to any hopes he has of wearing an England shirt again.

My Team of the Season

Saturday, 22 May 2010

How Many More Fans Must Suffer At The Hands Of Financial Mismanagement?

The financial problems currently existing in the Premier League have been well documented this season. At Old Trafford the protests have become more a part of the routine than a demonstration with their green and yellow scarves. At Anfield there are protests every time Hicks, Gillet or both turn up and for good reason. In perhaps the biggest financial meltdown story since Leeds United a few years back, Portsmouth fans have been subjected to the sort of heartache that simply shouldn’t happen in football.

Every time I read an article about the financial plight of these clubs I see comments along the lines of “it’s the FA’s fault” or “the FA should do something to stop it”. Another popular phrase also seems to be “so much for the fit and proper persons’ check”. However, the fit and proper persons check is not a check on how the potential owners will manage the business, more checking where the money is coming from; the Premier League, rightly so, does not want to be attached to dirty money.

So why doesn’t the FA toughen up on this test? Why aren’t income streams checked? Why are prospective owners not audited to check that they have the funds to manage the ownership of a top-flight club in England? Well, quite simply, their arms are tied behind their backs on this one. In each country throughout the world there are governmental laws that deem who is eligible to own and run a business. The FA must be careful not to contradict these laws or they would risk landing themselves in hot water.

So what exactly can the FA do to help the situation? Wage caps seem to pop up in conversation quite often but, realistically, would probably kill off the English game. If players can’t get £100k per week in the Premier League then they will simply move to Spain or Italy or wherever else is prepared to pay those kinds of sums. If the wage cap was not introduced around the world at the same time then the Premier League would simply crumble. And what would happen to the clubs that had players on wages above that that couldn’t be sold? Would these clubs be penalised? After all, they would be in breach of the rules.

I was thinking recently about the plight of the English game and potential ways in which these problems could be addressed. There are currently points penalties in place for teams that enter administration but many believe that this is not a severe enough punishment to act as a real deterrent to clubs. After all, Portsmouth were reported to be paying up to 109% of their turnover on wages at one point last season. They were gambling on the future much as Leeds had done seasons earlier. Despite the virtual destruction of a great club, the lessons were not learned.

Of course, the points penalties could be made worse for entering administration but I believe that to penalise at this point is too late. Things have already become so bad by this point that the teams are virtually relegated anyway and all it does is add to the woes that the club has. In many cases the points penalties are deferred until the next season meaning that they have no hope of recovering sufficiently and, in some cases, are doomed to successive relegations without even kicking a ball.

I would like to see the FA act constantly to try and deal with the problems before they go so far that it is simply too late. There are many clubs in the league who run themselves as diligently as possible and what is the reward? They finish in a lower position than they should do and lose out on prize money to teams finishing above them who have done it by overspending. Why not introduce penalties based on finances before clubs enter administration?

There is no deterrent in place at the moment to foreign investors buying football clubs on finance. Two prime examples are, of course, Manchester United and Liverpool. Liverpool recently announced losses of £54.9m for the last year, despite pretty much breaking even in the transfer market. Manchester United were reported as reducing their debt by £30m over the past 12 months but how different would that have looked if Ronaldo wasn’t sold?

It would be interesting to see what would happen if the Premier League introduced a system whereby clubs were docked a point for every million they lost in a 12 month period. Clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United would be severely hindered and would face the prospect of immediate relegation given the number of millions that could potentially be lost in a season. Of course, there are many very large drawbacks to this idea.

Similar to the wage cap, the system would have to be implemented worldwide for there to be any chance of it working in the way that it should rather than simply hindering English football clubs. In reality, this will never happen. Whatever is to be done, or not done given past experience, there are going to be many more heartbroken fans in the coming years and, much like Portsmouth, it will be for completely the wrong reasons.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Are You Not Entertained?

What do Arsene Wenger and Sam Allardyce have in common? Quite simply, not much. They are both football managers but that is pretty much as close as the comparisons come. At one end of the scale we have Arsene's Arsenal with their brand of open, free flowing football. At the other end we have Big Sam's old employers, Bolton Wanderers. Big Sam would argue that he achieved a lot at Bolton and a lot of people would be inclined to agree with him; Arsene Wenger would have a slightly different opinion if his past comments are taken into account!

So, whilst researching for my article last week I decided to explore a different angle on a similar subject. No fan likes watching boring 0-0 matches. When you ask people about classic games they tend to pick games like the 4-4 between Arsenal and Liverpool, any one of the 4-3 games between Liverpool and Newcastle United or maybe even the 6-6 result that recently occurred in Scotland between Motherwell and Hibernian. I know what I would rather see and I am pretty sure that most fans agree with me. It might not be good for the old ticker but there is no feeling that compares to the excitement of an end to end game with goal after goal.

Using this logic I decided to take a look at what would happen if the Premier League, rather than awarding points for wins and draws, ranked teams by the number of goals scored. Of course, sometimes teams finish on equal goals scored so I decided to use goal difference, wins and draws as my determining factors. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started to investigate this but by the end I was pretty surprised. I am sure you will be too!


Having just secured a famous treble Manchester United followed up by winning a second successive Premier League title with Arsenal, Leeds United and Liverpool wrapping up the top 4. However, basing rankings on goals scored would have seen the top 4 change dramatically with Newcastle United and Everton replacing Liverpool and Leeds United.

At the other end of the table things would also have been different with Wimbledon, or the Crazy Gang as they were affectionately known being replaced in the relegation zone by Bradford City.

Interestingly, Liverpool and Aston Villa would both have finished 7 places lower had the league been ordered by goals scored. Liverpool would have finished in 11th place with Aston Villa demoted to 13th.


Manchester United secured a third successive Premier League title but this time Arsenal brought the gap down from 18 points to 10 points. Still, it was a dominant display and once more the winners would not have been affected by changing to a goals scored ranking system. Arsenal would drop out of the top 4 into 5th place with Chelsea outscoring them to rise from 6th.

Manchester City would have escaped relegation, being replaced by Derby County. The biggest movers in the 2000/2001 season would have been Southampton who would have dropped 6 places from 10th to 16th and would have only narrowly missed out on relegation.

The total goals scored throughout the Premier League dropped from 1,060 (an average of 53 per team) in the previous season to 992 (49.6).


The first season so far where the top 4 would have remained the same although the order would have changed completely. In reality, Arsenal broke Manchester United's dominance but a goals scored system would have resulted in them picking up a fourth successive Premier League title with a goals scored tally that no other team had even come close to achieving.

Sunderland would have replaced Ipswich Town in the relegation zone with Sunderland losing 3 places and Ipswich Town gaining 4. Other big movers this season would have been Middlesbrough who dropped 5 places from 12th to 17th and Blackburn Rovers climbed 4 places from 10th to 4th.

The total goals scored throughout the Premier League rose slightly to 1,001 which represents an average of 50 goals per team.


Once more the top 4 remained in tact and once more the order completely changed. In reality, Manchester United regained their place as top dog but with the goals scored system last season's circumstances would have been reversed with Arsenal taking their place. Chelsea would have finished above Newcastle United with Liverpool retaining their place in 5th.

Bolton would have fallen victim to the system this season with West Ham United climbing 3 places from 18th to 15th. The biggest difference this season would have been Leeds United who would have finished a staggering 9 places higher, rising from 15th place to 6th place.

Exactly 1,000 goals were scored in the 2002/2003 season with the average per team remaining at 50 goals.


For the first time in this experiment there was absolutely no change whatsoever in the top 4. Arsenal would have secured a second successive Premier League title, narrowly beating Chelsea to the summit with the lowest goals tally so far to have been sufficient to win. The winning tally this year was 6 goals lower that the previous lowest tally which was in the 2000/2001 season.

Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers would not have escaped their fate in relegation although Leicester City would have profited massively, climbing 6 places into 12th, with Birmingham City being the big victims, dropping a staggering 8 places from 10th directly into the relegation zone. The other big movers were Blackburn Rovers, climbing 6 places from 15th to 9th, and Middlesbrough and Southampton who both would have dropped 5 places to 16th and 17th respectively.

A total of 1,012 goals were scored which represents an average of 50.6 goals per team despite the top 4 scoring 31 goals less this season in total.


For the first time in 3 seasons the top 4 would have a team replaced. Most will remember this season as the season when Liverpool won the Champions League but lost their place in the top 4 to Everton. However, Everton only managed to score a total of 45 goals which was only enough to finish in 11th place, representing a 7 place drop. Middlesbrough would have taken their place as, despite being pretty much perfectly inconsistent, managed to score 8 goals more.

For the first time so far the relegation picture would change completely with all 3 condemned teams beating the drop. Southampton would have climbed a massive 7 places from 20th to 13th, whilst Norwich City and Crystal Palace would have climbed from 19th to 16th and 18th to 17th respectively. The teams to replace them in the relegation zone would have been Birmingham City once more, dropping 6 places from 12th to 18th, West Bromwich Albion dropping 2 places from 17th to 19th and Blackburn Rovers who would have dropped 5 places from 15th to 20th. The other big mover this season would have been Fulham, climbing 7 places from 13th to 6th.

The total number of goals dropped quite substantially this season to 975 which represents an average of just 48.75 goals per team. 


Having missed out on their first league title since the 1954/1955 season due to Arsenal scoring more goals last season, Chelsea would have won the league this season. They were tied with Manchester United on 72 goals but a 12 goal superior goal difference would have been enough to secure the title. The only changes in the top 4 this season would have seen Arsenal climb above Liverpool.

In complete contrast to last season, the 3 teams that were relegated in reality would also have been relegated with the goals scored system with the only change being West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City swapping places. Everton would have been the biggest movers this season, dropping 6 places from 11th to 17th.

The total goals scored dropped once more although by 11 goals to 964 meaning the average goals scored was as low as 48.2 per team.


Manchester United regained their title with an improvement of 11 goals from last season's tally. Interestingly, Chelsea scored 8 goals less but still did enough to secure 2nd spot. Once more Arsenal would take Liverpool's place in third with Liverpool only holding off Tottenham Hotspur due to a superior goal difference.

There would only be one change at the bottom of the table with Manchester City suffering massively in the scoring department. They would have dropped 5 places from 14th to 19th and only managed to stay off the bottom due to a better goal difference than Watford. Charlton Athletic would have climbed 2 places into 17th and would have beaten the drop by just 2 goals. Other than Manchester City there weren't any big movements with the biggest fluctuations being just 2 places.

The total goals tally dropped dramatically this season to a new low of 931. This represents just 46.55 goals per team.


For the first time in 3 seasons the top 4 would be broken into. This season Aston Villa would be the team to take their place rising 3 places from 6th to 3rd with 2nd placed Chelsea, perhaps surprisingly, dropping 4 places to 6th. Tottenham missed out on breaking into the top 4 by just 2 goals with Liverpool having a better goal difference by 34 goals.

At the bottom of the table it would be all change again with Birmingham City climbing a massive 9 places into 10th and Reading climbing 3 places into 15th. Replacing them in the relegation zone would have been Sunderland, who would have dropped 3 places into 18th, and Wigan Athletic, who would have dropped 5 places into 19th.

The total number of goals scored rose dramatically this season from 931 to 1,002, representing almost an 8% increase and an average of 50.1 goals per team.


For the first time in 19 years Liverpool would have won the league if the goals scored system was in place. Despite drawing too many games 0-0 there were several games throughout the season where they scored a lot of goals. Manchester United and Chelsea had exactly the same goal difference so 2nd place would have gone to Manchester United as a result of 3 additional wins. Arsenal were 13 goals inferior in terms of goal difference so would have finished 4th.

At the bottom end of the table West Bromwich Albion would have been rewarded for the open, attractive football that was responsible for their relegation and Newcastle United would have jumped up 7 places into 11th despite conceding by the bucket load. The teams that would have replaced them would have been Wigan Athletic who would have dropped 6 places from 11th to 17th and Sunderland who would have dropped 3 places from 16th to 19th. Other big movers include Fulham who would have dropped 6 places from 7th to 13th and Manchester City who would have climbed 5 places from 10th to 5th.

The total number of goals dropped by 60 to 942, representing an average of 47.1 goals per team.


When I began looking at this I didn't really know what to expect and, as a result, wasn't sure whether I would be supportive or not. Now I think it could be a good idea and would encourage more free flowing open football as teams would not simply settle for a 0-0 draw or a 1-0 win. Teams could afford to lose an extra goal here and there as long as they were scoring more and I think more managers would be prepared to take a gamble.

I also noticed similar teams hitting the relegation zone more often and additional teams breaking into the top 4. I am convinced that if these things had happened in reality then the league would be more competitive as the Champions League money would be distributed between more teams. As you can see below, 2 more teams would have had a shot at Champions League football over the last 10 years in the form of Aston Villa and Middlesbrough and Manchester United's dominance of league titles would have been slightly reduced.

In terms of the relegation battles things also look pretty different. As you can see from below there are teams that would have suffered relegation on numerous occasions with the goals scored system, most notably Sunderland who would have been relegated in 5 out of the 7 seasons that they have competed in the Premier League.

So, what do you think? Do you think this is a system that could work? How do you think things would change if this kind of system were to be implemented?

Saturday, 8 May 2010

What The Argentinean Relegation System Would Mean For The EPL

To quote a very famous man within football circles, “some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.”

Bill Shankly was renowned as a man who said what he thought and the quote above was one that divided opinion; some believed this was a step too far whilst others believed he hit the nail on the head. Whatever your view, one thing is clear. For some people their clubs are part of their family and with every defeat there is a mourning process. To many fans, a relegation can almost feel like a death whilst a league or cup win, conversely, is more like the elation of new life.

I read an article last week that looked at the relegation system in Argentina and this led me to wondering what the repercussions of implementing a similar system within the Premier League would have meant over the past 10 years. For those of you who are unfamiliar with how the process works the teams to be relegated each season are calculated based on the average number of points each team has scored across the most current 3 season period. If less than 3 seasons have been completed by a team then the total number of points would be divided by the number or seasons that have been completed by that team in the last 3 seasons.

There have been some fairly famous relegations in recent seasons including Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United. On countless occasions we hear the words “they’re too good to go down” and quite often they do. So, would these teams have been saved from their fate and, if so, what would the repercussions have been?


This season saw two fairly famous relegations in the form of Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday alongside Watford. The Crazy Gang, as Wimbledon were affectionately known, have seen a complete transformation over the past 10 years and, after slipping down all the way to League Two, are now battling to work their way back up in the form of MK Dons. Sheffield Wednesday, meanwhile, were this week relegated to League One and will play alongside MK Dons.

The Argentinean system for relegation would have been enough to save Sheffield Wednesday from relegation with Bradford City taking their place but Wimbledon and Watford would still have suffered the same fate. Whether or not Sheffield Wednesday would have remained in the Premier League much longer is a matter open for debate but the drop in income that they have had since their relegation has contributed to their downfall in a big way.


The 2000/2001 season saw another famous relegation in the form of Manchester City, who joined Bradford City and Coventry City in dropping down to the Championship. If the relegation standings had been calculated using the Argentinean system then City would have actually fared worse and would have been 19th instead of 18th. None of the teams in this season would have been saved due to the 17th worst average being 44 points for Derby County.


Derby County and Leicester were joined in their relegation fate by Ipswich Town just 12 months after the latter had a remarkable 5th place in their first season back in the Premier League. However, if the average of the past 3 seasons had been calculated then Ipswich would have beaten the drop quite comfortably as they had the 9th best score over the period with 51 points.

Instead, the newly promoted Bolton Wanderers would have been relegated and this would surely have dramatically altered the course of events over the next few seasons as Bolton then went on to consolidate their place as a top flight club and have stayed there ever since, even featuring in European competition.


West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland all dropped to the Championship at the end of this season with Sunderland posting a particularly depressing points total of 19 for the season. It was a far cry from the football that had propelled them into the top 10 only a few years earlier as a result of Kevin Phillips’ goals but two poor seasons on the bounce would have ensured they were destined for the drop anyway.

The newly promoted West Bromwich Albion only recorded 26 points and so would have had the worst record but West Ham United, having finished as high as 7th place in the previous season, would easily have beaten the drop under the Argentinean system with the 15th best average in the league. Once more the team that would have been relegated instead is Bolton Wanderers as they very narrowly avoided relegation by 2 points for the second season running.


One of the most famous relegations ever from the Premier League occurred in 2004 when Leeds United plunged into the Championship as a result of gross mismanagement. Their chairman had played a very risky gamble with regards to Champions League qualification in previous seasons but when they missed out in the 2001/2002 season to Newcastle United things went wrong very quickly.

Without the Champions League money Leeds United were forced to sell off their main assets and players such as Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell and Rio Ferdinand all left the club. The squad was decimated by the consequences of the failed gamble and had been plummeting down the league table ever since. With relegation came further financial turmoil for Leeds United and they eventually slipped down to League One where they are now beginning to come to terms with the effects of what happened after the end of the 2001/2002 season.

Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers were the other teams to go down that season after having only been promoted in the previous season and they would have been joined by the other newly promoted team, Portsmouth, if the Argentinean relegation system was in place. Regardless of this Leeds United would probably still have hit rock bottom financially but would the hit have been so big?

Interestingly, Portsmouth actually finished in 13th place that season but, with teams such as Everton, Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspurs underachieving to finish below them, their points haul of 45 would not have been enough to save them.


Despite having been a solid mid-table side in recent seasons, Southampton finished bottom of the table and were relegated to the Championship alongside the newly promoted Crystal Palace and Norwich City. The other newly promoted team, West Bromwich Albion, beat the drop by just a single point. Due to Southampton’s previous good seasons, they would have been saved from relegation with the last of the newly promoted teams taking their place.

The financial problems of the club were well documented at the time and what has subsequently followed only serves to back this up. Southampton are now in League One and, but for a 10 point deduction for financial reasons, could have been sitting in the playoff places with 1 game to play. I do believe however that if Southampton had beaten the drop in the 2004/2005 season then it would surely have only been a matter of time before they were relegated.


The 2005/2006 season was a good one for the teams that had been promoted from the Championship with both West Ham United and Wigan Athletic able to finish in the top 10 (9th and 10th respectively). The other newly promoted team, Sunderland, posted the worst ever Premier League points total up to that season with 15 points having scored only 26 goals. Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion joined them in being relegated, although Birmingham could have been saved with the Argentinean system and Portsmouth would have taken their place.

After 3 solid seasons in the Premier League under Steve Bruce, Birmingham were pretty woeful over the course of the season and finished 4 points behind Portsmouth in 17th place. Portsmouth had finished 13th and 16th in the previous seasons and looked like being in danger of slipping out of the Premier League once more.


Following on from recent trends, 2 of the 3 newly promoted teams from the Championship immediately returned there in the form of Sheffield United and Watford, with the other team being Charlton Athletic. Many fans will remember this season for the scandal that surrounded West Ham United and, in particular, their marquee summer “signings” Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.

Neil Warnock, the then Sheffield United boss, was quite vehement in his protestations against the situation and demanded that West Ham United should be relegated instead of his team as a result of the illegal signings. The FA, however, refused to take this course of action and a huge legal battle ensued with Sheffield United demanding £30m compensation from West Ham United.

The Argentinean system would have had no effect whatsoever on the relegated teams in this season however as Charlton Athletic could not be saved from their fate by Alan Pardew after earlier being “guided” by Iain Dowie and Les Reed. It was a cruel season for Sheffield United who were only relegated on goal difference, as they were one goal worse than Wigan Athletic.


Yet again 2 out of the 3 newly promoted sides were destined for relegation as Reading, who had performed so admirably the previous season, were joined by Birmingham City and Derby County. Once more a team was relegated on goal difference with Reading and Fulham being tied on points after 38 games with Fulham being 3 goals better over the course of the season.

Sunderland, the other newly promoted team, would have replaced Reading if the Argentinean system was in place. The season saw Derby County set several unwanted records with the lowest ever points total (11), least goals scored (20), most goals conceded (89) and worst ever goal difference (69).


Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion were relegated last season with the Geordies being the biggest of the lot. Many fans believed that Newcastle were too good to go down but, after a much publicized falling out between The Messiah (Kevin Keegan) and Mike Ashley the club entered a period of huge turmoil.

In a move that shocked English football, Joe Kinnear was appointed manager and, although things picked up, his subsequent heart problems meant that Chris Hughton took charge for a short period before Alan Shearer had a brief stint in charge to attempt to save the club from relegation.

Interestingly, both Newcastle United and Middlesbrough would have been spared relegation with the Argentinean system with Hull City and Sunderland taking their places.

Overall Summary

Whether or not the Argentinean system is fair is a matter that is up for dispute and it is widely regarded as a way to ensure that the more famous teams are not relegated on the back of one dodgy season. It is clear from the findings above that this is, in most cases, how the Premier League would be affected.

Some of the more famous teams such as Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United, Leeds United, Southampton and Newcastle United that had long been part of the Premier League would all have been saved whilst less fashionable clubs at the time such as Bradford City, Bolton Wanderers, Portsmouth, West Bromwich Albion and Hull City would have taken their places.

In closing, I guess it is safe to say that adopting this kind of system would have massive repercussions on the Premier League but would they be for the better? What is clear is that the bigger clubs would be afforded slips which may keep the standard of the league higher but, in the long term, it would surely only serve to make the elite even more elite whilst ensuring that teams being promoted would need to perform way above current expectations to retain their status as a Premier League club.

Personally, I think it would be a bad move for the Premier League to adopt this kind of system as, from what I can see, it would surely thwart interesting competition and the gap between the Premier League and the Championship, which is quite considerable at present, would surely only grow. What are your thoughts?

Article that gave me the idea:

Saturday, 1 May 2010

I Wish More Players Were This Honest!

So, I was skimming through the football news this morning and caught a glimpse of a headline that really surprised me.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto: "I play for the money. Football's not my passion."

Now I am not naive enough to think that every footballer who plays the game does so because he loves the game, his club, the fans, etc.. but the sheer candidness displayed here was extremely refreshing in an age where so many fans are concerned about this type of attitude. Personally, I have no misgivings towards this sort of admission and actually have a lot more respect for a player who, in the past, I had not particularly had much of a liking for.

The thing that shone through to me from the interview was the apparent sharing of views that we have; he openly criticises the hypocrisy within the game today highlighting players that hold different views when questioned in front of the camera, the kiss and tell culture and the mind games that are so prevalent in the modern game. It comes as no shock to me that there are many players who are not really passionate about their club (Ashely Cole anyone?) and Ekotto's open and honest interview supports these views.

Ekotto highlighted incidents from his time as a player at Tottenham to display the weird and wonderful goings on within the game including an incident with the club's ex sporting director, Damien Comolli. He raised concerns with Comolli over problems he had with Martin Jol at the time. Comolli tried to tell him that it was in his head but then, apparently, changed his stance when Jol left and conceded that there was a problem. Ekotto criticises Comolli over this and, in effect, says he needs to man up.

It is these kinds of statements that really tell you a lot about who a person is. Many footballers have the same routines in interviews. They profess love for the game, love for the club and love for the fans. Let's be fair, it's quite mundane to hear the same thing all the time that, in all honesty, is more likely a product of PR advice than deep rooted feelings within the players. In a time when footballers appear to be all in the same mould it's nice to see someone that has values that he lives by and isn't ashamed to be attached to them.

Source of story: