From the Press box

Nicole Carroll: A one woman mission to make a name in football

20 things we’ve learnt from the Premier League this season

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1. Those who cheat the system shall eventually get their comeuppance

Nearly two years ago, Portsmouth were riding the crest of a wave with England players playing at Fratton Park, and an FA Cup win to their name. Fast forward two years. Although Portsmouth have an FA Cup final to look forward to, they face future uncertainty financially and will see all recognisable personnel leave the club during the summer. Owing masses of money to both the government and other clubs, the financial affairs at Portsmouth have cast a shadow over English football this season. Desperately sad for the fans, but living proof that you cannot live outside your means if you aren’t a big club.

2. You cannot live on past glories forever

Liverpool have always traditionally done well, but it just hasn’t clicked at Anfield this season. Key player Xavi Alonso was sold, yet replacements who came in on the back of his money just haven’t impressed. Coupled with owners that the fans hate, and a manager who seems to have run out of ideas, you have a club who need to have a long hard think this summer and rapidly bring about changes. They won’t be able to add Champions League silverware in the future if they can’t even qualify for the competition.

3. Some footballers still show a bit of passion on the pitch

Stephen Carr’s gesture following the Aston Villa match may have seen him banned for one match, but he’s now become a legend in the eyes of the fans. With masses of money being paid to Premier League footballers, some may argue that players are becoming ever disconnected with the fans. One “shaker” gesture connected fan and footballer last week, and proved there truly is some passion left in Premier League football.

4. Throwing money at a club can somewhat guarantee success

Manchester City’s new owners gave money to Mark Hughes to spend, and although the manager didn’t last the season, the team are still going strong, and could seal a Champions League place for next season. Despite success being good for Manchester City, it’s a massive worry for other Premier League clubs, who will be worrying about the ever increasing cost of success

5. A good manager can be worth more than millions in investment

Roy Hodgson is possibly the number one candidate for manager of the season, leading Fulham to an Europa final, as well as a decent domestic season. Fulham will be desperate to keep a hold on Hodgson, who will obviously be touted as a manager for some of the “bigger” clubs should there be some departures this season.

6. The Premier League is still producing fantastic goals

Surely, a contender for goal of the season, if not goal of the season, is Danny Rose’s goal for Spurs against Arsenal. An absolute peach.

7. Football can still be funny

Some people take the game really seriously, but there are certain moments that you can’t deny as being hilarious. Look at the beach ball incident during the match where Sunderland took on Liverpool. Infuriating for their fans, hilarious for any other team.

8. Being in the Premier League can be a massive financial gamble

Being in the Premier League can be a financial struggle. Take Hull, they had a fantastic first season in the Premier League, yet have massively struggled in their second season, and now look to be relegated, barring any mathematical miracle. Hull will go down to the Championship in massive debt, with mistakes being made across the squad with massive wages being played to what many would argue are mediocre players. £50k a week for Jimmy Bullard, a man with knees seemingly made out of cheese, seems ludicrous.

9. Villa STILL need a bigger squad

In the race for 4th place, any club needs a squad who can deal with the fatigue that comes with the end of the season. Villa have missed out once again on the position, despite playing well again this season. Randy Lerner has invested alot of money into the club, but now they need to push even harder to get that elusive Champions League place. A League Cup final and an FA Cup semi final represents a good season for the club, but to go for higher accolades, Lerner needs to invest further to give a greater depth to their squad.

10. The title race is still interesting

Although its the same clubs at the top of the table, the title race has been exciting this year, and is going down to the wire on the last game of the season. Despite it looking like Chelsea will take the title at this point, football doesn’t always run to plan, and we could see United dramatically snatch the title next weekend.

11. Promoted teams are beginning to get a foothold in the league

Despite Mick McCarthy looking like an extra from the muppets, he certainly hasn’t been one this season in guiding Wolves to a second season in the Premier League. Although all 3 promoted teams each year are generally touted to be those who go straight down, one or two teams every season seem to be getting a hold of on the league quite quickly, and ensure Premier survival, usually at the expense of a well known name. West Ham could have quite easily gone down this season, yet Wolves have seemed fairly comfortable for the past few weeks. A fantastic achievement.

12. Owners need to keep out of on the field affairs

West Ham’s takeover has been marred by rumours about disharmony between manager Zola and owners, and owners continually talking in the press about who in the squad that is up for sale. The recent bid for West Brom’s Graham Dorrans is meant to be something which was kept from manager Zola. Owners obviously need to have some hand in transfers, in the fact they hand over the money. Owners are not managers or aspiring media personalities though, and need to know when to draw the line and stop undermining their managers.

13. Accidents do happen

It’s massively unfortunate, but the nature of football means that we are going to see injuries quite frequently, and unfortunately, serious injuries do occur. Aaron Ramsey’s horror injury wasn’t something any football fan wanted to see this season, and there has to be some sympathy held for Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross, who came under fire after the tackle from Arsenal fans and management. Its the sort of thing that could happen in 9 other matches and nothing would come of it, but this was one unfortunate time. Very sad for Ramsey who up until this point, was having a great season; hopefully Ramsey can look to Eduardo’s recovery for inspiration to get back onto the field.

14.Alex Ferguson seems to show no signs of stopping

Despite the stick he takes from other football fans, everyone has a massive admiration for the United manager. Every season, someone seems to suggest that Ferguson will be leaving Old Trafford, and a list of replacements is given. Ferguson seems to show no signs of slowing however, and the passion is still there in abundance. Ferguson cannot carry on at United forever, that is obvious. The man will know the right moment to go however, and will have a replacement in mind. Until then, lets enjoy having such a fantastic manager in the league.

15. Average managers will not keep you up

After Owen Coyle left Burnley, the club had to move quickly to secure the services of someone who could steer the club to Premier League survival. Brian Laws was never going to be this man, who is regarded by many as a supremely average manager. Despite relegation, Burnley should be pleased with the news that the club have been relegated in relatively good financial health, and can make a challenge next season to come straight back into the Premier League. Maybe experience of relegation can steel the club for a better push at the league next season.

16. Chelsea like the number 7

After putting seven goals past Aston Villa in the league, nobody would of predicted Chelsea doing it again in the league. Until they faced stoke. Another seven goals rattled into the goal, and showed how thoroughly dangerous Chelsea are infront of goal. Entertaining to the outsider, humiliating to the team on the receiving end.

17. There are now 3 areas to watch in the league

It used to be that eyes were generally cast towards the top of the league and the ensuing title chase, and looking at those at the bottom, scrapping it out to stay in the Premier League. The mini league to take the fourth placed position, involving those clubs between 4th and 7th place, has been a hot contest this season, and has been wide open for much of the season. It now seems to be down just to two teams, in the shape of Manchester City and Spurs, but was being fought by upto 6 teams at somepoint this season. Now thats what I call interesting.

18.Finances will become crucial in the future

When a global economy goes to pot, you can only expect it to hit all forms of business, including football. In the future, clubs are going to be more careful on how the money is spent. You can no longer build a club on a series of loans and keep gambling on a clubs future. Hopefully the meltdown at Portsmouth, and the fans actions against the Glazers borrowing at United, will lead teams to look towards a more stable financial future.

19. The Midlands is slowly creeping into the league

With Villa, Blues and Wolves in the Premier League this season, there was a start of a midlands dominance in the league. With the addition of West Bromwich Albion, there is a Midlands overload, with plenty of derby matches to be played and plenty of local banter. Bring it on.

20. We didn’t want it to end

Once again, we’ve had a Premier League season which was full of twists and turns, fantastic goals and stand out players. The biggest shame is the fact that its drawing to a close, and we now have to wait until August to welcome in the new boys and get down to the business of next season. Thank god we’ve got World Cup inbetween, otherwise I think I’d have football withdrawal.


One Response

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  1. Hi, I really love your post. Some great comments of the year, and lets face it, it happens a lot in the Premier League at the moment. And some great videos to, really nice to gather all in the same place. The only thing I miss is a review of Tottenham, which has impressed a lot in my point of view.

    Expekt’s bookmaker has done a season review to there they list a lot of things that happened in the Premier League

    Thanks for the post and I will look out for more to come!


    May 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm

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